Appendix 3, Part 1: Transcripts of Public Hearings






1.    Bishop Joseph C. Humper - Presiding
2.    Justice Laura Marcus-Jones
3.    Prof.William Schabas
4.    Madam Satang Jow
5.    Mr. Sylvanus Torto                                           
6.    Prof. John Kamara
7.    Madam Yasmin Sooka


1.    Mr. Ozonnia Ojielo
2.    Ms. Martien Schotmans
3.    Mr. Abdulai Charm

WITNESS NAME:                  Tamba Finnoh

WITNESS NO:                       001

REFERENCE NO:                  4/150/5016

The Commission Chairman, Bishop Joseph C. Humper welcomed all present and asked that someone in the audience lead in the opening prayers. While the opening prayer was led by Rev Fornah, the Muslim prayer, Al fatiha, was taken collectively.

The Amputee Welfare Association rendered a song titled: “Fambul dem nar so den do we”.

The chairman gave an opening remark and read out the hearings procedures.

The oath on Tamba Finnoh, a Christian, was administered by Bishop Humper. After that he reminded Tamba Finnoh of the rules concerning testimony.


I am Tamba Finnoh. I am currently residing at the amputee camp in Hastings. Before my present condition I was a farmer and a businessman in Kono.  It all started after the ECOMOG intervention in Sierra Leone in 1998 .I hasten to note at this juncture that it is regrettable that even though we look at Kono as the economic backbone of this country, there was no security presence.  Most of us were behind rebel lines with nowhere to go; because any thought of going to the South easily evaporated at the thought of the Kamajors ,which was dreadful. At that time I had no documents, and there was no way I could identify my self.

When ECOMOG intervened, they only occupied Koidu and other big towns. The areas covered by ECOMOG were the safest areas for civilians. The road that links Freetown to Kono was closed; so we had no access to relief supplies. The only alternative for us then was to go into the bush in search of food. And that was very risky.

Whilst we were in search of food one day, we fell into a rebel ambush. And I can still remember the day they caught us. We were held bound, stripped naked and then taken to a distant village called Yopomar. Suddenly, I heard a helicopter flying over us. The RUF and the AFRC who were rebel allies rushed to hide. I tried to take that opportunity to run into hiding. Unfortunately for me I was again caught and held bound. A man that I clearly recognised, that goes by the name Sahr Sessie, caught up with me. He asked me if I had the intention of escaping; but I pleaded with him to let me go and help save my life. Whilst we were on this discussion, I think the others overheard us and they ordered him to kill me if I had attempted to run. Upon this order he stabbed me with a bayonet on the side of my stomach. They gave me a good beating and my teeth were broken and they took us to Yogorma. We met one man whom they referred to as “Brigadier”. He told us that we were not in support of them and so, they were going to teach us a lesson. On the same spot, a man who had attempted to escape was held and beheaded; as a warning for us not to attempt to escape. Another man had his lips pierced and padlocked and was given a letter to deliver to ECOMOG that they were coming. They lined us up and I decided to bring up the rear, with the hope that the same helicopter would fly over us again; because I was afraid of being killed. They called on us one at a time and then, began to cut off our limbs.

When it was my turn and I was beaten with a machete and my hands were chopped off. Fortunately for me, a boy came to my rescue, untied me and ordered me to leave. On my way going, I met other amputees who were dead because they could not bear the pains. However, I met one alive, but he was unable to move. I told him to get up so that we could seek medical treatment on the way but he made a sign to me that he could not. Shortly after I had left him, I fell unconscious but I remember vividly that I had prayed, for God to give me strength and, I got up. After one or two further moments of unconsciousness, I made a determined effort to try and reach a place where I could get medical treatment. It got to a point where I could not move any longer but it was near the town. Fortunately, two boys came along and although they wanted to help me - following pleas to them - they couldn’t because they were small boys. They however promised to inform ECOMOG and Kamajors about me, which they did. Late in the evening of the same day, some Kamajors came and amongst them was Tamba, who was my younger brother’s friend. They placed me on palm fronds and although it was painful, they were able to carry me to the ECOMOG base; but the ECOMOG officers were reluctant because they had earlier been attacked by rebels and their colleagues killed. They said they were not going to help me because they had come to help and now their brothers were being killed. They said they were not going to help civilians because their medicines were for soldiers. However, all they did for me was to hold my hands together with a board. The most painful part was when my relative refused to give me water thinking that it would aggravate the pain. After several attempts to get ECOMOG to help me; I then prayed to God to assist me get out my troubles as he did for the Israelites. Before I could finish the prayer, a helicopter which belonged to the South Africans landed. I then convinced my relative to take me along so that they can take me to Freetown. At first the ECOMOG guys were reluctant to let me through, but the pilot having seen our plight intervened and brought me and another victim called Stevens to Freetown, after which we were admitted at Connaught. They took us to the theatre for operation but upon observation the doctor decided that he would cut off my right hand and would try to treat the left one. Although I was reluctant at first to loose my hand, I eventually accepted for the operations to be done. After the operation, for six months I could not sleep, because of the pain and trauma. Even the anaesthetic that was given to me did not do much to help me get sleep. My right hand healed after a while but because the left hand was wrongly turned during the operation it became almost useless. Fortunately, I was taken to Netlands hospital where they had ICRC bone specialists. After observations a doctor at Netlands told me that I should first go to Lakka to seek physiotherapy. After a while I was brought back to Netlands and the operation was finally done on my left hand. Although it was difficult for me at first to use my left hand, I must say here today that I can use it now effectively. At present I am at Hastings in a shelter built by the Norwegians Refugee Council

Bishop Humper: Do you know any thing about the perpetrator and would you be ready to meet with him and reconcile?

Mr Finnoh: The man is in Kono and the last time I was in Kono my nephew told me that they had wanted to attack him, but I told him not to, because I am a Christian and am ready to forgive. I do not think I have any thing to do with him any longer. All I am concerned about is what the Commission, Government, International Community and the Civil Society would do for me. I am ready to reconcile with him.

Bishop Humper: What are your views about ECOMOG?

Mr. Finnoh: ECOMOG was here to liberate the country and as we all know as human beings we have our sentiments and emotions. ECOMOG felt that because of the loss of their colleagues they should be unfriendly. I think it is a lesson to all Sierra Leoneans that we should always live together.

Bishop Humper: What recommendations would like to make to the Commission?

Mr. Finnoh: The first thing is that most of us have lost our dignity and we can not physically fend for ourselves any longer. We have been reduced to beggars. Even those who used to respect us no longer do so. I recommend that the Commission put in place a mechanism that    will ensure sustained provisions for us and our children. Also, I want the Commission to recommend that those amputees who have basic qualification be allowed to enter the university and other Institutions if they are ready to do so. I further suggest that the Commission recommend the setting up of Micro Projects for amputees and their    dependants. Although the Commission offered me one month employment which helped in easing some of my problems I ask that they find a way of extending it.

Justice Marcus Jones: Did the rebels say why they were chopping off hands or why a padlock was put on the other man’s lip?

Mr. Finnoh: They gave no reason why they padlocked the man’s lips but for the hands, they said they were cutting them because we used them to vote for Tejan Kabbah.

Justice Marcus Jones: Did Sahr Sessie have any grudge against you?

Mr. Finnoh: I can’t remember him having any grudge against me because I taught him in form three. Maybe as a student he may have had a different perception about certain things but I didn’t do him any wrong. Initially, before he joined the rebels, we had been on the run for our dear lives together and at one point I almost quarrelled with my wife when she had attempted to refuse him food. When I saw him with the rebels I thought he would be my saviour.

Commissioner Jow: Can you tell the ages of the child combatants who were with the rebels and what reason they gave for the things they did?

Mr. Finnoh: The one who actually cut off my hands was between the ages of 14-17. I want to believe these children were being manipulated because they were acting on orders of their leaders.

Commissioner Torto: Can you give the name of the man whose head was cut off?

Mr. Finnoh: His name could be either Sahr or Tamba Joe of Yorpoma.

Commissioner Torto: These people who came to help you were they actually Kamajors or Donsos

Mr. Finnoh: I think they were Kamajors because the Kamajors wherever they went, they initiated people.

Bishop Humper: Do you have any question for the commission?

Mr. Finnoh: I first of all want to say that the amputees at first refused to cooperate with the commission because we felt that the Commission’s recommendation will not be adhered to as it was the case with the Lome Peace Accord which made provision for a victim fund that up till date is yet to be set up. So, I want to ask what guarantee the Commission has that its recommendations would be adhered to.

Bishop Humper: According to the TRC Act, the President must ensure that the recommendations made by the Commission are met. Furthermore, the Moral Guarantors to the Lome Peace Accord will monitor these recommendations and ensure that they are adhered to.

Mr. Finnoh: Finally, I recommend that a member of the victim group be included in the body that will monitor the recommendations of the Commission so that our interest will be protected.

The Leaders of Evidence didn’t ask questions.

DATE:         14th April

WITNESS NAME:  Rugiatu Kamara

WITNESS NO:    002

REFERENCE NO:     1/150/1017

She was sworn on oath by the Presiding Commissioner.  She is a Muslim by religion.  He further welcomed Rugiatu and said that he was happy that she had come to give testimony to the Commission.


I have come to explain about the past. I reside at 9 Benjamin Lane.  One morning, we were at Bundu Fence in Kingtom when we were told that ECOMOG were coming and the rebels were pulling out. At 1.p.m. we saw Kamajors and I told my brother that we were expecting ECOMOG but unfortunately I saw the Kamajors.  We were all lined up out side.

My brothers were dealers in fuel; so one of the kamajors told us that they wanted to  carry out routine checks  .  They met a drum of diesel and a drum of petrol. They asked what we were doing with them and my brother told them that they are for sale.  They told him to call on all the others who were in the business. They lined up all of them and one Kamajors took out a knife and chopped all of their ears and chewed one.  After this, my brother was saying to me that he is dying. Unfortunately one of the Kamajor heard what we were saying and asked what the matter was?  I then spoke from behind and in response to that he called me out and said that I should laugh.  My elder sister was telling me to keep quite but I refused. They then put all seven of them in a vehicle including my two brothers.

After a while they came back with seven heads (witness started to cry) and I started crying saying that they had killed my brothers. They then called me out side to come and identify my brothers’ heads and laugh at the same time. I did it as there was no alternative.

Shortly after they left, ECOMOG came in and we were still crying.  We explained everything to them and they asked me whether I could recognise any one of them and I said yes. But they were unable to find them.  After some time, I went out for business at Brookfields Hotel where I saw one of the Kamajors who chopped off my brother’s ear and chewed it. I beckoned to the lady that I was with but, she advised me to keep quite.  The girl also spoke about an incident that occurred, when a woman was beaten and stripped naked. I was unable to tell this to my mother until some months later.

Bishop Humper: How many women where with you, when this happened?

Miss Kamara: There were a lot of women and one woman’s child was also killed.
Bishop Humper: How were you able to identify your brothers' heads?

Miss Kamara: I had stayed with them ever since my childhood and I knew them well.  

Bishop Humper: When they told you to laugh were you really laughing or pretending to laugh?

Miss Kamara: I was forced to laugh because guns were all around me.

Bishop Humper: Can you identify them?

Miss Kamara: Yes I can.

Justice Marcus Jones: When you explained to ECOMOG what did they do?

Miss Kamara: They could not do any thing because they were unable to find them.

Commissioner Torto: Did you report the matter to any of their officers?

Miss Kamara: No, I was there once when a case was reported to them; but no action was taken.

Commissioner Jow: Was your house the only house searched?

Miss Kamara: No they searched all the other houses.

Ms. Schotsmans: If I understand you well, you said you once came across one of those Kamajors, the one who chew your brother’s ear and that you know their faces. Do you know any of their names?

Miss Kamara: No, I don’t.

Ms. Schotsmans: Have you been able to see any one of them in town or do they live in your neighbourhood?

Miss Kamara: Following the end of the war, I was in a business at Brookfields Hotel when I saw one of them; the one who chewed my brother’s ear.

Ms. Schotsmans: Have you been able to have a talk with anyone of them, about what they did to your brothers?

Miss Kamara: I was afraid to make any comment.  

Ms.Schotsmans: Is there any way you can help the Commission find these people?

Miss Kamara: Even if I should see them now, the done cannot be undone. They cannot bring my brothers back to life. I just wanted to unburden my mind  through the Commission. In any case should I see them that would aggravate my anger; I leave everything with God.

Commissioner Torto: What were the names of your brothers?

Miss Kamara: Their names were Mamoud and Abu Kamara.

Bishop Humper: What more do you have to tell the Commission?

Miss Kamara:  I have nothing to say except that Abu left his child with me and Mamoud’s child is with my mother in Bo. If the Commission can do anything for me I would appreciate it. At present, I am the only surviving child of my mother. She even refused to come today because she does not want to recall the ugly incident.

Bishop Humper: Have you said these things to anybody before?

Miss Kamara: In fact everybody knows about it. I was forced to tell your statement taker when I met somebody talking about the incident to her without knowing the detail.

Commissioner Jow: Have you been consoled by any group or individual for all these things that you went through?

Bishop Humper: We thank you for this time which you have spent with us. We hope that you together with others will help the Commission in carrying out its mandate. You can rest assured that  we’ll do our best in addressing the issues as they come to us and that we will share our findings not only with you but also with the entire nation and the world at large.

Witnesses:           Alusine Turay, Hassan Turay, Kolley Sesay

This time all three of them were called to take their seats and sworn on oath.   

DATE:             14th April

WITNESS NAME:      Alusine Turay

WITNESS NO:        003

REFERENCE NO:         4/150/5006


One afternoon in 1998 we went to work in our uncle’s farm. When we returned to town, I later went to the forest to cut wood. Upon return to town, we learnt that the town chief had lost one of his children. We were asked to bury the child because she was only two months old. We were there when I started feeling sick so I left them to go home. I had wanted to cross a path when I saw that the veranda had got a very high fence; as I was just about to consider my next line of action, three men came out of the building and asked where I was going to. Because I could not say anything they removed my clothes and tied me up and said that I should not cry or they would kill me.  

Within two minutes, they started bringing people. They caught eight of us. One of the commandos said that they are going to kill all of us and pointed at my uncle and took him to the back of the house.  He started begging them that they should leave him because he is a very young man. They were listening to what he was saying when the commander told them that if they did not kill him he would eliminate all of them.  Immediately they started cutting our ears and started eating and said that we must all drink the blood. They gave us two letters for Tejan Kabbah after which they left us.
My brother decided that we should go to Fadugu but as we were going I fainted because of the bleeding, I could not hear what my brother was saying.  I fell down again on the way going and my brothers left for Fadugu and reported the matter there.  They later came and took me to Fadugu. I was brought to Freetown by the ECOMOG, and taken to Connaught hospital and from there I was taken to Waterloo.  I stop so far my brother will give further information.

DATE:             14th April

WITNESS NAME:      Hassan Turay

WITNESS NO:        004

REFERENCE NO:         4/150/5005


In 1998, May 27, it was on a Saturday, we went to do some work for my uncle. We worked for him all day and returned back to town about 7pm. I took my bath and later heard that one of my sister's children had died.  I went to commiserate with the family and met them digging the grave. I gave a helping hand.  I had just reached a place when I met one guy who asked me whether the bad guys are around and I replied we’ve not heard anything about them; he was wearing a “Ronko” gown.  We came to narrow path approaching the village, two strange men came and held my hands, and they took hold of me and tied  up my hands.

I was there when they came with my uncle, (who is sitting by me now).  He was fighting and I told him to keep quiet. They hit him with the gun and later pointed to one of my uncles and took him to the back of the house.  Somebody pleaded on his behalf; but the commander overheard the conversation and said that if they refuse to kill him he will eliminate all of them.  They drew a stick and hit him on his back. He was crying saying that they were killing him. The commando later came and asked whether they had finished with him.  

He then called on Couple Blood and told him that he should cut off our ears. They came to my uncle saying that since he was fighting they would cut off his pair of ears; they did that and said that we should all laugh at what they had done.  They later gave us a letter to take to Tejan Kabba. I was the only one who was brave and I told them that we must go back to Fadugu for medical treatment. We arrive at Fadugu and met the ECOMOG and they took us to the hospital but there were no drugs and the ECOMOG made a call to Kabala and we were taken to Kabala and from there to Freetown. But the doctors were not around; so we had to spend the night there.The next day, we were taken to waterloo and later to the Aberdeen road camp.  That is all I have for now.

DATE:             14th April

WITNESS NAME:      Kolleh Sesay

WITNESS NO:        005

REFERENCE NO:         4/150/5004

Good afternoon everybody. I heard of the war but thought it was far away. We never knew they were very close to us.  We went to work for one of our brothers and we were not expecting anything like the rebels. We came back to town and heard people crying and they said that the chief’s daughter had died.  So, were told to go to the house and bury the child. While we were praying for the child, they were in the process of digging the grave.  We buried the child and left for our own place. I was accompanied by one old man. I was leading he was behind me. But he was a little distance away from me. As we were going we met a man and he asked us where we were going? It was then that it occurred to me that the town was quiet.  

Where I stood I saw a man behind me in a T-shirt and when I looked in front, the old man was far away running. I wanted to run also  but  I was caught by one of the men and they told me that if I  dared attempt to escape they would kill me. I was taken to where the others were hemmed.  They said that they were going to kill all of us.  They took my brother Foday Sesay to the back of the house. He begged them and one of them said that they should not kill him. But one rebel said that if they did not kill him he will eliminate all of them. So, they had no alternative but to kill my brother.

He called on one “Couple Blood” and said that he must do his job.  He started to cut our hands and later our ears. They came to me and said that since I was putting up resistance they would chop off both ears. And so they did. Then, they collected the blood and said that we must drink the blood.  We drank the blood. They said that we must laugh which we did. And they wrote a letter and gave it to one of my brothers and they later released us and said that we must take the letter to Tejan Kabbah.  After an hour an old man came and asked whether they had gone and he cut loose the rope and we were there crying.    I told one of my brothers that we must leave and seek for help. He tried to get up but fell. I left him there and went ahead. We met the ECOMOG and they told us that there were no drugs; that we should find money to buy drugs.  By then ECOMOG had made a call to Kabala and we were later brought to Freetown at Connaught and later taken to Waterloo.  We were there again when the rebels entered in January 6.

Bishop Humper: Which group did this people belong to?

Mr. Alusine Turay: They were rebels.  

Bishop Humper: Had the rebels visited areas around your village before?

Mr. Alusine Turay: They had never come around our village. We only used to hear that they were about some forty miles away. Then at about 2p.m. on that day, we heard that they were around our town.

Justice Marcus Jones: Were you able to bury your brother?

Mr. Alusine Turay: He was buried the next day, but my other brothers were not there because they had left for Fadugu.

Commissioner Torto: Can you tell me the name of your brother that was killed.

Mr. Alusine Turay: His name was Foday Sesay

Commissioner Torto: All of you mentioned that a letter was given to you by the rebels, can you tell us the content of the letter?

Mr. Alusine Turay: We were all illiterates.

Mr. Kolleh Sesay: The letter in my pocket was soaked with blood, so in the morning when my relatives took it out they burnt it.

Mr.Hassan Turay: The ECOMOG soldiers read the letter given to me and they told me that the rebel had written that they are around and we should inform Kabbah about it.

Commissioner Torto: Can you identify the perpetrators or has somebody told you about the perpetrators?

Mr. Hassan Turay: No

Commissioner Sooka: You all suffer from much injury, can you tell us how you feel now?

Mr. Hassan Turay: Yes. I cannot use my hands properly after some time I experience the pain all over my body.

Mr. Alusine Turay: At times I am ashamed because people are always looking at me. Even children, they sometimes run away when they see me coming. Whenever I am dressed, I have to put my hands in my pocket.  I am not feeling good at all.  I am appealing that you help us.

Mr. Kolleh Sesay: You see my ears, at times when people talk to me from afar, I cannot not get them properly. You see my hands, I cannot move my fingers. If I put my hands in water it gets numb; no feeling; because of the injuries sustained. We are appealing that you help us.

Prof. John Kamara: I thank you all for coming here to tell us about what these people did to you. I would like you to make things clear to me. You all are saying that you don’t know the people who harmed you.  But Alusine said that somebody spoke to him in Limba?

Mr.Alusine Turay: I said that he was part of them. He was the only one who spoke to me, but there were other people who spoke different languages.

Prof. John Kamara: The person who spoke Limba to you what did he do after you had been harmed?

Mr. Alusine Turay: He consoled me.  I can’t say he was one of them, however, when he left me he went back to town.

Mr. Ojielo: Can you remember the kind of clothes the armed men were wearing?

Mr. Kolleh Sesay: Those that held me were all dressed in black.

Mr. Hassan Turay: They were dressed in black.

Mr. Alusine Turay: The one who held me was dressed in country clothes called “Ronko”.

Mr. Ojielo: Can you tell me the approximate number of armed men who attacked your village?

Mr. Kolleh Sesay: They were over 50 in number they had women with them.  

Mr. Ojielo: When these people attacked, can you tell if other people were affected and did other people suffer injuries or lose properties?

Mr. Kolleh Sesay: Well, they destroyed and looted properties but I must assume that they didn’t harm any woman. At a point, a woman was brought to the commando but he let her go. Our village is fairly big; when they took over the village, everybody ran away. They took all our beautiful clothes and properties.

Mr. Ojielo: In your village, was there no real fighting between the combatant groups, were there only attacks on civilians?
Mr. Kolleh Sesay: They came from Koranko area. There is a river between our village and Koranko area. We later learnt that they killed forty people from that village. I was a farmer and with my hands chopped off, I can’t work any longer.

Bishop Humper: Turay, Turay and Sesay, we’ve heard what you have to say and we have asked you questions. Now is your turn. Do you have any question or recommendation you may want to make to the Commission.

Mr. Hassan Turay: The government should help us but if the Commission is able to help us we will appreciate it.  We were farmers but we can’t farm no more. My uncle who was killed had children they are all out there with nobody to assist them. Our uncle used to care for our mother now that he is dead; we have nobody to help her. We should have been the ones to look after the family now but with our present condition, we cannot. He had two wives before but one of them has left because there is no one to care for her. Also we are appealing to you to help us with medication. In addition, we are appealing that assistance is rendered to us. So that we can engage in some form of business and be able to look after ourselves and our children.

Bishop Humper: Thank you all and we’ll take into consideration all that you have told us. We have come to the end of the day. I would want to inform you that as from tomorrow, all subsequent hearings will be held at the YWCA New Hall. At this point I want to announce that we have heard testimonies as to the death of fifteen people. I now ask that we all stand up and observe a minute silence in respect of all these people….. I pray that their soul rest in perfect peace.

Hearings ended for the day at 4.45pm.




DATE: 15th April 2003


1.     Bishop Joseph C. Humper                [Chairman]
2.    Justice Laura Marcus-Jones
3.    William Schabas - Presiding                    
4.    Satang Jow
5.    Sylvanus Torto
6.    Prof. John Kamara
7.    Yasmin Sooka                                              


1.    Mr. Ozonnia Ojiello
2.    Ms. Martien Schotsmans
3.    Mr. Abdullai Charm

WITNESS NAME:         Sahr Orlando    Gbekie

WITNESS NO:                  006

REFERENCE NO:         3/150/4405

Professor William Schabas welcomed all to the hearings and introduced the commissioners. He called on the audience to give opening prayers. A Muslim prayer was said by Mohamed Alhajie Samura. Christian prayer was done by Mrs Bondu Manyeh. A chorus was sung by all : “Tell papa God tenki”.
Sahr Gbekie was sworn on oath.


I am Sahr Gbekie.I reside at Babadorie Lumley. I am a retired police officer and I am married to Rebecca Gbekie. We had 7 children and 4 are alive.  On the the 6TH January 1999, rebels entered the city. I was seated with my family when my son, Tamba Pujeh Gbeki, 20 years old produced the examination papers with which he sat to class examination at the Technical Institute Congo Cross on the 4th of January 1999. My daughter Kumba  Gbeki, she was staying at Leona Hotel Wilberforce Street, Freetown, with her husband.  On the 7th they rang us and told me that the rebels had entered the hotel, shot one inmate dead and they were now frightened out in the street. On the 8th, the rebels took them out to say 'We want Peace' in the street.  They were among several thousands of inmates to say 'We want peace'.  

When we heard this information from them on the telephone, my son Tamba Gbeki, said to us; me and his mother; that he was going to look out for his sister at Leona Hotel. By then ECOMOG and some CDF Kamajors had occupied the West end part of the city.  He went to Leona Hotel.  That day he did not come back this way again, because no civilian would have entered this end because the war was just at the bridge – Congo Bridge. He told us later that he managed to go to Thunder Hill, to his aunty – my wife's elder sister.  We all stayed in that period of confusion, not knowing what must have happened to him. But when the rebels RUF entered Kissy and abducted Bishop Ganda, Tamba Gbeki  and his aunty were just neighbours to Bishop Ganda; they all fled to different directions. The aunty came down to us at Babadorie, with her entire family and told us that she had been staying with Tamba, at Kissy but since the rebels had abducted Bishop Ganda, everybody fled in different directions.  

We continued praying.  On the 22nd January1999, one of my nephews Charles Macarthy came to us and said T-boy was on his way. We were all happy and we prayed and indeed he came home.  Not too long after we had given him soap and everything to wash, I saw one ECOMOG soldier , Cpl. Yusuf Salifu, a Nigerian ECOMOG and one SLA  called Carew aka.Gibo, who was attached to one businessman as security guard around us. They came into my compound and demanded Tamba. That was around 5pm 22nd January.  Then all the family members, the mother, the aunt, the sisters, we came out. I questioned Why?.  He said T boy had passed their check point which was about sixty yards away from my house, without being searched. They took him away. The mother, Mrs, Rebeka Gbeki, Kumba Ngeba, (seated by me) and my other daughter Agnes Gbeki, Vice President Fourah Bay College Student Union rushed to the ECOMOG base. They were prevented from reaching the base.  They returned crying.  

Later the SLA soldier came back and told me that T-boy was his classmate at St. Edwards Secondary School, but when they searched him they found cocaine in his shoe; thereby he was arrested and taken to Wilberforce guardroom.  Well it's terrible.  The family all gathered around me. I told them that we must put everything into prayers.  Around 7 pm, Gibo the SLA and another SSD officer entered our parlour; they were smoking Cannabis Sativa – diamba.  They had their AK 47 ready for action. They asked all of us to come out and sit on the floor of the parlour.  That was terrible.  I had children that were 7 and 8 years old around me. They were frightened when they saw the AK 47 with them. They   said T-boy had given them information that he brought dollars for us, therefore they were coming to search my house.   They were there, they told me not to answer telephone, told me to sit on the floor.  Then I said, 'No, this is my house.  If you want to kill me you can do so, but I'm sure Christ is with me.  Up to 9pm, no re-enforcement came. They asked me to list down the names of the family members in the house.  We were over thirty.  I listed it down, gave them one copy and kept the other one.  They said they were coming at 7 am the following day. And really on the 23rd January 1999 they came, started searching, went into my wardrobe. They went into the ceiling, but there was nothing to find.  They asked my wife and I to go to their checkpoint to make statements.  Rebeka and I left with their guns pointed at us.  Just about reaching up the street, then they asked me in Krio -“Pa wi nor se nar tin. Wetin yu go do fu fri yu sef.’  I took them home; and gave them Le 30,000.  They left me.    

By then T-boy was already in detention with ECOMOG at Wilberforce Barracks.    On 24th January, we had a telephone call and T-boy spoke to us. We asked him 'where are you?'  He said:” I'm here at Wilberforce Guardroom”.  To confirm that, I spoke with one ECOMOG officer again on the telephone.  He said we must send him food, medicine and some clothes.  The mother did that on the 24th and again on the 25th.  News reached T-boy while in detention, that my neighbours, particularly the family of John Massaquoi whom I'm sharing a fence with, were alarm calls to the ECOMOG officers on the phone that T-boy was a rebel and said that he was with them at Wilberforce. On the 27th,T-boy told me, that he’s heard in his detention that my neighbours, especially John Massaquoi and family had  threatened the ECOMOG officers on the phone that Tamba was a rebel and if the mother continued taking food to them,  they would report to Maxwell Khobe that they were siding with collaborators. Then I said to my wife, “Don't ever go there again.”  She stopped going there on the 26th.

On the 28th January 1999 around 12pm we were in the house.  We saw T-boy   enter the compound. We gave him soap to wash and we started taking care of the wounds. Then Mrs. Jenny Massaquoi stood out in the street and started shouting 'Oona cam o rebel don cam; Tboy nar rebel'.  She called out the youths, the kamajors were around and she called out to them. They came and started firing in the air in my compound.  Then ECOMOG also came.  They said to them:' You took this boy away on the 22nd and today we have seen him’.  Then ECOMOG Corporal Salifu Yusuf, some CDF and the Kamajors who were around took T-boy on the 28th January 1999.  We didn't know where they took him to -7 pm on 28th January 1999, I received a phone call. Somebody called me that they have released Tboy – 7 pm.  Then I cautioned the caller; 'you know curfew is 6 pm, if you release T-boy, you are sending him now to John Massaquoi and his agents.   By 9 pm we were all seated, when one or two youths came down to my house they said “Pa you sidom den don chap T-boy nar dorty road to Lumley, den don set tyre pan am'.  That was terrible.  When they asked me to go that night, perhaps my wife and I would have been the first target.  So, we didn't go.  On the morning of the 29th youths and some kamajors were all spread along the street, with my neighbours if some of us had gone out they would have said ' den nar rebel, nar collaborator'. We somehow managed and went to find the site. Where they had indicated, the site was completely cleaned up overnight. That was a heavy burden to my family. I telephoned my daughter in London and she said we must pack up and go away.  She sent money, I went to immigration, renewed my wife's and Kumba's passports took police clearance and allowed them to cross over to Lungi on 3rd February.  .
On the 3rd of February, the responsible Kono elder,  chief Ngeba, a neighbour called and told me that if my wife and I did not leave my house in three days, something terrible will happen to both of us. He said John Massaquoi gave him   that information. With the little money I had collected from my daughter I had managed to get them out of the country.  On the 6th of February, I had my country cloth around me at 7 O'clock in the morning and with slippers in my verandah, when one of John Massaquoi's Kamajors and two ECOMOG officers entered my compound. One of the ECOMOG officers was holding a list in his hand. He said, 'who is S O Gbeki?'  I said ' I am'.  He asked for my wife, ' who is Rebeka Gbeki?' Then, I said she was not in the compound and she was not in Sierra Leone'. John jumped up and said I was telling lies and that he saw   Rebeka yesterday night. They conducted their usual search. Based on the information three of us, including one Fatmata Kalawa my niece, were on the ECOMOG list to be arrested that morning. I told them that Fatmata Kalawa was at Malama.  Before we crossed the streets to go into the ECOMOG Land rover,  I saw John Massaquoi and the ECOMOG officer with a handset.  I was taken into the vehicle and we went to Malama in search of my niece Fatmata Kalawa.   The house was surrounded with ECOMOG officers.  In that terrified manner, they took us to Hill Station; to one of their security checkpoints. We were locked up from 10am.  5pm in the evening, they sent one CID officer to take statements from us.  They asked me to make a statement.  When I asked why the officer told me that they had information that my son T-boy was a commando, they were in the bush fighting. He was not prepared to disclose the source of information to me. I was very composed that evening and told the officer that whosoever must have told him had lied to him that my son was an SLA, Kamajor or RUF; my son was a student.  I gave him all this background in my statement.  He also obtained statement from my niece Fatmata Kalawa.  

When on the 6th of February, the statement was taken up to the Captain, the senior ECOMOG officer; he came down and met me in the cell.  He said that I was telling lies and that my son had confessed to them that he was a rebel. But I asked: Where is this son now?'  He was killed on the 28th of January 1999 and you don't expect me to lie”.  By the time they took me to their detention I had managed to into my room quickly, took my discharge card from the Police.  I had a photograph of me in my police uniform, T-boy's passport, all his documents, and my passport.  “See all these documents.  I am not lying to you.  I served this country for thirty eight years 1957 -95 when I was retired as Superintendent of Police”.  Then he said we must go home at 6 pm.  Then I said “Officer, curfew is at 6 O'clock; I don't mind sleeping here.  Let me not be another victim as my son”.  As a result of my statement as well as the evidences that I had provided in support of my position and what I told him about curfew, he provided their vehicle and escort to bring us to Babadorie. He said I must report the following day, on Sunday.  Sunday he sent his vehicle for me.  Then in my mind I started realizing that they had begun to take another look at the facts.The two days I visited their security post they asked me not to report again.  

On the 9th February, at 9pm we heard some noise at John’s compound. They were saying that they were going burn down my house – 'We go burn am, we go burn this house today'. Then I alerted my boys in the compound that all of us should take positions with sticks.  But that could not have given me much help. I used the telephone and called the ECOMOG commander and some other people that I could access.  Well, we did not sleep that night and our house was not burnt down.  Around 8.30 the following morning 10th February, I saw a group of people entering my compound – ECOMOG included.  The person who was heading the group introduced himself as Mr. James Allie, the then Secretary to the President and said that he had heard all that has happened to me and he consoled me. He went to John's house but he was not there.  He consoled me saying the situation was getting better and that the Police and ECOMOG were now functioning better. That anyone who disturbs our peace as from then on ,we must seek immediate redress from the Police and ECOMOG.  He warned all the CDF who were seated   by the border junction leading to my house.  

From the 10th of February there was some of relief for my family. It was a blessing that I used the telephone in the name of God, because we couldn't have done much with sticks or any other thing if God had not intervened in the matter. I had been in my house for 22 years and my neighbour John Massaquoi came around in 1987. We had been so close; sharing everything in common.   Although they carried no weapons I considered them as people whose statements brought about my son's death. On the 9th April 2000,  my daughter (who sent me money from London) died there, so I travelled to London with my wife Rebeka. As a lady she was uncomfortable to come home being that my only son was killed. So she decided to stay in London.  I decided to come home and say the truth, as I am doing today.  I know if we had made it very secretive, without the public knowing what happened, the son who is today in another world would continue to torment us; because it would have been a burden.  When you have something to say and you don't say it, it is a load. Today I am sure the international body that helped organised this and who helped us greatly in Sierra Leone and within our own Sierra Leonean society, my mind and that of my family is free. Why we are saying that, and I am giving evidence in the open, is that we have something common in Sierra Leone that when somebody is asking for forgiveness, you must see the other side and then if T-boy had not ever come back to us  and John Massaquoi and family had never used such statement as to lead to the death of my son,  I would not have bothered so much. But we are very close like the two glasses sitting down; it's just a common wall.  We are saying the truth.  What capacity has the commission to refer some of these to neighbours who are very close to bring peace and reconciliation?   If you don't know the person who burns your house then that it is the war.  My family is scattered all over, some in America, Banjul, London, we thank God that we are alive today and this is my humble statement before the commission. I thank you all.

Professor Schabas: Thank you very much for that statement. You have spoken to us very frankly about your feelings and you have a story of terribly personal suffering.  I want to express on behalf of my colleagues, the fact that we share your grief at the loss of your son and we also very appreciate your comments on this difficult problems of reconciliation. I am going to ask my colleagues if they have any questions for you.

Justice Marcus-Jones: Thank you very much for sharing your experience with us. A horrible one and we are sorry that you had to go through such an ordeal.   Very bold of you and patriotic of you to come here to tell of what happened. What worries me is what could have been the cause of such hatred on the part of your neighbours. Do you know of any reasons why they hated you so much?

Mr. Gbeki: This is not to my knowledge.  As I said, we used to do things in common.  We were surprised that they had to go that length. If they were Christians or Muslims they would have come to me and my wife and said, your son has done us so much; so we could amend. But I do not know.
Justice Marcus Jones: Thank you we are sorry again about your loss.

Commissioner Torto:  Thank you very much Mr. Gbeki.  I admire your courage for relating this kind of gruesome experience with the commission and the public in general.  I just have a couple of clarifications that I would want you to make for me.  Since you went through this terrible ordeal did you take this matter up by any other means concerning John Massaquoi?

Mr. Gbekie: Considering the 28th January 1999 and what was very very prevalent  in Sierra Leone community – was to classify somebody as collaborator so you dare not go to anybody  to complain, ' nar so den do me' so then commissioner, I did not.

Commissioner Torto: Can you tell us where Gibo is at present?

Mr. Gbekie: He was an SLA at that time, 1999.  He is Carew alias Gibo.  He was attached to a business man called Foday Sayenu. But I don’t know his whereabouts. The ECOMOG was Corp. Yusuf Salifu. I don't know their whereabouts

Commissioner Torto: Would you know the present whereabouts of  Jane and John Massaquoi.

Mr. Gbeki: I said we still continue to live as neighbours

Commissioner Torto: Thank you very much  

Bishop Humper: I was listening to all what you said; I want to know whether John Massaquoi has children and if they had been interacting with T-boy?

Mr. Gbekie: Yes chairman. T-boy lives very much with John Massaquoi's children particularly the elder son; Junior. Junior used to stay with T-boy when things were very difficult in their house.  

Bishop Humper: Would you like us to contact this man John Massaquoi?

Mr. Gbekie: I have given my evidence.  I have indicated that we are neighbours.  If that suits the Commission you can go ahead and invite him; I have given my evidence in the open.

Commissioner Jow: Thank you very much for your statement. We have listened very carefully to what you have said, and we know as Sylvanus had said you are a truth patriot and that is why you stayed on so that this point in time you could come and give us your statement publicly. I just want a point of clarification.  You have said in your statement that your family is abroad except for your daughter who is sitting by you. I want to know whether your family wants to come back and join in the reconciliation proess?

Mr. Gbekie: Commissioner, when somebody leaves here on a personal accord to go to America, London, coming back ... To me having said it in the open, I have done so on their behalf – the Gbeki family and when they call me I'll say I've said it and we'll put it behind us. Having a refugee status does not matter, it is the mind and I will communicate with them that I have said what happened.

Professor Kamara: Thank you very much. I want to join my colleagues in appreciating what you have done.  We know you have suffered terribly and therefore it has not been very easy for you to tell us what you have told us .But we need to pursue this matter and ask you a number of questions for clarification.  I am particularly interested in one issue - the issue of your protection.  I want to         know, since you told us that from the beginning more or less you had information to contact higher authorities and you did; I want to know what held you up from the beginning until very late.  Why did you did not contact those people you contacted and save your life to have saved your son?

Mr. Gbekie: The thing happened as I said simultaneously.  On the 8th of January my child left in search of his sister.  On the 22nd he came back and they said he was a rebel. They took him ECOMOG and others.  He was released on the 28thhe came back.  On that same day Jenny Massaquoi and others alarmed that he was a rebel. The same day they arrested him and that same night he was killed.  I was arrested on 6th February. On 9th February, they said they would burn my house. Then I knew by that time I  should make reference to  ... by telephone authorities, to use telephone.  And that was the only opportunity I had; I used the telephone.  And it yielded some blessing for me when Mr. James Alie the then Secretary to President came to my compound on the tenth and  consoled me. Since then nobody has disturbed my peace.  Before then I couldn't have dared report the matter to ECOMOG or Police.  If I had gone to the Police, my evidence would have been bordered on circumstantial evidence to say that this family used words.  So on those circumstances, my son died and  I am now connecting them to that.

Mr. Ojielo: I have a few questions to help the commission get a full picture of what happened to you and your family. Do you think you and your family were targeted?

Mr. Gbekie: Perhaps they considered that. My wife and I were married in 1964.  She is Limba and I am a Kono.  I don't know, perhaps.

Mr.Ojielo: Those that came and attacked your family and killed your son, were they of one particular ethnic group or was it a multipilicity of groups?

Mr. Gbekie: I cannot say because the uniform people were around, ECOMOG, CDF; I cannot tell.

Mr Ojielo: But like the CDF people that came and attacked your family, the commanders of that group, did you know them before?

Mr. Gbekie: I am relying on their agent the Massaquoi family, John Massaquoi and his wife because they invited them – 'oona cam o rebel don cam'.  They had no need to go to my house, if they had not told them we were rebels.

Mr. Ojielo: Would you say that Mr. Massaquoi was a CDF or one of the officers of the CDF ?

Mr. Gbeki: I know he is my neighbour. I don't know, maybe he has some double role: I cannot tell.

Mr. Ojielo: Before then was he an influential person in the neighbourhood?

Mr. Gbeki: Very much. We usually visited each other. It was only because of that incident that I raised my fence up a little so they could no longer see what goes on in my compound, because I need to protect myself.  

Mr. Ojielo: Do you then have any idea how the CDF was      organised in your area for example?

Mr. Gbekie: What happened was that everybody became a watchdog. They had their checkpoint, calling themselves CDF. It was not under any organised body: The one that I know of and that was operating in Freetown in January to February.  They youths in certain areas will converge at certain area burning tyres at night; they usually said that they were there to keep watch.  

Mr. Ojielo: They were not reporting to anybody like the leaders in the community ?

Mr. Gbeki: I don't. Know.  At times they come to us and as elders we give them token and encourage them to keep watch.

Mr. Ojielo: Were there other persons in your neighbourhood who also were harassed by these same youths.

Mr. Gbeki: Quite a number, but I will not name them.  Everybody has his own story.

Mr. Ojielo: The commission is interested in knowing as many of these people as possible because when they come and tell stories to the commission or give testimony they give the commission a clear picture of what people went through.

Mr. Gbeki: Chairman, when I am on oath and my statement is there I say things for the benefit of all present but it is not my business to say Mr. A B C was arrested. No.

Mr. Ojielo:  One final question if you don't mind. You said the secretary to the President came to your house, and then warned those boys to stop disturbing your peace and since then they have never bothered you again? Will it then be right to say in terms of control they were reporting to government?

Mr. Gbeki: I can't tell.

Professor Schabas: It's now your turn. Do you have any question to ask the Commission?

Mr. Gbekie: They say Truth and Reconciliation and I made mention about that earlier.  Where the victims are  alive, and the perpetrators are alive, and they all seem to be living together, how could the Truth and Reconciliation bring them together ?

Professor  Schabas: It is our objective as much as possible and these hearings in particular and the Truth Commission to provide a forum for victims and perpetrators to come together and we  will endeavour to the extent possible to see that  process take place in your particular case.

Mr. Gbeki: That's all from me; thank you very much, if you've finished with me

Professor  Schabas: Thank you again for coming.  You've made a very important contribution to our work and one that I think help the whole process over the months to come.  I thank you again.

DATE:            15TH April 2003


WITNESS NO:         007

REFERENCE NO:         1/151/1134

Morlai Bizo Conteh was called to take an oath before the hearings, and was also asked to identify himself.

Professor Schabas: Welcome to the TRC.  I understand that you have a testimony to give to us about victimization that you personally suffered in 1999.

I have come here to tell what they did to me in 1993.  My name is Morlai Bizo Conteh, I am here to testify what happened to me.  I was a businessman residing at 2 Leah Street and my mother was a nursing sister in Koidu Town.  I wrote her a letter telling her that we had been apart for a long time.  She invited me to visit her in Kono and in April 1993 I decided to pay her a visit in Kono.  I bade farewell to my sister and my younger brother and told them that I was going to visit my mother in Kono.

On my way going, we fell in an ambush at Giaya town. I had in possession my bag which contained some money and my credentials.  I had over a hundred and fifty thousand Leones in my pocket. We were detained and they told me that I had fallen into an ambush and should not move any further. When the rebel saw that I was trembling, they thought I was going to put up some resistance. He got hold of my throat and held on tightly to it.  One of the rebels who was in military fatigue and who was also having a cutlass hit my hand seriously and chopped   off the right arm. The arm did not fall off completely but hanged dangling.  I bled profusely and fell unconscious. When I regained consciousness, some people came to my rescue and asked me my name and address. I told them and that I was  going to see my mother in Kono.  They took me to 8 Koribondu Street Kono - the residence of my mother. She was could not believe her eyes when she saw me and collapsed. After recovering, I told her that it was because of the promise that’s why she was seeing me.  I was treated traditional herbs and later taken to the hospital. A doctor in Koidu told us that no matter what they did to my hands it will not be cured.  

I was taken to the Makeni (Arab) Hospital for a surgical operation where they cut off my hand.  After a while I returned to Freetown to see my brothers and sisters.  They consoled me until now that I have had the opportunity to come and testify in this commission.

Professor Schabas: Thank you for your testimony. May I ask you a question to clarify – the date when this happened was it in 1995 or 1993?

Mr. Conteh: 1993

Professor Schabas: The other victims of the ambush are they still alive, do you know?

Mr. Conteh: I was unconscious. I didn't know what was happening.
Professor  Schabas: I want to tell you how much we sympathise with what you've suffered since this terrible attack and I understand that you continue to suffer.  You have all our sympathies.

Commissioner  Sooka: I would like to ask you some questions for clarity. Could you tell us before you became unconscious how many of you were in this group?

Mr. Conteh: I can’t say

Commissioner Sooka: You said in your statement that it was the rebels.  Can you tell us how you came to know that it was the rebels?  How did you identify them ?

Mr. Conteh: At that time there were no soldiers around, also taking  into account their manner of dressing. No one was dressed in military attire.

Commissioner Sooka: Can you tell me what they said to you when they chopped off your hand.  You mentioned it in your statement but you haven't said it in your evidence.

Mr. Conteh: I can't recall that they said anything to us in the vehicle but the moment we alighted the vehicle (on their orders) they only told us that we had fallen in an ambush.

Commissioner Sooka: Can you remember the number of people that attacked you?

Mr. Conteh: The person who stopped the vehicle was not the same person who chopped my hand. Not long after we heard heavy gunshots

Commissioner Sooka: When you heard gun shots how many people do you  think were around firing these shots?

Mr. Conteh: I can’t tell..

Commissioner Torto: Having told your story may actually have got rid of the psychological impact you may have had by now.  I just wanted you to clarify whether you could remember the people that did these things to you?

Mr. Conteh: It was an unexpected attack. I cannot remember, because it had taken a long time now; most times I have not been well, that’s why I was even late today.

Commissioner Torto: During the incidence, you did not remember any name being called either?

Mr. Conteh: No, they only told us that they were rebels.

Commissioner Jow: Thank you Mr. Conteh for telling us your story. We are very sorry for what happened to you during the conflict.  According to your story, you were travellling from Freetown to Koidu and you were stopped at the checkpoint? We all know the distance to Koidu is very long; can you tell us at what point in the journey, near   what village for instance or town this attack took place?

Mr. Conteh: I was not conversant with the area, but I was told that it was Ngaya

Commissioner Jow: You said you were a businessman, do you think you were targetted because of your profession?

Mr. Conteh: I don’t want to believe that.

Bishop Humper: Morlai, we thank you for coming; your testimony is one revealing some many things that had happened  in our country. There are a few things we want you to clarify for us. Firstly, I want to know whether your mother is still alive?

Mr. Conteh: Yes, she is still alive

Bishop Humper: Are you the lone child or are there many of you ?

Mr. Conteh: We are five in all, but I am responsible for two and the others are with our mother.

Bishop Humper: When the rebels amputated your arm and gave you a letter saying ' go and give the government,  which govt did they refer to?


Bishop Humper: Do you have any idea or any inkling why they asked you to go and give the government ?

Mr. Conteh: They didn't say anything about that that I should go and tell the government anything.

Professor Kamara: I want to thank you too. I hope you will answer at least one question from me.  Our records here don't seem to be complete about the identity of the people who caused you this harm. We don't know their ethnic group – the tribe they belonged to, but you repeatedly told us they were saying things to you or at least to your group.  In what language were they saying these things to you?

Mr. Conteh: I was unconscious for a long time. I can’t remember.

Professor Kamara: When they stopped you they said you had fallen into an ambush.  In what language did they tell you that?

Mr. Conteh: The one who held me was not the one who told us we had fallen into an ambush but those who had surrounded us. They spoke in krio.

Abdulai Charm: Thank you Mr. Conteh. I know you were unconscious when this thing happened to you but were you able to tell after you gained consciousness if anything happened to any of those with whom you were travelling?

Mr. Conteh: I can’t say that they chopped off their arms but they too were also running away from the vehicle. However, I can say that they held me because they saw me with a heavy bag.

Professor Schabas: We are happy that you've come to testify openly about what happened and for being so cooperative and for clarifying these questions.  It is now your turn. Do you have any questions or requests that you would like to make of the TRC?

Mr. Conteh: I want to know whether they have any help for me or just to testify of my experience and ordeal.

Professor Schabas: The Truth Commission is in a position to make recommendations to the government.  Your experience and your testimony can contribute to those recommendations.  Do you want us to make any particular recommendations in your case?  Do you have anything that you think we should recommend to the government?

Mr. Conteh: I want the government to assist me financially because I now depend on my friends to sustain me, also there is no business for me and my sister who was giving me an helping hand is no longer doing business. My brother is no longer going to school.

Professor Schabas: Thank you Mr. Conteh, do you have anything else that you would like to say today?

Mr. Conteh: I have nothing more to say.

Professor Schabas: I wish to thank you  again on behalf of the TRC.  Your participation in this process is extremely important and we appreciate it very much, thank you.




DATE: 16TH APRIL, 2003.


1.    Bishop Joseph C. Humper [Chairman]
2.    Justice Laura Marcus-Jones - Presiding  
3.    William Schabas                                                                 
4.    Satang Jow
5.    Sylvanus Torto
6.    Prof. John Kamara
7.    Yasmin Sooka


1.    Mr. Ozonnia Ojiello
2.    Ms. Martien Schotsmans
3.    Mr. Abdul Charm

Justice Marcus - Jones greeted everyone and asked everybody to stand for the opening prayer.  

Firstly, the Muslim prayer was led by one of the witnesses. The Christian prayer was said by another witness. The chorus, “I have a very big God” was sung; Mrs. Manyeh led the audience in the singing.

Marcus Jones welcomed everybody on behalf of the Commission and said that a witness would be called upon to give a testimony and that the witness was free to ask questions and make recommendations; and that at the end of the hearings the commission would write a report in which such recommendations would be included.




The witness, a Muslim, was sworn on oath by the Presiding Commissioner.

Ishmeal: {He started by thanking the Almighty Allah In Arabic}.   This war destroyed us.  People were targeted in that during the war. People who were fortunate or had made it were those that were hated and targeted. After I graduated from Magburaka in 1993, I started teaching at Mile 91. The war spread to Mile 91 and this led to the closure of all the schools.  We went to our village and started  swamp  farming.  Rebels attacked us and burnt down the village.  

At that time, whenever we got news about rebels we would run away.   The rebels came to our village and crowned a man as town commander and a woman as town lady.  The people in the other village had registered with the rebels.   Before that, we used to get information whenever rebels were about to attack.  However, since the people in the other village registered with the rebels we got information no more. We began to face surprise attacks now and then. They called on the town commander and the town lady and asked that some men and women be given to them so that they could launch attacks on other villages. People were running here and there when they learnt that rebels were on the way.

I saw a rebel who pointed a gun at me and threatened to shoot me if I moved. I was scared and I dropped my bicycle and they said that they were going to take me away, “In fact, we are going to kill you” they said. They took me away with them and when the people saw me they asked me what had happened, since most of them knew me in that village; my sisters were married there.  They gave some of the looted items to me to carry for them.  Since I was popular in the village, the rebels said they were not going to give me a body guard; I was left to carry the load alone.  The load was heavy, so I had to drop a bag of bulgur in the bush.  

One of them beckoned to me to run away, and told me that they were planning to take me to their base, so I should escape. I did not want to take any chances as I was so afraid of the consequences of any failure. However, I managed to escape. Two days later, I returned to the village and went to the place where I had hidden the bag of bulgur so that I could collect it. At that time there was no food in the village except that when vehicles passed by the village, they dropped this bulgur for us. As I was passing by, one of their agents saw me and asked me about the bag that I was carrying. He asked whether it was rice and I said that it was bulgur. He claimed that I had stolen a bag of rice from the rebels and said that he was going to report the matter to the rebels if I did not buy him a bag of rice. He reported the matter to the commander.

The commander sent for me and said that if I refused to go they would burn down our village. My father sent for his brothers and lodged the complaint that his son had been sent for by the rebels and that he was afraid he would be killed if he went there. My father said that since that village was full of rebels he, being an older man, would rather go and plead with them and if they would not agree, he would rather die in my place. During the rainy season I had to run away, by then all the rebels knew me so I had to run to Freetown, I had not been paid for about four months.

When the rebels came, my head teacher’s child was killed, and since he could not withstand the situation he had to run away. When he came back, I was putting up a structure on a plot of land which had been allocated to both of us and he saw that I had had to face a lot of suffering for water. He advised that I use the school tap. The boys who were voluntarily in charge of the tap refused to allow me use the tap which they had locked. We had a serious row; my headmaster and I versus the boys. They called my headmaster a rebel and called the kamajors on him. They were trying to drag him to Kebbay’s compound, and if he had gone there he would have been killed; so I shouted out to Mr. Kanu not to go along with them.

I advised that we should go to the junction or an ECOMOG base and make a report. The other man hit me with the shovel which I was working with, on my head and they started shouting: “Rebels, rebels”. None of our people came to our rescue because of fear of being considered accomplices. They continued shouting until an old man who is currently in the camp met us and identified us as teachers. He said that we were his teachers and asked them about where they were taking us. They replied by saying that we were rebels.  I thought they were taking us to the ECOMOG base; instead they took us to the Kamajors. Then the old man said that where ever they took us, even if it meant killing us, he would go with us. They warned him not to come along with us, and that if he did, they would kill him. He responded by saying that that was what he wanted. The old man reminded the Kamajors that it was they who contributed their monies to ensure that they were initiated and now they wanted turn against them. The old man said that he would not budge and that where ever we were taken, he would go with us.

The headmaster and I were brought before their commander; all the false allegations were taken to their boss, they even referred to witnesses, including teachers of the school, to testify that Mr. Kanu was a rebel. It was then that that old man stood up and said that Mr. Kanu was not a rebel and that he had been the head master since that camp was built. He further stated that Mr. Kanu’ child was killed when the rebels came and that they even burnt down his house. They wanted him dead because they were envious of his position. The commander investigated the matter thoroughly and warned against toying with people’s lives, because life has no spare. He also stated that whosoever was proven to be a rebel would be killed.

After this point the old man left the scene to attend a meeting and promised to come back after the meeting. They then turned round and said that the head master was not a rebel; that I was the rebel. They then turned on me and started   beating me with sticks, kicking me and punishing me in various ways.  According to them, they did those things to me because I had interfered in their attempt to deal with the head master.  They even used guns to beat me up. I became helpless and could not even move. They forced me to walk on even though I could not walk properly, and threatened to kill me if I refused. One of the kamajors called out to me and asked me whether I knew him, he stated that it was their group that had burnt down ‘91, and he said his name was “After the war” but that he had become a Kamajor.

They eventually released me but by that time my legs could hardly carry me, luckily I was able to get a car which took me to Freetown. When I got to Freetown I explained my dreadful ordeal to my brother who said he had nothing to do about it because at that time there was no where to lodge such complaints and everyone was afraid of being in conflict with the kamajors. We had Carew who was our brother but he was by then working on the side of the Government in pursuit of peace. We then decided to take the matter to the mosque for special prayers. Nothing came out of it. The people who tortured me are my neighbours, and whenever I see them I feel unhappy. The Youth Reintegration Training and Education for Peace taught us to forgive since to fight with someone who has wronged you would lead to an endless war.

We could have used fetish practices to make such offenders go mad, but God has asked us to wait for him to fight for us. At one time a kamajor gave my brother’s children loads to carry. It was approaching curfew time so my brother could not leave his children to go alone, so he went with them. When they got to their destination they asked my brother and his kids out, and at that time curfew hour was on. They forced them out and as they came into the streets they were arrested by soldiers and ECOMOG and locked up to be killed the next day. My brother told them that he was not a rebel and that he had a store at Guard Street and that the kids were his children, but the ECOMOG were still reluctant to release my brother and his children. But when the people at the stadium saw him; they all recognised him, and they confirmed that he was the owner of a store at Guard Street and that he was not a rebel. That was when they released him.

Justice Marcus Jones: Thank you very much for sharing with us all those bitter experiences. We believe that having said all these, you are feeling a little better and a little relieved. Now, the commissioners will ask you some questions just for clarification.

Commissioner Torto: Thank you for coming to testify before the commission and for sharing your experience with the commission. I just want you to make one or two clarifications for me. The people you had this incident with whom you describe as kamajors, did you, before the time of your capture, have any animosity with them?

Mr. Bangura: I had no fracas with them, but I understand that there was a quarrel between them in the school.

Commissioner Torto: Between whom?

Mr. Bangura: When the head teacher left that school and transferred to another school, the school which he built close to the school which he had left was the source of the problem; they said that he should not have built a school just by the school which he had left. but he said that we were displaced persons and that if we were lucky to have assistance from the Arabs, that was for the good of our children. That fracas continued until police from the barracks had to intervene; they said that it was right to build another school there. I was not there.

Commissioner Torto: What brought about all this misunderstanding, who was actually in control before?

Mr. Bangura: The original care taker was killed, so it was controlled by anyone; volunteers.

Commissioner Torto: Thank you very much.

Commissioner Jow: Ishmael, thank you for your testimony. You did mention somebody you called a Mende Pa who intervened on your behalf. Can you tell us his name and why he acted the way he did?

Mr. Bangura: The Pa is in the camp and he is a generator mechanic. His name is Pa Jasper. He is a member of the school. He would have been the head master, but because he studied French which is not a major area here, that was why he did not become the head master. He is currently in the camp.

Commissioner Jow: O.K. one more question for clarification Ishmael. In your testimony, you said your head master; Mr. Kanu did not have the support of the teachers in the school. Can you tell us why?

Mr. Bangura: When the incident took place, most people had fled and if they said that you were a rebel people would not come closer for fear that they would be killed. The head master was the only brave man who stayed behind.

Commissioner Jow: Thank you.

Ms. Schotsmans: Are you still living in the same neighbourhood or in the same camp as Mr.Maxwell and Mr. Gallo?

Mr. Bangura: Yes, We live in the same camp.

Ms. Schotsmans: And you said that every time when you see them you feel bad?

Mr. Bangura: Yes, because the pain which I have now, I am always with  medicine. There times when he greets me I reply, there times when he greets me I do not reply; there times when I see him I turn my back; I don’t even want to meet him on the road..

Ms Schotsmans: Did you ever have an occasion to sit down with him, or did anyone organize a meeting where the three of you could sit down and talk about what had happened?

Mr. Bangura: To bring us together is not the problem, but whenever I see him I feel bad; had it not been for the TRC and that the war will continue... because the way in which I currently feel the pain…

Ms. Schotsmans: Would you like the TRC to invite those people?

Mr. Bangura: To call them… to all what I have said, there is a witness in the camp right now, they are all in the camp. One of them was with us, he was the first to give his statement as regards his child who was killed; he was not beaten, I was the only one who was beaten.  Should they call me and call him now, the only thing which will happen is to beg; I want to surrender everything to for the world hereafter, but  should hey call us, I have no qualms with that. But should they give me a hundred or two hundred thousand Leones, I will not take it because that will not satisfy me.  

Ms Schotsmans: Can you tell the commission their complete names, please?

Mr. Bangura: One of them is Maxwell, the other one is Kolo.

Ms. Schotsmans: Would you know their complete names?

Mr. Bangura: I can’t tell you because our relationship has now gone sour. I was not beaten up by them but they caused me to be beaten up.

Ms. Schotsmans: Thank you very much for sharing your experience with us.

Justice Marcus Jones: Do you have any question for the Commission?

Mr. Bangura: Yes. (1) People who come to TRC to give testimonies are they supposed to be in charge of transportation?

Marcus Jones: TRC is willing to collect witnesses and bring them to this venue and will even help in other ways.

Mr. Bangura: Will TRC be able to give medications or not?

Justice Marcus Jones: TRC cannot give out tablets but could refer you to the briefer who will direct you to areas where tablets could be given to you.

Mr. Bangura: Something which should be done is that TRC should  organize the hearings in the Provinces to be done according to sections because of transportation.

Justice Marcus Jones: Hearing will be held in Freetown for 2 weeks, and then we will move to the provinces. So, it will be between the Provinces and Freetown. Reports will be produced, at the end of the entire process.

Bishop Humper: Tell your brothers and sisters not to be afraid to come and testify because even in the provinces transportation will be made available for witnesses.




OATH: The witness, a Muslim, was sworn on oath by the                     Presiding Commissioner.

Justice Marcus Jones: So Isatu, we are all listening to you, tell us what happened to you.


ISATU: I was born at Fogbo. My mother’s name is Amie Kamara. She took me to Masiaka, when I was just a little eight year old girl. My mother had gone to sell her wares on the day the village was attacked. My mother escaped. They gathered us together and locked us in a room, and they started taking us out one after the other. Some had their ears cut off; some had their arms cut off. There was a pregnant woman whose stomach was split open; the child died and she also died. They came to me; they took me, out stretched my foot and cut it off with a cutlass. I fainted, I went unconscious.

Later, a government vehicle had to take me to town, and they brought me to Connaught hospital where they attended to me. Having attended to me, I was there for quite some time. I was later discharged, and I went to the village. The village was also attacked soon after my arrival (less than a month). We went to the other side. Where we went into hiding, we suffered a lot: water was difficult to get. We were there for quite some time; I misplaced my hospital card. This is my testimony. I do not have much to say because I was quite young then. Otherwise, I would have remembered and said more. There was a woman who was called Aminata Bangura, together we were victims. She was residing then at 5 ECOWAS Street, but she is doesn't live there any more; I do not know where she lives at present.

Justice Marcus Jones: We thank you very much Isatu, for relaying to us the very sad experience that you had which has left you with disability. We will now go on to ask you questions; just questions to clear some points and to help us write an accurate report.

Professor Kamara:  Isatu Kamara, Good morning. We thank you very much for this statement you have given to the commission. The commissioners sympathize with you. You told us that after you were discharged from Connaught Hospital you went to a village, what village is that ?

Miss Kamara: Fogbo.

Professor Kamara: That is where you are living right now?

Miss Kamara: Yes.

Professor Kamara:  What are you doing now for a living?

Miss Kamara: I am not doing anything.

Professor Kamara: Well, how are you supported?

Miss Kamara: My brother is there

Professor Kamara: What is your brother doing?

Miss Kamara:  My brother is not doing anything

Professor Kamara: Well, if he is not doing anything; how is he supporting

Miss Kamara:  People fish where we live.

Professor Kamara: So, he is a fisherman?

Miss Kamara: Yes.

Professor Kamara: And he is doing fairly well?

Miss Kamara: Yes.

Professor Schabas: How old were you when this happened to you?

Miss Kamara: I was 8 years old.

Professor Kamara: And how old are you?

Miss Kamara: I am 19 years old.

Professor Schabas:  Do you know the people who did this to you, do you know who they were?

Miss Kamara: I don’t know them.

Professor Schabas: Do you know if they belonged to any other armed group or the army?

Miss Kamara: They were rebels.

Professor Schabas: How do you know that?

Miss Kamara: They were the ones who arrested us and locked us in a room.

Professor Schabas: How many of them were there?

Miss Kamara: They were many. I can’t remember.

Commissioner Jow: Isatu, before the incident were you in school?

Miss Kamara:  Yes.

Commissioner Jow: After the incident did you continue any formal education?

Miss Kamara:  No.

Commissioner Jow: Was that out of choice or was there no provision?

Miss Kamara: Financial Problem.

Commissioner Jow: Have you been back to your old school to see whether they could take you in again?

Miss Kamara: It was at Fogbo, I went up to class five.

Commissioner Jow: You still live at Fogbo, don’t you?

Miss Kamara: Yes.  

Commissioner Jow: The question I am asking is whether you have been back to your old school to see whether they could help you?

Miss Kamara:   No

Bishop Humper: Since you went back to your place did you learn any trade ?

Miss Kamara:  No.

Bishop Humper:  Are you desirous to develop your own skills so that you can do something to help yourself?

Miss Kamara:   If I have a benefactor, I will.

Commissioner Torto: Isatu, we thank you very much for coming.  I just want you to clarify something for me. From the written statement in front of me and answers to the questions especially from Commissioner Schabas; I am inclined to believe that the RUF rebels were betting over this pregnant woman's child, what was the sex of this unborn child.  Do you remember how much they were betting on?

Miss Kamara:  It was a boy; they were not betting on any amount.  There was not cash on the bet.

Commissioner Torto: After disemboweling the woman what was the reaction after proving the sex of the baby?

Miss Kamara:  They laughed and shouted.

Mr. Charm:  Thank you very much Isatu, I just want to ask you a few questions for clarification.  According to your statement you said there were about 200 people in the room. Although you were very young at that time can you remember whether all those people were arrested in the same village or not?

Miss Kamara:  No. I don't know the names of the villages.

Mr. Charm: Can you also help us with the composition of these people; were there boys and girls or men or women?

Miss Kamara: We were mixed

Mr. Charm: So, you were not the first to be amputated from that group?

Miss Kamara:  No.

Mr. Charm:  Will you be able to tell us if anything happened to those who were amputated before you?

Miss Kamara:  I don’t live where they live?

Justice Marcus Jones:  Isatu, we have been asking you questions, have you any questions you want to ask us about the work of the commission, our progress?

Miss Kamara:  One of our companions whose arms were chopped off is currently being assisted by a white man to erect a structure. I want to know whether the TRC will help do the same?

Justice Marcus Jones: TRC through the debriefers, will only tell you where you can possible get help from.  Maybe you will be able to give more details of the person helping your friend to the debriefers and then the TRC will be able to direct you on how to get help.

Miss Kamara: I don’t know the white man.

Justice Marcus Jones: Have you have any recommendation that you would like to make for the report?  You are a young person but I'm sure you have your own ideas about a better country.  

Miss Kamara:  You know better and I leave it to you.

Justice Marcus Jones: Thank you very much.  Our recommendations will include recommendations for women and for people who are handicapped like you.  We thank you for coming to tell us about your experiences. Thank you.

DATE: 16th April 2003

WITNESS NAME:    Bankole Isaac George Vincent

WITNESS NO:              


Bankole Isaac George Vincent was sworn on oath by the Presiding Commissioner.


My name is Bankole Isaac George Vincent and Retired Senior Civil Servant. Before the advent of the rebels, I had lived with my family of eight persons in my house at 9 Cemetry Road, Kola Tree, Allen Town.

At present I am an internally displaced citizen and I live at 37E Wilkinson Road Freetown.

On the 9th of January 1999 at about 10.30 am, a group of 10 rebels entered my house at 9 Cemetery Road, Kola Tree, Allen Town and placed my family and my self under gun point. They requested me to give them five million Leones but I told their commando that I am a retired civil servant and do not possess such a colossal amount. Consequently, he ordered me to give them all the money I had in my possession and warned me that if I do not cooperate with them, I shall swim in my blood.

I went into my room under escort and removed the five hundred thousand Leones (he cried) I had in my box; under great shock I handed the money to them. The commando ordered one of his men to give me two slaps which he did very brutally.  The commando ordered his men to lock my family and my self inside one room whilst they ransacked all the 6 rooms and the roof of the house and the store. All the articles they looted where loaded inside a lorry but before they departed, they ordered me to dance and laugh and express my gratitude to them for looting my house and destabilizing my Mercedes Benz beyond repairs. I did exactly as they ordered me; otherwise I would have been summarily executed.

The rebels promised to come back in two days time and ordered me not to vacate the house as they would bring me some good gifts including money; they also told me that if they came and did not meet my family and myself, they would hunt for us and kill us.  However, knowing the notorious character of the rebels and acting on the advice which an old lady gave me, my family and myself immediately left our house and sought refuge in different places.  

We were later told that just one hour after we had left for dear life, the rebels came back and enquired about us; when they did not see us, they burnt my house - my house I took 8 years to build. I laboured in Germany for 8 years; was destroyed in a twinkle of an eye- and remarked that if they had met us, they would have tied every one of us inside the house, poured petrol on us and burnt us inside the house, because they were told that we are strong supporters of the SLPP Government. These documents are on this paper and it would be handed over to the Commission, since I don’t want to waste the time of the Commission. I am over 70 years old.

All the members of my family are displaced and live in different parts of Freetown under strenuous conditions.  We are at present traumatised and depressed because our family life has been distorted by the rebels and “sobels”.

Attached overleaf, are details of all my properties that the rebels burnt and looted.

Justice Marcus-Jones:    Thank you Mr. Vincent.  We appreciate the distress   you are telling us about and that you are an elderly man.  As you said yourself, you escaped for dear life and that dear life you have now. We have seen the list of the items in you paper but as you already know the TRC cannot give compensation; the TRC can only make recommendation in the final report.  In order to be able to give an accurate account of what you have told us in our report we're going to ask you some questions.

Commissioner Sooka:    Mr. Vincent, thank you for telling us your story.  You mentioned that you are now an internally-displaced person.  I wonder if you could tell us a little more about that; whether you live with your children or whether they are separated. Where is your family now?

Mr. Vincent:    My daughter Hannah is at Wilberforce; my son, Ansu lives at Old Wharf; my other daughter Josephine Vincent lives at Kola Tree with her mother.

Commissioner Sooka:    Obviously you've lost everything that you've earned, how do you support yourself now?

Mr. Vincent: It is a very good question, Commissioner. I am a retired Civil Servant. I receive only  44 thousand Leones as my monthly pension. Also in my church, Ebenezer Methodist Church, I have good friends like Mr. Doherty, Arthur Carter, Olufemi Roberts, Moshe Roberts who at times give me handouts and also I am a professional auto mobile mechanic. The boys that I trained usually come to me to seek advice on some mechanical problems they may have encountered. I often help them and like the ten virgins in the bible, at least one may come and give me some thing as a sign of appreciation. Also some of my former school mates of the Methodist Boys High School usually invite me to visit their homes, some give me money and clothes but I am not used to that. As I said earlier, my car was destroyed. Thirdly, my wife is a German. I have her picture here with me and I can show it to you if you like. We were married in Sierra Leone on 20th June 1970 at St. Mark’s Church Lumley. Formerly, she used to send some things for me -pocket money and clothes. Unfortunately, some bad people told her that I have married twenty wives and thirty children-within this short period that I returned home.  Naturally out of jealousy which is very common among women she has stopped assisting me.

Also unfortunate, is that whenever I applied for a job, they would tell me that I am qualified but they can’t give me the job because of my age. Not withstanding my age, I am still strong to work.  What I am with humility requesting this commission to do for me, is to recommend to Government to give me a micro- credit loan of about one million Leones. I have a vast land of about 70 acres of land at my home town in Yormandu.  I could engage in agricultural activities and I may be able to harvest twice a year.  I must confess that there are times when I can’t go to church because of my fare. As a retired Society Steward at Ebenezer Methodist Church, and Leader, after serving twenty one years, I usually feel guilty that I cannot go to church as I would love to.  

Commissioner Torto: Mr. Vincent thank you very much for coming and I must congratulate you for summing up courage after that kind of agonizing experience.  From the written statement I have in front of me here, you mentioned that you are asking the Commission to tell your perpetrators to stop provoking you?
Mr. Vincent: About six months ago, I stood outside my burnt house and I saw three young men passing by and I heard one of them say, “Nar wi  burn da pa dae in ose”. My Lord, to be honest with you, Sir, if at that material time I had certain things I'd have asked God to forgive me.  I would have shot him. I asked them if they were referring to me and they said, yes. The other one remarked that: “Since you have been supporting Tejan Kabbah, why can’t he rebuild your house”.  Then I shivered and slowly I collapsed. I was helped by a woman who took me into the house and advised that I take some rest.  I prayed to God to give me a peaceful mind and to be courageous. That is why I said that government should warn rebels not to provoke victims. The other then commented that to do evil is fine, because they who have committed atrocities and burnt people houses have been rewarded by Government with 600,000 and university, secondary and technical education.  He asked what I have benefited from the government.  That depressed me most.  I didn't take any food for two days even with persuasion from my daughter.

Commissioner Torto: How often has this happened to you; can you remember their faces, do you know where they are?

Mr. Vincent: I don’t know; I lost consciousness. I have receipts of the things I bought from Germany which were destroyed and I would like to show you, to buttress what I have just said.  

 Justice Marcus Jones: We believe all what you have said.

Commissioner Jow: In your testimony, you mentioned that there were two women among your attackers, were they in uniform and what roles did they play?

Mr. Vincent: They were rebels.

Commissioner Jow: What role did they play?

Mr. Vincent: They all looted, infact, it was one of them who saved my life. They wanted to kill me so Kabbah could give back my life. She told them not to kill me because I had no money.  One rebel had suggested that they kill me but she came to my rescue, rubbing my chin, she commented that I am a handsome man so let them not kill me.

Commissioner Jow: Did you recognise any one of them?

Mr. Vincent: No. Also I want to add that I have handed some documents to Ozonnia, and it contains a lot of information.  Sorry Bishop, I was there when you were embarrassed. I witnessed the rebels baptising little children in hot burning oil.  They butchered ten women alive.
Bishop Humper: I join all the commissioners in thanking you. We believe all what you’ve said and we need no supporting document.  The flow of your testimony itself will absolve you. Do you think you were targeted?

Mr. Vincent: Yes, although other people lost properties in the area, they told me that they did those things to me because I was one of Tejan Kabbah’s strongest supporters.

Bishop Humper: Do you have school-going children?

Mr. Vincent: No.

Justice Marcus Jones: Do you have any question for the commission?

Mr. Vincent: This question is not for you directly, but since you act as the post office, for information to the government, let me ask this question - Most victims could not understand why the rebels who committed atrocities worse than Hitler are being helped by the government whilst peaceful citizens like us are left in the cold.  There will be no peace without justice. I am with the grassroots; most youths are disgruntled because they are saying that if you want the Government to consider you, you have to be a hardened criminal. I have been trying to dissuade them from such thinking.  However, if nothing is done, most of them are saying that if any war would break out again, they would commit worse atrocities than those already committed for the Government to consider them.  I was glad when I heard on the BBC focus on Africa programme at 15.15 and 17.15pm yesterday that President Mbeki of South Africa had said that they are going to pay reparations of $380,000 to 20,000 Apartheid victims. The Commission must ensure that justice is done to all.

Justice Marcus Jones: As regards justice during the war, the Special Court will take care of that, however, I want to assure you that, your recommendations will be seriously considered for inclusion in our final report.  I want to tell you that your testimony will help the commission in its recommendations.  Do you have any further recommendations?  

Mr. Vincent: Yes,  

  1. Government should give reparation to victims whose houses were burnt for example, building materials.
  2. Government should give micro-credit loans to victims in order to  help with restoration.
  3. Government should help youths who are qualified to enter into colleges and provide technical education and jobs as they have done for ex-combatants.
  4. Commission should have hearings at chiefdom level to reduce transport expenses.

Justice Marcus Jones: Thank you, we hope that this peace may continue to flow in your heart. Thank you.

DATE:  16TH April 2003

WITNESS NAME:    Kumba Conteh



Kumba she was sworn on oath. She is a Christian.

Justice Marcus Jones - Kumba I want to assure that you have nothing to worry about; take your time and tell your story.


I was at staying at Sefadu and my child was about to be married;   it was on a Friday morning when the rebels attacked.  My in-laws and I ran into the bush but we had nothing on us.  We went into the bush, but while we were hiding, they came after us and we went further into the bush.  They walked with force; they were still after us - we went to the villages; my children and I had no clothes. They told us that if we ran away, they would kill us; my children ran away.  My grandchild came out of hiding and was about to run when they shot him in the chest.  He was buried.  After a while, we went again into the bush.  

My daughter, who is alive, was trying to run away when she was shot and injured by a rebel. I cried when I saw her, I took her and started healing the wounds.  She suffered in the bush, but nothing happened to her. We then ran to a village called Gbatti Fanda.  We later came out of that village.  When the rebels attacked, they took away my two children - Yapo and Sorie. After sometime, I was approached by somebody who asked me if I had heard anything about my children and if I knew that they had been killed.  She consoled me and told me to be strong.  I was then taken to Kokyeima, to my in-laws’ place.  

My in-laws advised me that it would be in my best interest to come to Freetown and stay with my sister.  In Sefadu, my in-laws houses were burnt; the place was burnt to the ground. It has become overgrown with weeds.  All my children were killed, except my eldest daughter.  She consoled me and promised to take care of me. My in-laws paid fare to come over to my sister in Freetown.  I am not well.  I only survived almost on kola nuts during for the five months that I was in the bush. The water was not pure.  That’s what they did to me.  I gave birth to 12 children; the others were not killed during the war. But my two boys and daughter were.

I am here today on the advice of my daughter who asked that I should come to a place where I would be consoled.  I thank God, because I was told by the old man sitting down over there to come and testify.  He met me yesterday and told me to come.

Justice Marcus Jones: We can see that you’re a very old woman and you have lost your house, children and grand children.  We have heard your testimony but there are few questions we would like to ask.

Professor John Kamara: You told us that you had about 12 children; you lost 3, which means that you have 9 of them who are still alive.

Mrs. Conteh: No, I only have one…. People are laughing at me, I’m being scorned.   

Mr. Ojielo: Have you been able to receive any help from any organization?

Mrs. Conteh: No, That’s why I am here.

Mr. Ojielo: Were members of the family able to give your children a fitting burial?

Mrs. Conteh: No

Justice Marcus Jones: Do you have any question for the commission?

Mrs. Conteh: I have nothing to say, I want the commission to help me, to console me; my mind is heavy.

Justice Marcus Jones: When you leave here, you have our briefers to talk to.  I thank you very much.

Mrs. Conteh: I feel good now.  I thank you, especially Mr. Kamanda who brought me here.   At times people say that I’m mad.  I can’t eat.  People should not be taunted; it is not good to taunt people.

Justice Marcus Jones: We thank you.

Name: Joe Fancy Yusuf Black Kamara

Witness No.

Ref. No.

Good morning audience. My name is Joe Fancy Yusuf Black kamara. I’m here purposely at this commission to blow and clear my chest for the unlawful death of my late father Chief Alhaji Abulagbu Black Kamara former Temne Tribal headman Western Area and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute, to defend the rights of the poor and needy in our family.

My father was a prominent trader in the Western Area and was inaugurated by the Minister on Interior and the Temne people of this country to succeed Paul Kamara that was in 1991. When the NPRC took power from the APC in 1992 he was arrested and detained at the Pademba road prison for one and half day and by the power of the God Almighty he was released and proven to be innocent of any political charges.

Failing to work with the resolution of the NPRC in 1996 he was suspended by the cabinet of the NPRC and when the SLPP won the election his throne was given to another person for no comprehensible reason.

On 25th May 1997 he was invited at the National Stadium for contributions towards the search for peace by the AFRC junta force and he responded with his own suggestions towards a peaceful solution concerning the conflict in our beloved country.

On the 12th February, when the ECOMOG led force dislocated the AFRC junta force out of Freetown, some supporters of the SLPP and ECOMOG officers entered our father's compound, broke into his residence and destroyed all the beautiful treasure, and ended up burning the houses of our father including one Mercedes Benz which was his patrolling car.

On the 14th February at 2.00 p.m. in the afternoon our father was captured by youths of this country who were in an identified SLPP uniform at the Montague streets and also one Gibrilla Mansaray, who lives at 7 Manfred Lane, was the first person to hit at my father with a stick and throw water all over his body. In a hopeless condition some ECOMOG officers rescued him and took him to the Pademba road prison with no medical care.

On the 15th February, I Joe Fancy Yusuf Black Kamara and some family members sought refuge in Mambolo town, Kambia district. There we heard about the death of our late father.  That was on the 28th February 1998. His corpse was released from the prison and buried on the 2nd March 1998 by the Temne people of this country.

An honorable man: Governing over four hundred people inside his residence; a prominent peaceful citizen of this country with seven wives and twenty three children. Elders of this land and in respect of this commission, I want you to speak and judge fairly for us, as required by law to the loss of our father. As you all know the law is supreme. A person is presumed innocent until he \she has been proved guilty. A person can only be punished for distinct breach of law established in a manner before the court of the land

Commissioner Torto: Thank you very much. The story was very clear and I want you to clarify something for me. When was your father arrested?

Mr. Kamara: When the NPRC took over power he was accused that he was a collaborator between one party to another.

Mr. Ojielo: In what uniform were the SLA soldiers?

Kamara: They were wearing the SLPP  T-shirts.

Mr. Ojielo: Who takes care of your younger brothers and sisters?

Mr. Kamara: I take care of them.

Mr. Ojielo: You mentioned about Gibrilla Mansaray?

Mr.Kamara: Gibrilla was a handicap and our relative. I was surprised that he should behave in such a manner.

Mr. Ojielo: Would you like the Commission to call both of you to iron it out?

Mr. Kamara: Yes. It will be an everlasting peace.

Justice Marcus Jones: Do have any question to ask the commission?

Mr. Kamara: Yes, I want the Commission to speak the truth for us.

Justice Marcus Jones: The Commission would like to see what the SLPP Government will do towards these issues. Do you have any recommendation to add to our report?

Mr. Kamara: Commissioner, my family is handicapped. So, I want you to look into my plight.

Justice Marcus Jones: The commission will looked into your recommendation and we hope you will have the courage to go through your life. We thank you.

DATE:   16TH April 2003.

WITNESS NAME:    Jonathan Kenawa Kamanda




Jonathan Kenawa Kamanda was called upon to take his seat. He was asked if he is a Christian or Muslim he said he is a Christian and he was sworn on oath by the Presiding Commissioner.

Justice Marcus Jones - I am happy that you are here to testify in this public hearing.  We want you to tell the Commission about your experiences and what happened to you.


After leaving school, I was employed at the Sierra Leone Railway. I worked there for seventeen years.  After the closure of the Railway, I took up appointment as a Police Officer in the Freetown City Council. I was retired during the AFRC but later recalled.

When I got my annual leave, I went to my wife at Bakonia Chiefdom in the Moyamba district.  After 2 weeks, we heard that there was an attack at Buedu.   When they entered, they fired shots into the air and we all went into the bush.  When we came back, we realised that all our properties had either been destroyed or taken away.  They entered by Taiama.  They took away five goats and many fowls.  Five houses were burnt including my sister-in-law’s house - Fatmata.  Even in the bush, we suffered and sustained injuries. My son fell down and injured his arm.  We were there till the end of July and I badethem farewell and returned.  All what I had gathered for a lifetime and stored with my wife were all taken away.

Justice Marcus-Jones: Thank you for coming here to testify. We may now want to ask you some questions for clarification.

Commissioner Torto: Thanks for coming, we appreciate you.  We know you have gone through a lot of trauma.  I want some clarifications.  The people who attacked you which group did they belong to?

Mr. Kamanda: They were in a group of ten to fifteen and they were dressed in military fatigue.

Commissioner Torto: Are they SLA, RUF or Kamajors?

Mr. Kamanda: Since they were in combat, I could not identify the group.

Commissioner Torto: In your statement, you mentioned, Kumba Conteh.  What was the nature of her involvement at the time you were giving the statement ?

Mr. Kamanda: In 1992, I came to know Kumba in Kono (at her sister's) and I intended marrying her.

Professor John Kamara: Thanks for the experience you have shared with us, we sympathise with you for all that you have lost.  We can see that you are interested in agriculture in producing food for this country.  What I want to know is, whether you came back to Freetown after this ugly incident in 1994, or that since then you have never been back because you've lost you properties?

Mr. Kamanda: Yes, I came back in 1999 and I was still working at the Freetown City Council. I have been going to my wife, although her house was burnt down. She is still in Moyamba living with a neighbour.

Professor John Kamara: Are you still working for the Freetown City Council?

Mr. Kamanda: No, I retired last year. I am planning to go back to the provinces. Things are not that bad but I am barely surviving.

Mr. Charm: We would like to know if there was fighting between the warring factions that led to the destruction of your village?

Mr. Kamanda: The formation of the CDF and Kamajors came in the later stages of the war. It was only the government soldiers and the rebels who were engaged in combat.

Mr. Charm: For how long were these rebels in your village?

Mr. Kamanda: They were operating from outside; while attacking the village intermittently.

Mr. Charm: Did anything happen to the other inhabitants in the village?

Mr. Kamanda: As far as I know, only five houses were burnt and about five people killed but this was not in the statement.

Mr. Charm: Can you name these people?

Mr. Kamanda: I can’t tell because I am not familiar with the people in the village.

Mr. Charm: Were people abducted to carry loads?

Mr. Kamanda: Yes, anytime they entered, they captured young boys, I know of one boy whose name is Sorie.

Charm: Were there females among group of people who attacked you?

Mr. Kamanda: Yes, they had women and children.

Justice Marcus Jones: Do you have any question to ask the Commission?

Mr. Kamanda: Yes, does the commission have any way of assisting us with the distress that we went through?

Justice Marcus Jones: You must know that there are several people who suffered the same loss, but the TRC does not have the money to give to people that are victims of the war. But there are things that the Commission could recommend that may be done in your community and help individuals.  

Jonathan: If the commission could help I would be grateful.  I suggest that this exercise reach the grassroots in the provinces.

Justice Marcus Jones: I assure you that the TRC will go to the province and all recommendations made will be included in our final report.  Thank you for your testimony. We have now come to the end of today’s hearing session. Today the TRC has heard testimonies as to the tragic loss of a number of victims. As a mark of respect to these people, I ask we stand and observe a minute silence for these people.

DATE:  17TH April 2003.

WITNESS NAME:  Retired Captain Moigboi Moigande Kosia



The Presiding Commissioner Professor Schabas called the session to order by a welcome note, and requested for an opening prayer by the audience;

Christian prayer:  Mrs Manyeh, A chorus “Tell papa God Tenki” was sung by all.

Muslim prayer:  Mr. Charm (Al fatiah) by all.

Mr. Ozonnia Ojiello, Leader of Evidence called the first witness of the day. The witness Rtd. Capt. Moigboi Moigande Kosia was then sworn on oath by the Presiding Commissioner Prof. Schabas.

In the first place, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all officials here for the formation of the TRC; a lot of innocent people had suffered in silence. And nothing had been done.  I thank God today, that I am here to give this testimony before the TRC. Before I start my testimony, I would like to crave the indulgence of the Commissioners to allow me to introduce myself.

My name is Retired Captain Mogboi Moigande Kosia. I was born in Pendembu in Kailahun and also a retired commissioned officer of the Sierra Leone Army. I was enlisted in the army in 1954 as a boy soldier at the age of 13. In 1959, I was absorbed into the main service in the Army and I was posted to the Army Headquarters, which was the seat of the Force Commander. I was the first serving officer in the Sierra Leone Army, to go to Nigeria as a student, when their Academy was opened.

In 1964, I took the qualifying examination to become an officer and I was successful. I spent 18 months in the Military Academy.  Upon return, I was posted to Moa Barracks in Daru as a Recruiting and Training Officer.  In 1971, I Moigboi Moigande Kosia sitting before you today, was one of the accused officers, in the first court martial trial for one John Amadu Bangura and eight others. At the end of the trial, I was honourably acquitted and discharged because I was falsely accused. I was still at the Pademba Road Prison, when four of the eight convicted officers: Brigadier John Amadu Bangura; Major F.L.M. Jawara; Major S.E. Momoh and Lieutenant Kolugbonda were executed.  
After my release, I was roaming the streets of Freetown seeking employment.  Fortunately for me, I met one of the soldiers with whom I had trained; he was a Security at State House to the then President Siaka Stevens. He arranged a meeting for me with the President and after listening to my story, I was later reinstated in the Army.  I was posted again to Moa Barracks, but some officers were not happy.  In 1973, two weeks to the general elections, I was hurriedly and unceremoniously sent back to Freetown; two days later I was given a letter of retirement.  I tried all I could to the see Momoh who was then the Force Commander but I could not. I wrote a letter of petition to the President through the assistance of one Junior Officer, who had some political connections. I was then invited to see the President once again.  At the President’s office, I met Momoh, he told the President that during my stay in Daru, at about the time of the elections, I was campaigning for the SLPP in my chiefdom and other chiefdoms. He further told the President that I was training people in my chiefdom as mercenaries. At that time, I was training some officers in life firing exercise. I was dismissed.

I was abandoned, neglected and I started roaming the streets of Freetown once again. Then I had no political affiliation and wherever I went to seek employment, I was asked to produce a party card or they’ll ask if I was sent by a politician. Whenever there was a coup or an attempted coup, I was always the first to be arrested. I was in this condition when I finally resolved to go back to my home town with my family and engage in small scale farming. I was there till 1991 when the war broke out.  I was captured in my home town Pendembu, on April 10th 1991. I was with the RUF throughout these years until I was disarmed and demobilised and reintegrated.  So, that the brief history of myself.  

Before I start my testimony, I would like to crave the indulgence of the commissioners to have patience with me because I have a long history to tell.

Some of the fundamental reasons which gave birth to the war started in the Army. In 1965, immediately after the Africanisation of the army; when it was left in the hands of Sierra Leoneans, after the last British Force Commander, Brigadier R.G. Blackie had left, that was when nepotism, tribalism and segregation started in the army.  The first black enlisted officer in the Army, Brigadier David Lansana, was made Force Commander and his deputy was Brigadier John Bangura who was the second black man to be enlisted in the army. Lansana came from the East and his allegiance was to Albert Margai and the SLPP whilst John Bangura who came from the North his allegiance was to Siaka Stevens and the APC. They were like two parallel lines that would never meet.  As a result of this division between these senior officers, the army was deeply divided right down the ranks. We had the North-Western alliance and the South-Eastern alliance.

As a result of this division, the military experienced the first coup attempt in 1967, masterminded by Brigadier John Bangura and senior officers from the North.  These officers Brigadier John Bangura, Abu Noah, Farrah Jawara, A.O. Kamara, M.S. Tarawallie, P.G.O. Caulker, Seray Wurie and some other ranks were all detained at the Pademba Road Prison before, during and after the election in 1967.  After the election in 1967, Brigadier David Lansana declared a martial law in Sierra Leone. Less than two hours, there was a counter coup led by Maj. Charles Blake, Maj. S.B. Jumu and Major Kaisamba and the National Reformation Council (NRC), was formed. Late Juxon Smith was called from London to head the NRC.  The army was split by then and the detained officers were still at the Pademba Road Prison. In his first address to military officers at the Myhuang Officers Mess, he told us that as soldiers, we must stay away from politics. He further said that politics was for politicians.  

In addition to that, he said that he was not going to allow any military coup in Sierra Leone.  He said that he had evidence to try and convict all the detained officers at Pademba Road Prison for treason in a court martial. However, in order to rebuild the military and in order for unity to prevail once again in the military, he was not going to try anyone. He therefore decided to send the two senior officers; Lansana and Bangura, out of the country on external appointments. In addition to this, all other detained officers at Pademba Road Prison from 1966 were released and reinstated into the military with their full ranks.

The NRC began its work and many Commissions of Enquiry were set up. For the first three months, the NRC was working as a group; after that, they were divided.  Brigadier Smith had his own group and Blake, Jumu and Kaisamba had their group.  Later Juxon-Smith was accused of being power conscious and that he was not listening to advice. As a result of these divisions, the NRC became ineffective. It was like a “chicken trying to sit on a hammock”; it existed but only on paper. At that time, late Lansana and Bangura had been given external appointments.  We started hearing rumours, that John Bangura was in Guinea recruiting and training men and it was then that the ISU started. Soldiers started running to Guinea.  This information started flying like wild fire. Since the NRC was divided, the senior officers didn’t do anything to educate the junior officers about Brigadier John Bangura’s presence in Guinea. Thus, the NRC decided to hand over power to a civilian government, after an election that was to include all the political parties which contested the 1967 elections.  

In a meeting at the Officers Mess at Wilberforce, Juxon Smith sought our opinion as to how to go about the transition. Some officers were in favour of the transition whilst some were against. Some were of the opinion that it must be done gradually since the Commissions of Inquiry that were set up had started bringing out some results. Most former ministers and civil servants who were found guilty were to be banned from holding any public office for ten years. Midway through these deliberations, news of this meeting was scattered all around Freetown. Towards the end of the meeting, the politicians were all around the barracks; inciting junior officers that the Queen of England had sent money for all soldiers which the senior officers had eaten. This angered the junior officers and since Blake, Jumu and Kaisamba were against Juxon-Smith, they master minded a coup which was led by Rogers, Patrick and Kengenyeh; who were all junior officers.   

Some senior officers including myself and senior police officers were arrested and detained at Pademba Road Prison. Whilst we were in detention, an argument ensued among the coup plotters as to who was to head the army.  Bangura was finally selected; he came back to Sierra Leone and was appointed head of the army. He however handed over power back to Siaka Stevens.  We were at Pademba Road Prisons, when some officers were released and reinstated back into the army; whilst we the officers from the East and the South were left in detention. For some of us, we were lucky to be released and reinstated because of our popularity among the other ranks.  Bangura succeeded in dividing the army. He established the Military Intelligent Branch (MIB).He brought into the army something which had never existed in the army before i.e tribal returns in a bid to know the number of Temnes, Limbas and those from the South-East were shorlisted. Every four months, Officers from the South-East were prematurely retired. Most of us were pre-maturely retired.  We were there but had nothing to do just moving about.  

This continued for a while. Then in 1970, another political party was formed by someone.  Late Bangura, switched his allegiance to this new political party.  Bangura who had been a close friend of Siaka Stevens became unpopular to him and J.S. Momoh then became the President’s “blue eyed boy”.  There were rumours filtering that Bangura would be retired and given an external job but he was against it. That brought about the coup in 1971 and I was falsely accused because I was in Freetown to take the qualifying examination for promotion from lieutenant to captain. As the coup was being planned, Bangura wanted the coup to go on but Momoh was against. Some junior officers were aware of what was happening but others were not.  A very serious quarrel ensued amongst the senior officers and their juniors. It was then suggested that Momoh should be arrested but his supporters were there to protect him and it was also suggested that Bangura should be arrested but his supporters were there to protect him. So, there was chaos.   Everybody was in a state of confusion; not knowing what to do and Guinean troops were in Freetown with their jet flying all over the city.

A junior officer then suggested that both Momoh and Bangura should come forward and explain what their positions were. When Bangura was asked to speak, he spoke in riddles but he failed to make a definite statement and Momoh when he was called forward did not say anything. Foday Sankoh, who was attached to the SLBS TV as a photographer, was around when the coup took place.  He saw all of us lining up.  When Momoh and Bangura failed to say anything that could convince us, he came forward and told them that they were the leaders but if they failed to come to a unified solution, then they, the other ranks, will take charge of things and he promised them that they’ll all be detained as it was the case in 1968. Immediately after he had spoken, Momoh and Bangura embraced themselves and Foday Sankoh took their photograph and it was that photograph which took him to prison.

He was detained at Pademba Road. Whilst in detention he vowed that since he had been jailed for a coup he was not part of, even if it took him 20 years, he will definitely revenge.  He was later released and he was in Freetown for a while and later he went into hiding. He went somewhere, someplace. He later surfaced in Kailahun, taking pictures and inciting people that APC had destroyed the country and they have escaped many coups.  He even said that even the students who had made a legitimate call for a change of government, the ISU had been sent on them to shoot and kill them without any justification.  He further said that Joseph Saidu Momoh had been imposed on the people as and he even made mention of the press with particular reference to Pious Foray.  He further said that people like Kebbie, who was the president of the Labour Congress and Fatorma who was the Student president had been bought by the APC. He said that he was of the opinion that no strike, no coup, student demonstration or political party would be able to remove the APC from power.  He said the only thing that could remove the APC from power would be the arms which they had they been using to kill people.

He later sought assistance from people who had been dismissed from college. They went to somewhere in North Africa. He then met with a brother from one of our neighbouring countries, who was training his people for an attack on his country; he was ready to offer him a helping hand. This man came to Sierra Leone to see how best he could use Sierra Leone as a base to launch his revolution and after some monetary exchanges; the man was arrested and deported. He however went to another country which he used as a base to launch his revolution in his country.

After the man launched his revolution, Foday Sankoh met him and they decided to be friends. Later Sierra Leone was made ECOMOG base to fight against this man. This didn’t go down well with this big man, he therefore arrested most Sierra Leoneans who were in Liberia and whenever an NPFL rebel was killed in an ECOMOG air raid, ten of these arrested Sierra Leoneans would be executed.  I would want everybody to know that during the war in Liberia, our soldiers who were deployed at the border had befriended the rebels from Liberia.  They jointly organised football matches and other recreational activities. They were also engaged in a barter system by exchanging commodities such as rice for looted properties from Liberia.  

However, the soldiers were unfaithful to these rebels, so a complaint was lodged to the section chief of the area who was called Von Kallon but nothing was done.  The last straw which broke the camel’s back was when a looted vehicle; a pick up van, was swindled by a Sierra Leonean officer for his own personal use and he refused to pay the NPFL fighters. The NPFL commanding officer who was Anthony Bengonabe then decided to launch a long range attack in order to retrieve all their swindled looted goods. They then launched a simultaneous attack on both Bomaru and Koindu.

Then Foday Sankoh was still at his base unaware of the situation. He however pleaded with this man for the release of these detained men so that they could join his training at his base. These were called the Vanguards of the RUF. After this initial attack into Sierra Leonean territory, the international media was with the impression that it was this big brother who had invaded Sierra Leone. This big brother then felt that Foday Sankoh should immediately put his war machinery into gear and make use of the opportunity offered, to begin his revolution.  Although Foday Sankoh was not fully prepared as he lacked some basic logistics, his big brother instigated him and he provided him with added man power, arms and other logistics.

I would like to inform the Commission that although the 1991 attack would come have, it would not have come so early. It was hijacked by somebody. This man placed his men in charge of everything and they were over 5000. On the 10th April 1991, they made a simultaneous attack on both Bomaru and Koindu. Within a week, almost all the villages and chiefdoms in the Kailahun District had been captured. Our officers who were deployed at the border ran away for their lives leaving all their logistics and the civilians whom they were supposed to protect at the mercy of the rebels. They retreated and mounted a check points behind Bunumbu Moa. Thus, anybody who attempted to cross over was captured and beheaded. Civilians were afraid to cross over the Moa River. By then the NPFL and the RUF had merged under the guise of RUF.

I want would like to tell you the intention of this man, and I will tell you later how I came to know about all that I am saying here today. After capturing these places, the desire was that these areas will become part of Liberia and a defensive wall was to be mounted to provide defence against ULIMO K, ECOMOG or the SLA entering into Liberia. However, after capturing these places, they became complacent and they engaged in widespread looting because they felt they had reached Kuwait. For three months they were doing nothing until ECOMOG was deployed, at Daru Moa Barracks.

After capturing these places we fell under the control of RUF, Foday Sankoh paid his first visit to Kailahun at Pendembu. We were all assembled at the Court Barri and I was singled out, my people were frightened, they thought I would be killed. Foday Sankoh then addressed me as his boss, his officer and his colleague. There and then I was appointed as General Staff Officer 1(GSO1) in the RUF. I was not with them till then.  After a while, the NPFL soldiers were withdrawn and we were under immense pressure and our supply line from Liberia cut off by the ULIMO K. Also our base was coming under heavy attack from ECOMOG, Kamajors, and Sierra Leone Army forces.

I therefore decided to take my men out to the jungle but on our way, one of my men was captured and he disclosed my position. I was later captured and detained at the Pademba Road Prison until after the Abidjan Peace Accord was signed and I was released and left with nothing in Freetown. I tried to contact some influential people in the country but they refused talking to me on the excuse that we brought war to Sierra Leone. They were ignorant of what was actually happening because they were in Freetown and all what they knew was hearsay. I was in Freetown during the May 25th 1997 military takeover by the AFRC.  I was then invited by Mosquito and others to once again be part of the RUF as an Administrator. I was with them until the ECOMOG intervention in 1998 and I went together with them into the bush. At present, I have been disarmed, demobilised and reintegrated with my family.

A ten minutes break was observed.

Prof. Schabas:  I understand that you’ve known Foday Sankoh for some time now; can you tell us, what was your relationship when you first met him?

Rtd. Captain Kosia:  I had known Foday Sankoh since 1957; not only that, Foday and myself worked together and I should say he was my stepfather because he married my mother’s younger sister.

Prof. Schabas:  You spoke about the formation of the RUF long before now when exactly was the RUF formed?

Rtd. Captain Kosia:  It was formed immediately after the 1973 general election.

Prof. Schabas:  Can you tell us the kind of people who were part of the RUF in those formative stages?

Rtd. Captain Kosia:  It then consisted of politicians, former students, business men, Paramount Chiefs, foreigners, and a lot of other disgruntled people in the country who were victimised by the former regime of the APC.

Prof. Schabas:  You are referring to this organisation, was it then known as RUF during those early years?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: It was later named RUF; it was a loose organisation formed by disgruntled Sierra Leoneans.

Prof. Schabas:  Can you name some of these people?  
Rtd. Captain Kosia: Dr John Karefa Smart, Sir leaf Easmon, Late Alikali Modu, Kassim Basma of Kono, former students from our university like Rashid Mansaray and Mohamed Tarawally and others.

Prof. Schabas:  If this organisation was not called RUF then which name was it referred to then?

Rtd. Captain Kosia:  During the early days, there was no name given to this organisation it was just called “Rescue Operation”. It came to be known as the RUF at about 1989.

Prof. Schabas: In your testimony you referred to one country in the North, is this country Libya?

Rtd. Captain Kosia:  Yes.

Prof. Schabas: Did you know the people who went to Libya for training?

Rtd. Captain Kosia:  Yes, Foday Sankoh, Mike Lamin, Rashid Mansaray, Mohamed Tarawally, Tankora etc…With some students who later broke away from the organisation because of money transaction.  These were referred to as the Special Forces.

Prof. Schabas:   Can you tell the number of people who went to Libya for training?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: They were 30 in number, only eight of them returned; they broke up because of monetary squabbles.

Prof. Schabas:  Do you know the nature of the training that was given to these people, was it military or political?

Rtd. Captain Kosia:  They received training on military affairs, political ideology, revolutionary ideology, jungle training, the Green Book and RUF too wrote a book titled Footpath to Democracy part 1 and 2...

Prof. Schabas: Mr. Kosia we’ve already heard testimonies from people about atrocities against them such as the amputation of limbs. Can you tell anything about these malpractices? Was it done by the RUF or by somebody else?

Rtd. Captain Kosia:  I am under oath here, I am going to say all that I know and all that I saw. In 1993 some RUF fighters who were captured by the soldiers had their hands chopped off and they were sent with a note that if the RUF did not drop their guns they would continue to amputate their limbs. Upon seeing this, the RUF too responded in like manner whenever they captured an SLA. To be honest with this Commission, these things happened only when Foday Sankoh was not around because he had put a stop to it. Amputation in the Frontline became widespread during the run up to 1996 elections; when it was done in the North to prevent people from voting. Amputations only took place in the absence of Foday Sankoh. Also it happened from 1991 to 1993 when the NPFL were around.

Prof. Schabas:  So, you are saying that the limbs of civilians were not chopped off during these early periods?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: If you talk of looting, harassment, rape and the molestation of civilians, I can accept; but for amputation it was only done in1996 when the elections were approaching.

Prof. Schabas:  You spoke about looting and harrassment, I take it that this was looting and harassment against civilians in the 1993 period?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: Looting, molestation, rape, started when the RUF was combined with the NPFL.  In the RUF we had three groups; NPFL who were Liberians, also we had Sierra Leoneans who were captured and trained here in Sierra Leone and we had Liberians and Sierra Leoneans who were trained in Liberia. These are the Vanguards. Let me explain who the Vanguards were. We had two groups; Liberian citizens who during the war had no food and had nothing to survive on, they were recruited into the RUF. The other group comprised of Sierra Leoneans who were arrested in Liberia by Charles Taylor, to be killed in retaliation to the raids made by the ECOMOG jet. Foday Sankoh took them from him and recruited them into the RUF and gave them training at his base called Camp Nyama which is commonly referred to as Camp Zogoda. These people were; Jonathan Kposowa who was the General Adjutant, Eldred Collins, Peter Vandi, Prince Taylor, Augustine Gbao, Philip Palmer, Mosquito, Morris Kallon, Issa Sesay who was recruited in the Ivory Coast and others.,   

Prof. Schabas:  You mentioned some atrocities carried out against civilians. Were these carried out as policy of the RUF or was done by some undisciplined units within the RUF?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: As the GSO1 by then, I drew up rules and regulations on warfare for our combatants and there were punishments for offenders. If it pleases the commission I would give some of these regulations. Rape, unlawful killings, smoking of marijuana and others were prohibited. As for rape, it was execution. I can recall four incidences when combatants were executed because of rape. During the time of the NPFL we were unable to control the combatants but after the split, we were able to control our boys.

Prof. Schabas: Can you tell us about cannibalism during the conflict?

Rtd. Captain Kosia:  Cannibalism started in 1991. But it was carried out by especially the Gios and Manos from Liberia. It was not widespread. It became widespread in 1992 when the civilians and the junior commandos, were tired of the treatment meted out to them by the NPFL, we therefore decided that they must go back. So, Edward Fengbe who was one of the Vanguards and Morris Kallon decided that these people should go back. I established a base at an undisclosed location in Kailahun; called Borbor Gawei to give advanced training to the newly recruited soldiers; so that they will be able to drive out the NPFL soldiers.  I was there with about 300 men but NPFL eventually came to know about our plans. The NPFL by then who had a very large number, detained a lot of these soldiers but others like Mosquito and Issa Sesay went into the jungle.  Unfortunately for me, I was caught along side some other officers; I was detained in Liberia. That was when cannibalism came into effect.  By 1991, they had eaten all the cattle, the dogs and all the other animals, therefore by 1992, they started eating human beings. I knew of a village were they had a big pot in which human beings were boiled for consumption. I also knew the people who were doing it. They had a Liberian called Jim Kawei and another called Tapor. They had certain villages like Nyandewu Manbab and Mende Buwima, if any civilian attempt to venture there, he'll be eaten.

Prof. Schabas:  The people who went to Libya, later returned to West Africa. Was the Government of Libya involved on continuing basis during the conflict here?

Rtd. Captain Kosia:  I don’t know. What I know was that, Foday Sankoh told me about one of his friends in Libya who was helping him.  He was sending support through our senior brother Charles Taylor in Liberia.

Prof. Schabas:  You said that the SLA were chopping hands of the RUF, did the RUF revenge and do likewise?

Rtd. Captain Kosia:  Foday Sankoh was not around by then, so the rebels too started revenging and when he returned he stopped the amputations.

Prof. Schabas:  You said in your statement that amputation started again when the elections was approaching in 1996?

Rtd. Captain Kosia:  Yes, the RUF started it in the North.  The amputation started again when the RUF were chased out by ECOMOG.   In 1996, the aim was to prevent voters from voting, those who were caught at the polling station had their hands chopped off.  In 1998, the AFRC/RUF did it to punish civilians who they claimed were against them.

Prof. Schabas: You referred to a period when you were at the Pademba Road Prison. After your release did you resume active service with the RUF?

Rtd. Captain Kosia:  I was at Pademba Road Prison from mid 1994 on to 1996 after the signing of the Abidjan Peace Accord. After my release from Pademba Road Prison I was still in Freetown because the rebel war was still on, and at that time the rebels were at my village in Kailahun, if I had gone back to Kailahun, I would have been killed. In 1997, when the rebels came to Freetown, I was located by Mosquito and I was again reinstated into the RUF.  Prior to that time, immediately after my release, I went to people in authorities for them to understand the causes of the war, but I was ignored.

Prof. Schabas:  I may want to know the period you are talking about?

Rtd. Captain Kosia:  It was in 1996, after my release from Pademba Road Prison.

Prof. Schabas:  During the period of 1996, when the Abidjan Peace Accord was signed on to July 1999 when the Lome Peace Accord was signed, did you have knowledge of any atrocity committed by the rebels?

Rtd. Captain Kosia:  In 1996, the RUF, were in the jungle all around the provinces, I am not in a position to talk about what I heard from the commanders because I was in detention. However, I am in a position to tell you what I saw in 1998 when I was with them. I am in the position to tell you what happened during that period on to 2001.

In 1998, when we retreated, we passed through Makeni and Kono on our way to Kailahun where we referred to as Burkina Faso.  In Kailahun, I was asked to establish a training base at a place called Bunumbu. All the civilians that we had abducted went through the training until they were commissioned.  They were later distributed to the various frontlines. In 1998, when Kono was captured I was in Buedu. Mosquito asked me to go to Kono and establish a training base at Yengema at the Secondary School there. When Makeni was captured, all the abductees were sent to Kono and I knew of all the atrocities committed. Apart from being GSO1, I also held various posts. I was Chairman, Joint Security Board of Investigations and President of the Court Martial Board. I knew of all the atrocities which took place except the ones which were not brought before me. I knew of all the molestations faced by civilians during these periods.  I became an advocate for the civilians and I knew of a number of rape cases committed by the RUF. I have documents to prove although some had been destroyed. I have evidence of atrocities committed by RUF, in, 1998, 2000, 2001 and 2002.  

The atrocities only stopped after the DDR had commenced. A lot of people - both civilians and junior commandos of the RUF, were killed for things like diamond, gold and foreign currencies.

Prof. Schabas:  What was the role of diamonds in the conflict in Sierra Leone in your opinion?

Rtd. Captain Kosia:   In 1991, the RUF only had command over a small portion of the Kailahun District. By then small scale mining was embarked on in places like Jojoima, Dodokotiema and Geiwa. We started mining on a large scale in 1999 when Kono and Tongo were captured.  We had mining units and Issa Sesay was in charge.  We had the different officers who were mining commanders.  The diamond we were mining were handled by Mosquito & co.  If a junior rank is caught with a diamond, he will be beaten until he’s killed.  When we had the diamond, it was transported to Issa and then from him Mosquito. Later it is taken to our sister country in Liberia what happened after I cannot tell but it was from these diamonds that we got arms and other logistics.  This continued until when the Kono people returned to their base.  

Prof. Schabas:  Where children recruited into the RUF?

Rtd. Captain Kosia:  I was responsible for recruiting and training, according to my military knowledge, I set up a recruiting team in all the units. In my letter to them I always told them not recruit children. Whenever an attack was launched all those who were captured were recruited.  

Some of the commandos and their wives normally abducted these children, to use them as slaves, and spies.  They would be with them in their houses.  I can remember when I was in Kono, I am asking the Commission to find out, I had over 85 SDUs and  SBUs with me at Camp Lion base in Yengema.These children were captured, from Magburaka, Makeni and some other places, some were captured and some joined us voluntarily. After the training I gave them passes to go their parents. Some of the commanders refused to let go of them.  Some even took them and married them.  

Prof. Schabas:  You told us that you were a boy soldier yourself at the age of 13 or 14. Were these boys abducted about this same age?

Rtd. Captain Kosia:  To say the truth, some of them were even below the ages of 13 and 14.

Prof. Schabas:  Did these things happen earlier in 1991/92 or in 1998/99?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: In 1993, some children were abducted and they were between the ages of 14,15 and some were even at the age of 9.  In 1998, when we were chased out by ECOMOG, some the children we abducted were between the ages of 13 and 14.

Prof. Schabas:  You spoke earlier of atrocities that were committed against civilians in 1998/99 and that you were the head of a court martial.  Can you tell us the people who were responsible for these atrocities?

Rtd. Captain Kosia:  In 1998, some abducted civilians who were with us, on the way, some of them wanted to escape, they were executed, but this was not to the knowledge of the high command.

In 1999, except, civilians wanted to escape because when the jet was flying over, they may want to cross over to Guinea or Liberia, most of the commanders who were manning check points killed civilians who were attempting to escape. After some of these civilians had left for Guinea and they want to return they would be accused of being spies.   A lot of civilians were killed because of diamonds. I have documents to prove, but it was not to my knowledge, it was only when investigations were made that I became aware.  When some of the combatants are detained for these crimes, at night, some top officials would release them on the excuse that they need men to fight and you cannot question that.

Prof. Schabas:  Were you witness to some of these atrocities you are talking about?

Rtd. Captain Kosia:  I witnessed some of these atrocities.  For instance, in 1991, I was at the base, when some recruits, who were sent from Makeni, were undergoing training, but some of them were unable to go through, and they decided to escape.  Unfortunately, they were caught by the RUF and were sent back to base.  The training commandant informed his immediate commando who was Issa Sesay and he ordered that they should be executed. I was not around, on my return I met all the boys, I told the commander to wait, so that I could negotiate with Issa.  However, there was one who was singled out as the ringleader among the boys, he was killed and later the rest were killed on Issa’s orders.

Civilians were killed because of diamonds, if your husband was a miner and he is suspected of having diamonds, you’ll be tortured until you die. I witnessed about four or five of such cases.  The other thing I witnessed was between an SLA - I have forgotten his name and Morris Kallon. He was killed because he said he was unable to join his colleagues to destroy a bridge.  After they had been instructed by Morris Kallon, in a mustard parade.

Also on one occasion, Issa, Morris and I were travelling in a vehicle, and unfortunately one of Issa’s body guard's trigger mistakenly went off and hit Issa’s brother. He was killed by Issa with a pistol.  I witnessed a lot of these incidents.

Rtd. Captain Schabas:   Would you be ready to assist this Commission by bringing these documents forward?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: Most of the records have been destroyed; but the ones which I could lay hands on would be tendered to the Commission.  Some of these records were top secrets and they are not here with me. I left them up country.

Prof. Schabas:   You have spoken about the evil deeds of the commandos, I want to ask: was the RUF high command which you were part of aware of these atrocities?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: As far as I can tell the leader of the RUF didn’t have these intentions initially. It was the people who made it what it turned out this way.

Prof. Schabas:  You have spoken a lot about the atrocities perpetrated by the RUF; I want to know whether you yourself feel any personal responsibility for some of these things?

Rtd. Captain Kosia:  I feel guilty of the atrocities committed by the RUF, but that doesn’t mean that I was a perpetrator. For me personally, inhabitants of Kailahun and its environs would testify that I have never committed any atrocity to any one.

Justice Marcus Jones: It is good to have you here with the TRC, I only have a few questions to ask you.  Were you comfortable to remain one of the RUF?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: No, but, when Foday came, he told us that he had come to liberate us from the rotten system.  Since I was one of those victimised by the APC regime, I joined him.

Justice Marcus Jones:   Did you get any benefit for the time you spent with them?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: No, because the people he came with had corrupted the revolution, I did not get any benefit. However, the only alternative I had at that time was to stay with the RUF because if I had come over to the other side they would have arrested me because I was being accused of deserting the army to become a rebel.

Justice Marcus Jones: Were you given any nickname?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: I was the GSO I.  I was responsible for training and recruiting.  I was called Jungle Wizard.

Commissioner Torto: We really appreciate you for coming.  I have series of questions to ask you. You have named a few people that were in the RUF such as Kassim a Lebanese; can you tell me the role he was playing?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: Foday told me that those people were the founding members of the RUF and they were giving their support to the RUF before the initial attack in 1991.

Commissioner Torto: One of your responsibility as the GSO I was to plan attacks, we would want to know why the highways were ambushed?

Rtd Captain Kosia: We started ambushing the roads when we were under immense pressure. I was the master planner of those attacks.  As a “Jungler”, when you leave in the jungle you have to find ways to survive .

Commissioner Torto: If I understood you clearly, the aim of the ambushes was for food, but many a time people were killed and brutalised?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: I am sorry that those things happened. It was because the commanders were not responsible enough to carry out their functions.  They were going out of stipulated rules and regulations.

Commissioner  Sooka:  Thank you very much, I may want to ask you some questions for you to clarify certain things for us.  I want you to tell us the name of the “big brother” you were referring to in your testimony?

Rtd.Captain Kosia: The Big Brother I was talking all these while about was Charles Taylor, his nickname by then because of security reasons was "Butterfly".

Commissioner Sooka: We would like you to tell us the link that was between Charles Taylor and Foday Sankoh?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: In my testimony, I said that in 1991, during the first attack at Bomaru, Charles Taylor and Foday Sankoh were in the dark.  Foday was still at Camp Zogoda training his men. But when the international community blamed Charles Taylor for the attack, that was when he convinced Sankoh to launch his revolution.

So, he sent his men with very few vanguards.  I want the Commission to know that of the 3,000 RUF recruited in Liberia, the majority were Liberians.  The Liberians were fully in charge and Charles Taylor’s personal security and bodyguard was in overall command. I want the Commissioners to know that Foday Sankoh had no say in the organisation then.  We took all instructions from NPFL; they had the arms, vehicles, radio. So, all instructions came from Charles Taylor.

Commissioner Sooka: What were the roles played by Charles Taylor?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: Diamonds were transported to Charles Taylor in Liberia, what he did there I don’t know.

Commissioner Sooka:  Earlier you told us that you were in charge of court martials did you report any of these atrocities to the high command?

Rtd Captain Kosia: If something happened in the war front, if I did not get any situation report, I would not have knowledge of anything. After I had conducted the investigation which composed of all the units in the frontline, if the leaders agreed, I mean when Foday, Issa were there , they may take any action.

When we were under the command of Foday Sankoh, we were surrounded by boys who took marijuana. In fact, most of the things they did in their houses, they were more often than not available in the office.  When I investigated and made recommendations ; I was accused of being a dictator.

From 1991 up to 1994, I was the only combatant officer in the ranks of the RUF; so if I had not used my head, I would have been in the grave by now.

Commissioner Sooka: you said that you were responsible for recruitment and training, were women amongst those that were recruited and trained by the RUF?.  

Rtd. Captain Kosia: We had women recruits and instructors up to 1994. In fact, the latest training commander I had was a woman. However, at a point in time, I suggested that we should not recruit women into the RUF because they took arms against themselves out of jealousy and quarrels.

Commissioner Sooka: You spoke about rape and molestation, could you tell us something more about these things?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: Raping was rampant in 1991 up 1993 but from 1994 upwards it was not too rampant. But they were still doing it, not forgetting that we had rules and regulations. I have documents to the effect.  Some commandos and some fighters were involved in raping, for instance, when they captured a town or an area they raped people. But some girls and even some women were ashamed to say it out and if it is not reported, no action would be taken.

Commissioner Jow: I would like to ask you few questions, in personal details.  You told us that you were trained as a boy soldier when you were 13 years old, the Commission would like to know if this was a policy of the Colonial  Administration?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: They told us that we were being trained to become future leaders in the country.  It was a policy to train young men to become technicians and leaders of tomorrow.  I want the Commissioners to know that most of us who passed through the boy’s army, eventually became commissioned officers; like Hinga Norman and myself.

Commissioner Jow: Can you tell whether this policy continued after independence?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: No, I wish I knew.

Commissioner Jow: Can you tell us the criteria used to recruit boys into the RUF?
Rtd. Captain Kosia: In 1991, people went with the idea that people joined the RUF voluntarily. At about 1992, 1993 boys were abducted and forced to join the RUF, if you attempted to escape you'll be killed and their parents would be killed and their houses burnt down.  There were those who joined the RUF because they were tired of being used as human caravans.

Commissioner Jow:  Can you tell us what these boys' duties were?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: Most of these small boys were behind their commanders, they were trained to use weapons.  They were also used as spies and they were mostly sent on espionage missions by their commanders.  In 1991, these small boys were used to execute people.  They were also instructed to give punishments to civilians, some were even sent to the battle fronts to fight.

Commissioner Jow: I may want to say that somewhere along the way the RUF lost control of its fighters?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: That happened in 1992, when the NPFL knew that we wanted to get rid of them, all.   I was one of those arrested; we were taken to Gbarnga, Foday was not there, he had gone into the jungle in hiding, so the only control that existed was that of the NPFL, that was the time killing was widespread. Immediately, they went away, I can tell you that there was no loss of control in the RUF.

Professor Kamara: Mr Kosia , permit me to ask you few questions. I want to take you back to your early statement, especially your reference for the cause of the war itself. You said, what you considered to be the cause of the war, was the split in the army, you joined the army in 1954, about seven years later, we got independence, so you knew what the conditions were in the army before and after independence, can you tell the Commission the major thing that caused the split in the army?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: There are other fundamental causes within and outside the army. I said some of the root causes originated in the army.  It started with tribalism and sectionalism, because the two leaders have different loyalties and that went down the ranks.  This division was such that we had the North-Western alliance and South-Eastern alliance. This went through right down to the rank and file in the army. That was the primary cause for the first military coup in 1966.

Professor  Kamara: After this coup in 1966 which was masterminded by Brigadier Bangura which led to his arrest. You also said that there was an immediate counter coup after the election in 1967, I want to know what was the reason that led Brigadier Lansana to arrest the then Governor General and the then sworn Prime Minister?

Rtd Captain Kosia: After the election, we understood that there was a tie between the APC and the SLPP and because of Brigadier Lansana's connection with the SLPP and Sir. Albert Margai, people thought that he wanted to impose Sir Albert Margai and the SLPP on the nation. That led to his arrest by Blake, Jumu and Kaisamba following a counter coup.

Professor Kamara: Juxon Smith was called to head the government that was formed and you said that there were factions in the army based on region. Was this counter coup masterminded by one of these factions?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: In 1966, there was an attempted coup led by the late Amadu Bangura, with support from officers from the North and West against the SLPP government. These officers were arrested in 1966 and they were detained at the Pademba Road Prison during and after the elections in 1967. After the election in 1967, there was a tie between the SLPP and the APC, the late Brig. Lansana stepped in claiming that the full result had not yet been declared. He ordered the arrest of Siaka Stevens and the Governor General whilst they were at the swearing in ceremony. That was when he was apprehended Blake Jumu and Kaisamba.The NRC came in as a sort of rescue package and Juxon was called upon because he was seen as a nuetralist. When he came he told us that he did not want to know anything about tribalism and that we were all Sierra Leoneans.

Commissioner Kamara: Blake and Jumu were encouraging the junior officers to stage a coup in 1968. But I heard you say that after the coup had taken place, they arrested all the officers including Blake, Jumu and Kaisamba, I want you to clarify that?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: Yes Sir, I did say that, these officers had wanted to remove the late Juxon Smith from power, the coup boomeranged on them. The initial intention was to arrest all NRC members. However, they lost control of the situation; so all senior officers, including senior police officers were arrested. Prior to that, I had wanted to use a platoon which was under my control to launch a counter coup but I was restrained by a senior officer who said he did not want further bloodshed.  

Professor Kamara: In 1971 there was an attempted coup; you said that Sankoh went in and made a statement, to the two senior officers and they made comments. However, when reaction was made to the coup, only one of the officers was arrested. Can you tell us why that happened?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: By 1971, Bangura was the Force Commander and Momoh was Battalion Commander. Whilst the fracas was on at the Wilberforce Barracks between the other ranks, that was when Momoh and Bangura were called to come forward and make certain clarifications. Momoh was really not in favour of the coup. It was Bangura who wanted the coup to take place. It was when he had instructed that the coup be staged, that was when Sam King and Caulker went on the air to announce that everything was under control.  It was after this announcement that Bangura and others were arrested. At about the time we were at the meeting, Momoh was in constant communication with Siaka Stevens because they had formed the MIB and there was someone going in and out of the meeting.

Bishop Humper: I may want to ask you one personal question.  What would you say; are your experiences when you were in the jungle and also when you were enlisted in the Army before?

Rtd.Captain Kosia: I think it is a very bitter experience I would not forgot in a hurry. For the past thirty years, my family has suffered a lot. It was not through my own making.  My duty to join the Army; was to contribute towards the development of my country. To my dismay, I was unjustly and hurriedly dismissed, so I decided to go back to my home town.  After that I joined the RUF. On to this day, I am regretting it.  It was a very sad experience.

Mr. Ojielo: I would like you to explain about the command structure in the RUF and what was the role of the key players in the RUF?

Rtd.Captain Kosia: Between 1991/1993, the command structure was in the hands of the NPFL, all the commanders were members of the NPFL. After the withdrawal of the NPFL, Foday called a meeting and he formed a seven man High Command and we were all non-combatants. Foday Sankoh was the Chairman and Tengbeh, myself, Deen Jalloh and three others whose names I can't remember, were members. At the frontline, we had the Brigade Commander who was called Mohamed Tarawallie aka.Zino (deceased), also we had Rashid Mansaray who is also dead and he, together with Zino were trained in Libya. We had Mosquito who started to fight in Pujehun, when he was chased out of that axis by the Kamajors, ULIMO K and the SLA, he came back to join us in Kailahun.  Issa was also a frontline commander.

Mr. Ojielo: Between 1997 and 1999, who were the various frontline commanders in the various regions?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: I left them in 1994 but before I left them, I wrote an Operation Order on Guerilla Warfare. The RUF frequently changed commanders. In the different areas I knew that Mosquito was responsible for one of the provinces, so also was Issa Sesay, Dennis Mingo, Morris Kallon and Mohamed Rogers who were all different commanders in charge of different areas. They were responsible for the training and supervision of their own men. However,the headquarters  was still at Kailahun.

Mr. Ojielo: Can you tell us about the attack and looting of Makeni?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: In what year ?

Mr. Ojielo:  In 1998 or 1999

Rtd. Captain Kosia: When the AFRC/RUF were retreating, a lot of looting took place, not forgetting that there were SLA and RUF in Makeni. By the time we reached Makeni, we met the town completely looted and vandalised. I walked on foot from Freetown to Makeni so it was practically impossible for me to loot. In all honesty, I would say that the RUF, SLA and AFRC were all responsible.

Mr. Ojielo: Who was in charge of Makeni?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: Morris Kallon was in charge, but SLA commanders were there representing the AFRC. Morris Kallon was the senior. We had the RUF, AFRC and the SLA in Makeni. The  same for Lungi, Bo, including Kono.

Mr. Ojielo: Was there any punishment for those who looted Makeni and if there was what type of punishment was meted out to them?

Kosia: To my knowledge, in 1998 whilst we were retreating there was no punishment for looters. It was after December 1998 when kono was captured and in 1999 when Makeni was captured; when the junior commandos had started looting, that was when Issa said that nobody should loot his hometown. As a result, confusion ensued because people like Dennis Mingo were of the opinion that since other peoples places had been looted, nobody was going to stop them from looting Makeni. There was killing and Issa started killing people who were looting.  

Mr. Ojielo: I want to get this right. Issa said that people should not loot and then people started looting. He killed those that were looting and that caused problems between him and Dennis Mingo?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: Yes.

Mr. Ojielo: Could you discuss the abduction of UN Peace Keepers and can you tell who were responsible for these abductions?

Rtd.Captain Kosia: There was a time at about the time ceasefire was in effect and the RUF boys were running short of money. In order to get money, they will go the UNAMSIL Peace Keepers with their arms on the pretext that they wanted to disarm and in exchange the Peace Keepers will give them money. After a while these boys would return to get back their weapons and the Peace Keepers will disagree.  So Morris kallon and Issa Sesay, were in charge, decided that the only way to bring pressure to bear on these peace keepers was to arrest them. I would say that Morris Kallon and Issa Sesay were responsible.  They took them to Kailahun, via Kono.

Ms. Schotsmans: The first thing I wanted to ask is a question about amputation.  Would you confirm that this was a policy from the RUF high command?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: I disagree with you, it was not a policy from the RUF high command, I am a living witness to testify that there were rules and regulation governing the RUF on issues like harassment, molestation and amputation. When the boys were at the frontlines, it was difficult for the high command to know of they were doing.

Ms. Schotsmans: Are you telling me that RUF high command was not aware of these amputations?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: Well then I must say I was at the rear. It was not everything that I had knowledge of. Maybe some people had knowledge of these things or they may have instructed the boys to do such things but I must say I was not aware.

Ms. Schotsmans: Are you saying that the high command of the RUF put in place a structure they had no control of and did things that they could not know of?

Rtd Captain Kosia: Prior to the institution of the high command, the NPFL was in control. After it was set up, I did not spend much time with them and when I returned, I don’t think the high command was in operation any longer.

Ms. Schotsmans: Up to what level were commanders aware of what was going on in the frontline?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: In the frontline, we had the battlefield commander who was responsible to move around and monitor what was happening at the battlefront. Then we had the battle-group commander who was responsible for making recommendations to the high command and the company commanders and people like Mosquito and Issa Sesay were meeting with these people to evaluate and assess the needs of the operations. Most things were settled out in the frontlines.

Ms. Schotsmans: So, these people that you named, Mosquito and Issa Sesay, they knew what was happening?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: Yes, they were aware, because they had vehicles, hand sets, security guards who monitor people's activities. They must have known.

Ms. Schotsmans: Did they give orders to stop such acts?

Rtd.Captain Kosia: If they were part and parcel of it, could they give orders?

Ms.Schotsmans: If they knew what was going on do you think they could have given orders to stop such violations?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: Not to my knowledge. I have never seen a memo. written to commanders in the frontline to stop them from looting.  Whenever, a rape case is reported to me the person would be detained.  Before I could conclude my investigations, the accused will be released and sent to the war front.  On many occasions, that was the situation.

Ms. Schotsmans: In your opinion, no punishment was given except to detain the perpetrator in the guardroom?

Rtd.Captain Kosia: There were punishments. I am a living testimony, when the NPFL were withdrawn, two boys were executed for rape; most times people were detained for negligence of duty.  

Ms. Schotsmans: You said boys and girls were abducted and later used as wives or slaves. I want you to clarify how these marriages came about. Did the girls consent?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: We do not have mother-in-laws and father-in-laws in the jungle; when a beautiful woman was captured she automatically became a wife to a commando.

Ms. Schotsmans: Can you tell their ages?

Rtd. Captain Kosia: Some were grown-ups and some were between  the ages of 14 and 15 years old.

Professor Schabas: You have been with us for the past 6 hours, now its your turn to ask us question or give us some recommendations to include in our report.

Rtd. Captain Kosia: I want to thank the Chairman and Commissioners for their patience and understanding in letting me give my testimony.  If I say I should go on I would continue like this for three years. I had waited for such an opportunity in pain, in sorrow and with bitterness; for thirty years. Also, I want to assure this Commission that I will avail myself any time they need me. If there is any document that you may require from me, I will be ready to come forward with them.

I want to make this known to the government through this Commission that I had suffered for so long and other people too had gone through this same ordeal.  I have been victimised in the army since 1973, I was stripped of all my benefit.

I want Momoh and others to come and testify here, Mr. Chairman, if I had seen Momoh at Kailahun he would have been in his grave .

For people like us who were prematurely retired, I would want them revisit the army structures and ensure that that these issues are addressed and those whose benefits are due receive them.

When the war started, you were in the city, the soldiers who were responsible for what had happened, they came out and told lies, I would like them to be brought before the commission.  

Professor Schabas - If you have any other recommendations, you can write them and send them to the commission.  We want to thank you for the courage.

Date:  17th April, 2003.





I, Alfred Boyzi Tugbe Toby, do solemnly swear, before this commission, that the testimony    shall give , shall be the truth, the whole truth ,and  nothing but the truth. So, help me God.    


Mr. Chairman, before the commencement of my testimony, from the bottom of my heart, I say, to God be the glory, for the implementation of this commission. I wish the Chairman and his Commissioners success in their endeavours for a good report that will benefit both present and future generations of this our beloved nation.

Bishop Humper: Thank you, you can go ahead to give your testimony.

TOBY: My testimony is this. I recall the dates; 12TH / 13TH  February, 1998 when the news of the departure of  ECOMOG intervention contingent led by the late Mitikishi Maxwell Khobe from Kosso town to Freetown had been the talk of the town. May his soul, rest in peace. On that day I had been threatened by a brother in the faith, whose name I do not want to disclose because I love him still .His threat caused me to abandon my home until ECOMOG contingent took control of the entire city on the 13th instant. On the very 13th, I moved from my hideout to see my family at Ferguson Lane, and on seeing my wife, I composed myself with a smile. And regrettably, her response was a responsible shock to me; the news of my son, Frederick Toby’s critical condition with the Red Crossers. And, according to her his condition resulted from a Rocket Propelled Grenade attack where he and some others had sustained wounds. The grenade attack hit them at the Ferguson Street Municipal School compound where the entire Ferguson Lane community had fled to for safety when a bomb blast had killed two people within the said Ferguson Lane community.  According   to information, the weapon was used as a vengeance strike by the supporters of the then illegitimate government which the ECOMOG Contingent successfully and triumphantly unseated, to facilitate the reinstatement of the legitimate government then in exile. The suspects in the shooting incident were allegedly: {1}. A soldier named Desmond Johnson and a police; SSD, known as Kolleh, both of Benjamin Lane, Freetown. On the very 13th instant, I went to the Red Cross Centre to see my son. But to my utter dismay, I was told that Frederick had died in the early hours of the 13th and that he had been buried in a mass grave. It was as if the cloud was resting upon my head. I encountered a sudden depression in my nervous system; only Jesus, on that spot, sustained me. Sometime this year, a TRC male statement taker called at my address and informed me of his mission. He was welcomed. I gave him the necessary information he required with a documentary evidence of my son’s death. Subsequently, I was invited at the TRC office on the 8th instant, to which I responded and entertained accordingly, to my delight. That’s all I have to say.

Bishop Humper:  Brother Toby, we‘ll give you a few minutes to catch your breath. We want to thank you for coming to this commission today. We know what it means to lose a child. We hope that your coming here will make a difference in your life. I will like to invite commissioners, may be they may have some questions to ask for clarification.

Commissioner Jow: Thank you for your testimony. We thank you for your courage in appearing before the T R C. We are sorry and, we sympathize with you about what happened to your son. We would like to ask a few questions to clarify your testimony further. In your testimony you did say that you left your home because you were threatened by a brother. The commission would like to know the nature of the threat; not the name of your brother, and why?

Mr. Toby: He threatened me because I was not in support of the government at that time, that illegitimate government; and I was one of those that were expecting the intervention. So, when the news came that the ECOMOG contingent was on the way coming to Freetown, the brother approached me and said to me, in Krio language: “Yu Pa Toby, na una de sopot intavenshon, if intavenshon fail, a go point yu”. That was his remark.

Commissioner Jow:   Thank you Mr. Toby, a further question, how are you getting on with this brother, are you still living in the same area?

Mr. Toby: No.

Commissioner Jow: Would you like the commission to arrange a meeting between you and your brother for the purpose of reconciliation?

Mr. Toby: To me, the essence of this commission is to know the truth and forgive.   I have forgiven him, I don’t want him to meet with me; I’ve forgiven him as a Christian. What he had meant for me, God didn’t allow it to happen; so I am an overcomer, there is no need for me to meet with him. I talk to him now and again, we meet, we chat.There is no need.

Professor Kamara: Mr. Toby thank you for what you’ve done, I would just like you to clarify this point. Do you, at any time, or perhaps even now connect this shooting at this campus with this threat which your brother made?

Mr. Toby: No.

Bishop Humper: The soldier and police, who were they?

Mr. Toby: They were members of the AFRC.

Commissioner Torto: Please make one thing clear for me. According to your testimony, Kolleh and the soldier saw a group of boys playing soccer in that school yard and shot into them, was it then that your son was killed?

Mr. Toby: Yes; the elders were in the building and the children were in the field, playing. I was not in the area, I was told by those who were around.

Commissioner Torto: Is there anything to show that your son was targeted?

Mr. Toby: My son was not the only one who was killed; other children died too; they were buried in a mass grave.

Commissioner Sooka: How many children died that day, since you said that your son was buried in a mass grave?

Mr. Toby: I cannot say exactly, but I know a friend, one David Greene, who also lost his 21 year old son.

Justice Marcus Jones: Thank you for coming to help the TRC. Have you any idea where the mass grave is?

Mr. Toby: Yes. The address is written in the testimony I gave to you. It is Calmont Road.

Ms.Schotsmans: We sympathize with you. Did you know these two perpetrators before the shooting?

Mr. Toby: One I knew as a school boy, but I am sure he had nothing against me, it was just that they were working in support of their government.

Ms. Schotsmans: I believe that these two perpetrators are still living in Freetown?

Mr. Toby: The other one was showed to me and I have no business with him. Kolleh I had known even when he was going to school and I have no close dealings with him.

Ms.Schotsmans: After your son’s death, did you ever meet with them or ever had cause to talk with them?

Mr. Toby: No.

Ms. Schotsmans: The commission will like to call them to come and testify since you have mentioned their names.

Mr. Toby: I can’t stress that on the TRC because I have no evidence; I only learnt this by hearsay.

Bishop Humper: Thank you for coming. We have been asking you questions, do you, in turn, have any question or recommendations to make to the commission?

Mr. Toby:  Just a recommendation, in respect of the lawlessness in the country, due to idleness. Government should do something about it. We need a responsible and good structured government which will care for its people, give better accommodation, building schemes, low cost housing for less fortunate people. The wealth of our country is all over the world; there is no reason why people should suffer. There should be job opportunities and better salaries, medical facilities, quality education. Agriculture should be given a priority; a state farm should be implemented; reinstatement of the railways will help   the country greatly. The judiciary; people’s time are wasted unnecessarily when they know that the matter has no legality; poor police investigations done willfully to receive bribes; Anti-corruption should be given the mandate to look into matters.

Bishop Humper: Thanks. I think that your recommendations are all embracing, we will look into the matter, and the TRC will continue to identify itself with you and prays that God continues to touch you.   





I, Sahr Meh-meh Nicol, do solemnly swear that the testimony I shall give before this commission, shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So, help me God.


I thank the TRC for the opportunity given to me to lighten my bosom. I was at the east end of town, 36 Newcastle  Street, Kissy. I was a CDU and we used to mount check points at Newcastle Street junction, via Passonage Street. By 1:00pm one night, a group of people   from Calaba town area came around. We interrogated them and they told us that rebels had entered into the city. We told them that those people were not rebels; by then it had been announced on 98.1 Radio that ECOMOG  was on a mopping up operation in the hills. At 1:30 the same night, we saw another large group of people, and we told them the same story. They told us that those were not ECOMOG. The firing became more intense and we woke our neighbours up and told them that the rebels had come. We ran to the city hall. In the morning, we tried to move towards Congo town, but we saw rebels coming from Connaught and Government Wharf. So, we decided to go back to city hall. We were afraid to continue our journey because of the way in which we were dressed; we were afraid of being termed as rebels. I decided to return home; I saw some our neighbours in our vicinity. That night, my neighbours and I slept in the cemetery; we were afraid of sleeping in our houses.

On the 7th, I had SLA and RUF visitors. One of the SLA soldiers was my close neighbour and my “name sake”. I accommodated them out of fear; they had guns. We all sat together, but Sahr came with a girl whom he had abducted. They slept together in the house and I slept in the cemetery. In the morning of the following day, one of the rebels accused us for not sleeping in the same place with them, and that we came around in the morning only. I told them that I did not sleep in the house where they slept because of the lack of enough space to accommodate all of us. At that time they were setting houses on fire; in the process, the girl whom Sahr had brought to the house, escaped. When he came back and did not find the girl, he asked us her whereabouts? But we did not know anything about her whereabouts, and we told him that. He was very angry and was mad at us. He asked his colleagues to take their possessions out of the house. After they had taken out their possessions, Sahr set the house; our house, ablaze. I was there until the flames came down. He then gave me his belongings to carry. When we went to his own residence (former residence), he went into the house, came out and then asked me to go with him. As we went up the hills towards Mess-Mess, we heard the sound of the ECOMOG jet and we dashed into hiding. When we got to Brima Lane, the jet fired shots and they rushed into hiding. I then threw   his load which I was carrying, and I took another route.  I saw a friend whose two arms had been chopped off. I met the guys who had chopped off the arms of my friend I took a by-pass route. A sergeant Blood asked   me to stretch my hands, but I began to plead with him. He did not listen to my plea, and since I did not have anybody to plead on my behalf, I decided to put up a fight. They had an axe with a wooden short handle and a metal head which they said that they got from Dock Yard. As we were wrestling, one of them hit and wounded my hand. I was shouting as I ran away; they were shooting at me.  

On my way, I met a woman who wrapped my hand with her wrapper. We walked through Leicester unto Sorie town.  I met   woman who had lived in the east end of town, who helped me greatly. She took me to a Dr. Dumbuya and paid the bill for the treatment of my hand. However, my hand was not properly treated; I feel pain whenever the weather is cold. When the raining season approaches, I usually ask aunty to put money aside for P.O.P which is always put on my hand until the end of the rainy season.

Bishop Humper:   We thank you for coming.

Justice Marcus Jones: Did the other Sahr, the SLA, have any grudge against you?

Mr. Nicol: No.

Justice Marcus Jones: Why do you think he did not give you any help?

Mr. Nicol: I don’t know.

Justice Marcus Jones: Sahr, do you think he was under the influence of any drugs?

Mr. Nicol: Yes.

Justice Marcus Jones: Do you know the whereabouts of the other Sahr?

Mr. Nicol: He lives at 65 Davies Street, Kissy.

Commissioner Torto: Is he still with the army?

Mr. Nicol: I don’t see him in military fatigue anymore, so I don’t know.

Commissioner Torto: Is there any relationship between you now?

Mr. Nicol: No, instead when he sees me now, he  does not look at me in my face.

Commissioner Torto: Would you like the commission to arrange a meeting between you?

Mr. Nicol: Yes.

Professor Kamara: Let me take you back to Sahr, your friend, as you said you said, you knew him well, before the incident of 6th - 8th January. How much did you really know Sahr; were you close friends?

SAHR: He was not my close friend, but there was a woman who sold cooked rice in their compound, and I used to go there to buy food. We used to see and talk to each other, and when he learnt that we had the same name, he began to call me “Torma’.

Professor Kamara: You said that you would like to meet with Sahr so that he could testify you have said the truth. Would you like to go beyond that to, at least, settle your differences?

Mr. Nicol: Yes, because I have no grudge for him, and I hate it when he looks away whenever he sees me.

Professor Kamara: Do you know the present address of the woman who helped you?

Mr.  Nicol: Yes, I don’t live in the east end anymore; she lives at Congo town, and I also live in a camp at Congo town.

Ms Schotsmans: Do you know Sahr’s second name?

Mr. Nicol:  No, I only know his first name.

Ms. Schotsmans: You said that Sahr came along with a girl, did she come along voluntarily or was she forced?

Mr. Nicol: She was abducted.

Ms. Schotsmans: Was this girl raped?

Mr. Nicol: I wouldn’t know; they stayed in a separate room.

Ms.Schotsmans: How old do you think she was?

Mr. Nicol: She must have been between 20 and 25 years.

Ms. Schotsmans: Was she one of your neighbours?

Mr. Nicol: No.

Bishop Humper: We have asked you questions, now it is your turn to ask questions or make recommendations to the commission.

Mr. Nicol: All I ask the government is to help all those who had been victims of the war.

CHAIRMAN: We thank you and we sympathize with you for your loss. We hope and pray that you and those helping to put the report together will help to keep your respect and dignity.




I, Ibrahim, do solemnly swear, before this commission, that the evidence I shall give, shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing, but the truth. So help me Allah.


Bishop Humper: You are a special person to the TRC and we welcome you. You are just as important as any other person around. You will help the commission to help the nation solve some of its problems.

IBRAHIM: I thank the TRC for encouraging me and giving me the opportunity to meet with important personalities. I thank God and pray that I will be like them some day.

On a Friday, January 22nd, I was at home preparing food for me and my friends to eat.  Then my wife had just put to bed and had travelled.  My two friends and my brother were in the house cooking, when we saw boys enter the compound and surround the house.  When my in-law saw them he dashed into hiding under a bed in the bedroom.  My other friend hid himself in the mattress by the wall.  They came and captured one of my friends and me, and enquired about the inmates.  I told them that the others had escaped and that I had no authority to keep people.  My response angered them and one of them threatened to shoot at us; there were six of them but only one of them had a gun.  One of them that was drinking beer threw the empty pint at me, but I dodged it.  The friend who was with me was very nervous whilst I was talking to the rebels.  I tried to console him by telling him that even if we were going to die, we should die like men. At that point, the guys who came said that I was a great guy because I was not afraid of them. The guy who was drinking the beer, and who had thrown the empty pint at me, took the gun from his colleague and shot at my friend. My friend had a shirt on, and I was half naked. Seeing that, I thought that the next target was me, so I rushed at the guy who had shot at my friend, and I grabbed the gun; they had only one gun, and I even doubted whether they had enough ammunition. They then shouted out that they had seen Kamajors. That they had shot at my friend and that they had started referring to me as Kamajor. I put up a stiff fight. I had knocked four of them to the ground, and was wrestling with the fifth one who seemed to be the fittest, when I saw another group approaching. I had to run away. I was running towards TEXACO when I met another batch at Ferry junction. I had no means of escape, so I had to stay with the rebels. I told them that I had lost my brother and that I wished to go with them into the jungle. One of them whose face was familiar asked whether I actually wanted to go with them into the jungle, and I said yes. He advised me to escape; he pointed a gun at me in the guise of threatening me, and told me to use that as a cover to escape. On my way, in the east end of town, they arrested me and accused me of being a rebel. I told them my father had left me in the house,and that if I was a rebel, I would not have been there; I told them that I was even there the previous day. After they had beaten me, they sent to ECOMOG that they had caught a rebel; they hoped that ECOMOG would come and kill me. I was wounded, and should I shave my head, even now, you would see the scars. The guy who had run away from my house was among the crowd which came to see who the rebel was. When he saw me, he intervened on my behalf; he even brought out a picture which we had taken together. At that point, a taxi driver called Mohamed, came with a long stick and hit me on the back; when I raised my head, he recognized me and he threw the stick and started pleading with the crowd on my behalf. He told them that I was his friend’s son, and that whenever he went to our house, I gave him water to drink. By that time, ECOMOG was approaching. I was then taken to the Rev. Father for identification and he testified that I was not a rebel. I was then released and I went down the street to a man who administered medication to me.  He stitched my head without anesthetic.

Justice Marcus Jones: I thank you very much Ibrahim. Do you know what happened to your friend who was shot, did he die?

Mr. Ibrahim: We came back to take care of the corpse.
Justice Marcus Jones: When and how did you do that?

Mr. Ibrahim: A while after I had been treated, I got some friends who helped to drag the corpse to clay factory where we shabbily buried the body. When the whole thing subsided, his body was exhumed and given a befitting burial by a group which went around for that purpose.

Commissioner Torto: We sympathize with you, most people cannot go through all what you went through. I   have one question for you. Do you know the group of people who attacked?

Mr. Ibrahim: They were the junta men who came on January 6th.

Commissioner Torto: Could you identify which group they belonged to; kamajors, donsos, rebels or what?

Mr. Ibrahim: I am convinced that those were not kamajors or SLA, they were the jungle group.

Commissioner Jow: I join other commissioners in thanking you. In your statement, you said, “Boys”, were they really young boys?

Mr. Ibrahim: No.

Commissioner Jow: You said that they had arms, can you tell which kind?

Mr. Ibrahim: They called it G3.

Commissioner Jow:  Can you identify any one of them?

Mr. Ibrahim: No, it’s a long time now. I think that it was towards the end of the disarmament process that I saw one of them; a fair in complexion one.

Commissioner Jow: Was Santigie your true biological brother?

Mr. Ibrahim: No, we grew up together and we planned and did every thing together.

Commissioner Jow: Did his family know about his death and did they bury him properly?

Mr. Ibrahim: Yes.

Bishop Humper: I have a few questions for you. Talking about what you saw and your experiences at the stadium, you said that they entered and were killing suspected rebels, is that correct?

Mr. Ibrahim: Yes. I left the stadium because the kamajors were arresting and killing indiscriminately, and by then I had sustained injuries, so I had to leave lest the worst should befall me.

Bishop Humper: Did you see any killings take place at the stadium?

Mr. Ibrahim: Yes, the kamajors killed a woman called Zainab.

Bishop Humper: Was the security at stadium manned by the kamajors alone?   

Mr. Ibrahim: Yes.

Bishop Humper: Were they the only security present?

Mr. Ibrahim: Yes; where I was at the stadium; I was at the hostel, I did not walk about because I felt pain; I sat on the piazza and went inside when I was tired.   The only security I saw were kamajors.

Bishop Humper: We have asked you a lot of questions, do you have any questions to ask, suggestions or recommendations to make?

Mr. Ibrahim: I do not have any question to ask, but I have a recommendation. I thank the TRC for this opportunity. May god bless all the leaders who mean well and want to bring peace to this country so that generations yet unborn will enjoy. We have wasted ten years of our lives. All those who have suffered should be properly taken care of and I am appealing to you that we all join hands together to work for the good of this country.

CHAIRMAN: We thank you very much for coming to testify before the commission.                     

Date  -  22 April, 2003

Witness Name: Moses Sam Kossaba

Witness No:

Reference No :
The witness was sworn on oath by the Commissioner Satang Jow, the Presiding Commissioner. He is a Christian.


I am 33 years old.  I live at 105 Pademba Road Freetown.  I am here on behalf of my late brother who was killed in a Kamajor ambush.  He was travelling to Kono from Tongo on some diamond business.  On his way to Kono, he fell in an ambush.  Three of them were arrested.  They were searched and beaten with machete from which they sustained some severe injuries. The Kamajors discovered that my brother had some money and diamonds on him. As a result of this, they then decided to take my brother away from the others.  One of the other two abductees said that they heard the commander saying he was not satisfied with my brother because he was very strong; he felt he was a soldier.  The commander said they were going to prepare my brother for their meal.  He was taken further into the forest but not too far from where the others were waiting.  Shortly after, they heard a gunshot and it was followed by jubilation and merry-making from their captors. At that time, night was fast approaching. The other two decided that it was an opportunity for them to escape because they felt that after Sam Kossaba - (my brother), it will be their turn.  Whilst they were hiding in the bush, they said, they saw the Kamajors carrying some meat which they placed on palm fronds.  They were able to manoeuvre and they left the area for another village. The people in that village provided lodging for them and the following day facilitated their return to Koidu.

Commissioner Sooka: Who told you what happened because you were not present at the scene?

Mr. Kossaba: One of the men who had escaped. They were admitted at the Koidu Government Hospital. I met them there and one of them narrated this to me.
Commissioner Sooka: Can you tell where they are at presently?

Mr. Kossaba: No.

Commissioner Sooka: Can you tell us the name of this individual who told you about the incident?

Mr. Kossaba:  His name is Sheku, but I don’t know his surname.

Commissioner Sooka: Did you know anything about your brother’s business?

Moses:  He was dealing in diamonds.

Prof. Kamara: Where did this incident take place?

Moses:  Between Kono and Tongo

Prof. Kamara: Did you try to find out what happened to the body of your brother?

Moses:  I tried but the Kamajors were everywhere.

Prof. Kamara: Did people in the village where these two boys went to, tell you anything more than what the other boys in the hospital said to you?

Moses: No. My father sent his brother who was living around the village to gather more information about the incidence but he couldn’t get anything to add.

Prof. Kamara: Could you tell of any other such incidence of cannibalism beside that of your brother?

Moses:  That was the first incident I heard about.  However, I later heard of about two or more of such incidences.

Justice Marcus Jones: Did these other fellows see the Kamajors eating the flesh of your brother?

Moses:  They did not say that to me

Justice Marcus Jones:  Whilst these Kamajors were jubilating, were  these boys able to identify in what language they were jubilating in?

Moses:  They were singing in Mende.

Comm. Torto: Since you know that it was the Kamajors who arrested your brother, did you make any move to take the matter up with any higher authority?

Moses:  No. Many people in Kono knew about the incident. Also we don’t know who in particular to hold responsible.    

Comm. Jow: Did your brother have any other influence in Kono?

Moses:  No

Comm. Jow: Did he associate himself with any military or political group?

Moses: No

Martien Schotmans: thanked the witness and said that she has no question to ask Moses.

The chairperson: I thank you for coming to testify. Have you any question to ask?

Moses: I have no question. I am a Christian and believe in God.  I have no recommendation. I am here in the interest of peace.   

Thank you for coming.


Hawah Koroma was sworn on oath. She is a Muslim.

It was on a Friday that the war reached us.  My grandchildren and I were three in the house.  One was pregnant.  The other was an adolescent and in puberty age.  A man holding a gun approached us in the house and shot into the air.  My grandchildren fled the house running and they were pursued by the attackers. The pregnant woman was shot and killed; the adolescent one was also was killed.   I fled into the bush and wept.  I was there for the rest of the day crying and did not see them.    Those who returned to the town told me that they have killed my grand-children.  I cried.  I did not know whether they were given befitting funeral. Also Alhaji Umaru was killed. All our belongings left in the house when we went away, were looted.  We were in the bush for quite sometime. Later I went to Kenema and one day I heard sporadic gunshots. There was pandemonium and people were running helter-skelter. I was not properly dressed at that time and the weather was very cold. I slept in the bush and in the morning, people came and told us to go back to town. After that nothing happened again. This is my testimony.

Comm Jow: We thank you for coming despite your age.  We at the TRC, are happy that you brought out the truth and we are happy that once the truth has been acknowledged we can sustain the peace in Sierra Leone.

Comm. Torto: Who was this Alhaji Umaru?

Hawah: He was a prominent personality in Janjahun.  He was a learned man but I could not remember his status.

Comm. Torto: Was he a chief?

Hawah: He was a prominent man and a learned man.

Comm. Torto: Were these people speaking in languages you do not understand?

Hawah: Yes.

Justice Marcus Jones: We are sorry for the experience you had and the loss of your third grand daughter. Did she have treatment for her bullet wound?

Hawah: She was treated and she is now married.

Prof. Kamara: We are in sympathy with you. We know that you went through a very difficult time and now I see that your address here is No.6 Wilson Street, Freetown. When did you come down to No. 6 Wilson street, Freetown?

Hawah: During the dry season this year.

Prof. Kamara: All the time you were in the province. Was it in Kenema?

Hawah: I was in Kenema.  It was when I left Kenema that I came to my current abode.

Prof. Kamara: How are you managing to survive?

Hawah: I am currently living with my son. My children are the ones taking care of me.  The person who catered for me was killed.  It was towards the end of the war that he was killed.

Prof. Kamara: Was he killed by rebels or through natural death?

Hawah: I left him in Kenema where they killed him.

Mrs Jow: Can you tell us why your three grand daughters were leaving with you in that village?

Hawah: When they attacked their place, they moved to my place.

Mr. Charm: Apart from your two grand daughters and this Alhaji Umaru who were killed -  were there other people killed?

Hawah: No. When we were hiding in the bush they told us that other people were killed.

Mr. Charm: Apart from this incident do you know of anything in the village?

Hawah: I will lie if I say anything.  I can’t say anything

Comm. Jow: This is now your turn to ask questions or you may wish to make any recommendation for the commission to consider.  

Hawah: Just the killing of my three grand children I went through a lot of suffering.  I did not get anything to eat only empty sauce.  

Comm Jow: We thank you very much for coming and I want to assure that what you have said will be included in our report.


22ND April, 2003

Witness name: Adama Sankoh.

My name is Adama Sankoh.  I am a Muslim.

Sworn by the Quran

The rebels burnt down my grandfather’s house.  He had wanted to resist them but they hit with a stick before the house was burnt.  One of my aunt and her children who were up the provinces;  she was partly blind and was killed at the place she had gone to seek refuge; my elder brother's body was mutilated; he couldn’t withstand the pain. He eventually died.  This is my story.

Prof. Kamara: I thank you for coming and for your testimony. What happened to you after the incident in 1999?

Adama:  My grandfather’s house was burnt and he was beaten with sticks because he resisted them and my aunt who was partly blind had wanted to escape but was killed.  My elder brother was beaten with a machete.

Prof. Kamara: What did you do and where did you go?

Adama:  I was in Freetown.

Prof. Kamara: Did you go to any of the camps?

Adama:  I did not go anywhere.

Prof. Kamara: I see you have your baby with you. Are you with your husband?

Adama:   I am with my mother in law who is taking care of me and my baby.

Bishop Joseph Humper: Were you present when your aunt was killed? If no, who told you about it?

Adama:  My cousin, her son.

Bishop Joseph Humper: Do you know the name of the son?

Adama:  Yes.  His name is Mohamed Conteh.

Comm. Sylvanus Torto: You said those who did this thing to you were rebels.  How did you know they were rebels?  What type of rebels?

Adama:  I cannot tell which group they belonged to because my cousin told me about it.

Comm. Jow: In your testimony you said that your cousin told you about what happened.  Is he still around or was he in the village when that happened?

Adama:   Yes he was there.

Comm. Jow: Did you know whether he made statement to the statement takers?

Adama:  No. I donot think so.

Comm. Jow: Is there any way we can contact Mohamed?

Adama:  Yes.

Comm. Jow: Where does he stay?

Adama:  He usually moves up and about.  Most time he is in the provinces and at times in Freetown.

Leaders of Evidence

No questions

Comm. Jow: Adama, We have heard your story.  We have asked you questions.  It is now your turn to ask questions and make recommendations.

Adama: Now this thing has happened we have forgotten about it.  Since you send your statement takers to take statements, we have testified.  We do not know what you will do for us.
Comm Jow – The TRC cannot do anything for you readily. However we have listened to your story and I want to assure that what you have said will form an integral part of our report. 


WITNESS NAME:  Aminata Sannoh



The witness was sworn on oath by the Presiding Commissioner, Yasmine Sooka.

When the rebels, came, I was at home with my husband, we were at home for about nineteen days and had nothing to eat.  We were there when the Ramadan came.  On the 20th day, they wanted to burn down our house but they did not.  On the 21st day, they came and burn down our house.  After that my husband advised that we should not stay together. My younger sister and I went out of the house.  After the house was burnt down, my husband took the  burnt zincs to put them together but he sustained cuts on his hands. I had left, when the Kamajors came and attacked my husband; he ran for safety and hid in a nearby mosque.  I was at Kissy when I heard that my husband had left the mosque.  I had left Kissy before my husband got there.  On the 22nd I had to sleep at Kissy.  On Friday the 23rd I was able to reach Kissy, I met  some ladies who told me that my husband had left kissy.  We agreed to meet at a certain place, but when I went there, my husband was no where to be found.  I looked everywhere but my husband was not around, people knew that my husband had been killed, but they were afraid to tell me.  After seven days, I went to his sister to enquire about him.  Whilst we were waiting for his arrival, some boys told me that he had been killed by kamajors because of his cut on his hands, the kamajors thought he was a rebel.

Comm Marcus Jones: Were you the only two in your family?

Aminata: We had a daughter, 13 years old.

Comm. Marcus Jones: How old was she then?

Aminata: I gave birth to her in 1990.

Comm. Marcus Jones: What happened to the child?

Aminata: The child was with me, I left my husband  and she is still with me.

Comm. Marcus Jones: When you were running away was the child with you?

Aminata: Yes when we were running away the child was with me because my husband advised that we must separate.

Comm. Marcus Jones: Is she going to school, what class is she?

Aminata: she is attending, the St. Michael’s Primary and  she is in class 6.

Comm. Marcus Jones: Have you been able to settle down without your husband?

Aminata: When my husband died, I was leaving with my sister, but things were not too good, so I had to stay with a friend who is taking care of me.

Comm. Marcus Jones: Is he your boyfriend?

Aminata: Yes, he has promised to marry me.

Comm. Marcus Jones: Do you have any child with him?

Aminata: Yes, a boy.

Comm. Jow:  Did the house belong to your husband?

Aminata: The house was my husband’s family house.  He lost both parents and we were living there not paying rent.

Comm. Jow: Was your house the only house burnt down?

Aminata: No other houses were burnt down, but I am only particular about my own house.

Comm. Jow:  Did you remember how many of them came into your house?

Aminata: They were in large number, they wore military uniforms, a neighbour came to help us put out the fire, but he was shot and later buried in front of the house.

Comm. Jow: In your statement, you said that a small boy killed your neighbour, can you tell me how old was the boy?

Aminata: He was around the age of 10 but I could not identify him.

Comm. Jow: The two weeks you were in search of husband, did have any help from people?

Aminata: No,  I had no other help. I was with my daughter, we used to go around in different camps enquiring about my husband.

Comm. Jow:  Can you tell us about your brother-in-law who told you that they killed your husband?

Aminata: It was my husband’s elder brother, who told me not to search for  him because they saw him over CNN.

Comm. Jow:  Did you see the remains of your husband?

Aminata: No, they only told me that his corpse was taken somewhere for burial.

Comm. Sooka:  Did you try to find out from anybody after your husband was killed?

Aminata: Yes, those who saw his corpse.

Comm. Sooka: what did they tell you?

Aminata: They were able to identify him, by the clothes he wore and the cuts he sustained when he was shot.

Comm. Sooka: Did you go back to the house where you were staying?

Aminata: Yes, I went there for the burial rite, I normally go there to visit them and my child also goes there for visits.

Comm. Sooka: Do you the names of the witnesses who told you of your husband’s death? Will they be willing to come and testify?

Aminata: I don’t know whether they will be in place to testify to the TRC.

Comm. Sooka: What happened to your sister in law?

Aminata: I thank God, nothing happened to her.

Comm. Sooka: In your statement, you said that your daughter  was abducted by the rebels and stayed with them for almost nine months. I want you to clarify that.

Aminata: the child in question in my statement is not the one I had with my husband. She was a child of my husband from a different mother.

Comm. Sooka: Where is the child now?

Aminata: She is now staying with my sister

Comm. Sooka: Did she tell you of what she went through when she was with the rebels?

Aminata: She told me that she was raped, given marijuana to smoke, after she came back I enrolled her in a school, but now she has left the school and roaming about, so I had to take her to live with my mother in the provinces.

Comm. Sooka: Was she pregnant at any stage?

Aminata: When she came back, she was taken to the hospital and a family site for medication.

Comm. Sooka: Is she not going to school?

Aminata: No,she is at home, but my sister wants her to learn something.

Comm. Marcus Jones:  the child you spoke to me about is she the child of your husband?

Aminata: yes.

Comm. Marcus Jones:  Do you care for your first daughter?

Aminata: Yes, I do care for her, though she is staying with my sister,  she is my first child.

Comm. Jow: Where was your daughter when she was abducted?

Aminata: she was living with my sister.

Comm. Jow:  How were you informed about what happened, was  it the same time that you lost your husband?

Aminata: Yes, it was the same time.

Comm. Jow:  How did you cope?

Aminata:  I stopped going to the mosque, and started going to church, the pastors, visited and comforted and prayed for me.

Comm. Jow: When did she return from the jungle?

Augusta:  Three of them came back, she had no hair on her head, I was shocked, by then I was staying with my sister.

Comm. Jow: Were you happy when you saw her?

Aminata: Yes, I was happy, after that, I was sad again, because I had lost my husband.

Comm. Sooka: Was your daughter able to talk to you freely about her experiences?

Aminata: when she came back she couldn’t say anything, I started putting pressure on her, after a while she explained that she was raped and tied up.

Comm. Sooka:  Was she forced to be a member of the movement?

Aminata: Yes, but she did not kill, but they went about looting and taking things from people forcefully.

Comm. Sooka: We know that she was not forced to go with the rebels,  did she tell you where they have been for the past nine months or were they moving from place to place?

Aminata: They were stable, they were not moving from place to place, they stayed in a village around Okra Hill.

Comm. Sooka: Apart from looting was she asked to do any hard thing for the rebels?

Aminata: She was asked to smoke marijuana.

Comm. Sooka: When she came back, did she continue smoking?

Aminata: No she did not continue to smoke, but now she is so undisciplined.

Comm. Sooka: Did she know the person who abducted her?

Aminata: No, but she knew the person who raped her.

Comm. Sooka: Do you know the name of your daughter’s commander?

Aminata: No

Comm. Sooka: Do you know the person who killed your husband?

Aminata: No.

Martien:  When was your daughter born, and when was she abducted?

Aminata: She was born in 1983 and abducted in 1999.

Martien: Did you know the group of people who abducted your daughter?

Aminata: she might know them, but I do not.

Martien: How many times did she say she was raped?

Aminata: The first man who raped her, was tied and beaten, after that she went with another man.

Martien: so two of the them raped her?

Aminata: yes

Martien: Do you know whether she was given as wife to one of the rebels?

Aminata: No except the one who took her away.

Martien: after she came back did she tell you that she saw the person who raped her?

Aminata:  No

Martien: Did she tell you whether she was beaten by these rebels?

Aminata: No, she came back well.

Martien:  Do you know, when she came back if she was helped by any NGO?

Aminata: Yes, she had been assisted by the City Council?

Martien: Do they still continue their support?

Aminata:  yes

Comm. Sooka: Does your husband help you to take care of your daughter?

Aminata:  yes

Comm. Sooka: Did you have any question to ask the Commission or would you like the government to help you?

Aminata: Yes, all I want is some assistant for my daughter who has lost her father.

Comm. Sooka: What type of help do you need?

Aminata: I want my daughter to be educated.

Comm. Sooka:  we can’t make any promises now, but we have taken all your testimony and we will send our report to the government.

Comm. Sooka: we thank you for coming, we know that it was not easy for you to come here to testify.

Aminata: yes, that is why I am here, to say something about the death of my husband and daughter.

Comm. Sooka: we thank you for coming.



DATE: 25th April, 2003.

The presiding commissioner Comm. Prof. John Kamara welcomes all present. He then went on to read the hearing procedures after which he introduced the commissioners present. Opening prayers were offered and first witness was called by the Leader of Evidence Martien Schotsman.
Opening prayers:

Muslim - Abdul K. Kamara
Christian - From the audience

WITNESS NAME: Ibrahim Brima Kamara:



The witness was sworn on oath on the bible by the presiding commissioner, Comm. Prof. John Kamara.


I bless you all, we are happy that TRC came to Sierra Leone; they have to rebuild our country.  As you have come to rebuild, we believe that it is the truth that you want. I thank you all for that. May God help you to succeed.

I will start with my statement I gave to the statement takers. I ask for your forgiveness, I know that is what you want.

There is something which we thought was very difficult, we sat peacefully and we saw rebels entered our country. Some of them came from Burkina Faso, we are happy that they were removed from the country. But our brothers turn around and started doing what those boys were doing. The rebels were in the bush, destroying the country, destroying life and properties. Those who were responsible to defend us joined them in order to destroy lives and properties. We realized that we should not sit back and see this country destroyed. We stood up to defend our country.

In 1995, we formed ourselves into a group to defend our country, after we have formed CDF. We did not have any weapons. But we had our plans. There was a time when we received a letter from the Government inviting us to defend our country.  We must stand strong to defend our country.  We were happy because we were told to defend our country.  The paramount Chief, who dispatched this letter, said that he would take the matter up to the Government. “Those who have single barrel guns should take it up to defend our country.” We saw it happened. We received supply from government.

In 1997, when the rebels entered, we were not expecting them; they captured most of us, young boys. Now that they have started, whenever they came we were ready for them.  They went and attacked a village six miles off from our location.  When we went there we met them.  They killed one of our colleagues, Osman.  We told civilians to leave the area.  We went there but we were repelled.  Wherever we were deployed we told the civilians to leave the area and find a safer place for them.  We told them that anytime they heard  gunshots they must go into hiding.  After that, we heard that all CDF must be trained.  Those of us who formed that security group were not in large number.  We did not disturb any civilians.  They told me that rebel had attacked their village. But it was a lie; it was their relatives who wanted to see them.

When we arrived, they told us that they have burnt down our village. I had my wife and children there. I will tell you that person who claimed to be a CDF, but he was a rebel.  He went and took some boys at Madina; he recruited them into his own CDF.  He was born of the area.  He held six of them and two of them escaped. One of them who was called Abdul took the message to us.  If we had not gone there that morning he would have killed the remaining four people.  He wrote a letter and gave us two policemen as escort, the letter was handed to him and he read the letter but he gave us negative answer, he said that they were not with him.  I told him that he was telling lies.  He had killed them, because he claimed to defend civilians but had started killing them; it was a surprise to me.  We took the matter to Makeni but because the war was on, they said that we should wait.  One man told us that the rebels had attacked the same village again.  We slept and we left there in the morning hours on a Friday.  We told ourselves that we were happy because we did not meet rebels there.  But they had gone into hiding, so we were happy. They got information that the CDF were in that village. So they opened fire on us, but we were unable to fight back. When my colleagues, saw that I was shot and bleeding, they left. I tried to take care of myself, but I could see the rebels from my hiding place.  They chased my colleagues, shooting, they went to one village and burnt down the whole village. I went into a farm house to hide, I did not have anything to eat or drink, but I thank God.

Somebody took me from that area and I was brought to 34 Military Hospital, the doctor refused to touch me but I begged him to.

When I was discharged they took me to Hinga Norman. I was with him in his house. I told him that we were not supposed to be in his house. He said he would find a place for us to leave in.  He finally said they have located Brookfields Hotel for us. We were staying there when somebody told me that they would produce artificial limbs for us.  We went to the amputee camp but they refused to let us stay there claiming that we were kamajors, we were not supposed to be there.  We were there at the Brookfields Hotel suffering. We went to Hinga Norman again to  make complaints but he said that he was tired of begging the government for us. He insisted that he had nothing to do and that we should go back to our villages. He told us that in time to come we will enjoy.

We were given two bags of rice to be repatriated to our villages. But some of us had wives and children.  We were confused, we were there for sometime and they stopped giving us our ration.  If you fail to assist us now who then should we put our burden on.  

We know that we have not done anything wrong. For us it is only God that will console us. At times if people stare at me for a time long, I always feel bad.  We decided that the government is there. We went to S.B Marah, we were 15 in number. I thank God that our Chairman is here with us. SB wrote a letter and our names were listed, the letter was later forwarded to Norman but he refused to do something.  The response S.B Marah got from Hinga Norman was negative; he said that he (S.B. Marah) must not interfere in his office. So we had no alternative other than to appeal to the government to assist us. I am an illiterate, I have my children and they are not going to school.  When I was physically fit, I used to work hard for my living. We have asked for the erection of houses for us, as they have done for other amputees, we had done a lot but up till now we have not seen any response.  That's why we have come to TRC, so that they can pass on our message to the Government for assistance in the future.

Comm. John: I thank you very much. I will now ask my colleague Commissioners to ask you questions for clarification.

Justice Marcus Jones: I want you to tell us, I want you to react to the allegation made by you people.  They said that you people were involved in looting, raping and killing of civilians.

Ibrahim Brima Kamara:  No, if we did that, it means that we were not fighting for the civilians, we were not guilty of such offence.

Justice Marcus Jones: How long were you at the Brookfields Hotel.

Ibrahim Brima Kamara: We went there in the year 2000.

Justice Marcus Jones: How long were you there?

Ibrahim Brima Kamara: Till 2003.

Justice Marcus Jones: Could you describe how your days were at the Brookfields hotel when you were lack of supply?

Ibrahim Brima Kamara: When we were called by Hinga Norman, he neglected us; it was only the inmates who sometimes assisted us.  We were there when the government said that they wanted the building. We were given Le10, 000 and a bag of rice.

Justice Marcus Jones: Some people say that they were equally afraid of you just like the rebels.

Ibrahim Brima Kamara: In spite of the fact that the country is small, as the saying goes “one bonga fish spoil the whole fish” but if you look into the matter we were not guilty of such offence.

Comm. Sooka: Can you tell me what you were doing before you joined the Kamajor.

Ibrahim Brima Kamara: I was a farmer.

Comm. Sooka: Can you tell me the type of training you received before you joined the Kamajor.

Ibrahim Brima Kamara: Were trained to maneuver and to hide from our enemies.

Comm. Sooka: Can you tell us who were responsible for the training? Your commander?

Ibrahim Brima Kamara:  The man was taken from Bo, he was an ex soldier called Dumbuya.

Comm. Sooka: Can you tell us about the composition of the unit, were there smalls boys recruited.

Ibrahim Brima Kamara:  When we started initially, we did not recruit children, because we did not want to go against the wishes of civilians.  

Comm. Sooka: Can you tell us some of the atrocities you did to the rebels?

Ibrahim Brima Kamara:  According to my testimony, we joined the CDF, in the year, 1997 , they entered unexpectedly, some of our colleagues were abducted, I went to the war front only once, the second time I attempted to go that was when I sustained this injury.

Comm. John Kamara: Did I hear you say Burkina Faso, NPFL rebels, and the soldiers were fighting them, and they were chased out by the soldiers?  You also mentioned that after these people were chased out, our soldiers too join force and fought alongside with them.

Ibrahim Brima Kamara:  Yes,

Comm. John Kamara: did I hear you say that the CDF, stood firm to defend the country and have support from government.

Ibrahim Brima Kamara: Yes, they usually send us some rice.

Comm. Sooka: Many of the witness indicated that they suffered from the CDF as they did from the rebels group, can you tell something about that?

Ibrahim Brima Kamara:  Like I told you, it was not a secret, the country is small but it is very deep, I was staying in a different area, I only knew about myself, if they committed atrocities, I don’t know because I was not with them.  I made a parable earlier “one bonga fish spoil all of the fish”.  You should not fight for civilians and at the same time harass them. If you go back to my village nobody will tell you that the CDF committed any atrocities there, now I am willing to go back to my village.

Comma Sooka: You mentioned Hinga Norman, and you know that he had been indicted in the Special Court to answer for the atrocities caused by the Kamajors.

Ibrahim Brima Kamara: I can’t tell you, the reason for which Hinga Norman was arrested.  I cannot say I was against or I am happy, because I do not know the crime he has committed. So I can’t say anything concerning that.

Comm. Sooka: So to your knowledge, you can testify that your own group of CDF, did not commit any atrocities, like burning of houses, looting?

Ibrahim Brima Kamara: As you are sitting down, and hear that enemies are approaching you and when they came they took all your property you would be considered as enemy to that person.  We were only defending the civilians not to harass them.  We did not rape. God is our witness.

Martein: How long have you been in that group, since you were recruited before you sustain that injury?

Ibrahim: We were trained in 1998, and I sustained the injury in that same year.

Martien: How many months?

Ibrahim Brima Kamara: I said it earlier, it was only two months.

Martien: How many men were recruited in this unit?

Ibrahim Brima Kamara: According to registration for training in our chiefdom, we were 316, but some of them did not continue.

Martien: Do you know whether other chiefdoms recruited CDF?

Ibrahim Brima Kamara:  Yes

Martien: Who was the highest commander?

Ibrahim Brima Kamara: Hinga Norman

Martien: Did you meet him during this training?

Ibrahim Brima Kamara:  He promised to visit but I can’t tell whether he was there after I sustained my injury.

Martien: Who was the person next to him?

Ibrahim Brima Kamara:  Dumbuya

Martien: Can you tell me his rank?

Ibrahim Brima Kamara:  I can’t tell.

Martien: Can you tell us something about the Paramount Chief?

Ibrahim Brima Kamara:  We did not tell him everything, when our colleagues were killed that was the time we went to inform him.

Martien: Did the paramount played any role in recruiting and training?

Ibrahim Brima Kamara: No, the only thing he did was that he gave us material support by providing cow for us when we were passing out.

Martien: You said you were involved in two attacks with the rebels.

Ibrahim Brima Kamara:  yes

Martien: I would like you to tell us something about the attacks.

Ibrahim Brima Kamara: On the first attack, one of our colleagues was killed, so we had to retreat because we were not properly armed.

Comm. John Kamara: We want you to ask us any questions you wish to ask.

Ibrahim: my question goes to you, is it bad that when we fight for our country, we were left out? We defended our country and they have forgotten about us.

Comm. John Kamara: I can’t answer, and I don’t think any one of us will be in place to answer this question.

Bishop Humper: You said that you were not cared for, what we want from you is to have your testimony, and in our final report all that you have said will be taken into consideration.

Ibrahim Brima Kamara: I wanted to say something, later the former VP called us to a meeting and said that they will prepare a pension scheme for us but up till now we have heard nothing from them.

Comm. John Kamara: Do you have any recommendation or question to ask?

Ibrahim Brima Kamara: Earlier, I said, our children are not going to school, we want assistant from the government. We are appealing that they put up some structure for us as they did for other amputees. We want government to assist in medication because we are now sick and we don’t have money to take care of ourselves. We also want the pension scheme to be in effect.

Comm. John Kamara: I thank you for coming.

WITNESS NAME: Abdul K. Kamara:

Witness was sworn on oath on the Koran by the presiding commissioner, Commissioner John Kamara.


I thank you Mr. Chairman, and members of the Commission. I want to grave you indulgence to forgive me for what I am about to say if it is not conducive in the terms of this commission. I want to start by quoting what the President Tejan Kabba said “Peace is a process, it is not as some people seeing it, a single act.” I will quote again what Kadie Sesay said “Peace, it has become categorical, if we deny it means that we want to destroy” I want to draw your attention in a proverb in the Bible “train up a child the way he should grow so that he will not depart from it” train your child so that he will not become a rebel. “Every new born child is clean like a new pig” a saying by our Prophet Mohamed. After the child had been badly disciplined, they will begin to blame the teacher, from the teacher to mother, from the mother, to the father, from the father to the police.

I was in Kambia in 1995, I heard that the rebels wanted to attack, so I left for Port Loko, I was there again when they said that rebels were going to attack Port Loko so I left there and went to Lunsar. I was there again when I heard that rebels wanted to attack that village, all my properties were burnt down, I left there, walked for 15 miles to waterloo, I had a very nasty experience. I came to stream, I had no money so I had to sell one of my Arabic suit which I bought it for Le30, 000 but I sold it for Le6,000 for me to cross over. When I went to Waterloo, I went straight to the ECOMOG base and reported the matter and after that I went down to Freetown, later I went to Guinea, after the election I heard some information and I had to come back to Freetown.  I went straight to State House, I met the Chief of Protocol, I told him that I wanted to see the President but he said that there are people who had come to see the President for two weeks. In such I told him that I have come to relay an important message to the President for national issue.  He said that I must tell him the message and he will pass on the message to him. I refuse, I said that it is only the President that I wanted to see and talk to.  I left there in anger, and headed for his house at Juba, I saw the security and explained my mission to them. I sent my brother-in-law to buy me a piece of paper and wrote a letter to the late 1st lady. I do not know whether she got that letter, I sat there until the President came. I greeted him he answered me but he couldn’t pick me up, after he entered I open the gate and entered. I was interrogated by the security and he told me that “the Pa is just coming back and he is tired.” I persisted that I must see the President for national issue, I said that I have spent over Le30, 000 to come and relay this information.

I told them that they must go and tell the President that somebody has come from Guinea, I want to see him. I told them that they are married women; they have been married to all the presidents before.

I was later called to see the President; I wanted to tell him all that had happened to me.  I asked him that if he knew Honorable Hassan Conteh, he went to Kambia to campaign for the SLPP; he told me that you were contesting.  I have known him for the past 30 years that was the time he asked me my name.

After that I went to Guinea, a few months later he was overthrown, I was in Guinea when he went there, I was unable to see him because of security reasons, two weeks later I heard that 18 soldiers have been killed by Kamajors. The other time I heard that 30 soldiers have been killed by kamajors.  I came down to Freetown.

I heard sporadic shooting, with very abusive language. When I opened the door, the said “you bastard,” they went upstairs and said that we must all come down, and they said we must sing “we want peace” we did that for the whole night, they were based at Patton Street, Savage Squire.  When they wanted to loot they would tell us to go upstairs, after we would be ordered to come down, that was how we suffered for two weeks, one of my brothers was killed in Kambia.  They ask one man who we were staying with for money, he said he has no money and he was stabbed with a bayonet.  Then they came to me and asked me for money, I told them that they have attacked me several times, but at that time I was communicating with my God, I told them I have no money if they like they should kill me, they called me “popay” I told them that I am not there father.  

I want to tell you that every Sierra Leonean is wicked, people in authority are responsible for all that had happened.  

I told them that everybody present in that hall is a rebel, if I don’t proved it they must kill me
I gave them instances.

Mr Chairman that VP is a rebel, that minister is a rebel, in fact they are worst than the rebels in the bush, why, because I am going to kill

During the fast month I did not break my fast, some people did, I went around town to view the area, some ECOMOG were killed and the uniform was worn by the rebels, I saw so many dead people. I was up stairs, when I saw a Nigerian business man, being killed, he was burnt down, the same place again, they said that one man was a rebel, he was shot dead, even when he produce his identity card to prove himself.

Money were stolen from the Ministry of Education, over Le15 billion, some of these ministers have sent their children to Europe to further their studies.

You talk about sustainable peace when people are stealing government money, they are the rebels.

Everybody in this country, all the fighting force, you belong to any ethnic groups, we are all rebels, and we must all change our attitude. I want this Commission to tell these people to change, and it must start from the authorities, the average Sierra Leoneans should learn from this war.  

I want to stop so far.

Comm. Torto: You made a statement and spoke about looting, but in your verbal testimony you diverted from what you have said, you said that the rebels forced their way into you compound.

Comm. Marcus Jones: I hope that by expressing your views you will be feeling a little bit better now. I want to know what prompted you to run away to Guinea.

Abdul K. Kamara:  I don’t want to be killed.

Bishop Humper: the leader of evidence will meet with you for further details.

Comm. Sooka:  We look forward to see you when we go to the phase of thematic hearing and would like to take a statement from you.

Abdul K. Kamara: I want to say all these things in public.

Comm. John Kamara: Do you have any question to ask the Commission?

Abdul K. Kamara: To what extent will you tell the truth to this nation?

Prof John Kamara: If the people are ready to testify in this Commission.

Abdul K. Kamara: How are we going to reconcile?

Prof John Kamara: Reconciliation in the context as you refer to the President, reconciliation is an ongoing process, the Commission will start it and it would be continued by the community, it will have to go a long way.

WITNESS NAME: Tamba Ngaujah:

The witness was sworn on oath by the presiding commissioner, Comm. Prof. John Kamara.


I say thank you all that you make it possible for me to be here, we have been praying and indeed God has answered our prayers. Before I proceed I want us to observe a minute silent for my colleagues who have lost their lives during this war.

I am Tamba, I came from Kono District. I recall I don’t think that I am by myself. The first thing I want to tell you, since the war started in 1991 in Sierra Leone, I was the first victim of amputation, I am now roaming the streets of Freetown, in search of food, but I thank God, as long as there is life, there is hope, I believe God.

In 1991 when the war break out in Sierra Leone, sometimes in 1991, military men were deployed to our areas, they met our Paramount Chief and informed him that they have been deployed but they were not sons of that chiefdom, but they asked for people who know the area for assistant. At that time I was a hunter, so we were handed over to the military. Unfortunately in 1992, the rebels attacked our village and I was captured. I had an identification paper with inscription Hunter. They saw it and said that we were the people they wanted to apprehend. They said when they went to attack, they were killed by these hunters, so they said they will not spare our lives, we were four in number. It was about 4 in the morning when we were captured, we suffered, and one commander told us that he is called C.O Trouble. We were with them, when the commander asked us few questions; he asked why we were joining the military to fight against them. He said we were only paid 10, 000 and a bag of rice, we were suppose to be earning over Le.250. 000 and that if they took over the soldiers will enjoy. He said that the hunters will be killed. At the time they said that we were going to be killed, we were lined up and our hands were placed on stone; The killer came with his machete, cut off the head of one man, the second man was squeezed until he died, the next man's head was be chopped off, I was the last. When it was my turn, there were some arguments, and then he said it now his turn and he wants to play with blood. After the arguments, the commando said that they must not do anything to me.  They must release me for a while.  The commando decided, and called his secretary he was a teacher at Bunumbu College, he told him to write a note, he said “we the RUF, we are freedom fighters, if you see anything we are responsible, after this, Kono District would be captured, in two weeks time we will head to Freetown” The letter was placed in an envelope tied around my neck; there was also another argument that any soldier captured should be killed. It was a command, they said that they have killed three of my colleagues; they were not going to take it lying down. The last order was that they should cut my left hand off, they chopped my left hand but the machete was not sharp and he said that I was a strong man. They must chop off my hands by all means; my bone was smashed to pieces. After that, my hand was chopped off and I saw my hand on the ground jumping. I was unconscious and after I became conscious, I saw both of my hands chopped off. I tried to get up but I was unable, my hands were bleeding profusely, I then realized that I was loosing sight, but that was my area, after that I went into a bush and saw a stream and fell into the water, hoping that the bleeding will stop. I was there until morning, I was bleeding, I had to stay in the bush for three days, until I found  my way, out of the bush and came to the nearest base of our colleagues. I was apprehended thinking that I was a rebel, they told me that they had overran the rebels, but some people were killed and amputated, but they never knew it was me.

I was taken to Major, now Colonel Davies, who ordered his boys to take me to the war front hospital. I met the doctor who bandaged my hands and gave me some drugs. The soldiers were surprised, saying that they had never seen such cases since the war broke out.  The major said that I should be taken to Freetown for proper medication, they used the vehicles in which the traders had wanted to bring their goods to Freetown; it was taken from them because of my condition, bad odour has started coming off my body, I entered the vehicle, there was stench all over the vehicle, the driver smoke almost a packet of 555.  I was taken to 34 Military Hospital and the operation was carried out.  

In 1993, my colleagues sent a letter to enquire about me, the CDS told me that I would be enlisted into the Army, and said that as from that day I was enlisted in Army as a full SLA officer. After the training my colleagues were sent to war front. From May 1993, I was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal before Bio handed over power to Pa Kabba, I was promoted to full corporal. From 1993 to date I am still enrolled in the army.

Whilst I was in the hospital in 1997, they started amputation, I was taken from the 34 to console victims at Connaught, I told them that since we were victims our only hope was with God and nobody else, the first few months they will be ready to assist you but after a while they would not. Before when I called my daughter, she will run to answer to my call but now when I call her she will tell me to wait.  After listening to my advice, some of them were annoyed; a little girl asked me whether her hands will grow again and I cried.  As time went on, they realized my advice, and with prayers, some of them are saying thanks to God because NGOs have taken care of them now, each one of them has now been resettled.  When I went to register, they told me that I am an SLA, government should be responsible for our problems. I appealled to them for assistance but they refused. I commit everything to the Lord in prayer. I heard information from one man saying that the SLA were the first to amputate people’s hand.  I was the first person to be amputated. After my amputation then the SLA started retaliating.

My children are there, I am the only one responsible for them. I only had some assistant from some of my personal friends, but I put my thrust in God Almighty.  If I continue to call on God, I will achieve.  I thank you very much.

Marcus Jones: We are sorry for your horrible experience in life, it was a miracle that you were not killed, once there is life there is hope.  You were amputated in 1992 that was a long while, I wonder why they were not healed

Tamba Ngaujah: I have received my healing but I bandaged it because if anything touches it I feel pain. I bandage my hand for protection, there is no sore on it.

Marcus Jones: Have you been rejected when you applied for artificial limb?

Tamba Ngaujah: At that time it was locally made, the foreign ones were expensive, the local ones were very heavy, I cannot use them.

Comm. Satang: You said that in 1991, you joined the army as a vigilante; I want you to tell me more about that group.

Tamba Ngaujah: When I was recruited I was staying in my chiefdom.

Comm. Jow: How many of you were recruited?

Tamba Ngaujah: We were about 30 in number.

Bishop Humper: We all know that you were the first person to be amputated. What you have told us about accommodation is a pressing issue. What we would want to know, is why you were not helped by the NGOs?

Tamba Ngaujah: I told you earlier on, that it was because I was an SLA soldier

Bishop Humper: Have you spoken about this issue to your senior in the Army?

Tamba Ngaujah: It seems as if nobody wants to know about me in the Army.

Comm. Torto: Were you able to identify the group of people who did this to you?

Tamba Ngaujah: It was the RUF, in 1997, when the military coup took place, I saw the man who said that they must use a sharp instrument, it was the very man who said that they must kill me.  When I saw him , I asked him if he knew me, he said no, I went on to  explain to him, if he could remember when they were fighting, when they went on a patrol, he said he remember when they killed and amputate some people. He said yes, he said that the man whose hands were amputated is dead; I told him that it was me.  He asked for forgiveness, he said even if you don’t forgive us, it has already happened and nothing will change it.  That same day, I went to Cockerill to one of my boss A.A Sesay, luckily Mosquito, told him to shake hands with me. He said he knew me. He said they heard about me. The information was sent to them. He thought that I was dead. He said if they succeed I will be the number one person to help.

Comm. Torto: From that time you never saw him again.

Tamba Ngaujah: No

Comm. Torto: At the time you saw him, what group did he belong to?

Tamba Ngaujah: Peoples Army

Comm. Sooka: I want you to tell me the age of those perpetrators.

Tamba Ngaujah: The man who chopped off my hands was about 25 years, it was only because of the gun, I would have put up a fight.

Comm. Sooka: Did they give you the reasons for cutting off your hands?

Tamba Ngaujah: They said that it was because we assisted the soldiers to fight them.

Professor John Kamara: Where these people, Mende, Fullah, Temne, were they Sierra Leoneans?

Tamba Ngaujah: The man who chopped off my hands, his accent was a Liberian, I don’t know whether he was pretending, but when we met in 1997, he spoke krio very well.

Prof. John Kamara: You said that the artificial limb was expensive, do you know the cost of it?

Tamba Ngaujah: I don’t know, one thing is if any human being looses any part of his body it become artificial, the only thing we need is assistance. If I am retired from the Army I need financial support, if people are seeing me roaming the street begging it is not out of desire but out need. My first son is attempting the WASC exams this year, my second daughter is attempting the NPSE, so at this stage as regards the artificial limbs it is fine but I need your support, I need accommodation, I need financial support to take care of my children.

Martien: You said the amputees Association had refused to help you.

Tamba Ngaujah: We had an association in 1997, unfortunately, our Chairman by then was arrested, the government decided that all amputees must be removed from the Army, luckily for me I was given two days pass. When I wanted to return I heard that all the victims were taken to Pademba Road, until 1999 when the rebels came, some of them lost their lives, our Chairman after the release he was seen over SLBS speaking on behalf of the rebels, he was on his way to Ferry Junction when he was caught by some youths who branded him as rebel, before the ECOMOG could intervene the kamajors had shot him. From that time our association collapsed.

Prof. John Kamara: I want to ask you whether you have any questions to ask.

Tamba Ngaujah: I don’t have any question to ask, but to make an appeal to the Commission if they would enroll us in any organization to help alleviate our problems, because we the victims have three major problems: accommodation, financial and our children’s education.  I know that this Commission your signature is very important, both at the national and international level.

Prof. John Kamara: We will submit our report to the government.

WITNESS NAME:  Kadiatu Fofanah:


My name is Kadiatu Fofanah, I am a Muslim.  The oath was administered by the Presiding Commissioner Professor John Kamara.

I say thanks to the Commission for inviting me here today, things had been very difficult with me.

In 1998, when ECOMOG bombarded the city, I went to Makeni, with my children and my husband. We were there for about six months.   We returned after things had quietened down, but we lost everything. In 1999 January 6th  my husband woke me up and said that rebels had entered the city. There was sporadic shooting all  around the area.  My husband said that we must leave the area and went into hiding in the west end of Freetown but I told him to be patient; so we had to sleep in the house. The house I was staying, I own it, when I was doing my business that was when I put up that structure.

In the morning, we the women went to the market to cook for our children. At night the rebels were jubilating, they came from Cline Town unto Up Gun, telling people to dance.  When I saw them they said I must not run and if it was Tejan Kabba I wouldn’t run.  They said we should dance with them.  They said this time if they do not say the truth Freetown will turn into dust.  As soon as it was night, we were ordered to come out of our houses to dance.  On the 12th they started burning houses at Fourah Bay, my husband said that we must leave, but I told him that I don’t know anywhere to go.  At that time I had some money on me, over Le200, 000. My first son Mohamed, said “mama how are you going to leave us alone in the house.” I told him to go with me, but he refused, saying that somebody must be in the house to watch.  The landlord ordered us to not leave the house. That the situation became tense and my husband advised that we should leave the area immediately. I said that this might be the last and he said that the war was tense, so we ran out, I had seven children. When we approached Kennedy Street, the rebels passed us and my son told me to lie down on the ground. I said 'my child'.  As we went to Emmanuel Street, we met three boys who had already been killed.  My child said that we must move on. We went and we used Kissy Road Cemetery by-pass  to come to Black Hall Road. I told him not to go but he insisted and he said that his dad had gone. I told him “you are crying for your dad what about me.”  The rebels had mounted a check point at the point we decided to take a rest.. I told him to talk to the rebel, he refused and then I told him that we must go back. I saw one rebel by the name of “Born Naked”, he helped us cross to the other part and that was the time I saw children I had never seen in this country.  We arrived back home at around 4p.m. but I met none of my family members.  At about 5 p.m my husband came with three of the children. He said that he had been fetching water for the rebels.  He helped them cook and he was released.  From the 12th of January, we were at Rose Street.  On the 18th over a thousand rebels, ordered us to come out of the house.  The said we were politicians.  They said they are going to kill all of us and we started crying. We asked them what we have done and they told us that we were dancing for Pa Kabba. One of the rebels said that we must take all the money we had with us.  One woman said that we must contribute and we ended up giving them Le500, 000; they said that we had money. They said that they are leaving now but the evils ones were behind, “you can’t compromise with them'.

By that time my husband had taken my children to Leicester, I told him that I was unable to climb the hill, at that time Ibrahim was seven months old. I gave him Le50, 000 to go with the children, but he refused. I told him that we were not born on the same day. But he refused. I told him that if we all perished the same day it will be pathetic.  About seven o'clock on the 20th of January, the evil rebels came, they said “bastard.” They said they wanted to set fire on our houses. Before we could realize what was happening, they hit one man on the back.  The house we were leaving in belonged to one rebel, so they said they must not burn the house because it belongs to the colonel. We were taken to another place where they set fire on the house, we never knew who opened the door, and they started saying that “so you don’t want to die”. All of us came out trying to escape. They gathered all of us together and separated the men from the women. A rebel called junior was ordered to open fire on the men. I started weeping, saying that I am going to loose my life. After that they came to the women, they said that they were going to send a message to Tejan Kabba.  I was the last I was carrying my baby, and an 18 years of age boy came and chopped me; he wanted to chop my boy’s head, I grabbed the knife from him but I was unable to get up, I looked at my son, it was night, there was nobody around. Our house had been burnt. One man and came I told him to help me, I told him to take my child the rebel helped me, I dragged myself like snake, I laid down with my child amongst the corpses. I pray that it will never happen in my life again.  I took my son in my arms and I said to myself that my husband had told me to go with him. At night some dogs came around to bite my feet but I took stones to hit them. In the morning some came around and said that they wanted to kill my son but one of them said that they must not kill him. Later an SLA was passing and I told the SLA that he should shoot me, I was there again when one rebel said that he wanted to take my child with him but he was afraid of further attack. By that time, they had set fire on the house and the heat of the fire came on me until the house was completely burnt down. The rebel said I am lucky, and I told him that was the reason why I wanted him to shoot me.  

I saw a man whom I knew his name was Pa Foday; he said “Kadiatu are you there?” I told him to take my son with him. He said I should wait, by then I had Le5,000 I had tied in my lappa.  I knew that I was going to die.  He went and informed the commando that I am his wife. He said that he must take my son from me. He was taken to the commando, I overheard them saying that they have contributed in making them loose the war, because that was not their initial aim.  He called on five rebel women and ordered them to wash my son, and said that they must carry me. By then the alpha jet was flying, so I was rejected at that point. Two rebels were coming from the hills saying that I was lying with my big buttocks we were the one enjoying Tejan Kabba.
At around 2 p.m., some SLA soldiers came to my aid, they gave me some medication, because at that time I was half naked, I ask them for water, the said that I will die if I drank water.  They looked around for food but Ibrahim could not take anything solid. There was no breast milk to breast feed Ibrahim. I heard Margaret shouting “Kadiatu”, I told her that I was in the room, I told her to go because the rebels were around. She sneaked and reported the matter to my foster child.  

My husband and my son were informed about my condition and they came to take me.
Also some other women went to take their husbands, but they were told not to enter the house.  I was lifted from the ground, somebody carried Ibrahim on his back, the alpha jet was flying but my son continue to carry me; by the cemetery we met thousands of dead people.  But God gave me the strength to sustain me.  They gave the driver Le10, 000, we went to Connaught, I was taken to the theatre, and my feet were placed on a board. We were there for three days, not knowing that the medicine was not good enough.  I told my husband to plead with the doctors to kill me.  My husband consoled me. He said I must trust in God. The following morning, Dr Maggie, took me back to the theatre, applied another medicine, but thanks to our Christian brothers who were praying for us, the pain subsided. We were there for one month when the MSF staff came; they said that there was no alternative but to cut my feet because they had gone bad.  My husband consoled me, ‘if my feet were chopped off what will happen to my children?’ all my relatives wept.  On March 15th, I was taken to the theatre where they chopped my feet. The doctors said that they will give me artificial limbs. After that I was taken up to annex, after regaining consciousness after the operation, I turned around but I did not see my feet.  I almost died. They prayed fervently for me.  When I asked about my husband they said he had left, because he thought I was dead, I was there for one month.  They ask me what I wanted to do now; my house had been burnt down.  They later took me to my house, for one year. My husband started putting different attitude towards me. So I decided to go to the camp. I met the Chairman who told me that there was no place for me. But I persisted, I went back to Connaught Hospital, I told them that I now wanted to go to the camp. I was taken to the camp with the MSF staff. I went to stay at the camp, when my husband came, I told him that I am an amputee; I told him that in the future, he will be disappointed but the government will always take care of me.  After three days he came back to collect me saying that people will say that he was ungrateful, so I refused to go with him. By that time I say thanks to God, people were coming from all over the world to assist us.  We then engaged in petty trading, Red Cross came to our aid, after that Cause Canada came to teach us some skills.

The white man had promised that he would give me artificial feet. A woman Georgiana from America came to my aid, she promised that she will put my case across; she said she will come back for me.  In two months time, she sent a letter to me that she will come and collect me, indeed I went with them, and the white doctors said that they were unable to do so.

I started going through my Koran and I realized that the artificial leg, I will benefit from them, so I insisted to come back to Freetown, so that is how I came back, I have now got my house, my toilet, some people are helping my children and that is why I say I am ready to forgive.  I am appealing to donor agencies to be assisting us, by visiting us. Murray Town is not an amputee camp, they must be looking out for us.  We were not born beggars, we were ashamed to beg, so far I think I will stop here.

Marcus Jones: I admire your courage, in spite of everything, I would call your story a successful story, I believe that quite a number of people have heard your speech. .  As a woman I am curious to know what happened to your husband.

Kadiatu Fofanah: Nothing happened to him he was with the children.

Marcus Jones: Where is he now?

Kadiatu Fofanah: He is staying with another woman.

Commissioner Sooka: If I could take you back to the incident, do you know how many men and women died on that day?

Kadiatu Fofanah: 30 men who were killed on the scene, I can recall that, I was the only one that was chopped all over my body. A woman’s husband was killed; another woman was also chopped off, the others fled for their lives.

Commissioner Sooka: Can you identify any one of these perpetrators?

Kadiatu Fofanah: It was at night time so I cannot recognize any one, but the boy who chopped me was about 18 years.

Commissioner Sooka: Can you remember their names?

Kadiatu Fofanah: I don’t have there proper names, they were called all sorts of nick names, Colonel Cut foot and the likes.

Commissioner Torto: We appreciate your courage and willingness to forgive.   

Comm. Satang: Can you tell us something about this boy who chopped your feet, was he in uniform?

Kadiatu Fofanah: He was wearing black trousers and t-shirt.

Commissioner Satang: Did you belong to any political party before this problem?

Kadiatu Fofanah: No, I was a petty trader, selling cooked food.

Comm. John Kamara: Have you seen any of the abductees after this incident?

Kadiatu Fofanah:  Yes, Ya Marie is back she was pregnant, but she lost the baby, another girl also was pregnant but she lost the baby. The others who were abducted during the January 6th invention escaped when they were at Calaba Town.

John Kamara: We are happy about the successes you have made unlike some of your colleagues. I would like you to ask any questions or make recommendations to this Commission.

Kadiatu Fofanah: I want to ask a question on behalf of the amputees. What should we do to cater for our hospital and medical needs? We would not like you to leave the entire burden to us for taking care of our children.

Ibrahim always said that he will retaliate in the future.  We are appealing to the government not to neglect the children of the amputees.
We who are sitting on wheel chairs, must be supplied proper wheel chair, we have seen wheel chairs in Europe which can take you to a long distant without being pushed.  We have requested for a bus but they refused to give us.  In New York, they have access buses for disable people.  We are pleading, some of us are business like people, and we like to engage ourselves in petty trading.  If I had got no children when I went to America, I wouldn’t have come back.  So you please help us so that we can forgive with all our hearts.

Professor John Kamara: All that you have said will be taken into consideration.  We thank you very much.