Witness Encouraged RUF Rebels To Join The AFRC In 1997, She says

A woman who said she helped the Sierra Leonean rebels during the country’s 11-year brutal war today said she also persuaded them to come out of the bush and join disgruntled Sierra Leonean soldiers who had overthrown their government in a military coup in 1997.  

Isatu. Kallon today told the Special Court for Sierra Leone that when a group of Sierra Leonean soldiers who formed the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) under the leadership of Major Johnny Paul Koroma and overthrew the government of President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah in 1997, the soldiers put her in radio communication with RUF rebels. She said she convinced the rebels to come out of the bush and form a coalition government with the soldiers.

“I spoke to them [RUF rebels], I said to them I am Isatu Kallon, please come out of the bush. Everything is finished,” Mrs. Kallon told the court.

When asked to explain why she thought the soldiers, formerly of the Sierra Leone Army (SLA), had asked her to speak with the rebels, Mrs. Kallon responded that “the SLA had been talking to the RUF, maybe it was during those conversations that my name came up.”

“They said it was Johnny Paul Koroma who had asked that I help with the peace process,” she added.

Prosecutors have alleged that Mr. Taylor was influential in getting the RUF to join the AFRC after the 1997 coup in Sierra Leone but Mr. Taylor has said that he had nothing to do with the RUF’s decision to join the soldiers. In her testimony today, Mrs. Kallon did not mention Mr. Taylor’s name but pointed out that the AFRC soldiers had already established dialogue with the RUF rebels before she spoke with RUF commanders to travel to the country’s capital in Freetown to join the junta government. She said that RUF leader, Foday Sankoh, also communicated with the RUF rebels and told them to join the AFRC.

The RUF rebels, the witness said, requested that the AFRC “authorities should send food and vehicles for them.

Asked by Mr. Taylor’s defense counsel Morris Anyah whether “the SLA soldiers responded to the request of the RUF,” the witness said “yes.”

After the 1997 coup, the soldiers were able to have access to Mrs. Kallon because she was already in the country’s capital when the coup took place, having been arrested in Guinea when she was there to buy arms and ammunition for the RUF. In her testimony last week, the witness said that she travelled to the Guinean capital, Conakry, in the company of a Guinean army captain to purchase arms and ammunition for the RUF. She did not say whether she obtained the arms and ammunition when the court adjourned on Friday.

Today, the witness said she was arrested by Guinean security forces on her return from Conakry with a truck load of ammunition boxes and 19,000 United States dollars in her possession. She was later transferred to Sierra Leone where she was detained by the then military junta, the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) under the leadership of Captain Valentine Strasser. The witness testified about meeting NPRC officials including the country’s then Vice Head of State Brigadier Julius Maada Bio. When Brigadier Bio overthrew Captain Strasser in a palace coup in 1996, the witness said she encouraged Brigadier Bio to reach out to RUF leader Mr. Sankoh for peaceful end to the conflict in Sierra Leone.

“Now that you have overthrown, maybe you’ll be the one to bring peace to this country because maybe the Pa [Sankoh] will talk to you,” the witness referenced her discussion with Brigadier Bio in 1996.

“After that, Maada Bio started the process of negotiating with Foday Sankoh over the radio,” she said.

These discussions eventually led to the signing of the peace agreement between the government of Sierra Leone and the RUF in the Ivorian capital Abidjan on November 30 1996.

The witness also spoke about efforts she made to settle internal disputes in the RUF during the course of the conflict in the country. When asked why she exercised so much influence over the rebels, the witness said that it was because the rebels had immense respect for her, having supported them as recruits when they underwent training in Liberia.

Mrs. Kallon’s testimony continues tomorrow.


  1. The “Peace Maker”; Isatu Kallon, claims to have participted in the peace agreement, on November 30, 1996, between the Sierra Leone Government and The RUF. Now, It would appear that the only thing This Lady is not claiming is: that she ever met taylor, never heard his name mentioned among recruits, neither did any arms come from Taylor’s territory, except, she believes, they were from the LURD Forces, and The Guineans’ Captain, who, she transacted with, but getting arrested and thrown in jail in Guinea! Here is my favorite saying;”he who knows not, and knows not, that he knows not, is a fool.” “But he who knows not, and knows he knows not is wise.”

    1. well Fallah if you say she is lying, you need to prove her wrong that is why we are in court now.

    2. Fallah,

      This is what my grandfather told me, “He that hears the truth, and fail to accept the truth is equal to a blind man that has never seen the light of day, evil waits is end”



  2. Great witness, great testimony, great surprise for the prosecution and their sponsors. Let Mr. Taylor go, now that the horses are speaking without fear or favor. Hands up for you Ma-Isatu, I’m sure “Pa Sankor” or Sam, would have told the court the thing if they were alive. May God bless you and your seeds forever, and PEACE BE YOUR PATH.


  3. Oh well, there you have it!!!! Mrs. Kallon, you couldn’t have said it any clearer then what have already been said.

  4. Dear Fuad — you posted an extremely interesting comment today at 12:45pm. However I cannot post it until you revise it a little because at the moment it makes statements of fact against an individual that they committed crimes, which we are not alowed to post unless the person has been proven guilty of those crimes in court. But we can post statements of opinion. If you can reformulate slightly to make it clear that the issues you are raising are your opinion based on your experience, I will happily post it. If you need me to send through your text so you can edit it a little, I will also happily do that. I will wait to hear from you, Fuad, or see your revised post. Sorry for the inconvenience, but alas it is a legal issue for us.
    thanks for your understanding

  5. Sam, Aki, Grebo and Co.
    You guys must either be too gullible or ignorance of development in the Mano River basin between 1989 to 2003 to become easily convinced that such an acute illiterate, abysmally ignorant and obscure woman would be so influential over the RUF.
    It is very easy to answer controlled questions especially when you are reminded every time of your previous statements ( probably out of fear of you forgetting your coached statements) but the good thing is there are always two sides to every story. We should see whether her tales can stand the test of time when the prosecution begins cross-examination.
    As somebody rightly put it ” you can never make a lie stands forever. The life time of lies is only a question of time.”

    1. Well Morris, even the prosecution when they started the cross examinatioin of the witness refered to her as “Iron Lady” and they suggested to ther that she was called that because she had substantial influence over the RUF and infact the NPFL which she denied that while she had influence over the RUF, she does not have influence over the NPFL. so you see even the prosecution could not question the fact that she was an influencial woman both in Liberia and in SL.

      On the issue of “illiteracy” can you pause a little and ask yourself how an “illiterate” could be such a successful business woman? how did she count her money and how was she able to run her business so successfully? why is it that even past heads of state of SL were seeking her advice and sought her co-operation in dealing with the RUF? Can you please find answers to that question before I provide what I think the answerts are?

    2. Morris,
      Were you satisfied with the cross and what you think was gained by the prosecutors??

  6. She’s a witness for charles taylor. She worked with him, so there’s no way she’s going to incriminate him. This lady is something else, as illiterate as she is, she claims responsibility for the peace accord in Sierra Leone. RUF trusted her with all that money and diamonds to buy them arms and ammunition, plus she also could read what type of arms were on the list, she’s a comedian. Please ma, it’s a good thing you probably live out of the country, or else…

    1. Inkredible,
      Ms. Kallon is INCREDIBLE…..I wonder why didn’t the prosecutors sought her out before bringing the charges?? She is the STAR of this case!!!!! And NOTHING can be done to her thats the reason why she is talking FREELY….I say GOD BLESS HER.

    2. Inkredible,
      If the prosecution don’t believe what this woman is saying, they can go to Guinea or Sierra Leone to find out if this was ever infact arrested in Guinea for transporting weapons to RUF. It’s easy to do. This lady has said that, after she was arrested in Guinea, she was tuned over to the government of Sierra Leone and at that time, CPT Valintane Strasa was president of Sierra Leone. I do believe he’s still alive, why can they question him about this lady testimony?

    3. Incredible,
      Don’t know when last you were back home; but just so you know, the most remote and premative person you will find in liberia or sierraleone knows about guns..so, take notthing for granted….Reble forces mostly look for loyalist not book man….

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