Appendix 3, Part 2, Section C




1ST Witness – Rev. Father Mario

In this country my name is Pa Alimamy Father.   I am a Christian.  Mrs. Jow administered the oath.

Commissioner Jow: We thank you for coming here.  We appreciate your efforts in coming here this morning to share your experiences with us. 


I came to this country in 1963.  I have worked in many places in the north.  I believe that I know the area very well and I know about the people.  I know that a lot of people here do not like war.  It comes from outside.  After the ordeal, I went to my country Italy and then I was invited in big towns to talk about education.  I met a man from Senegal who was doing the same work as I do.  He was talking about the problem in Africa.  I told him “because we all do the same works let us come together and do something better.”  We worked together to sensitize people.  After two three days he got used to what we were doing and he trusted me.  He told me a story.  He told me that he was a refugee. He said:  ‘I ran away from my country because we tried to overthrow the government.  I was trained in Libya in a place called Tajura.  There was a big camp where they train young boys to fight.  I saw many boys from many African countries and also those who came from Sierra Leone. I was part of the armed escort.   We know that the war was from Liberia to Sierra Leone.  Helicopter was coming from Liberia to supply arms in Sierra Leone.  I saw one of those helicopters.  The helicopter was covered with the ICRC flag so that people will not know’.  This is my opinion of the war.  There were other things that caused the war.  The Corruption caused by the senior people in the government.  It was too much.  It affected all facets of the society . I remember I talked to one Paramount Chief.He told me his experience:’  I did not receive my salary for five years.  I am a school manager and I have to pay salaries.  The funds came from government.   It was a problem to get the money from government to pay the teachers.  All the time it was not sufficient.  It was already too much when the soldiers raised gun as they were not willing to accept it.  The teachers have no guns and leave everything to God.  The soldiers have guns.’  When I was captured there were two soldiers there.  One was working in the administration office in the Sierra Leone Army.  He said “Father there is a lot of corruption.  The senior officers eat our money and the junior ones are left to suffer.  They will put a soldier’s name in Freetown but the soldier will be working in Kailahun.  When the soldier goes to Freetown for the money they will send him to Kailahun.”  And the solder will leave everything to God. That was the time the country was getting warmed up.  He said, “Father when the President came to talk to us the senior officers will talk as if everything is well in the army.  This brought dissatisfaction and hatred in the army.”    This was the evidence of the war.  The Chief 1st Accused Sgt. Gborie, he said the coup was not against the President.  “Our plans were to collect all the senior officers because of corruption.”  The president took it that it was a coup against him.  That was why the newspapers wrote that it was  the junior officers’  coup.  They usual thing to  hear is that the senior officers planned the coup.  This was how corruption caused the war. We are talking about the causes of the war.  I was present in the war.  We moved from one point to another for us not to be captured.  In 1995 seven of our sisters were captured in Kambia.  The Bishop was able to negotiate with Sankoh until they were released.  As the rebels moved in the bush Father was telling us to go into the bush.  We were always ready.  One time news spread that they were looking for foreigners.  One time the rebels were organizing themselves to come to Koinadugu and the head was SAJ Musa.  That group was called the group jungle army in the region.  They started moving and controlling the villages.  They came near Kamalo where I lived.  When they reached there they stayed for some time.  When they were there they prepared to go to Freetown but they did not move.  Later I noticed they wanted to capture me.  They went there two times but I was in Makeni.  At one time, I heard they were coming down and they went to Maribo.  In Maribo, they destroyed and killed people.  After two days I went to see things for myself.  I saw much destruction and the dead bodies.  A ten years old girl and including two men and one woman were the only ones left in the village.  Somebody came out  from the bush and I told him to bury the bodies.  He said father I am tired I have already buried seventeen bodies.  I took some supply to Maribo for those who were unable to go into the bush.  One small group of ECOMOG soldiers was around. Just  to spite the small group, that was the good reason why the rebels attacked.  One night in September they entered the village and burnt everything and abducted many people.  Because they were on the other side facing where I was, I was able to go to the bush.  The following morning I came back to the village and I saw houses burnt down and I saw many dead bodies.  I tried to encourage the people to bury the bodies.  We buried seventeen bodies.  Boys, girls, women and men were amongst them.  That very day I had to take many people to the hospital because  many were injured.  On the night of 15 November 1999, the rebels came back again and they surrounded the house and they captured me.  They took me to their camp at Loko Hill in Namenya.  When I went there I saw 2000 combatants fully armed.  I was surprised because we always believed  what the Minister of Information said.  This Minister was telling us that the rebels were thieves with cutlasses and about two hundred and fifty in number.  Those I met there were people from the army.  They were angry because of the corruption in the army.  I remember one time they sent supply for the soldiers; when they reached Port Loko junction, the car moved to Guinea and sold all the goods which were meant for the soldiers.  The soldiers complained that they did not receive their salaries and food.  When they were with the junta group they were supplied all necessary goods.  They were at the head and they fought many battles on their way to Freetown and they won all of them.  Therefore, I will point finger on the Ministry of Information.  Rebels were always listening to radio.  All what I heard was that the government had repelled the rebels.  I was held for forty-six days.  I  know  what I am talking about.  Any time when they get this kind of information from the government they were annoyed.   They went forward to kill and destroy.  When I was held I was taken to a big camp called Rosus.  That was when we started to walk.  We were four thousand in number.  Women and children were in the group.  As we reached Freetown we were eight thousand. The combatants were about two thousand.   Every time they will say the people were about 15,000.  We were moving always at night.  Nobody got near them to know the fact.  That was why the war caught some of us.  The way we were treated it was as if we were animals.  I was treated as a log.  They took me and did all kinds of things to me.   I had nothing to say.  The rebels enjoyed punishing us. They enjoyed it when you scream and cry.    That was a sad surprise to me.  One day when we were walking in the forest, I saw a stone in front of me and almost everybody kicked the stone as they passed by.  When I reached the stone, I took the stone and put it in a corner.  The fighter cast a very sour  look at me and put the stone in the same position.  In Freetown one night we were in a house we heard that they flogged a man and the man was yelling “kill me! Kill me!”   I don’t know what they did to him but it was very painful.  Another time around the road I saw an old man whom they gave a big pot to carry, he was ahead of me.  He said I can’t go further and placed the pot down and one soldier came and chopped the man’s head.  One time they caught a boy who they thought was a CDF.  They flogged him.  I tried to talk to them and one commander came and said he would be killed.  He was left behind and was killed.  I was sending people for water with a gallon. We fetched water from swamps and streams.  I was sending other people because they never allowed me.  Most of the time the boys I beg to do this for me will come with the gallon empty and tell me that the soldiers have drank the water.  This was a satanic life, the way they live.  What I see I will not say all.  I will only say the small ones.  All the seniors enjoyed the wickedness they did.  Whatever they wanted they took by force.  One man had a gold watch that cost $3,000 and the man told me how he got hold of the watch. ‘ I saw one man with the watch and I said to myself: I want this watch and I shot the man dead and took the watch.’  So many things the juniors did were ordered by the senior.  The situation became very bad and there was a time they did wicked things to everybody.  When the amputation of hands began, it was not because they did not have weapons; they just wanted people to be afraid of them.  I don’t know what else you will want to know.

Commissioner Jow:    We say thanks for your testimony.  It is very detailed.  For those details you have not told us it will come out in questions. We appreciate the time you have taken to tell us what you know.  The Commission will send somebody to you to get the more detailed submission. 

Bishop Humper:    We thank you for this opportunity for you who belong to those noble institutions to tell us what you went through.  If we are going to ask detailed questions here we will spend not less than two hours.  We will be asking you to give us a written submission. Did I hear you say the war did not begin in Sierra Leone?

Father Mario:            Yes.

Bishop Humper:    Rev. Father could you put us in an historical perspective from 1963 ? For you to be in the country from 1963 you are just like a citizen.  We want to know from your own perspective, how the war grew until it reached that level ?

Father Mario:    When I came to this country, my first station was Magburaka.  It was two years into independence.  It was the time of transition from the foreign colonial staff to the nationals  .  Some skeletal presence of the  colonial administrative structure   were still maintained in such offices as    the District Officer.  In Magburaka there was a station that provided electricity.  There was supply of water, with no problems;   there was a train from Freetown, twice a week.  There was a post office.  In four years everything collapsed.  Since independence there has been no improvement.  This is not just a matter of any one regime; everybody is just grabbing.  We started having problems with education.  During that time when the whites were in charge,education was properly regarded and treated accordingly .  We used to get money for repairs.  We had funds from government to build new schools.  In two to three years, they stopped everything.

Bishop Humper:    Could we say that what you are talking about is what  has been going on since independence ?

Father Mario:        Exactly.

Bishop Humper:        Did you say that this corruption in the government cuts across all cadre ,    beginning with the top ranks ?

Father Mario:        It is true.

Bishop Humper:    Did you say that a truck load of food brought for the fighters was diverted to Guinea to be sold?

Father Mario:        Yes.

Bishop Humper:    Did you say that it is possible that the people who supposedly brought  arms for government fighters took the supplies to the rebels ?

Father Mario:    I know that they gave the weapons to the rebels. I know  we have many other groups that got their own reinforcement through battle field victory and surprise attacks and the resultant seizure and use of the weapons.

Bishop Humper:        The SLA had weapons to fight the war  ?

Father Mario:    I was afraid when I saw them.They met no resistance from the regular army. Just once in a while. Only the civilian forces and such other vigilante forces fought them regularly.   The government  soldiers  always gave way and the rebels moved along with us. As we reached one village, they met fifteen children and they slaughtered them.

Bishop Humper:        Is it your view that the Minister of Information was responsible?

Father Mario:    Yes. He was responsible for the kind of information he gave.  I went with Bishop Ganda to see the President.  We met him at State House; the President, Vice President and Minister of Information.   We told them that what we heard was not true about the rebels.  We told them the strength of the rebels.  The Minister of Information said: “We have counted all of them and we have killed 1400.”  It was a lie.  I think he knew.  I believe he knows something.

Prof.Kamara:    We appreciate your coming here.  We will start with your Senegalese friend.  I want to know the name of the town the friend was trained?

Father Mario:        Katura

Prof.Kamara:    The town you where you were abducted, you went to see the town.  What was the name of the town?

Father Mario:        Makaribo, a small village at the Loko Hills.

Prof.Kamara:        I want to know the year you were abducted.

Father Mario:    15th November 1993.  I can still give you full details because I was with them until they entered Freetown.

Prof.Kamara:    You said Gborie’s intention was not to oust the government but to arrest the senior officers in the army. Was it because of the corruption of the Superiors ?  You were here in 1967.  The anticorruption label was thrown up by the ring-leaders of the putsch .  They arrested all their superiors.But after that what happened? Are there not lines that can be drawn between the 1967 case and   Gborie’s coup  ?

Father Mario:    Yes. There may be an angle to the issue of gainfully employing or occupying the soldiers. Give them something worthwhile to keep them busy. For example, I am always surprised in Kamakwie that there  are soldiers who day in day out  only  sweep and pick up the leaves.Ordinarily,they are of the age and in their number have the    strength to do some thing else.

Bishop Humper:    What will be your opinion of the government’s handling of the military?  Is the government afraid to tell the military the truth or they do not handle them properly ?

Father Mario:    In my opinion they do not tell them to do the right thing.  Now that  they know better.  They have to tell them what they should do because they should push the country forward.

Bishop:    Is it your opinion that what has happened to the army;  with the corruption in it cannot be in truth divorced from the corruption of the politicians  ?

Father Mario:    Let me put it this way:There is a story going around that somebody once complained to Siaka Stevens about the issue of corruption and his answer was: ‘ Around where a cow is leashed , is also where it is expected to graze’. That was where the document of corruption was signed. Another: The Ministry of Education is responsible for free education but not  the school, and the government had agreement about some statutory grant-in -aid .  They gave the first one; but the second one they decided to give it to the head master.  I am not happy about that.

Commissioner Sooka:    You were specifically targeted by this particular group of rebels.  They came for you two times and the third time they captured you.  Why is it that they planned to capture you?

Father Mario:    The rebels were annoyed because what they said in the world about them was that they were evil.  They wanted the people to feel that that is not what they were like.In this respect, when we were near Newton they called the Bishop and they told him that if he wanted to see me they should tell ECOMOG to stop the fight and pull out of Sierra Leone.  After that they asked for generator and  medicine to be taken  to  some women in Pademba Road.   The Bishop  discussed  the issue with the government but the government said noto that arrangement.  Then they realized that my abduction was of no serious political consequence.

Commissioner Sooka:    You said there were women and girls in the group as you were marched on  to Freetown  ?

Father Mario:    They were treated as firewood.  They did to them  anything their imagination gave them .  Some times the women ran from the soldiers to sleep near me because , near me they were afraid to harm them.  The rebels were afraid of me.  They counted on my importance.  When the helicopter came bombing, the soldiers came around me with the hope that they would not be killed.  They treated the women very badly.  We were walking on a hill and there was a woman who was in labour and she was helped by two other women. They halted everybody and the woman was able to deliver.  After 30 minutes she had to keep marching on.

Commissioner Sooka:        Did the women suffer sexual violence? 
Father Mario:    Were I was, they did it at night.  There was a camp called Red Eagle ,many girls were raped there.  One time in Rosus a girl who was abducted moved from the camp to talk with me.  She was 12 years old.  She reported to me; she said “Father they have been raping us.  They sometimes gang-rape us .”

Commissioner Sooka:    You said  that  as many times as you witnessed these atrocities you shivered .  How did the chopping of hands and burning of houses begin ?

Father Mario:    It is an orgy.  Suddenly, there was a command that everybody should be disturbed.  That was the time they started beating people up  and chopping of hands.  They feel good  doing these things.  They were doing this for them to feel happy.  They have pleasure in doing it.It makes them feel powerful .  They have no control over themselves.  They experienced certain burst of satisfaction.  I am worried as they are still in the country.

Commissioner Jow:    You have been in the country for 40 yrs.  You have been through it all. You have worked with many people.  We know that as the war went on young men were forced to join and some voluntarily.  I would like to know whether before the war ,the youths were telling you about their disenchantment with the way things were going  on in the country; that made them willing to join the rebels ?

Father Mario:    In the group there was all wickedness.  The main thing was that they do not say the truth.  The only thing I heard was when one of them asked me if I could help him to leave the country.

Commissioner Jow:    The young people  might have been disenchanted and broken-hearted ;but they never reckoned with the implications of wa;  did you preach to the soldiers in the bush ?

Father Mario:    I preached once  and for that I was beaten up and  so I stopped . The first to  slap  me was  SAJ Musa and  there were  some senior officers with him.  I would not remember all of them ;but one of them cautioned him.  I once met him in Freetown.  The other two are already back in the army.  At one time they met me and they greeted me and they treated me as if we have been friends.But I made it clear to them that there is no such relationship between us.

Bishop Humper:    Part of the mandate stipulates to find out about the causes of the war.  You mentioned that Sierra Leoneans were trained in Libya ?

Father Mario:    They were taught guerrilla warfare and how to  instil fear among the people by devious viciousness .

Bishop Humper:        Who is the president of that country?

Father Mario:    This is not a  secret. All the newspapers are talking about it. Col.Mohamed Gadaffi wants to bring the Africans together.  He wanted to oust the government and get in its place one that works with his international community.  He wanted a government that he can control. 

Bishop Humper:        You said that from Libya they brought the mission to Burkina Faso ?

Father Mario:        Yes

Bishop Humper:        From Liberia to Sierra Leone  ?

Father Mario:        Yes

Bishop Humper:    Some people that gave testimony to this Commission said that the ICRC was responsible for supplying arms to the rebels.  According to your testimony that the Liberian government used helicopter with the ICRC flag attached to make it  look as if it was ICRC   relief craft with materials.

Father Mario:    Yes.  This helicopter which people told you about,  the information  is very true.  This information I got it  from the rebels.  About 2000 rebels they were given 2000- rounds guns and all were the same. Somebody  infiltrated their ranks and investigated and confirmed the veracity of the information.

When I was going to Freetown I saw the helicopter.  Special soldiers with red caps were with me and as I reached waterloo this helicopter passed us with the stickers.  As the helicopter saw us it rushed into hiding until it nearly crashed.

Bishop Humper :    Are you aware that the ICRC had warned people about using their stickers  ?

Father Mario:    I have heard a lot of people talking about that and even the government.  There was a time when the government   stopped  the  work of the ICRC in Sierra Leone because of these maneouvres .But the ICRC  denied  any such complicity in toto and said that it was only a case of given the dog a bad name in order to kill it. 

Prof.Kamara:        Do you know how the people supplying the arms were being paid.

Father Mario:        I only know how they travelled, but I don’t know how they were paid.

Ms. Apori-Nkansah:    You mentioned that by the time you got to Freetown you were  about 8000 captives.  I want to know whether you were used to fight or used as shield.

Father Mario:    I was in the main group of the prisoners.  We were in the group to increase the number,as a camouflage.  The group had very good fighters.  Even during the training so many children lost their lives.  The one that held us were Sierra Leoneans and they had great fighting skills .  The way we walked was four battalions in front and the ones that carry ammunitions are by their side and we the prisoners are in the middle and the two battalions are at the back.  I have heard that they used civilians as shield.  They never put us in front.  They  used us as camouflage in terms of the number.

Commissioner Jow:    We thank you for your testimony.  You have been forthright in your testimony.  It is now your turn to ask questions.

Father Mario:    What I am saying is for the development of this country.  The President was pointing accussing fingers at the rebels.  But I still see bad things happening.  But I pray that the President will be able to push the country forward.

2nd Witness – Bernadette Kamara

No Testimony
Prof. Kamara:         Do you  know  whether these two groups were enemies or allies ?

Bernadette Kamara:    I cannot tell because at anytime we heard about such groups we usually went into the bush.

Prof.Kamara:        What happened to ECOMOG when SAJ Musa’s group attacked  ?

Bernadette Kamara:    ECOMOG was stationed at Kamalo. They operated  from Kamalo and moved to and fro.

Prof.Kamara:        When SAJ Musa’s group attacked, ECOMOG troop did not respond  ?

Bernadette Kamara:    They were not there .

Prof.kamara:        Not even at kamalo ?

Bernadette Kamara:    They were not there .

Prof.Kamara:        Have these villages been resettled ?

Bernadette Kamara:    Yes. Very few people are managing their lives  there .

Prof.Kamara:    You said  that the time SAJ Musa’s group attacked, they took away young people?

Bernadette Kamara:    Most of the young girls were abducted.  The boys were also abducted but  most of them apparently escaped . The girls only returned after the invasion of Freetown. 

Prof.Kamara:        Has relative normalcy returned to Kamalo  ?

Bernadette Kamara:    Yes.

Prof. Kamara:         Are you still there and doing the same work ?

Bernadette Kamara:    I am still there but I am practicing in a small hut.

Bishop Humper:        How many children do you have?

Bernadette Kamara:    I have four children.  Two Biological children and 2 adopted children

Bishop Humper:        Which body provides you with drugs ?

Bernadette Kamara:    The government is responsible.  The drugs are supplied to us.  For other important things like beds we have none.  For refrigerator I have none.  I simply  store the vaccine at kamalo.

Bishop Humper:        So government will take care of the health of the people in the village  ?

Bernadette Kamara:    We  are appealing to the Commission to inform the government that the hospital needs rehabilitation  .

Commissioner Jow:    You said your village was used as base.  Can you tell me how long they stayed there?

Bernadette Kamara:    Nearly 3 months.  Their  aim was to capture Father Mario.  They made two attempts   and   failed ; the third attempt, they caught him.

Commissioner Jow:    Can you tell me the number of rebels in the base?

Bernadette Kamara:    I never saw them with my eyes.  Sometimes they just appear and we  leave everything and run away.

Commissioner Jow:    You said  that for the three months you were turned into a slave ? 

Bernadette Kamara:    I mean that because we never lived as human beings again.Like animals we only survived on raw banana.

Commissioner Jow:    Can you tell us about the mass graves?

Bernadette Kamara:    The first group of observers that came into the village after the war  took some photographs of these graves.

Commissioner Jow:    You said they threw some of the corpses into the well.  Do you still use the well?

Bernadette Kamara:    We are still using that well. The dead bodies were evacuated  and the well was treated ?

Commissioner Jow:    Can you tell us about the other staff?

Bernadette Kamara:    Everybody  ran  for cover  the day we saw the rebel soldiers at the door.

Commissioner Sooka:    You said they abducted some girls from the village. That  some of them only returned after the attack on   Freetown or after the disarmament  ?

Bernadette Kamara:    They were the ones that told us about the raping.  They were gang raped.  Some came back with babies and some of them returned pregnant.

Commissioner Sooka:    How do they take care of themselves ?

Bernadette Kamara:     For the sake of survival ,most of them hire themselves out as farm hands.For example,  if you are given one bag  of inputs or seedlings on  loan then at the specified period you have to return two bags and so forth.  They have no tools since the village was  razed to the ground.Therefore,they are at the mercy of the creditors .

Ms.Apori-Nkansah :       No questions

Commissioner Jow:    Bernadette, it is now your turn to ask questions or make recommendations.

Bernadette Kamara:    We are in dire need of health care.Our hospital needs rehabilitation ;there are no drugs ; there are no better schools ;no tools to farm  . We are appealing to the government to assist us. Those young girls that were abducted  returned back with babies and nobody is there to care of them.At least ,let the government  take care of these necessities.

Commissioner Jow:    Was there a school before the attack?

Bernadette Kamara:    There was a school.

Commissioner Jow:    What happened to the school?

Bernadette Kamara:    The school building has collapsed.  We have about five classes with only one teacher.

Commissioner Jow:    We have listened to your recommendations and we are happy for the things you asked for.  You asked for community facilities.  A number of people have made similar recommendations and in our final report we will make recommendations and your recommendations along side the others will be included.  We are happy that you have come to talk to this Commission.

3rd – Witness – Ibrahim Debe

My name is Ibrahim Debe.   I am a muslim.  Commissioner Mrs. Satang A. Jow administered the oath.


I was invited by the TRC.  I was asked if I was ready to talk and I said, yes.  I had wanted to talk long ago.  I am a member of the RUFP.  Now we have peace.  I say thanks to the Commission.  Before I go further I want to clarify some statements made by my sister the last witness.   During the time when the AFRC called us for an alliance, we took orders from them.  They were unable to guide their own revolution because they were  undisciplined. They used guns.  We, of the RUFP  carry on instruction by law and order.  We do not do things on our own,because we do not tolerate indiscipline .  Our revolution was a well organized revolution and our leader Foday Sankoh used to control us and he told us what we are fighting for.  He was against killing of innocent civilians.  Our targets were the enemies targeting us.  Even  when we captured enemy soldiers we treated them well because we were told by our leader that no one was allowed to kill a captured soldier.  When we were pushed out of Freetown we went back to Magburaka     and Kono. There we called our soldiers to parade.  During that time we had the AFRC with us but they failed to follow instructions.  We told them:  “You are afraid to follow the revolution and you do not take orders. Therefore, as from today you are under our full control.  You should do whatever we tell you to do.”  But they refused to do what we asked them to do.  Because of that they deserted  our ranks, they left us at Kono and went to Koinadugu.  At that time there was no RUF there.  Even for the attack on Freetown they told us that we should not join them.  When they captured Freetown they put check point for RUF at Orogu Bridge.  They said we are bush people.  We should control from Waterloo to the Northern Province.  Because of their indiscipline, they did mass destruction in Freetown . But at the end they were unable to control Freetown.  They came back to Waterloo and we were able to put them under our control and disarm them.  Furthermore, we had a quarrel amongst our ranks in the RUF, some of the AFRC came to Makeni and wanted to interfere, but we told them that the problem was between ourselves so they should stay aside.  Later we settled the problem.  The brothers behind  the problem were based in Magburaka and Kono. We called them but they refused to come to us.  The AFRC and RUF were in Makeni and we were called to a forum.  We said now we all should follow law and order under the RUF.  No one is allowed to harass citizens. But  they refused and said that they want to have their own administration.  We said:’ No.  The time we were with  you  in Freetown we used to take orders from you. Now you have no right here in Makeni.”  The AFRC went ahead and chose their own leader.  He was called Brigadier Mani.  His bodyguard was Col. T.   The RUF said: “No .That will not be possible in Makeni.”  Later on, Brigadier Mani went to Kamabai and he said he was going to set up his own military headquarters.    The AFRC took control of the financial area because we wanted to avoid confusion.  Later on our leader Foday Sankoh called Superman and Col. Issa in Freetown.  After one week he sent Superman to Makeni to brief all soldiers in Makeni that they went to Togo to sign the Peace Accord; that the war should be over and that we should be prepared to disarm.  When superman came, he delivered the message.  We said: “For us we have no problem.But  what about the SLA , you should call them and inform them.”  When they called their commander, he did not show up.  Later on we sent somebody to call him.  When he came we asked him “what was the problem?”  He said: “No problem I was only gathering my men”.  Superman said: “You should call all your commanders, but you have refused to do so.”  He said he was going to get morale booster.  We sent somebody but we got no response.  I went there myself.  I asked him what was wrong  and  he said that I should leave him alone.  I went and informed Superman.  I said: “Those men are prepared to fight us”.  Before that they had  said they would make sure that RUF went back to the bush. And  we in turn had retorted , “we were not born for the bush, if you want to do anything you can do it.”  From that moment we informed all civilians and told them to go home because we were observing certain developments.  After I went back.  On my way, approaching the stadium; I saw  a large number of SLA soldiers with lots of weapons coming down the petrol station.  I went and  informed Commander Superman that the SLA was out to fight us.  The commander told us to go to our camp.  On our way  , fighting broke out. In the RUF we appreciate that no body should hurt the civilians because our leader said we should give civilians their own rights.  We were ready to drive AFRC out of Makeni Town. Therefore, when the sister said the RUF was there I disagree.  We were not togetherwith the AFRC/SLA at that time

Our revolution at that time did not cause destruction.  We did not kill people.  Anyway, we had civilians who got stuck with us  .It has been said by some people that  we maltreated them and their children.  It is not true.  We are against rape.  One man cannot keep two women.  It is the law.  It was  because of all those false claims they used to make in the town; that  we did our best to take good care of the people in our control.  Whenever  we came into town, people  were happily surprised to see their  children back without any problems.  In appreciation of  the way we took care of their children,some parents usually brought us money and provisions.Many families have got their otherwise displaced children from us,in healthy  conditions.  So,  I want every body to know that the bad name we got was because of the alliance with the AFRC.  Most of the stories you hear about RUF , was not our own action.

We,in the RUF  were prepared to disarm because our leader came to Makeni and went to all our control areas. He said:“The war that was brought to Sierra Leone is over.  Everybody should disarm.”  We all agreed.  We said:” You are the leader.  Anything you say we are prepared to go by your law and order”.  We were prepared for disarmament, but the confusion among the RUF was because of the  problem of communication as well as trust regarding information and possible manipulation  while the leader was in prison in Nigeria.   The head, refused to take law and order from the leader.  Now,we had many commanders in the RUF.  We had the one that had the power.  We, the commanders used to take instructions from the head.  In the RUF we had  thousands of commanders but it was only three people that would have the last say.  These were Sam Bockarie (Mosquito), Issa Sesay and, Moris Kallon; they were the key holders.  The confusion in Makeni between the UN and us was not as a result an order from the leader.Now,  before the confusion took place in Makeni between us and UNAMSIL , they had sent a report to the leader in Freetown.  His response was:” No RUF is allowed to go to UNAMSIL compound.  No UNAMSIL is allowed to go to RUF territory.”  We were trying to get things under proper arrangement .  He called Issa Sesay to Freetown because he was in charge  at that time since they had dismissed Mosquito.  The leader called him in Freetown; he refused to go.  He called him twice.Negative.  Later on, the confusion became serious.  By holding UNAMSIL the leaders were not responsible. That was wrong. The two heads were responsible for the confusion .

Commissioner Jow:    We have a lot of questions to ask you.  Ibrahim what is your nationality?

Ibrahim Debe:        I am a Sierra Leonean / Liberian.

Commissioner Jow:    Were you born in Sierra Leone?

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes

Commissioner Jow:    Were you brought up in Sierra Leone?

Ibrahim Debe:        I was brought up in Liberia.

Commissioner Jow:    When did you first visit Sierra Leone?

Ibrahim Debe:        I came here in 1991

Commissioner Jow:    What did you come to do in 1991?

Ibrahim Debe:    I was a soldier.  I was a bodyguard to the late Samuel Doe and later I was captured and I was sent to prison by the former NPFL.  From prison I was surprised to see my self in the boundary that was why I came to this country.

Commissioner Jow:    You belong to the group called the vanguard?

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes

Commissioner Jow:    Can you tell us about this group?

Ibrahim Debe:    When you say a vanguard it means the head because when the war entered in Sierra Leone it was no child’s play.  After some time we were able to get some young men from Kailahun because the war took off from Kailahun. 

Bishop Humper:    We thank you for coming here today.  We say thanks that you have admitted that you are an RUF and that you want reconciliation . Is that right?

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes

Bishop Humper:    Tell us the three groups that constituted the movement.  You said you belonged to the vanguard?

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes.

Bishop Humper:    We feel pity for you just like for the other perpetrators.  We want to get some clarification.  I want you to listen.  You said you witnessed the atrocities of those who captured you.

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes.

Bishop Humper:        You became double victim-perpetrator?

Ibrahim Debe:        No.

Bishop Humper:        Then you became grand perpetrators

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes.

Bishop Humper:        You were jailed.

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes.

Bishop Humper:        They mishandled you ?

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes.

Bishop Humper:        That is a victim.

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes.

Bishop Humper:        As NPFL you became a victim perpetrator ?

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes.

Bishop Humper:        As NPFL you were captured by the rebels.

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes

Bishop Humper:        You became double perpetrator ?

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes.

Bishop Humper:        From there you became full RUF  ?

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes.

Bishop Humper:    You were there at the time of the alliance of  the RUF and AFRC and participated in it ?

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes.

Bishop Humper:        That makes you grand perpetrator.

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes.

Bishop Humper:    You want to be reconciled.  Remember that the people of Makeni know about you; because if you have to reconcile you have to be honest.  The other Commissioners will ask you questions.

Commissioner Jow:    Let me remind you; you have have to tell us everything concerning this matter that is known to you .  We want your fullest cooperation.

Prof.Kamara:    We welcome your presence here and appreciate your story.  You said you are a Sierra Leonean as well as a Liberian ?

Ibrahim Debe:        yes.

Prof.Kamara:    For the fact that when the war started you were staying in Liberia as a guard does that mean that you were more a Liberian than Sierra Leonean?

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes.

Prof. Kamara:        Does that mean that you served Liberia?

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes

Prof. Kamara:        You would rather be a Liberian than Sierra Leonean?

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes, because my father was a Liberian.

Prof.Kamara:    You were in the armed forces of Liberia and you were captured in Liberia by NPFL ?

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes

Prof.Kamara:        Then the NPFL handed you over to the RUF ?

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes.

Prof.Kamara:        And you were trained by the RUF in Liberia?

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes, in the boundary.

Prof.Kamara:        Otherwise you would not have come in as a vanguard?

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes.

Prof.Kamara:    One of the things about  the RUF is that if  you were trained in Liberia you were a vanguard ?

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes.

Prof.Kamara:        Do you know of the operation Tap 20?

Ibrahim Debe:        I have no idea of tap 20.

Prof. Kamara:    Do you know that the vanguards were attacked by SLA because of the atrocities caused by the vanguard in Kailahun.

Ibrahim Debe:    The only thing they told us was  that people used to come across to Sierra Leone to solve some problems.

Prof.Kamara:        The initial force that was running the RUF was all Liberians.

Ibrahim Debe:        That is not true.

Prof.Kamara:    The only people that were with them were the few top people who were trained in Libya and the prisoners released by Charles Taylor. When the RUF entered Sierra Leone they were in full control and their atrocities were too much. Foday Sankoh then trained Sierra Leoneans to remove the vanguard and then during the war the operation was called Tap 20 and they were driven out of Sierra Leone.

Prof. Kamara:         Will you be prepared to go to Kailahun?

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes

Prof.Kamara:    Your first station was in Kailahun and they know you very much there and I want to warn you that the Kailahun audience is not like here in Makeni.  If it was in Kailahun the people will write all they know about you and send it to us.  We want to know the truth.  That is why I am requesting that you go to Kailahun.  Are you prepared to do that?

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes.

Prof. Kamara:        You entered here and you were in the security section of the RUF.

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes.

Prof.Kamara:        How long were you in Kailahun?

Ibrahim Debe:        Two years.

Prof.Kamara:    During that period you were sometimes asked to supervise whoever had to bring supply to the RUF ?

Ibrahim Debe:        No, that was not my responsibility.

Prof.Kamara:        You were also a trainer of instructors?

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes.

Prof.Kamara:        In what camp were you training people?

Ibrahim Debe:        In Kailahun.

Prof.Kamara:        Did you go to Zogoda?

Ibrahim Debe:        No.  I never went  there at all.

Prof.Kamara:        So you got to the higher rank and you did not go to Zogoda?

Ibrahim Debe:        I did not go there ;because I was not called to go there.

Commissioner Sooka:    I heard  from you that your mother is a Sierra Leonean and your father a Liberian?

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes.

Commissioner Sooka:    Which part is your mother from?

Ibrahim Debe:        From Kroo Town Road.

Commissioner Sooka:    Can you tell us about the training you underwent and the commander who trained you?

Ibrahim Debe:    Our former field commander who got missing in action later on at Zogoda. 

Commissioner Sooka:    What was his name?

Ibrahim Debe:        Col. Mohamed Tarawally.

Commissioner Sooka:    Tell us about your training.

Ibrahim Debe:    As you entered that camp you were not allowed to go out until after the training.  After the training you were still kept in the camp not knowing what to expect until you were taken in a vehicle to the front line.

Commissioner Sooka:    How long did you take in the training?

Ibrahim Debe:    Because I was a soldier; I did not need a long training.  I took only six months.

Commissioner Sooka:    What did they teach you to do?

Ibrahim Debe:    The first thing was the rationale for the war; how to treat civilians;what to tell civilians and so forth .

Commissioner Sooka:    I want you to tell me how you were promoted in the RUF; from the time you joined and to the time you were disarmed .

Ibrahim Debe:    I was for law and order in administration.  I used to talk to civilians.  The training area was not my job but later on I was head of the task force.   

Commissioner Sooka:    During the time you were a task force commander it means you should make sure that everything went on well ?

Ibrahim Debe:        I tried.

Commissioner Sooka:    During the time you were task force commander, were you responsible for the killing of the people or beating of the people?

Ibrahim Debe:        Within my own time it happened.

Commissioner Sooka:    What happened?

Ibrahim Debe:    A man  was once arrested for a criminal act.Then I was informed about the matter.   Later on, when I went to the office, they showed me the person. Then I told them that they should take good care of the man because we should   investigate the matter.   I went back to my house.  The next day I was surprised to get the information that they took the man to identify what he stole and that  the man tried to run away, but was re-arrested and kept at the office and that later on the man died .

Commissioner Sooka:    Can you tell us what you did when you found out about the man’s death?

Ibrahim Debe:    First of all I asked the person in charge what caused the problem, what they did to the man ?  Did they beat him? He said no. He said that the man had   complained  that he was sick.  I asked, again did you take him to the hospital?    Why you not inform me ?  They said, they did not know that the man would die.  Later on I informed the head office.  They sent for a doctor.  I called the family of the man.  I told them that the doctor will carry out the autopsy and let us all know what happened .  They said they were not going to wait for that .They wanted the body.  The head office gave the go ahead. Then  I was arrested.  I asked why the arrest; they said I was the head.  They investigated and the person who did the act was arrested.

Commissioner Sooka:    Can you tell us what your work was?

Ibrahim Debe:    I  was the connection between the RUF and the civilians;explaining matters to the civilians 

Commissioner Sooka:    Did your duty also include logistics, food from the civilians?

Ibrahim Debe:        It was not my responsibility

Commissioner Sooka:    Who was responsible for that?

Ibrahim Debe:        Within the movement we had so many branches. 

Commissioner Sooka:    The atrocities came as far back as 1992.   I want to know from you if you were responsible for the killing, looting, amputation, raping etc.

Ibrahim Debe:    We were  not given to burning down houses, RUF never burnt a house.  We were not in the bush we were in town.  It does not make sense for us to put fire on houses.

Commissioner Jow:    Were you ever a training commander at Pendembu?

Ibrahim  Debe:        I was there on instruction.

Commissioner Jow:    Who were in training?

Ibrahim Debe:    We did not train children.We had people from the age of 20  ,21  ,22  etc.

Commissioner Jow:    We have been informed that many children were unable to go through the training and most of them lost their lives.

Ibrahim Debe:        It is not true.  We were not training children.

Commissioner Jow:    Was any  life ever lost during the training  sessions ?

Ibrahim Debe:        No

Commissioner Jow:    Did any body ever fall sick because of the training?

Ibrahim Debe:    Before the training we had medical check up. A medical doctor carried out the  check up.  Those with  sickle cell or high blood pressure problems were not allowed to participate.

Commissioner Jow:    In your testimony you said one Foday Kamara and Amadu Bangura lost their lives in the training.

Ibrahim Debe:        No.  It was not to my knowledge.

Commissioner Jow:    Do you want to tell us that the training was comfortable?

Ibrahim Debe:    Yes.  We gave them food to eat three times a day.  Even after the training , the men were not sent at once to the battle front.

Commissioner Jow:    Do you have any regrets about your connection with the RUF?

Ibrahim Debe:    For me , I fought the war because I know my rights .Concerning how I fought the war ,I  know what is right and what is wrong and I tried to do the right things .  Even in Kailahun you can go there and ask about me. They will tell you about me.  Makeni, they will also tell you about me; even Jesus Christ not every body that loves him.

Commissioner Jow:    Do you have any regret why you joined  the RUF?

Ibrahim Debe:        No.  My circumstances determined the part that  I played.

Bishop Humper:     Do you have any problem with your eyes?

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes

Bishop  Humper:    I understand that even if you are the head; if you do not do what you were ordered to do you would be punished?

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes

Bishop Humper:    As task force commander here you had tremendous power; could you recall of the name Abdulai Conteh who stole at no. 7 Mac Robert Street and was tortured to death?

Ibrahim Debe:        It happened in my absence.

Bishop Humper:        Did it happen?

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes.

Bishop Humper:        Present or not present who should take the responsibility?

Ibrahim Debe:        The commander.

Bishop Humper:    You were the liaison officer and you were responsible for the RUF for food ?

Ibrahim Debe:        It was not my area.  It was the area of the G5.

Bishop Humper:        Do you know the slaughterhouse in Kailahun?

Ibrahim Debe:        No.

Bishop Humper:        You have never heard about it?

Ibrahim Debe:        It has been long since I left Kailahun .

Bishop Humper:    I know it was not only a slaughter house but  where they practiced cannibalism.

Ibrahim Debe:        It is not true.

Bishop Humper:        When did you leave Kailahun?

Ibrahim Debe:    I left there in 1992.  During the time when AFRC said they had driven the rebels to Liberia.

Bishop Humper:        Did you know anything about the capture of Kamajors in Kailahun

Ibrahim Debe:        I was not there but I got the information.

Bishop Humper:        Did you know the number of Kamajors they slaughtered?

Ibrahim Debe:    Yes.  They did not slaughter them.  They wanted to attack Kailahun and they were captured.

Bishop Humper:        How many of those Kamajors did Sam Bockarie killed at that time?

Ibrahim Debe:    I was not there at that time.  They only passed on the message to the field commander.  Whenever they sent  any message, all the other radios   received  the message.

Bishop Humper:        From Kailahun what was your last station before you came to Makeni?

Ibrahim Debe:        I was in Tonkolili.

Commissioner Jow:    We have statements that you were responsible for the death of Abdulai Conteh because you were the task force commander at that time.  We are waiting for you to face the public and talk to them.

Ibrahim Debe:    If you say so;you are correct, because I was the commander at that time.  I was not the one that gave the orders. But since I was the commander,   I am appealing to you to forgive me.

Commissioner Jow:    If it is true what should you do?

Ibrahim Debe:    I am telling the people of Makeni and the family of the deceased that I was not  directly responsible;however,since the men were under me and I was the commander,I accept all the responsibility that I killed  the pa Abdulai Conteh.

Prof. Kamara:          Where do you intend to live?

Ibrahim Debe:        In Sierra Leone.  I want to base in Makeni.

Prof.Kamara:        That means you have to reconcile with people of Makeni.

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes.

Prof.Kamara:    Before you can reconcile with the people you have to make sure that they accept you fully.  You have to say the truth about what you did. You have to accept the responsibility of what happened or what the people under your command did.  You have to say that to the people before they will accept you.

Ms. Apori-Nkansah:    When you gave your testimony you mentioned that after the cease fire you came out with many children and their parent were happy because they had no problem.  Who did you grow up with? When you were a child did you live with you mother and father?

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes.

Ms. Apori-Nkansah:    Could you say that it was a good thing to abduct those children?

Ibrahim Debe:    We did that because any attack and any civilian that came to our side we never turned them back since they will be afraid  lest they meet the enemy.  We used to rescue them and take good care of them.

Ms. Apori-Nkansah:    Which one will you choose, to leave with your parents or to leave with people who had guns in the jungle?

Ibrahim Debe:        Any one of the two.

Commissioner Jow:    Do you think that the RUF group and rebel war was good for the country?

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes.  It was good.

Bishop Humper:        As you are sitting here  would you want to be where Issa Sesay is today?

Ibrahim Debe:        I am not prepared for that.

Bishop Humper:    Can you account for the eight persons in Binkolo who were accused of witchcraft?

Ibrahim Debe:        This is my first time of ever hearing that.

Commissioner Jow:    What will you want to tell the Commission?

Ibrahim Debe:    Let the Commission carry on with its good job.  I am asking for peace in the country.  The suppression we have in the past will not happen again.

Commissioner Jow:    The Commission is here to find out about the war and bring people to reconcile so that it will not happen again.  That is why we said you should come out with the complete the story.  I must tell you that we need more information from you.  Are you willing to be in the reconciliation ceremony?

Ibrahim Debe:        Yes.

4th Witness – Hindolo S. Butcher

My name is Hindolo S Butcher.  I am a Christian. Commissioner Mrs. Satang A.  Jow administered the oath.

Commissioner Jow: We appreciate your coming to the commission.  We want you to relax and to share your experiences with the Commission and the audience.


I am the Regional Organizing Secretary for the SLPP in the North.  We had  won the election but rebel activities were getting intensified in the country.From the East and the  South people sought for help and we did offer it .They were lodged in camps in the Northern Province .  Makeni was a safe place for every body.  On 25th May 1997,Mohamed B.Marah and I  went to Kabala .  He had told me that, it had taken a long time since he last visited  Kabala.  We went with some other people. However, before leaving for Kabala we noticed  some strange activities going on.Based on our observations and intuition , we made a list of people and handed it over to S.B. Marah.  We told him that there was a coup in the making.  He told us that security was in place.  Dalton Quee took over as Minister of Interior.   We spent sometime in the lodge.  I told him to leave this place.  He went to town and we went to Kabala.  We were in Kabala and at midnight we heard about the coup.  F.B. Marah and I, his sister and other people, we told S.B. Marah by all possible means to leave.  We returned to Kabala and spent two days there.  We retuned to Makeni and the tension was very high.  They were pointing fingers at SLPP members.  I took my wife and we went to a village called Kamatun after Kanikay junction.  We spent about a month there.  One morning I was going to Kabri and on the high way to Kabala, I came across a land rover. By then I had become heavily bearded.    The people on board were soldiers and they knew me; but I  had thought I had the perfect disguised.  They came from Kabala  en route  Makeni.  They stopped.  They asked me: “Are you not Hindolo?” And I denied.I claimed  I was his look alike.  They said: “You are the one! You are the one that always moved around with Kabba.” The game was up.  They asked me where I  was staying.  I told them.  They asked me to show them the place and I did .  I  hurried back to my wife and I told her that I was lucky that the people that recognised me on the way were  soldiers and my wife advised me to lie low.  I took my wife and returned to Makeni on 7th July.   People warned me: “You are just roaming about with these little children, can’t you stay somewhere?”  Some  came and told me that the AFRC “guys” said that, “Hindolo has returned and he sent messages to Kabba.’  I was staying at Koto junction.  Ibrahim Sesay who is presently Minister of information and few others were all visiting me.  On the 13th July, they nearly killed me but I escaped.  They met Sheriff and Kenise.  I escaped together with Ibrahim Sesay and Daniel Sesay.  We went to  the village of Adama Cut Hand. Immediately,word went round  .  Alpha Toronoko the head man said he was not pleased to host us.  We were there and we heard that people were hunting us.  We went to Sandaloko.   We stayed  with one of my friends until the 27th July.   I decided I should return to Makeni.  Daniel Sesay tried to dissuade me;but I insisted .  To be frank with you we returned to Makeni.  Daniel went back to his village. My wife told me:” Have you come again ?”  I   asked her to leave me alone that the Lord is with me and that I am going nowhere.  We were there until the 20th of August. From the 21st  I noticed that our movement was being monitored.  On 22nd I got up and went to Alhaji Sankoh.  The man and his brother with Musa Koroma and his driver and one man called Tommy Saidu. Five of us went to Ibrahim and we were discussing about our problems.  By then the AFRC junta was at Y.M. Koroma’s house.  After a while I advised that we should change location and each to go his separate way .  Some people were around and they saw and recognised  us.  They were there to identify people.  He had a lot of boys with him.  When he was informed that Butcher and others were around he came with his vehicle.  We were inside the vehicle for us to be taken to our different homes.  We saw Daniel Mabanta and his group cross in front of us.  Alhaji Sankoh said: “What are we even doing  ? We have been informed that you are the people who go around performing sacrifices but this time your government will not be able to perform any sacrifice.’’That was a hard one;but it was the talk of the town . We were there from 10:00pm to 5:00am in the morning. Before dispersing we resolved that  nobody should come together in the form of a meeting and that people should take care of themselves.  So we stopped and did not visit anybody. Ordinarily,  I had  wanted to tell the people that they were monitoring  me.  I had  wanted to tell everybody that cared to listen that the elders and Paramount Chief will note that I have never done anything to anybody.  On 23rd Saturday morning at about 5:45am,being an early riser ,I went about my own business.  Then  I saw two Hilux vehicles.Meanwhile, I hasten to add here that I  on a regular basis   treat people because I am a qualify practitioner.  I treated people without payment.  I also help people.  That Saturday morning the two pick up truck came to my house and it carried 100 people armed with guns and sticks etc.Then, I was staying at the house of Adama Sesay.But I had gone   to Seventeen Junction.  That morning I went to my brother J.B. Makaia.  Abdul Karim saw me that morning when I went to my brother.  He was the ringleader in plotting for my arrest.   Felix came and asked my child about me.  Memuna told him that I had gone out.  The road I used to go to Makaia he did not see me.  Abdul Karim knew I was in my brother’s room.  They took a pistol and checked to see whether I was under the bed.  As they came nearer where I was  he spoke in our own language and told me that they were coming.  I went into one house and went under the bed.  I stayed under that bed till 6:00pm that night.    At eight o’clock one boy came and told Mammy Yanka to help me disguise like a woman so that I can escape.  We pretended as if we were going for prayers.  I started working from the 23rd of August until I reached Guinea.  It took me eleven days to reach to Guinea.  I went to Guinea and got some money .  I left Guinea and I walked by foot again to Makeni.  I came across Daniel Sesay and I told him that,it was only divine intervention that has kept me alive; otherwise I should have been killed .  We were there until they drove the AFRC out of Freetown.  When they were kicked out , they went out to their usual places in the bush.  We were staying in Makeni and we continued to do our work.  This ti e it became the problem of  the AFRC and the rebels. Initially, they were here in Makeni selling cigarettes.But  what makes people  believe that these guys were AFRC and RUF members was that they struck Binkolo and destroyed the village and they killed seven soldiers.Meanwhile,  on December 21st ,Sylvester Rogers came and told us: “The rebels are 13 miles off the town of Makeni and immediately after giving this report I am leaving.” There was no single drop of fuel in my car . I told my daughter to go into the bush.  All of us went into the bush.  We went into the bush and there we spent our Christmas.  They had occupied everywhere by then.  We were at a village called Kamapaneh with my family.  It was very cold and I told my wife that I heard that the rebels said we should come out.  On the 9th of January my family came to town.  I was only left with a boy and my in-law in the bush.  The man that provided me refuge was informed ;that if I do not leave their  place, they would kill me.  I told my wife that I was going to Gbendembu.

They told me that they would take me to Demba Marah and tell him that I am their friend.   How wonderful it is to witness the governance of men of integrity.  They went and informed Demba Mara.  On the 21st May they came for me.  Pa Sampha the elder brother of Demba Marah came for me.  He took me to the field and he spoke to all of them.  He told them:  “This man is my friend and, he is an SLPP member”.  He threatened them.Then he concluded: “If you kill all the important people in the country who will be left.”  On the 25th May the field was jam packed waiting for the Peace Accord to be signed in Togo.  I was at home that time then Pa Demba said let us go and listen. Demba Marah is now dead.  Since I was brought out of the bush Demba Marah was the only one that took care of us.  I want to say thanks to Rev. Usman Fornah for pleading for his people.  He pleaded for all of us.  He did not leave us.  I was arrested and my arm was broken.  They took bottles and stabbed me on my head.  They used bottle on my head.  I was stripped naked.  My friend S.Y. Koroma followed me and the blood sprayed on my clothes.  They brought me to Caritas office.  I said I want to drink, 11 of them urinated and they gave me to drink but I refused.  Memuna went to Pa Demba and she told him:  “You asked my father to come out of the bush and now look at what has happened.”  In the morning they brought me to 55 and he said ,“you are lucky to be alive.”  They took me to General Lewis.  He spoke nicely to me.  They said I was,” the carrier of Tejan Kabba”.  They looted all my property.

Bishop Humper:        Did I hear you say you are the Regional Organizing Secretary for SLPP.

Mr. Hindolo Butcher:        Yes

Bishop Humper:            Do you want to tell us that you were a target?

Mr. Hindolo Butcher:        Yes

Bishop Humper:    You suffered physical damage.  What happened to you was a sort of harassment and violation of human rights.

Mr. Hindolo Butcher:        Yes.

Prof.Kamara:    Like most of our witnesses you went through a very distressful experience. They did not kill any of your family members but you said they broke your hand.

Mr.Hindolo Butcher:    They were so many that I could not identify any of  them . But the one who ordered my arrest will take responsibility.

Prof.Kamara:            How was it broken?

Mr. Hindolo Butcher:    They  hit me with an iron bar. Then they took this rope and wound tight around my penis and began to draw it.Blood was oozing out from my penis.  It took one year and six months . Pa Demba sent for me and had asked that I come out from the bush.  He told them that it is now time for peace.  He took me to the field and informed everybody.  That day Paul arrested me and claimed that I fed people in Makeni and I was sending messages to Freetown.

Prof.Kamara:            Who was Paul Jety?

Mr. Hindolo Butcher:        He was one of the AFRC members. 

Prof.Kamara:            Did you say that the AFRC or the rebels supported SLPP or APC?

Mr.Hindolo Butcher:    To me it seems they were nowhere.  They just got up and demanded war .  They did what they wanted.    So they were not supporting any group.But  I want to conclude that they were the grandchildren of APC.

Prof.Kamara:    You said the time they brought you to Makeni you met Brigadier 55.

Mr. Hindolo Butcher:    He was a head of the task force business in CARITAS office in Flower Corner.

Commissioner Jow:        You said the armed men were Felix Turay and Abdul Sankoh.

Mr.Hindolo Butcher:    I had thought that they were  civilians ,not knowing they were rebels .

Commissioner Jow:    Do you know their whereabouts?

Mr. Hindolo Butcher:    Abdul Turay is in Freetown.

Commissioner Jow:    Have you tried to talk to them?

Mr. Hindolo Butcher:    I think those who have wronged me should come in front of me and kneel down and apologize to me and then ask for forgiveness.

Commissioner Jow:    Mr. Butcher do you want the Commission to help with regard to  reconciliation with these people ?

Mr.Hindolo Butcher:    It will be nice for it to be done.  I came here for the sake of peace.  Those that wronged us as I have the name Butcher, I should have butchered all of them.  So it is nice that you call us together for reconciliation.

Commissioner Jow:    We thank you for being here.  We are happy that even though you suffered you want peace.  You have answered all our questions.  Now give us your last word.

Mr. Hindolo Butcher:    I want to say thanks.  The Lord has brought peace.  The Lord said Peace I give you and Peace I leave with you.  What I want every body to know is that I am 63 years of age.I  had domestic animals of all sorts , even Dr. Demby had cows.  I had a machine and other things that I laboured for. All that is gone. If government and the international community have helped the rebels, so that some have got projects; I need to be compensated for my labour.  Here is a project the title is,” Hindolo S. Butcher: The Coordinator for Mayanh Community Farmers’ Association”.  I included ex- combatants for everyone to know that I mean peace.  We need also to be financed so that we can forget about the past.  It is no one man business.  My submission  with due respect to you,is for your assistance.  If this happens we will forget about the past.  If this does not happen there will be no peace.

Commissioner Jow:    We are happy to note that you are happy and quite prepared to put your life back on track .  You are coordinating this project that you have showed us.  I will advise you to send your document to organisations like NaCSA but your recommendations will be incorporated in our report.  We have noted all that you have said and we assure you that these recommendations will be incorporated in our recommendations for implementation.

5th Witness – Baba Dukuray

My name is Baba Dukuray.  I am a Muslim.  The oath was administered by Commissioner Mrs. Satang Ajaratou Jow .

One day in September we were at Manjoro and we heard that the rebels had reached  Kalangba.  We were all in panic . Everybody was told to in their own interest go into the bush.  We were there for two days and we came back.  There were some people in  a parade.  They said rebels had been around. Anyway, we slept there for a day. Then, they came with two boys and brought them before the parade.  We asked them whether the boys were thieves.     Suddenly, ECOMOG truck came in. A lot of people were afraid.  The people that brought the two young men showed them to ECOMOG.  One of them produced a paper that he was an old soldier.  The other one was asked for his paper.  The soldiers came down the truck and we the civilians ran away.   We heard two gun shots .  The truck moved and headed for Kabala.  We came back where the men in the parade still maintained their ground.  We saw two bodies lying on the ground ,dead. After that incident we were there for two days.  The chief said the body should be buried.  After some days the rebels entered and we went into the bush for three days.   Another day they captured four boys.  This happened at night.  I heard a boy screaming and they told him to stop or he would be killed.  And the boy was killed for doing nothing wrong.  We ,therefore ,stayed in the bush afraid to return.  We were there for 3 days. From where we were we could  see smoke rising up to the sky;even though we only continued to guess concerning the reason for the smoke.But  ,no answer.    The other day they killed one of the heads in their group.  We were there and another group entered and we ran attempting to cross the river heading to Sanda.  We saw another group right across the river.  We had to remain where we were .At that time time ,we still had some little provision to keep us going.But then after a while ,the little we had got exhausted.Some people went to town for food.Thus were we exposed.They ordered us out of the bush. When  two of us came out  they asked us the  whereabouts of the chief . We told them that the  chief ran away.They said:  “We will give you a paper for the chief to come back.”  People  began to return. After three days of relative quiet, on the fourth day they had all of us  surrounded . Their next intention was to start bringing down  the houses to make firewood.  After  two weeks  went to them and said: “Now before you destroy our houses we will find people who will bring firewood for you.”  We told them that the Muslims would fetch firewood on Friday and the Christians on Sunday. Then they asked about the food.  They said we should provide people to lead them into the farms.  We said we had nobody.Anyway,  anytime they brought rice our wives  cleaned it.  Our wives fetched water for them.  Whenever our wives filled the drum, they simply wasted the water and our wives would fill the drum again. Many of us wanted  to escape but there was no way.  If they had  requests for food supplies from  other sections of their  group; to take food to their base our boys will have to do it. And they kept abducting people and bringing them here until  our resources got stretched beyond their limits.  All the food in the village was finished .I do not know what else to say ? While walking along the bush , the ordinary people in the village used to see cows around the bush  and the cows never ran away; but when the cows saw the rebels they all ran away.  People started leaving the houses.  This was the reason why the houses collapsed.  If I say they burnt down any house in the village, I would  be telling a lie.  They only burnt the house of their boss.  This is all I know.

Prof. Kamara:      You started your narrative to say soldiers and later ECOMOG am I correct.

Mr. Dukuray:    I said they brought two boys from somewhere.  I  had thought they were thieves.  They brought them  before their parade and then ECOMOG came in.

Prof.Kamara:        Are you saying that ECOMOG killed those two people?

Mr. Dukuray:        The uniformed  people identified them as ECOMOG.

Prof.Kamara:        So they killed them and you buried them.

Mr. Dukuray:        After two days the chief told us to bury them.

Prof.Kamara:        ECOMOG then moved to where?

Mr. Dukuray:        They moved to Kabala

Prof.Kamara:        At that time you had no CDF?

Mr. Dukuray:        No.

Prof.Kamara:        The people who captured those two boys were they CDF?

Mr.Dukuray:        No.

Prof.Kamara:        They just captured them as thieves?

Mr.Dukuray:        Yes

Prof.Kamara:        Why did they not take them to the Paramount Chief?

Mr. Dukuray:    On their way they came across ECOMOG and they turned and ran.

Prof.Kamara:            ECOMOG did not advise them to go to the Paramount Chief?

Mr. Dukuray:            I was not there.

Prof.Kamara:            For how long did the rebels occupy Manjoro?

Mr. Dukuray:    Since they entered Makeni they were assigned there and they spent three years.

Prof.Kamara:            Do you have a school in your village?

Mr. Dukuray:    Yes.  The other school was supposed to have ten teachers but there is only five now.

Prof.Kamara:            Did they not abduct  women in the town?

Mr. Dukuray    Some young girls who were not going to school voluntarily joined them to be their women.

Prof.Kamara:            After that they did not disturb the families.

Mr. Dukuray:            Because  we were insisting on their compliance.

Prof.Kamara:            What made the rebels leave Manjoro?

Mr. Dukuray:    Those who came from Makeni drove the ones that came from Manjoro.

Bishop Humper:            What group killed their head?

Mr. Dukuray:            We do not know them.  It was the first group that entered.

Bishop Humper:    Why did the rebels choose Friday and Sunday as the days for fetching firewood for them ?
Mr. Dukuray:    Those are the days that people do not go to the  farm.  That was why they chose Fridays and Sundays.

Commissioner Jow:        I want you tell us who you are in Manjoro?

Mr. Dukuray:            I am an indigene of Manjoro and a court member?

Commissioner Jow:    Did you say the first group that went to Manjoro took three years.

Mr. Dukuray:    The first group that came after accusing their boss of embezzlement killed the boss and burnt the house.

Commissioner Jow:    Did you say you gave the rebels food?

Mr. Dukuray:        Yes.  We had no where to go.

Commissioner Jow:    Did they explain to you why they did this?

Mr. Dukuray:        We never engaged them  in any dialogue.  We were afraid of them.

Commissioner Jow:    Can you remember any of their names?

Mr. Dukuray:        One of them was always referred to as  Johnny. 

Ms. Apori-Nkansah:    You did say that the young ladies in your village at a point joined the rebels and were bush wives.  Was it under threat or they were afraid?

Mr. Dukuray:    They did it underground without our knowledge as young people go about their affairs. 

Commissioner Jow:    Do you have any questions?

Mr. Dukuray:    I want you to assist the town.  You should assist the town with Education.  Some of the children sit in the open air taking lessons.  Now in the rainy season some have to cease going to school.  There is also no market building;we need assistance in this too  .

Commissioner Jow:    We have noted your concerns.  You have a good mind.  We want to assure you that we will incorporate these recommendations in our report. 

6th – Witness – Mohamed  Kamara

My name is Mohamed Kamara.  I am a muslim. Commissioner Mrs.Satang A. Jow administered the oath.


One day while  I was  in  Kambala Chiefdom, in  Chief Kadabola’s section , we saw a group of rebels  from Kabala.  We ran into the town called Yembrain.As we entered the town we saw  a   lot of people dead or wounded  and houses set ablaze .The rebels had done their inglorious act in this town and from here turned to our village. With  what we saw  we decided to forget about  Kamboy ;  We went somewhere else to hide.  One day they captured eighteen of us.  After we   had been captured one man was killed.  He was the chief for the young men.  Bangali Taylor  was killed.  A man by the name of SAJ Musa  then commanded his followers and they started amputating hands.  The hands of ten people were chopped off.  They abducted four people.  They went into the villages and left us in pain.  We had a pastor and he took us to the hospital. I entered Kamakwie Hospital later.  It was curfew time.  I was taken to the hospital and I was treated.  This is what happened.

Bishop Humper:    Mohamed we sympathize with you.  We know that it is not easy to tell the story.However ,we need  certain  clarifications.You said they surrounded you and captured eighteen of you.  You said they amputated ten out of the eighteen they captured.  Did they select the people?

Mohammed Kamara:    The four were very small children.

Bishop Humper:        Were they abducted?

Mohamed Kamara:    Ten of them were amputated and four were abducted.  Four of them were killed.

Bishop Humper:        Were there girls amongst the abductees?

Mohamed Kamara:    We were all men.

Prof. Kamara:          You said it was SAJ Musa who ordered his men to chop off hands?

Mohamed Kamara:    Yes.

Prof.Kamara:    Before SAJ Musa’s arrival in your town or area have you heard about people being amputated?

Mohamed Kamara:    We heard about them.  It started in Karina.

Prof.Kamara:        Do you know if it was SAJ Musa’s group in Karina?

Mohamed Kamara:    I do not know.  No. I cannot tell the difference because they entered at night.

Prof.Kamara:        Do you know the direction SAJ Musa’s group came from?

Mohamed Kamara:    They came from Kabala.

Prof.Kamara:         Do you know when they left your area where they headed for ?

Mohamed Kamara:    I do not know. They told us that after amputating us, they were going to Bolo and  that  there  we  were going to wash their face.

Prof.Kamara:        Was it a small group?

Mohamed Kamara:    They were many.  They were more than one hundred they were in three groups, the first group carried guns.  The other group carried loads…

Prof.Kamara:        You came to Kamakwie and you were captured.  Where are you now?

Mohamed Kamara:    At Kabala Ferry

Prof.Kamara:        How do you take care of yourself?

Mohamed Kamara:    I am staying with my child and he assists me.

Prof.Kamara:        Does this your child go to school?

Mohamed Kamara:    Yes.  He is still a boy.

Prof.Kamara:        Do you know about the association of amputees   ?

Mohamed Kamara:    I am not aware of that group.  I am far away from Makeni.

Prof.Kamara:        Are there people like you in your area at Kabala Ferry area?

Mohamed Kamara:    They are all over there.

Prof.Kamara:        Do you see them?

Mohamed Kamara:    Yes.  I see them

Commissioner Jow:    Can you tell us the time this thing happened to you?

Mohamed Kamara:    I cannot remember the year  ,but the day was April 18.

Commissioner Jow:    Was it during the AFRC period?

Mohamed Kamara:    It was after AFRC.

Commissioner Jow:    Can you tell us the language they spoke ?

Mohamed Kamara:    They spoke Krio and Liberian English.

Commissioner Jow:    Did they tell you why they cut your hands?

Mohamed Kamara:    Yes.  They gave us letter.  SAJ called me and wrote a letter to go to ECOMOG at Kamakwie Government Hospital and go to Tejan Kabba he will give you a hand.

Commissioner Jow:    You said the rebels came back and burnt your house  ?

Mohamed Kamara:    After I was amputated I left Kabba Ferry and later I heard my house was burnt.  They had entered into two villages.  It was during the second attack that they told us that our house was burnt.

Leader of Evidence:      No question .

CommissionerJow:    Do you know what happened to the remaining four people?

Mohamed Kamara:    Four of them were abducted.  Two of them were later confirmed killed and I do not know what became of the other two.

CommissionerJow:    It your turn to ask questions.

Mohamed Kamara:    I have four children.  I have no house.  I want you to assist me in terms of education for my children because I have nothing with me.  I  lost one of my wives during the war.

CommissionerJow:    Have you ever lived in an amputee camp

Mohamed Kamara:    No

CommissionerJow:    Are you a member of the amputee camp?

Mohamed Kamara:    No

CommissionerJow:    This commission has had a series of encounter with amputees.  Senior staff has moved around the country to have recommendations from amputees and one of the recommendations have been school for children of amputees.  We have incorporated this recommendation in our report.  One of the mandates of the commission is to help victims like you. 


1ST Witness – Adama Munu

My name is Adama Munu.  I am a Muslim.  Bishop Joseph C. Humper administered the oath.

Bishop Humper:    We are happy that you are here today; we do hope that you give your testimony and help us to know of what happened to you and what you witnessed.  We want you to take your time and give your testimony.  We are now ready to listen to you.


When the war came we ran  very far away into the forest for refuge. Then one day,  one woman was captured by the rebels. They  asked her; “What you are doing here ?  Please tell us where the other people are ?”  This woman took them where we were.  We were taken unawares .  We just  heard the dogs barking.The next thing we were surrounded.  I was caught.  Then they held my father in law who was amputated.  They gathered us in front of the hut and laid us down side ways.  They ordered us to stretch our hands on a tree stump. They told the old man that “the first time we released you but now we are going to chop off your hand.”  They caught a child who was crawling and they chopped that child in the middle.  They held an adult.  The other man was wounded.  They held one woman.  I was still there watching.  They told the woman to give them the money and the woman said “I have no money.”  They searched the woman and they found and took her money.  They were counting the money and it fell.  The woman ran.  They amputated three fingers of one child.  They asked me for money.  I said I do not have.  They said I should get up.  There was a tree stump.  They had two cutlasses and a gun.  They said “get up and go to the tree stump.”  They asked me to lay my hand on the tree stump and  I did.My hand was chopped off.  Instead of doing this to me I asked to be killed.  They said, “This is what we want you to be.  Go to Tejan Kabba for a hand.”  This is my story.

Bishop Humper:    We have heard again another soul piercing testimony.  Your story may be short but it has far reaching consequences.  The Commission will ask you a few questions for clarifications

CommissionerJow:    It is a very moving testimony.  We are happy that you are still alive.  Can you tell us the name of the village where you were amputated?

Adama Munu:        At Mateboyor.

CommissionerJow:    The incident took place in the bush.

Adama Munu:        Yes.

CommissionerJow:    Can you tell us about the rebels who chopped off your hands, what language did they speak?

Adama Munu:    I do not know the group they belonged to.In fact, the one that chopped my hand was wearing a disguise.  I do not know the group they belonged to.

CommissionerJow:     What language did they speak?

Adama Munu:        They said nothing to me.

CommissionerJow:    How were you rescued?

Adama  Munu:    After the amputation we were brought to Makeni for 15 days and they took us to Freetown.  We were treated there.  They promised to give us some artificial limbs.  A lot of the amputees have been assisted in that area.  But they have not done anything for us.  As I sit here my son was involved in an accident.  My son-in-law was captured and up till now I do not know their whereabouts.

CommissionerJow:    After your treatment did you stay in a camp?

Adama Munu:        Yes, at Netland.

CommissionerJow:    Can you tell us how you support yourself?

Adama Munu:        Nothing.Except whosoever feels like assisting me.

CommissionerJow:    What do you do for your living?

Adama Munu:        My neighbors are assisting me.  Some of them are generous to me.

Prof. Kamara:         Can you remember the period when this thing happened?

Adama Munu:        No.

Prof.Kamara:    You said after the amputation they brought you to Makeni.  Who brought you?

Adama Munu:        My husband.

Prof.Kamara:        Is your husband still alive?

Adama Munu:        Yes.

Prof.kamara:        Is he still with you?

Adama Munu:        Yes.

Prof.Kamara:        Is he assisting you?

Adama Munu:        Yes.

Prof.Kamara:        How is it now at Mateboyor?  Do you have facilities there?

Adama Munu:        Yes.There is one         

Prof.Kamara:        Is it a government facility or a private?

Adama Munu:        It is Government  owned  .    

Prof.Kamara:        Have you ever contacted any organization for assistance?

Adama Munu:        No, since it was recorded earlier on.

Prof.Kamara:        Who took you to Netlands?

Adama Munu:        Sister Coro.

Prof.Kamara:        She took you from Makeni on to Netland?

Adama Munu:        Yes.

Prof.Kamara:        When you left Netland where did you go?

Adama Munu:        They took us to Lakka.

Prof.kamara:        In a camp or to a hospital?

Adama Munu:        We were accommodated at Lakka and they give us some food items.

Bishop Humper:        Was it the amputation that killed Wusu or the gun shut that killed her?

Adama Munu:    I said Wusu’s hands were not chopped of. They used the machete and cut her all over her body.

Bishop Humper:        What about the woman and the baby?

Adama Munu:        The mother fled and the child was grabbed.

Bishop Humper:        What did they do with the child?

Adama Munu:        The child was divided into two there and then .

Bishop Humper:    When they chopped off peoples’ hands they gave them the message to go to Tejan Kabba to give them another hand.  I want to know if that was what they said to you.

Adama Munu:        They told me to go to Tejan Kabba in Makeni.

Bishop Humper:        Do you know about the Amputee and War Wounded Association?

Adama Munu:        I have no knowledge about that.

Bishop Humper:    We want the staff of the Commission to take you to that association.  The Association is alive and active. .You have gone through a bitter experience of being a double amputee during your life time. If you hear about people plotting about bringing war what you will do ?  Will you go and inform the chief or will you keep quiet about it?

Adama Munu:            I do not want to hear those kinds of words.

Ms. Apori-Nkansah:    We do not have any question.  We just want a clarification of the name of the child.

Adama Munu:    I neither know the name of the woman nor the child’s name.   She was a stranger.

Bishop Humper:        Adama it is now your turn to ask questions.

Adama Munu:    I want the government to assist me because today I am amputated.  That is all I have.

Bishop Humper :    Thank you.  I want you to know that the very strong amputee association and war wounded in this country want government to assist them.  The Commission and the Association are working out some modalities with the Government to see how the amputees and war wounded can be helped.  We are asking the staff to take the address of the amputees whose existence the central body of amputees does not know about. We hope that through these recommendations government will pay much attention to you.  We will constitute your request in to the recommendations.

2nd – Witness – Abdulai Sesay

My name is Abdulai Sesay.  I am a muslim.  Bishop Joseph C.  Humper administered the oath

Bishop Humper:    I welcome you on behalf of the Commission and the audience.  This Commission was established to bring peace among people.  To get those who did wrong to say the truth and apologize and be forgiven.  The community as a whole will embrace you again.  This Commission will take no one to court.  Ours is not a court it is a truth finding commission.  Whatever happened to you, whatever you did during the war, you are to share with us; then you will be able to reconcile.  I hope you understand because you are sitting before us as one of those to tell your story as RUF who has fought in this country.  Feel free to know that we are here to give you  support.


I will talk about what I had to go through and what I did.  In 1994 I went to koidu town at Kono.  I went there on a Christmas holiday.I was then a young student.  I was 13years old.  I went to kono on 22nd December.  The day I arrived on the 23rd a letter was brought to the chief.  According to the letter the RUF was to attack on 25th December.  When the letter was sent nobody took it seriously.  On the 25th at 1:00 pm, we went to a cinema hall.  As we bought our tickets the RUF entered.  When they entered two of my brothers were killed there and then and I was captured.  Col. Mosquito captured me.  The other one wanted to kill me and Mosquito said: ‘Don’t kill him’.  He took me as his personal boy.  I met the rebels holding my aunt and she was amputated.  She was about to be killed and I said: “This is my aunt. Kill me instead .”  They commanded and she was not killed.  I told them about the death of my two brothers.  Mosquito travelled with me to Kailahun and crossed with me to Liberia at Yamdugo.   When we got there, I was trained for three months.  After that I was brought to Kenema.  In Kenema the first operation they gave me was at Golahun but at that time the SLA was fighting the RUF.  When I was given that mission, I had with me 1890 men and we advanced.  I was a commander and at that time I had no position.  We advanced and I succeeded in the mission.  I captured 100 SLA and five were killed.  We captured all their ammunitions and returned back to Kailahun.  I told my boss Mosquito that I succeeded and I was promoted to Major and was named Jim Murderer.  My second operation was at Mile 91. I was given 2800 man power.  I went there and I succeeded.  I was promoted to Col. and I went to Liberia.   When I was taken to Liberia, it was my first time to see Foday Sankoh and Charles Taylor.  Where they held their conference I was not allowed to enter.  I made an attempt to enter the conference room and they shot two of my boys.  I had wanted to listen to their conversation . I tried to  set  them up, but I failed.  They wanted to capture me.  After three days I came back and apologized and they accepted me.  They gave me $400.  They registered six of us.  After that I was sent to Daru and was given the third operation.  I captured one SLA Commander Sgt. Santos.  He was with me like a second commander to me.  After Daru we attacked the SLA and the mission failed.  We came to Kenema and told our boss.  He gave us another 1000 man power and we went again to Daru.  The attack was not successful.  We went to our boss and told him again that we failed.  He gave us another 1000 man power.  When we went ahead the mission was successful.  We had weakened their strength.  After we succeeded, I returned to my boss.  In 1996 the war was at Mile 91.   I was there again but the soldiers that we met were ULIMO soldiers and we fought them and we succeeded.  Five of them joined us and the rest went away.  We advanced to Tombo.  Those we met I can’t remember the Commander’s name.  I don’t know whether he was ULIMO or SLA.  We were there till 1997 when the government was overthrown.  We were at waterloo.  I was there as a spy. I travelled to Freetown to know the situation.  I returned and told my men and we advanced.   We went to Freetown.  I was in my own area at Wellington.  At Wellington that was when ECOMOG entered the country.  They were at Kossoh Town.   The first meeting that RUF and ECOMOG had, we attacked the ECOMOG and the meeting did not go through.  After that we attacked them again but we did not succeed. 

The last attack we made was during the intervention.  Most of my boys were shot and I was discouraged.  Most of my men asked me to advance but I refused.   I had fought since 1994; so I was ready  and not afraid to  die.  My elder brother who was a soldier was killed.  Some of my companions had left and the Alpha Jet bombed our area.  Our intention was to go ahead.   I was captured but they did not know that I was one of the rebels.  But the civilians I lived with knew me and I was not wicked to them.    In 1997 when sanctions were raging, whenever I had goods I would make it available to the civilians.   The day I was captured they defended me.  When ECOMOG released me, they gave me food and asked me to go.  I left and I met my friends at 7 Battalion around the Peninsular and we came back to Waterloo.  At Waterloo I was armed again.  We set an ambush at Banga Farm.  At that time the kamajor advance and fell in the ambush.  I   captured eighty of them.  After my colleagues took the kamajors away, the Guineans attacked us and pushed us to 6 miles.  We came back and attacked them at 6 Miles and we succeeded.  On the third day they attacked us again.  They removed us and continued to push us back.  We reached Masiaka and resisted.  We disappeared and they entered.  We attacked them again and they fled.  When we reached Lunsar we met some other rebels.  We joined them and the ECOMOG attacked us.   We fought them and pushed them up to Bara junction.  They asked us out of the place and we had reinforcement.  We pushed them out of the place.   The battle was at Rogbere Ferry.  When we left there I was a spy. When I reached Rogbere Ferry, I was captured.  They asked me my mission and I said they have killed my mother.  I said she was killed at Masiaka.  They asked me if I was able to go.  At that time Maxwell Kobe gave me ride in his vehicle and dropped me at Maisiaka.  I spied their movement.  I went into their camp.  They refused to train me because they had enough armed men.  I was afraid.  The CDF moved when the RUF entered because they had no strong support.  They were fighting to save their country.  Our intension was not to sit at Rogbere junction.  When I reached Kailahun, I sent a message to my boss and he invited me.  In 1998 we started our advance.  It was my second operation after the intervention.  There was a break through at Galahun Bridge.  My colleagues were at the other side.  When we met at night we thought they were our enemies.  We fought till the morning.  There were casualties.  In Kenema we heard some Kaska lapa with us.  I told my men to wait.  As I advanced I gave my password and they gave me theirs.  Komba Gundama gave orders for me to be arrested.  I refused and I told them that if they touch me I will kill them.  I advise them not to do that.  We came again together.   ECOMOG came and put a weapon there.  Komba Gundama was afraid to make his advance.  I told him to reinforce me and he gave me 4000 man power.  We by passed them they started firing at us and the weapon had acid in it.  I made an advance.  You can fire me I will be killed but I was hard hearted.  I went to their camp and captured the Major, Peter Adamu.  They wanted to maltreat him but I stopped them.  He told me that he was the only one in his family.  He told me not to kill him.  I felt sorry for him and shed tears.  I asked him would you be ready to be with me.  He said yes.  But God saved him.  He had no tribal marks.  I said you have to behave like one of us. I told him to behave like a dumb man.  He was a good driver and had the heart of a lion( the Lord entered him).  He was not afraid.  When we advanced he pushed the men to go in front.  When we reached Makeni we passed silently.  It was mid night.  According to our plans we wanted to enter Freetown on 25th December but we did not succeed.  We advanced and went to Makali and we met ECOMOG.  We went ahead and reached Lunsar and we met them there and scattered them.  We went bit by bit removing them.  I went as a spy.  I commanded my men and we went on “Operation Silent.”  When we captured them we advanced to waterloo.  At Waterloo we passed quietly.  When we reached Waterloo in the morning we came down and disguised.  People were confused. They were asking among themselves whether RUF was in town and I joined them in in expressing interest in the matter to know the truth .  They said it looked as if the rebels were using some charms.  The people I met on the way were going to Benguema.   I said: “Speak the truth.  Did you tell ECOMOG about them?  If you tell ECOMOG you will be accepted.”Meanwhile ,it was a serious and dangerous game.  When we reached the market on 25th December we helped ourselves to some Christmas.  We were able to grab some items to eat.  That night we attacked Hastings but did not succeed. That time the bosses were with us.  There has been this story to the effect that the SLA took ‘burn house’ to Freetown.  It was not true.  SLA left us at Gugol and told us they were going to their homes and no foreigner will be able to drive them. They said they would be going to Freetown.  SLA did not burnt down houses in town.   The SDU caused the trouble.  The aim of SLA was to go to Freetown and after the death of SAJ there was no control.  If  anybody told you that on January 6 the RUF crossed Hastings to Freetown, it is a lie.  We bypassed them.  We met the men at Hastings and the way it was fortified nobody had the mind to pass there.  The last troop that came passed through Hastings and went to town.  The night we reached Freetown I heard that my mother had been killed.  The ECOMOG commander that was with me I wanted to kill him but I remembered the Lord.  If I so revenge that meant a revenge against God.   I released him.  He had a communication set with him.  When he wanted to talk in his language I refused.  They asked him his location and asked for the person who captured him.  He told them.  As we went to attack Cockerril there was no way and I released him and I told him : “If you are killed, it is left with you.”  I came back to my own area.  People were suffering.  Those amputated were suffering.  At Wellington I saw the situation.   I took my men and we went to Water Quay and took oil, rice etc.  I called my people and gave it to them.  I was doing that throughout that week.  I encouraged people in that area.  People will bear me witness.  What I am saying here is the truth.  There was no medical treatment.  I captured some medical doctors and asked them to treat my people in my area.  As they saw how I was with the people, they stopped  being afraid.  On Wednesday we were moved out of Freetown.  I decided that I  was not going again.    When ECOMOG entered, my relative asked me if I wanted to surrender.  They said I was nice to them.  I was afraid.  I used bypass and went to Brewery.  As we went ahead I remembered about my late mother and I  was distressed.  I was crying as I advanced.  I told my boys not to call me Col. any longer.  I came back to Kailahun and to Kenema.  When I heard that RUF were in kono I went there.  When I came to Makeni, my commanders were Superman and Jonogobla.

We were with Superman.  We stayed in Makeni till the year 2000. Superman slapped one of the UN Commanders and told him that we would not disarm.  When I heard that disarmament was going on in Port Loko my boss man disarmed me.  I took another weapon and used another route.  Because they knew me as Col. they allowed me to pass through the checkpoint.  I was able to talk to other RUFs to disarm.  This is no way to live one’s life.  If we decide to live like this, Sierra Leone will not move forward. We went to Port Loko and disarmed.  When Peter Adamu heard that I had disarmed, he congratulated me and took a picture of me.  He took me to Cockerril.  If I say that I did not kill then I am telling a lie.But  if I have ever burnt anybody’s house or chopped off anybody’s hand let me never prosper in whatever I lay my hands on.  If I have done anybody wrong here in Makeni I want that person to point his or her finger at me.  The person will bring me before the people and tell them what I did to him or her.

I forgot to mention something.  I do not want to lie.  The time I was given the first operation, Mosquito gave me some money to give the men for two months.  If people say that Foday Sankoh brought the war to Sierra Leone.  Yes it is true.  He was not a leader but a contractor.  I said  I want to continue with my education. So I went  back to school. My father was a soldier, Major Sesay.  He decided that I should join the army on January 8, 2000.  This is all I know.

Bishop Humper:    As I listened to you I  found out that your testimony has been  are very consistent and coherent .

Prof. Kamara:          You said in the first assignment you were given thousands of what?

Abdulai Sesay:        I was given 1890 man power.

Prof.Kamara:    That was the time you captured 100 SLAs and killed five.  Is that correct?

Abdulai Sesay:        Yes.

Prof.kamara:    You came to another mission and you were given some number of troop.  What was the number?

Abdulai Sesay:        I was given 2600 man power.

Prof.kamara:        Your first promotion was to colonel. What was your second promotion?

Abdulai Sesay:        My first was major and the second colonel.

Prof.Kamara;    You said the time when you were abducted you were 14yrs old.  At fourteen you were in school.  What class were you in?

Abdulai Sesay:        Form 2.

Prof.Kamara:        Was it in Kono?

Abdulai Sesay:        No, it was in Freetown.  I went on Christmas holiday.

Prof.Kamara:    You wanted to enter a room where the elders were having a meeting in Liberia.  They refused to let you in ?

Abdulai Sesay:        Yes.

Prof.Kamara:        Was that what you did in the RUF?

Abdulai Sesay:        When you talk of RUF, we lived like animals.

Prof.Kamara:    Did you take that behavior normally or did you take that behaviour using drugs?

Abdulai Sesay:        When I was there I never smoked marijuana but I sniffed cocaine.

Prof.kamara:        How regularly were you supplied with cocaine?

Abdulai Sesay:    sometimes I was injected.  Sometimes the body is cut and the cocaine is inserted but the injection is more powerful.

Prof.Kamara:        When last did you take any of these?

Abdulai Sesay:    From the day I left the jungle I have never taken drugs and I have sworn that it will never happen again.

Prof.Kamara:        Are you still in communication with Major Adamu?

Abdulai Sesay:        Yes; but at present there is no communication.

Prof.kamara:        When last did you communicate?

Abdulai Sesay:        I last had contact with him in year 2000.

Prof.Kamara:        You called somebody who encouraged you to join the army?

Abdulai Sesay:        My father encouraged me to join the army but he has retired.

Prof.Kamara:        Was he in the army?

AbdulaiSesay:        Yes.

Prof.kamara:        When did he retire?

Abdulai Sesay:        In 2002.

Prof.Kamara:        Did he join the SLA?

Abdulai Sesay:        He surrendered and was locked up at Pademba Road.

Prof.kamara:        When you were with the RUF did you get in contact with your dad?

AbdulaiSesay:        No.

Prof.Kamara:    You are saying that the RUF was responsible for the invasion of Freetown not SLA?

Abdulai Sesay:    I said that it was SLA that attacked.  The burning of houses and chopping of hands was not the responsibility of the SLA.

Prof.kamara:    You want to tell me that the chopping of hands and burning of houses were caused by the RUF?

Abdulai Sesay:        Yes.

CommissionerJow:    At the time of abduction you were only 14 yrs?

Abdulai Sesay:        Yes.

CommissionerJow:    You were in form 2.

Abdulai Sesay:        Yes.

CommissionerJow:    Did you ever know about RUF?

Abdulai Sesay:        Yes.

CommissionerJow:    Did you discuss about RUF in school?

Abdulai Sesay:    When I was in school I heard about the RUF. But  I had thought they were referring to wild animals.

CommissionerJow:     When you were captured by the RUF, how did you feel?

Abdulai Sesay:    I felt two ways.   I thought I was dead and on the other hand I thought I was not in this world.

CommissionerJow:    Did you make any attempt to escape?

Abdulai:    I did not because they killed my two brothers in front of me and the jungle was tense.

CommissionerJow:    Can you tell us about the training?

Abdulai Sesay:    We were trained at Yamdugu.  It is just at the boundary between here and Liberia.

CommissionerJow:    How did the training go?

Abdulai Sesay:    They trained us to cock and fire and how to crawl.  It was not like a proper military training.  It is different.  They thought us how to dismantle weapons and how to couple it up again.

CommissionerJow:    Were there boys there?

Abdulai Sesay:        There were  lots of young boys.

CommissionerJow:     Did all of you survive the training?

Abdulai Sesay:    Some  sustained injuries.  We had an exercise that was called jungle walk. 

CommissionerJow:    Did any die?

Abdulai Sesay:        Yes.

CommissionerJow:     How many died in your group?

Abdulai Sesay:        Those that I saw were five.

CommissionerJow:    Did you carry out activities like looting?

Abdulai Sesay:    No; because when we trained they did not want people to know our location.  Yamdogu is in the forest and it is a big field. We were having our supply from Charles Taylor.

CommissionerJow:    Can you remember the other names of the Commanders in Liberia?

Abdulai Sesay:        Mosquito, Sankoh.

CommissionerJow:    How many men were under your command?

Abdulai Sesay:        The first man power was about 1890.

CommissionerJow:    Am I right to assume that most of them were older than you?

Abdulai Sesay:        Yes.

CommissionerJow:    Can you tell me why the elders allowed you to be their commander?

Abdulai Sesay:        I was trusted.  I took risks and I went to the hot part of the war.No fear.

CommissionerJow:    Can you tell us why you say Sankoh was only a contractor?

Abdulai Sesay:    The reason why I said so was the day I told you about when I went to Liberia to observe their meeting. Foday Sankoh was slapped, kicked and simply put,  molested ; then I knew that he was only a contractor.

CommissionerJow:    Who was Sankoh’s boss?

Abdulai Sesay:         Charles Taylor, of course .

Bishop Humper :    We want you to  rest assured that some of us these things are not new to us; so we just want to clarify some of what you said.  You said there is a place in Kailahun called Killer Forest. What was done there?

Abdulai Sesay:        It was a place in Yamadugu.

Bishop Humper:    Did you say that initially SLA was fighting RUF.  When did the SLA and RUF become allies  ?

Abdulai Sesay:        Yes.  In 1997.

Bishop Humper:        Before 1997 was  there any connection between SLA and RUF?

Abdulai Sesay:        I do not know.

Bishop Humper:        Why did they give you the name Major Jogobl?

Abdulai Sesay:        I was major Jim Murderer.

Bishop Humper:    Which of the groups did you belong to: The Special Force, Junior Commander or Vanguards?

Abdulai Sesay:    The Special Forces were Liberians.  The Vanguards were Liberians.  I was a Special Force for myself because I had men under my control and I was a commander.

Bishop Humper:    Do you know about prisoners in Liberia from Sierra Leone and Charles Taylor released them and trained them up as fighters for Sierra Leone?

Abdulai Sesay:    I do not know about it because the time we advanced to Kenema we met and we joined them.  Most of them spoke Sierra Leonean languages and some spoke Liberian languages.

Bishop Humper:    What can you say about SAJ Musa?  You said that after his death the movement lost control.

Abdulai Sesay:    Yes.  When he died everybody was disgruntled.  The SLAs were not happy and the RUF were not happy.  The aim was for the SLA to go and settle in Freetown.

Bishop Humper:    During that period of Major and Col. did you engage in flogging, putting people in prison?

Abdulai Sesay:    Yes. I never killed anybody.  For the beating, if you receive a slap, a punch with a gun butt, a good kick, it was yours.  It was a rule to us.

Bishop Humper:    This country will be interested to know whether there were Christians or Muslims in the group.

Abdulai Sesay:        Yes.

Bishop Humper:        Why did you choose Friday or Sunday to launch your attacks?

Abdulai Sesay:    In 1995 whenever we attacked we had three days that we seldom carried out attacks . We were weary of   Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.  Anytime we fought on those days we never succeeded .  This is what I know about my own group.

Bishop Humper:        You entered January 6.  It was Ramadan time.

Abdulai Sesay:    The reason why it went that way was because of SAJ’s death. Everybody was disgruntled.  You cannot see the bosses moving and you do not move with them. 

Bishop Sesay:    I will be a witness for you that you gave your people food.  I saw when you broke the World Food Programme store.

Abdulai Sesay:    The first breaking of the store was at Water Quay and the second was World Food Programme at Shell Company.  I will not say that the people who took food did not sell.  If I testify that, I will tell a lie, but it never happened in front of me.

Bishop Humper:    For the whole country you said the RUF behaved like animals.  With your experience you are victim and perpetrator.  What would you say to your companions in the country? And what would you say to your companions if they hear of similar things in the future that is likely to happen.

Abdulai Sesay:        I will tell them if the people of this country are ready to forgive us; God will forgive us.  I trust the government that this will never happen again.  Let the government strengthen the forces and help the victims and if they are satisfied and they forgive us, God will forgive us .But if they do not forgive us, God will not forgive us.

Bishop Humper:    The skills you have developed how will you use your skills to protect the people?

Abdulai:    All I have to say is that I have learned a lot of skills ; but if the people forgive usand trust us we will serve them.  If I ever hear of any problem in the army I will make it known and stick my neck out for it.  It is not for me but it is for my children, my sister’s children and the children of Sierra Leone.

Ms. Apori-Nkansah:    When did you first think that this was not a life for you?

Abdulai Sesay:        In 1995.

Ms. Apori-Nkansah:    Looking at your testimony you had so many chances of escaping why did you not escape?

Abdulai Sesay:    There were several  intervening and attenuating variables.For one, we were known by everybody. At a  time we tried to lay down our arms;those who moved initially fell victim; civilians killed our brothers with tires.  The other time ECOMOG killed our brothers and if I had left at that time I would have died like the others and would not have achieved anything in this country.

Ms. Apori-Nkansah:    Were your men committing atrocities like amputation of limbs and burning of houses?

Abdulai Sesay:    The time we were in the provinces they were in my control.  When we came to Freetown I was unable to control them.  I had four women under my command and I was protecting them.

Ms. Apori-Nkansah:    You spoke about four women.  Who are these women?

Abdulai Sesay:        They are my wives.

Ms. Apori-Nkansah:    Do you want me to believe that  all four of them are  your wives  ?

Abdulai Sesay:    My own boy under my control has six wives.  Some have one and some do not have.

Ms. Apori-Nkansah:    What will you say about the abduction of girls?

Abdulai Sesay:    I was very strict.  It once happened that a boy  under my command  stabbed a pregnant woman; I gave orders for him to be killed.  I do not allow those things to take place.

Ms. Apori-Nkansah:    You told us about 1080 men.  Were they all armed with guns?

Abdulai Sesay:        Yes.

Ms. Apori-Nkansah:    Can you tell us where you got the arms?

Abdulai Sesay:    I had a boss and the time we were in training they gave us guns.  When we attacked at Galahun, we succeeded and we took their arms.

Ms. Apori-Nkansah:    Where are your wives?

Abdulai Sesay:        They are all in   school.

Ms. Apori-Nkansah:    Are they with you?

Abdulai Sesay:        They are with their parents.

Ms. Apori-Nkansah:    Do you have  children by these four wives?

Abdulai Sesay:    None yet.  At 14 yrs I had my first wife.    In 1995 I had my second wife and 1996 I had my third woman and  in1997  came the fourth.

Ms Apori-Nkansah:    Do you know Jonogopie, Sengepie and Mustapha Koroma?

Abdulai Sesay:    As I was a commander I did not care about any other person except persons under my own command.

Ms. Apori-Nkansah:    Are you supporting these girls now?

Abdulai Sesay:        No.

Prof.Kamara:    For the six years you were a commander; the way you explained it seems you were not under anybody’s control.

Abdulai Sesay:    Mosquito was my only boss.  If they say all the RUF group should come together to go and attack we normally put it into vote and chose somebody as commander for that assignment.

Prof.Kamara:        Do you take command from people?

Abdulai Sesay:        Since I stopped seeing my boss I did not take command from anybody.

Prof.Kamara:        How are you coping in a disciplined force?

Abdulai Sesay:        I do whatever I am asked to do?

Prof.Kamara:    Would you  mind  our going to your commander to have a report about you ?

Abdulai Sesay:        I do not mind.Go ahead.

CommissionerJow:    You witnessed a lot of atrocities and married young girls.   You also committed a lot of atrocities.  I want to know whether you have been counselled  or are receiving counselling ?

Abdulai Sesay:    The time we left Kailahun I stopped taking the drugs.  Since I stopped taking these things I have realized that I am a human being. 

Bishop Humper:        It is now your time to ask questions or make recommendations.

Abdulai Sesay:    I want to ask, if the people do not forgive us and God does not forgive us, what will you do with us?

Bishop Humper:    Abdulai is saying that he is not satisfied with the Amnesty granted to them.  This Commission was put in place to take care of this kind of questions.  The Commission   has  also been put in place to bring forward  wrong doers like you.   I hope that hundreds of other people will come forward and say what they have done wrong.  As long as you have asked for forgiveness we are asking the whole populace and the whole Sierra Leone to forgive you.  After lunch we will perform a ceremony to say what we did wrong and who did this and say to the nation please forgive me.  You must be genuine about it.  It is not superficial contention.   As long as you have said the truth and you face the people to forgive you; they will forgive you.  This Commission will not leave you here; we have to do our work for you to reconcile and we make sure we will contact you.

Abdulai Sesay:    What will you do for the victims so that they will talk to God and God will forgive us?

Bishop Humper:    Article 29 of the Lome Peace Agreement did say we have to create a War Victims Fund.  That is the responsibility of the government and the international community.  Government is not waiting; Government has started doing some thing already.  What would you recommend that we include in our report ?

Abdulai Sesay:    I want you to assist the force, if soldiers are not in the country there is no peace.  I am talking of the regimental soldiers taking orders from the Government.    The Government should take care of us so that there will be sustainable peace.  I want them to increase the salary of police, soldiers so that they will be loyal to the Government and the people .  But I trust the Government to work to ensure that this does not happen again.


3rd Witness – Aminata Kamara

My name is Aminata Kamara.  I am a Christain.  Bishop Humper administered the oath.


I was with my family at Kono in 1998 .The rebels had intensified their attacks on Kono sequel to the entry of ECOMOG .  On 16th December 1998 at 5:00am in the morning they launched an attack at Kokama.  A lot of civilians were killed at Lebanon.  We were hemmed in at Yardu Road and there was no way to get out.  For the rest of the day  battle raged on between ECOMOG and the RUF.  The Kamajors carved a way  and  moved us and  kept us in a very big hall.There was much weeping and wailing in the hall.Many had lost their loved ones; many were missing or displaced.I  only saw my three- year old child ;every other person was missing . There was much confusion and distress.  At 7pm  in the evening, the kamajors came and warned us and told us that if we did not stop making noise ;they would use our guts to make check point. We continued to weep and wail. Around 8pm ECOMOG launched a huge weapon, which instantly induced premature labour and delivery among some pregnant women that were in that hall .  The weapon that they launched was as if they wanted to leave the area.  We the civilians did not know anything.  We were in the hall when one SLA came to look for his relatives.  We started leaving the hall.  We saw ECOMOG and their luggage on trucks.  They were going towards Sewefa junction.  We the civilians were behind them and it was not easy for us to pass the RUF ambush.   Many civilians were killed.  We were lucky  and we reached Sewafe.   We were there and had no food to eat for three days.  One SLA officer told his junior to make some food before they would advance to clear the ambush.  We were at Sewafe junction and they made an attempt to clear the ambush but they did not succeed.   Some received injury.  Another attack was made up the hill and ECOMOG, civilians and SLA went in the direction of Kono. Then we saw some civilians rushing  back and they said it was not easy to cross the ambush.  The Kamajors said if any combatant went into those areas they would be used as cannon fodder .  The ECOMOG asked the SLA what should be done.  One of them said since he was born, he had never walked for one mile.The ECOMOG then said alive or dead ,they must clear the ambush.The tension  from this conversation that was happening beside me,was compounded by my own personal predicament: I did not know the direction  and fate of my husband and my two children.  One lady came to me and told me that my two children and husband were lying on the ground.   She said I should go and see for myself. But so many things were happening at the same time.We were crowded together and were moving that way;waiting and hoping for the ambush to be cleared .  At that time my brother was carrying my 3-year old child .  We the civilians went with the convoy.  There was no way for the vehicle to go through.  The rebels dug all the roads.  We the civilians returned.  The 1st group went through and the 2nd group returned.  The boy who carried the child managed to cross to Sewafe town. From  where I was taking cover  I heard the voice of a woman  who had asked the boy to put the child down  and the boy did .There was much cross fire.  I was watching and there was a lot of smoke.  After the exchange of fire power,I  rose up like the others around me. I was unable to see neither my child nor my brother .   We joined the next group of soldiers that  regrouped and we went through the ambush.  We went to Masingbi.  Since that day I had searched for my child until I came to Makeni. Within these three years I have been struggling to find my child because the others have died.   One day on my way  to Tongo, I met a lady whom I came to know in those  perilous moments from Kardu Road  through the hall to Sewafe through the ambush.    She welcomed me and asked me if I had seen the child.  She said they had information about my child.  She called one RUF boy Kallon.  I had a photograph of the child.  She said: “Kallon is this not the child whose case is being heard in Kailahun right now”.  One other boy said: “Is this not the child that was found in Sewafe ?   Presently the woman that abducted that child is at the court with her husband.”  I had nothing with me at that time to go to Kailahun.  The boy had accepted to take me right there, if I was ready with the transport fare.I had to explain to them that  I came to my aunt’s and they said she was in Kenema.  I had nothing with me.  All the dresses I had with me I had sold them to get to Kenema.From Kenema, I boarded  a vehicle to  Makeni. I  explained my predicament to the apprentice of the driver of the vehicle and he brought me home.I have tried without success to raise money in order to look for my child.   I am determined to do whatever it takes to get help to get my child back. The problem is the one that abducted my child has no child of her own, so her husband said he will marry another woman.  The woman said because of that she would take the child because she found the child.  The man on the other hand, insists that he would not release the child because he has spent so much on the child.  That is why I came to appeal to the Commission to assist me to get my child  back.  Sequel to the search for my child and all that I have been going through , my present husband has left me.  He says I am barren.  If you can help me to get this child it will be the happiest day in my life.

Bishop Humper:    We share in your bitter experience.  I know it is very difficult for a mother to go through what you went through are still going through. I want to ask my colleagues if they have questions to ask you.

CommissionerJow:    I am a mother and a woman like you . I am moved by your testimony.   The Commission is to focus on children and women who suffered during the war.  How old was the child at the time?

Aminata Kamara:    3 years and 4 months

CommissionerJow:    How old is he now?

Aminata Kamara:    2nd August will make him seven years.

CommissionerJow:    Do you have pictures of him?

Aminata Kamara:    Yes

CommissionerJow:    What is the name of the child?

Aminata Kamara:    Emmanuel.

CommissionerJow:    You said your brother helped you carry your child.  Where is your brother?

Aminata Kamara:    I have never seen him since that time.

CommissionerJow:    Have you ever discussed this with another person?

Aminata Kamara:    There is no displaced camp I have not searched in this country.

CommissionerJow:    You said you cannot go there because you have no money?

Aminata Kamara:    Yes.

CommissionerJow:    When did you get this information?

Aminata Kamara:    Last week.  According to the information they said the child is in court in Kailahun and chief Mohamed is presiding over the matter.

Prof. Kamara:      Do you know that in this country the government and the governmental institutions have the responsibility for you?

Aminata Kamara:        I do not know.

Prof.Kamara:    There are institutions that take care of missing children during the war.  Have you heard of the Red Cross? 

Aminata Kamara:    Yes.

Prof.Kamara:        Do you know that they trace people who are missing?

Aminata Kamara:    Yes.  Why I did not go to them was because since the search began whenever I went to  them they usually asked me the location of the child.

Prof.Kamara:    When they gave you the information why did you not go to the Red Cross?
Aminata Kamara:    I was so excited that I did not know what to do.

Bishop Humper:    We have heard your story.  After this session I will ask that you see our staff.  They will direct you to a particular group that will help you to get to Kailahun.  You already have the address.  Is Kallon an ex-combatant?

Aminata Kamara:    Yes.

Bishop Humper:        Aminata do you have any questions?

Aminata Kamara:    I only want you to assist me to find my child.

4th Witness – Bashir Kabia

My name is Bahsir Kabia.  I am a Muslim.  Bishop Humper administered the oath.

On Thursday 08 May 1997 ,I had to take the children for the NPSC examination at Gbendembu.  We reached at 2:00pm .  We were preparing  food for the children when we heard that rebels were in Kalangba. I was confused: A stranger and with 35 children.  In ten minutes we saw bicycles coming towards us and it was the rebels.  We assembled the children and went into the bush.  We went to the hill.  We saw many things that happened in town.  We saw the rebels perpetrating atrocities.  At 6pm we saw smoke and they started burning the town.  We were in the bush and the rebels moved into the bush; so I went with the children further  and further into the forest for safety.  We passed the night in the forest.  It was unfortunate that we took a direction opposite to where we should have gone.  On Friday morning we heard gun shots.  It was as if it was exchange of gun fire. Then the firing of gun shots ceased.   Eight of us tried to find out about the situation.  We went to the secondary school.  We were able to see the amount of damage that was done in the town, when we saw bicycles coming towards us.  They were shouting:” Please come to town, the rebels have been repelled”.  We were afraid to get close to them and; the first person that attempted to go near them was captured.  We went and sought refuge in nearby areas to see what would happened to the boy that was captured.  They bound him up with cloths.  The three rebels all had guns with them.  They were now arguing over who would shoot the boy.  It was during that argument that the boy escaped.  When he got to where we were, we set him free . I took the children and went through the bush to Mateboy town.  We trekked for nine hours. We reached Mateboy at about 9:00 on Friday night.  At Mateboy people were already so worried.  As we finally got home, there was a great feeling of relief.  I  handed the children over to their parents and guardians and went to my own place. At about 9:30am the  next morning, the rebels attacked Mateboy. Out of the 35 children that I had just handed over to their parents at night, four of them were abducted.  Then they started burning houses and collecting money.They set about  15 houses ablaze that morning.We took cover around Mateboy until about 11.ooam. We then went the direction of Makeni .Some of us retired well into the forest. We were there for three months .

In 1998 rebels again started attacking the area.  We never knew they were finding a location to make a base.  This time around the rebels were quite different from those that first came upon us.In order to confuse us ,they asked the whereabouts of the rebels.  Then, they went to town.  Then came the kamajors  who told us that they were going to attack the rebels.  When they attacked the rebels on their return, they came back singing.  The people thought that danger had been averted and that the rebels were finished;and so the left their places of cover in the bush  and came back to town .On my own side ,I  was apprehensive,aware of the resolute viciousness of the rebels;I could trust neither the rebels nor the assurance by the Kamajors.So, we stayed back in the bush .True to my fears ,   the rebels came calling.  In the evening hours of the next day we went back and ; and sadly we were able to count twenty-seven dead bodies.  They were piled from the beginning of the town to the end. At first, we never knew that there was a very little  child still alive amongst the dead bodies.  The child who was one year  and  six months old.  His parents were all dead and the child was badly wound.  He received a big cut in his face.  People in Makeni can attest to what I am saying.  The child is still alive.  The child’s great grand mother is the only one left in the family. Sequel to the obscene situation, we went to the bush and told them to move to Makeni. And so came we to  Makeni.  We stayed in Makeni for seven months.  Around December 23rd rebels attacked Makeni again.  We never wanted to go back to Mateboy but we were forced to.  We had some respite in the area of atrociously killing people.But  life was very difficult.  We were just between where the rebels were controlling and the CDF.  We only got relief when the last bomb was dropped in Makeni.

Bishop Humper:        You said you do not need to talk about the rape issue

Bashir Kabia:         I said this because  it was very common within the rebel line.

CommissionerJow:    I want to know if those that were raped are still in Mateboy.

Bahsir Kabia:        I know of one or two who are staying there.  Some have died .

CommissionerJow:    Did any of them have children and get pregnant for the rebels?

Bashir Kabia:        The one that died had a child resulting therefrom

CommissionerJow:    In your testimony you spoke about the leader of the group?

Bashir Kabia:    In 1997 houses in Mateboy were set ablaze during two rebel attacks. In the first incident 135 houses were set ablaze;the second involved 35 houses.I know the leaders of the two acts.Both are of Mateboy birth.  The first razing  was led by Gibrilla and the second by Lansana.

Commissioner Jow:    Do you know their whereabouts now ?

Bashir Kabia:        I heard that one of them is mining diamond and one is a shoe maker.

CommissionerJow:    What is the current state in the village?

Bashir Kabia:    One NGO came there and they told us to make blocks.  Every household tried to get a good number of blocks. Since then we are yet to see them again.  Even the school is yet to be rebuilt,  we only use a tent now.  I am the head teacher of that school.  In the area of medicines thanks to MSF.  They give us some assistance.  We also have MCH aid and also a dispenser who was born in Mateboy.  The living condition is terrible because a lot of people live in one room.

Prof. Kamara:          Are you still teaching and also the headmaster?

Bashir Kabia:        Yes.

Prof.kamara:        During the rebel war in 1997 you took the children to sit to the NPSE.

Bashir Kabia:    I have already said that in  the end ,I came back with the children and handed them over to their parents.  Four of them were later on abducted and finally released at Maisiaka.

Prof.kamara:    You were talking about the burning of the school.  Have you made any attempt to talk to any organisation like NaCSA to rebuild the school?

Bashir Kabia:    Our office is sharing the same building with NaCSA.  Ramatu Kanu who is Inspector of School in Makeni had been informed. 

Prof.Kamara:        And the Inspector of School has not told you anything  ?

Bashir Kabia:        She told me to be on the standby.

Prof.kamara:        Who is the proprietor of the school?

Bashir Kabia:        It is government assisted.

Prof.Kamara:         You mentioned the number of people killed during the attack.

Bashir Kabia:    When we moved out of Mateboy, we reached Tomoboy there they buried the bodies.  When we went back to Mateboy we saw some bones because they were not properly buried.  We buried these bones in a mass grave.

Prof.Kamara:        You said then there were two types of rebels.

Bashir Kabia:    Yes, because the first ones burnt down a lot of houses and killed only two people but in 1997 when they came they amputated three people, killed 27 people and burnt down lot of houses.

Prof.Kamara:    The 1997 attack was it before or after the coup that overthrew Tejan Kabba?

BashirKabia:        It was before 1997.

Prof.Kamara:        Those rebels were what?

Bashir Kabia:        RUF rebels.

Bishop Humper:    The same people can be different people different times. In February 1998 the first set of people were the same people in the February 1998 intervention.  They were the same people of different purpose, different mind and different attitude. 

Bashir Kabia:        What can you do to facilitate reconciliation?

Bishop Humper:    What you have told us here is between the people involved in these acts and the community.  You remember the Commission was asking you about these people.  Do you want the Commission to bring forward Gibrilla and Lansa to reconcile with the people? 

Bashir Kabia:    I am willing to do whatever you say.  It is the Commission’s responsibility to reconcile people.

Bishop Humper:    It is the duty of the Commission to go and find the perpetrators and listen to their own side ;then we will be able to make reconciliation.

Bahsir Kabia:    I hereby to recommend to the Commission for the rebuilding of the school.  The amputees should also be assisted and they are not registered.  The town is trying for their livelihood.  The housing problem is very serious at Mateboy.  We want the Commission to assist in those areas.

Bishop Humper:    The Commission will take this into consideration.  The staff will take note of Mateboy for the amputees.  The Commission is aware of the amputee and war wounded in this country.  We are all moving together to see what can be done for these people. We have contacted the president of the association to visit the amputees all over the country.




DATE:            26thMAY 2003

WITNESS NAME:     Hawa Joseph

WITNESS NO:     001

REFERENCE NO:     3/20/354

OPENING CEREMONY: A sheik led the Muslim prayer. The Chairman, Inter Religious Council, led the Christian prayer.

Hawa Joseph: My name is Hawa Joseph. I am a Christian.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones, the presiding Commissioner welcomed the witness, introduced the procedures and administered the oath.


Hawa Joseph: We were at Konia Kpandi when the rebels attacked. When we came towards Kenema, my husband advised that we spend the night in the bush and leave in the morning. At about 2a.m we heard sporadic gunshots and all of us scattered in different directions. The children and I went together and my husband also went into hiding in another place. At about 6a.m, they came to where we were hiding using a bye pass road. They captured some people and told them to join them attack Kenema. On their way, they met my husband and asked him to show them they way to Kenema. When he told them that he didn’t know the way, since he was a native of Konia kpindima, they said they were going to kill him. He asked them to allow him say his last prayer but they shot him on his wrist. He fell down pretending to be dead but one of the rebels told his colleagues that he was not actually dead. They came back and shot him on the head through his ear. He eventually died. That is my testimony.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thank you for coming to the Commission. Also I want to tell you that we are sorry for the loss of your husband. Were you present when he was shot?

Hawa Joseph: I was not present.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: How did you get to know the story?

Hawa Joseph: The brother of my husband told me what had happened.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Can you give us his name?

Hawa Joseph: Yes. Samuka Momoh

Commissioner Torto: We thank you very much for coming to the Commission I have few questions for you. Do you know the fighting group your husband’s killers belonged to?

Hawa Joseph: The person did not tell me the fighting group they belonged to. However, from my hiding place we overheard them saying that they belonged to Akim’s group.
Commissioner Torto: In your written statement you told us that your husband was buried at the spot where he was killed; who buried you husband?

Hawa Joseph: The Kamajors buried him.

Commissioner Torto: In your written statement you said these people spoke Liberian pidgin. Were they Liberians?

Hawa Joseph: I cannot tell because during the war, the rebels mostly spoke the Liberian pidgin.

Commissioner Torto: Have you been able to locate or identify the people who killed your husband?

Hawa Joseph: No.

Commissioner Torto: What are you doing now?

Hawa Joseph: I am doing gardening and small scale trading.

Leader of Evidence: You told us that the rebels killed your husband and he was not the only one abducted by the rebels, can you tell us what happened to the others?

Hawa Joseph: Yes. The person who told me about my husband had bayonet marks all over his body.

Leader of Evidence: How many people were abducted together with your husband?

Hawa Joseph: An old man and an old woman.

Leader of Evidence: The other people were able to escape and the rebels met the Kamajor is that correct?

Hawa Joseph: Yes. They met at one point.

Leader of Evidence: Was there any fight between them?

Hawa Joseph: No, because the rebels out numbered the Kamajors.

Leader of Evidence: Did the rebels run away?

Hawa Joseph: Yes, they came to Kenema.

Leader of Evidence: Do you remember the year this incident took place?

Hawa Joseph: I can’t remember the year but it was the last attack.

Leader of Evidence: Can you tell us how many times Konia was attacked?

Hawa Joseph: Many times.

Leader of Evidence: Was it the last attack?

Hawa Joseph: Yes.

Leader of Evidence: Did other people get killed in your family?
Hawa Joseph: My husband was the only one killed.

Leader of Evidence: Were people in any other family killed?

Hawa Joseph: Yes.

Leader of Evidence: How many do you know?

Hawa Joseph: They were many.

Leader of Evidence: Was any harm done to you?

Hawa Joseph: Yes.

Leader of Evidence: What happened to you? Can you explain?

Hawa Joseph: When we returned all our properties were burnt.

Leader of Evidence:  Any thing else?

Hawa Joseph: I lost everything that I had.

Leader of Evidence: Was any physical harm done to you?

Hawa Joseph: No.
Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thank you for answering our questions, have you any question to ask the Commission?

Hawa Joseph: I have no question.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Have you any recommendation?

Hawa Joseph: I want the government to assist me educate my children, and assisting with the provision of accommodation. Also my husband’s mother is with me and she is very old, so I want you to help me financially.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: The TRC has no money to give out to people but we will make recommendations in our report, but I ought to explain to you that the government will not build individual houses but they will be able to provide good education for the community and so in that way you will benefit. Thank you for coming to help the Commission.

WITNESS NAME:     Sheku Jayah

WITNESS NO:         002

REFERENCE NO:     3/20/3525

We were in Konia when the rebels attacked us. We were afraid of them so we fled to Segbwema and stayed there for two years but things were difficult. My father therefore decided to return to Konia to find food. At Bendu junction on his way to the village, he came across rebels together with his brother who was at the back.  He was held under gunpoint and although he engaged them in a struggle, they were able to over power him. He was shot but he didn’t die. He was taken to Segbwema and admitted at the hospital for three months. He later died. I heard about his death and before I could reach Segbwema, I met his corpse in the mortuary and he was later buried.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thank you. Was any other person of your family killed?

Sheku Jayah: Yes. Koi Momoh my elder brother.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: We are very sorry for the loss of your brother, Commissioner will ask you questions.

Commissioner Torto: Thank you; were you present or did somebody tell you of the incident?
Sheku Jayah: My father’s elder brother who was with him explained to me.

Commissioner Torto: Which of the fighting group did they belong to?

Sheku Jayah: They were RUF rebels.

Commissioner Torto: Have you heard about AFRC?
Sheku Jayah: No.

Commissioner Torto: Have you heard of those that killed your father, where they are now?

Sheku Jayah: No.

Commissioner Torto: Who killed your uncle?

Sheku Jayah: People killed him although we could not tell whom exactly.
Commissioner Torto: Your father’s house was burnt and your motorbike was stolen, have you been able to see it around as you move along?

Sheku Jayah: No.

Leader of Evidence: What is the name of your father?

Sheku Jayah: Joseph Jayah.

Leader of Evidence: What is the name of your uncle?

Sheku Jayah: Koi Momoh.

Leader of Evidence: In your statement you mentioned Lahai Difehun.

Sheku Jayah: He accompanied my father but he escaped.

Commissioner Torto: Was he the one that gave you the information?

Sheku Jayah: Yes.

Commissioner Torto: Did he mention to you the group they belonged to?

Sheku Jayah: They were rebels.

Commissioner Torto: Do you know if they were in uniform?

Sheku Jayah: I can’t tell.

Commissioner Torto: Do you remember the year?

Sheku Jayah: In 1996

Leader of Evidence: Was it before the election?

Sheku Jayah: Before the elections.

Leader of Evidence: Was that the only attack in your village or were there other attacks?

Sheku Jayah: They attacked several times.

Leader of Evidence: You fled after this attack?

Sheku Jayah: Those who stayed behind experienced several attacks.

Leader of Evidence: You are 44 so he could have been an old man?

Sheku Jayah: He was an old man.

Leader of Evidence: What was his position in the society?

Sheku Jayah: His elder brother was a chief and he was a farmer.

Leader of Evidence: Was he the one killed?

Sheku Jayah: The rebels did not kill him

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Have you any question to ask the Commission?

Sheku Jayah: No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Any recommendation?

Sheku Jayah: I want the Government to help us with schools; and the road to our village is very bad so I want the Commission to help us with our road.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thank you very much. Your recommendation will be included in our report. The Commission finishes it work in October. So is not a distance future, you will be able to benefit from the recommendations that would be made.

WITNESS NAME:     Watta Fodie

WINESS NO:         003

REFERENCE NO:     3/20/3521

Watta fodie: I was in Konia when we heard of an attack in a nearby village. As we prepared to go to bed at night, we saw people running towards our place with blood all over their body. We went to Bendu junction and then to Segbwema. One Monday I was told that the rebels in Konia killed my child as he tried to escape. I cried. The man, who told me about the death of my child, advised that I talk to the soldiers to help me bury my child. I spoke with the soldiers and they agreed for him to be buried. After that, we fled Segbwema because of the war to Kenema and we were here till the end of the war.

Commissioner Marcus Jones: Thank you. We appreciate your coming. We are sorry about your son’s death. How old was your son?

Watta Fodie: His friend is here he can stand up (The man stood up and he could be around 50)

Commissioner Torto: Thanks for coming. With reference to your statement, your son was a respected hunter in Lower Mabara. What kind of a hunter was he?

Watta Fodie: When the war started, they organized youth groups to take care of the area; the chief depended on the youths to take care of the village.
Commissioner Torto: According to your statement, you said that he went to settle a dispute between a rebel and a civilian. It was during that time that he was killed?

Watta Fodie: Yes.

Commissioner Torto: They tied and beat him before he was shot?

Watta Fodie: He was beaten and not tied. According to the information, when he was shot, he did not die so he was killed with sticks.

Commissioner Torto: Were they Liberians?

Watta Fodie: I was not there.

Leader of Evidence: Your son was involved in youth activities to take care of the town can you tell more?

Watta Fodie: They were placed in strategic positions to look out for the rebels and take care of the town.

Leader of Evidence: Does that mean they organized roadblocks?

Watta Fodie: They had checkpoints.

Leader of Evidence: Does that mean they were Kamajor?

Watta Fodie: I only knew he was a youth.

Leader of Evidence: Do you remember the year?

Watta Fodie: I can’t recall.

Leader of Evidence: Did he leave children behind?

Watta Fodie: Yes. Seven.

Leader of Evidence: Were they small or adult?

Watta Fodie: There were three adults and four small ones.

Leader of Evidence: The small ones are they still in school?

Watta Fodie: Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Would I be correct to say your son was a vigilante?

Watta Fodie: Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Have you any question to ask the Commission?

Watta Fodie: Yes. My child was my benefactor and my house was destroyed. I want to ask what help can you offer me?

Commissioner Marcus Jones: I have said before that we can’t provide for people food, clothing and accommodation but however you can talk to our briefer who can refer you to NGOs that can help you.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Have you any recommendation?

Watta Fodie: Yes: my village has never benefited from any thing. There is no proper drinking water no proper accommodation for people, no good road.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: I understand what the people in your area are going through. Have you any body in Government who represents your village and be able to advocate for development in your area.
Watta Fodie: There is no chief in the village.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thank you very much for coming.

WITNESS NAME:     Mohamed  Lansana. Muslim

WINESS NO:         004

REFERENCE NO:     3/20/3532

I was in my village Konia Kpindima that is six miles from Tongo. One day, we saw people with wounds coming, towards us with loads on their heads. We ran to Bendu Junction and stayed there for a week. At about 6a.m. one morning, we heard firing all over the town. I ran to the bush. My brother was behind me and I heard him scream “oh my mother”, I’ve been killed. I ran to Segbwema and the following morning, one of my brothers who were present at the scene, told me that my brother was killed. In the morning we reported to the chief from Konia and soldiers were provided to follow us to the scene. We saw six corpses, which were buried in a single grave. The soldiers guarded us because of the risk involved. We then returned to Segbwema. 

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thank you Mohamed Lansana. We are sorry for the death of your brother. Among the six bodies were you able to identify your brother and were they all buried in the same grave?

Mohamed Lansana: Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Is there any mark on the grave to show that such a number of people were buried there.

Mohamed Lansana: That I can’t tell.

Commissioner Torto: Thank you very much; do you know who your attackers were?

Mohamed Lansana: They were dressed in civilian clothes.

Commissioner Torto: Who actually do you think they were?

Mohamed Lansana: They were rebels.

Commissioner Torto: Do you know the names of the victims?

Mohamed Lansana: Yes. Kini Moifullah, Gadiru Amara Vandy, Kini Bunubu, Koi Momoh, Brima Yaweh.

Torto: Who were these people?

Mohamed Lansana: We were all farmers.

Commissioner Torto: Do you suspect that the attackers have some reason maybe out of malice or because of money that made them to kill these people?

Mohamed Lansana: I can’t tell.

Commissioner Torto: Was there any kind of quarrel between different people in your village like “Bush palaver”?

Mohamed Lansana: No.

Commissioner Torto: Since that time you have never heard of who did it, even by name?

Mohamed Lansana: No.

Leader of Evidence: When did this happen?

Mohamed Lansana: In February 1994.

Leader of Evidence: You also mentioned that whilst you were burying the dead, soldiers where around guarding, which soldiers were present?

Mohamed Lansana: The Sierra Leone Army. (SLA)

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thank you very much, have you any question to ask the Commission?

Mohamed Lansana: No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Have you any recommendation you will like us to include in our report?

Mohamed Lansana: Our village is not motorable, we have no community centre, no hospital no pure water to drink. We have formed a group but there is no help from any NGO, fifty of us are in that group.

Commissioner Marcus Jones: Thank you very much we will include your recommendation in our report. I encourage you to go on with your group maybe you can help with the road and some NGOs would be able to help you with your agricultural project. When you do that, by the time the government would come in to help you would have gone far. You said you have no road was there a road before?

Mohamed Lansana: Yes. But it was destroyed because of the war.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: What is the name of the group?

Mohamed Lansana: Konia young Muslim organization.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Do you have Christians in this village?

Mohamed Lansana: Yes. We have different groups. The Christians have and the women too have.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Don’t you think that when the Muslims and the Christians come together you will be able to more than you are doing? Anyway think about that. I thank you for coming.

WITNESS NAME:     Sama Koroma

WINESS NO:         005

REFERENCE NO:     3/20/3537

When the rebels attacked us at Konia Kpindima we came to kenema and stayed there for two months. My husband left to collect our things. We heard that the rebels attacked for the second time and my brother told me that my husband was killed.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Can you tell us in what year this happened?

Sama Koroma: Six years ago.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: It must have happened in 1997?

Sama Koroma: Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: What position did your husband hold?

Sama Koroma: He was a diamond miner.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: What position had he?

Sama Koroma:  He was the Kuranko chief.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Did you think he was attacked because he was a diamond miner or a Kuranku chief?

Sama Koroma: I can’t tell.

Commissioner Torto: Thank you Sama Koroma which of the fighting groups killed your husband?

Sama Koroma: Rebels.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Are you married again?

Sama Koroma: No.

Leader of Evidence: When your husband was killed where other people killed?

Sama Koroma: No.

Leader of Evidence: His brother was present?

Sama Koroma: Yes. They all ran into the bush and they came later after the rebels had left.

Leader of Evidence: Were other people killed or injured?

Sama Koroma: No. He was the only one killed.

Leader of Evidence: Were you able to bury his body?

Sama Koroma: yes his brother buried him in his compound.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: You made a statement that the body was not seen?

Sama Koroma: They found his body and he was buried.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Have you any question to ask the Commission?

Sama Koroma: No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: How many children have you?

Sama Koroma: Five.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Including this one?

Sama Koroma: No besides this one.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: So that is six. I’m sorry but I can’t help saying it. Is there any family planning programme in you area?

Sama Koroma: No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Which is the nearest hospital from Konia?

Sama Koroma: Segbwema or Kenema.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Am asking this question because I want you to look for help from the family planning programme. Now that you are not married and you are young, if you continue to have many children it will not be of any help to you. Apart from the above recommendation is there any help you want to send to the government?

Sama Koroma: I want the Government to help us with school and the road to our village is very bad so I want the Commission to help us with our road.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thank you Sama for coming. All the recommendations for Konia will be included in our report because Konia seems to be deprived of so many facilities.

WITNESS NAME:     Amara Vandy

WINESS NO:         006

REFERENCE NO:     3/20/3523

One day we were in Konia when we saw people coming from a nearby village and they told us that they are running from the rebels at Yuwoma. My mother, the section chief, who was very old, was unable to run. As she was going towards the barray, she was caught and shot. We were hiding in a place where we could see the town. They took her moneybag tied around her waist from her. I then went and told my friends to go and help me bury her. As she was the chief, we buried her in another village because we did not want the rebels to come again and disturb her burial ceremony. I then decided to flee the area. I came with all my younger brothers and sisters to Kenema. We stayed here for a while and later returned to Konia.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thanks for your testimony but we are sorry for the loss of your Mother. Your testimony is a sad one. Do you think she was targeted because of her position?

Amara Vandy: I want to believe that.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: How old was your son?

Amara Vandy: I think he was 15years old.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Was she wealthy?

Amara Vandy: Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Have you considered reburying her in her own chiefdom?

Amara Vandy: We are thinking about that.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Did you lose any other member?

Amara Vandy: Yes my son was killed.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Can you tell us the circumstances?

Amara Vandy: Whenever there is an attack in a town, you take various directions and if you later discover any member of your family dead, you can only think about the rebels. I am happy that I am alive. It was very stressful for me. If I had the opportunity I would have given her a fitting funereal.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Are you the section chief now?

Amara Vandy: No. I am taking care of the home.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: We still want to know about the death of your son.

Amara Vandy: He was killed at the same time with his grandmother.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Apart from your son and mother do you know the names of any other person that was killed?

Amara Vandy: Yes. A lady named Adama, from another village.

Commissioner Torto: Was she killed the same day?

Amara Vandy: Yes.

Commissioner Torto: Buried the same day?

Amara Vandy: Yes.

Commissioner Torto: Hassan Foday, who was he?

Amara Vandy: He was staying with me

Commissioner Torto: Where is he now?

Amara Vandy: I don’t know his whereabouts.

Commissioner Torto: What about Dauda Amara Vandy?

Amara Vandy: Since we ran away I have not heard anything about him.

Commissioner Torto: Can you confirm which of the fighting group they belonged to?

Amara Vandy: They were dressed in military uniform and their heads tied with piece of cloth.

Commissioner Torto:  If you are to guess, which of the fighting groups do you think they belonged to?

Amara Vandy: I can identify them to be rebels.

Commissioner Torto: How much money do you think was taken from your mother?

Amara Vandy: If I say am going to answer then I will tell you lies I had no way of checking how much was in her possession.

Commissioner Torto: We are asking about the people who killed your mother and son .If you know where they are we can invite them to come and reconcile with you.

Amara Vandy: If I go back and set eyes on them I will come back and inform the Commission.
Commissioner Torto: In which year did this happen?

Amara Vandy: In 1998

Commissioner Torto: Before, or after the elections?

Amara Vandy: After the elections.

Commissioner Torto: Could you tell us how many times your village was attacked?

Amara Vandy: They attacked Konia on several occasions; the first one was in 1993.

Commissioner Torto: Do you have any idea about how many people were killed?

Amara Vandy: Yes. Town Chief Amara Vandy, Stranger Yakumba, Limina and that hold woman Mama Fodie son was killed Momoh Berta our brother Koi Momoh, Dauda, son Gadiru Amara Vandy, my brother Moi Fullah, Joseph Jayah’s brother.

Commissioner Torto:  Apart form those, were other people were killed?

Amara Vandy: Yes. But I don’t know their names.

Commissioner Torto: Were all these attacks by the rebels or was there another group involved in some of the attacks?

Amara Vandy: Only RUF.

Commissioner Torto: We had another witness talking about a vigilante group; can you tell us some thing about that?

Amara Vandy: The soldiers told us to work together so we mobilized the youth to help them, but we ask them how we can help. The asked us to be rece and that was how the vigilante group came about. We usually put up checkpoints.

Commissioner Torto: Did the vigilantes use guns?

Amara Vandy: They did not have guns at first they were using sticks, but later they were given guns.

Commissioner Torto: What year did this organization start?

Amara Vandy: In 1991 and 1993.

Commissioner Torto:  Where they involved in any fighting with the rebels?

Amara Vandy: Yes, but the rebels overpowered the vigilantes.

Commissioner Torto: Did they kill?

Amara Vandy: Yes.

Commissioner Torto: Did the vigilantes kill any of the rebels?

Amara Vandy: Yes.

Commissioner Torto: Did you ever capture any of the rebels?

Amara Vandy: Yes.

Commissioner Torto: Did you question them?

Amara Vandy: Yes we usually asked where they are coming from.

Commissioner Torto: Did they tell you where they were coming from?

Amara Vandy: Since we were working with the soldiers, if they were captured we would take them to the soldiers.

Leader of Evidence: Who gave you the guns?

Amara Vandy: The soldiers.

Leader of Evidence: Did you receive training to use the guns?

Amara Vandy: No.

Leader of Evidence: How did you come to know how to use the guns?

Amara Vandy: I was having single barrel. When we got machine guns we would take them to the soldiers.

Leader of Evidence: Were there women and men among the rebels you captured?

Amara Vandy: They were mixed.

Leader of Evidence: How old was the youngest among them?

Amara Vandy: The youngest was 11 and the oldest was 18.

Leader of Evidence: Why did you stop being vigilantes?

Amara Vandy: Because they would have killed all of us.

Leader of Evidence: Where you dressed in uniform to show that you are a vigilante?

Amara Vandy: No.

Commissioner Torto: You captured rebels and send them to Segbwema did you follow up whether they were taken to court or what happened to them?

Amara Vandy: No. Whenever they are captured we send them to the base of the soldiers in Segbwema.
Leader of Evidence: All those you captured have you seen any one of them?

Amara Vandy: No.

Marcus-Jones: Thank you for answering our questions. We have been asking you questions have you any question for the Commission?

Amara Vandy: No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Have you any recommendation?
Amara Vandy: I want the Government to help us with school and the road to our village is very bad so I want the Commission to help us with our road.

WITNESS NAME: Moiwo Moinina (Muslim).

WINESS NO:         007

REFERENCE NO:  3/20/3045

We were in Konia when the rebels attacked us. We went to the bush; we used to come to the town around during the day to look around. We heard that a woman was killed and in the night the rebels attacked us in the bush. They said they would take us away. The caught my boy Sao, who was killed in my presence. He was then slaughtered. They said I should sing and dance but when I refused, I was hit on the head with a gun and they left. We then went to Segbwema and then to Pendembu. When peace came, I returned to Konia.

Marcus Jones: Thank you very much for your testimony; your testimony is a sad one. How old was your son?

Moiwo Moinina:  I think he was 15 years old.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: How many children have you?

Moiwo Moinina: Five children.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Well hope they would be a consolation to you.

Commissioner Torto: You said you were taken to Segbwema and later to Pendembu. Who took you along?

Moiwo Moinina: The rebels.

Commissioner Torto: How did you finally get to Konia?

Moiwo Moinina: When they signed the peace, we requested that they leave so that we could return to our place.

Commissioner Torto: During the attack in your village were any other people taken along with you?

Moiwo Moinina: No.

Commissioner Torto: How long were you with them?

Moiwo Moinina: One year one month.

Commissioner Torto: What role did you play in captivity?

Moiwo Moinina: We were used as labourers. We took loads to Buedu and Kailahun. We also worked in the farms for them.

Commissioner Torto: Whom did you take the rice to?

Moiwo  Moinina: We were ordered to take the rice to Maskita.

Commissioner Torto: Where?

Moiwo  Moinina: In Kailahun or Boidu?

Commissioner Torto: Did you set eyes on Maskita?

Moiwo Moinina: Yes.

Commissioner Torto: Can you identify him very well?

Moiwo Moinina: Yes.

Commissioner Torto: During the time of your captivity whom actually did the rebels say they were loyal to? Whose control were they under?

Moiwo Moinina: Foday Mansaray: Sankoh.

Commissioner Torto: Do you remember any body killed when you were captured?

Moiwo  Moinina: Yes. Only my son, Sao Moinina.

Commissioner Torto: Were you living in the same town?

Moiwo  Moinina: Yes.

Leader of Evidence: Were you captured before, or after the election?

Moiwo Moinina: Before the elections.

Leader of Evidence: A long time before the elections?

Moiwo Moinina: Not too long.

Commissioner Torto: Why was your son was killed?

Moiwo Moinina: I can’t tell.

Torto: How many of you were captured?

Moiwo Moinina: We were 10 in number including my children.

Leader of Evidence: Did all of you return?

Moiwo Moinina: Yes.

Leader of Evidence: What happened to your daughter?

Moiwo Moinina: I can’t tell.

Leader of Evidence: In your written statement, you said your daughter was beaten. Is that correct?

Moiwo Moinina: No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Have you any question for the Commission?

Commissioner Torto: No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Have you any recommendation?

Moiwo Moinina: I want the Government to help us with school and the road to our village is very bad so I want the Commission to help us with our road.

WITNESS NAME:     Lahai Amara Vandy  (Muslim).

WITNESS NO:        008

REFERENCE NO:     3/20/3544

We were in Konia when we heard of an attack on Tongo. We fled to Segbwema. We ran out of food and my father told us to go in search of food at Konia. As we were going we heard gunshots from Yumbuma area; we hurried to the town and packed the rice we had in our house. When we saw our brother coming, we waited for him so that he too could collect his rice. We stood outside waiting when we heard a gunshot and my father were captured together with an old woman called Mammy Hawa. My father told them to take his palm oil for his release but they refused. Instead, they said they’d kill him. They ordered him to carry the palm oil for them Yumbuma. At Yumbuma, they stabbed and killed him. Mammy Hawa’s ear was cut and she was sent to Segbwema to inform us of what happened. She met us on they way and explained everything to us. We went to Segbwema and after seven days, we went to Yumbuma and we buried him.

Marcus Jones: We have heard about a lot of atrocities committed against to the people of Konia. I would like to express my sympathy to you for the loss of your father. Why do you think they killed your father so brutally?

Lahai Amara Vandy: May be it was because he was the chief of the town.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Was he a chief?

Lahai Amara Vandy: Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Now, the woman whose ear was cut off, was she iany relation to you or a member of your family?
Lahai Amara Vandy: She was the wife of my father’s guest.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Why did they target Konia and why was it continuously attacked?

Lahai Amara Vandy: They were based in Peyima, which is a few miles to Konia.
Commissioner Marcus-Jones: What were they looking for in Konia?

Lahai Amara Vandy: They only went to destroy.

Commissioner Torto: Thank you for your testimony, we have heard testimonies of people, who have claimed that some people in their villages or towns usually lead the rebels, pointing at people as targets. Do you know of such people in Konia?

Lahai Amara Vandy: No.

Commissioner Torto: Could you suspect anybody in particular who hailed from your place?

Lahai Amara Vandy: No.

Commissioner Torto: Who could you think carried out the killing of your father?

Lahai Amara Vandy: I don’t know.

Leader of Evidence: Was your father the only member of you family killed?

Lahai Amara Vandy: Yes.

Leader of Evidence: Did anything happen to your sister?

Lahai Amara Vandy: No.

Leader of Evidence: Can you remember the year it took place?

Lahai Amara Vandy: In 1994

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: We have asked you a lot of questions Lahai, have you any question to ask the Commission?

Lahai Amara Vandy: No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Any recommendation different from what we’ve already heard this afternoon?

Moiwo Moinina: I want the Government to help us with school and the road to our village is very bad so I want the Commission to help us with our road.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thank you all and the people of Konia.


DATE:            27th MAY 2003.

WITNESS NAME:    Mustapha  Kpengba (Muslim)       

WITNESS NO:        009

Presiding Commissioner: Commissioner, Sylvanus Torto.


Mustapha Kpenga:In 1993, when the rebels fled from Tongo, they burnt villages on the way to Diema.  We then fled to the bush.  Later, in 1994, on August 15th, the rebels attacked Diema.  When the firing subsided, six of my children were killed; Ibrahim, Morie, Idrissa, Lahai, Aminata and Mustapha Kpenga.  Over 70 people were killed and many drowned in the river as they tried to escape.  I buried my children two to a grave.  When the rebels attacked that morning, I lost Le3, 000,000, which was in my pocket, and all my properties were taken away.  My father, whom I had earlier left behind, was carrying some money for me, which amounted to six million leones; the rebels took it away.  He was also shot but he later died in hospital in Kenema.  My house in Kenema, which was located at Memuna Street, was burnt when the soldiers and kamajors fought.  The soldiers who were stationed at Diema demolished my other house in Diema.  According to them, it posed a security risk as it was blocking their view, since my house was right in front of where they stayed.  I am now in Diema.

Commissioner Torto: We thank you very much for this testimony and we sympathize with you for all you went through.  You are courageous to come and share your experiences with us in spite of what happened. We are not subjecting you to too many questions at all.  We just want to clarify some pertinent issues with you.  Do you know who your attackers were?

Mustapha Kpenga Kpengba: They had guns and wore military uniforms.

Commissioner Torto: Did you know them facially?

Mustapha Kpenga Kpengba: Not at all.

Commissioner Torto: Which of the fighting group did they belong to?

Mustapha Kpenga Kpengba– It was the hay days of the RUF.

Commissioner Torto: In your written statement, you stated that on your return, you found your two sons in a pool of blood, were these in addition to the six you mentioned here this morning?

Mustapha Kpenga:  Yes.

Commissioner Torto:  Can you name them?

Mustapha Kpenga:  Yes, Abayomi Mustapha Kpenga, Ibrahim Morie, Lahai, Idrissa, and Aminata Mustapha Kpenga

Commissioner Torto: You said an unknown number of people drowned in a river, but you were unable to find their identity why?

Mustapha Kpenga:  There are other people who I did not know,  I cannot actually tell.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:  Mustapha thank you for coming I am really sorry that you lost so many children.  We are sorry for such a disastrous loss. You told us that you built a three-room apartment that the soldiers destroyed?

Mustapha Kpenga: Yes.

Commissioner Marcus Jones: Who were they?

Mustapha Kpenga:  The NPRC was in power.

Commissioner Marcus Jones: What did they mean that the house was a threat to them?

Mustapha Kpenga:  One of the soldiers was dwelling behind my house so he saw my house as a security threat.

Commissioner Torto: Do you know the name of the captain who ordered the demolition of the house?

Mustapha Kpenga:  I don’t know; when the soldiers came, they asked that as an Imam, I should pray for them but I refused.

Leader of Evidence: You told us that your other son who was killed was 25 and you lost other children; I would like to know how old was the youngest child?

Mustapha Kpenga:  About 4 years 3 months old, Aminata Mustapha Kpenga.

Leader of Evidence: You said about 17 people were killed in the village?

Mustapha Kpenga:  Not 17 but 70 people were killed.

Leader of Evidence: Are they children or adults?

Mustapha Kpenga:  There were mixed, children and adults, and even those who drowned in the rivers.

Leader of Evidence – Those who drowned, were they being chased, or they drowned because they could not swim?

Mustapha Kpenga: the stream locates our village, so when the rebels attacked us from the bush, the only escape route was the stream.

Leader of Evidence – Do you have any idea of the number of people drowned?

Mustapha Kpenga:  No.

Leader of Evidence: Do you have any idea how deep the river was?

Mustapha Kpenga:  No idea.

Leader of Evidence: After you lost so many children, did some of your children join the Kamajors?

Mustapha Kpenga:  Two of them joined.

Leader of Evidence: How long were they part of the Kamajors?

Mustapha Kpenga: before the time of peace, others always threatened me, which was why my children opted to join, so that they would protect me.

Leader of Evidence – Were they based in the village?

Mustapha Kpenga:  Yes.  They were stationed in my village.

Leader of Evidence – Was there any fight at any time between them and the rebels in the village?

Mustapha Kpenga:  Not at all.

Commissioner Torto: Thank you very much.  We have asked you so many questions and you have answered them all. Do you have any question for the Commission?

Mustapha Kpenga:We knew that we had different factions in our conflicts. All these people have been disarmed, trained and paid.  Second rebels and then kamajors, we have been disarmed and they have being trained and paid. The victims, who have suffered a lot and lost properties, what can the government do to appease us?  Even as I was giving my testimony, I was tormented.

Commissioner Torto: That’s a very good question.  We have been asked these questions very often.  Somebody like you, who has lost about 31 people in the war, including a house and cash of Le3, 000,000.00.  What do you think anybody can give you that  will make you  forget?

Mustapha Kpenga:  There is nothing expensive to pay for those lives but I need something to help my children.  You are telling me to forgive and forget but how can we when we have tears in our eyes?

Commissioner Torto:  This is what the Commission is facing.

Mustapha Kpenga:  You are still telling us that we should forgive and forget, how can we forgive when I still have tears running down my eyes?

Commissioner Torto: What we are doing, to actually encourage people to forgive and forget is to tell them to look up to God as He gives and takes and that is the only way we can have everlasting peace: so that what happened cannot repeat itself. I don’t know of any instance in the world, wherein victims of war were compensated individually. The government does not  have the resources to compensate all victims affected by the war. Countries that are richer than us were not able to do so.  For example, in 1945 after the Second World War, the allied forces were not able to compensate every victim.  What they did was actually initiate plans, the Marshall plan. Those plans were aimed at construction of certain communities and infrastructure.  This is the process we are in.  One of the ways we  the TRC can encourage to the public is to listen to them and pass their recommendations  Government for implementation.

That is  why we have NaCSA, DDR and TRC, personally I don’t know what to give you to forget.  This is what we are on.  Any other question?

Mustapha Kpenga:  I have no more questions.  I have a recommendation to make.

Where I am staying in Diema, the feeder road is cut off during the rains.  To carry food is very difficult.  I would like the government to help us rehabilitate the roads leading to Diema.  I want the government to build a community centre for us, because we have over three thousand people in our village, we don’t have a health centre, we want a mosque and a church to be constructed in our town.  We need proper and hygienic water.  l want government to assist with the education of the children.  We would like our children to be like you in the future.  We request that government looks into our case and see how best they can help us as religious leaders.

Commissioner Torto: We thank you for this community-based recommendation. It has been recorded and analysed and will be included in our report.  It may not be immediately, but don’t be surprised if you see a project like that in the future in your village.  We thank you very much.

DATE:            27th MAY 2003.


WITNESS NO:    010


The Presiding Commissioner, Mr Sylvanus Torto, administered the oath on the Koran.


MAMIE KPAVAI: When the rebels attacked my village, Mendekelema, they captured us and took us to the junction.  Before that, they had killed five people and one beat me seriously and hit my head with his gun.  He was however restrained by a lady rebel.  They set fire on a hut nearby where they seated us.  After that, they took us to the town and locked us up in different houses.  At night whilst they locked us up, we heard them discussing amongst themselves, that they would kill some of us and the rest would be abducted.  I convinced an old woman with whom I was locked to escape.  As we tried to open the door, she was shot.  Seven bullets hit me on my left arm and I fell unconscious.  (She shows the scar)  when I regained consciousness the following morning, soldiers surrounded me and they took me to Jerihun for treatment.  I stayed there for two months and my brother later took me to Tongo where I was eventually healed.  I heard from people that the following day after the attack on Mendekelema,that twenty people were killed.

Commissioner Torto: Thank you very much for sharing your experience with us.  We want you to clarify some issues.  Where did all this happen?

Mamie Kpavai:In our village, Mende Kelema.

Commissioner Torto: Which of the fighting forces attacked your village?

Mamie Kpavai: The RUF.

Commissioner Torto:  Did you happen to know anyone amongst them?

Mamie Kpavai: They were so fearful; I have never seen them since that time

Commissioner Marcus Jones: Were there women amongst them?

Mamie Kpavai: There was only one lady amongst them.

Commissioner Marcus Jones: And she was the person that stopped the rebel who was hitting you?

Mamie Kpavai: Yes.

Leader of Evidence:  What happened to the corpse of the old woman who was shot?

Mamie Kpavai: Her corpse was deposited in a latrine.

Commissioner Torto: Could you tell where the rebels came from?

Mamie Kpavai: I could not tell.

Leader of Evidence: Which year did this happen?

Mamie Kpavai: In 1991.

Leader of Evidence:  Did they at any point, explain their objectives?

Mamie Kpavai: No, they did not explain anything to us.

Leader of Evidence:  Which language did they speak?

Mamie Kpavai: I can’t remember.

Leader of Evidence:  Just before you were shot, you said the rebels threatened to kill all of you and abducted the others. What happened to the others whilst you were unconscious?

Mamie Kpavai: I don’t know.

Leader of Evidence: Those people from your village, do you remember if they were killed later or not?

Mamie Kpavai: When I recovered from my shock, I saw most of them alive.

Leader of Evidence:  Which soldier took you for treatment?

Mamie Kpavai: SLA.

Leader of Evidence:  Do you know if the rebels who attacked your village the first time are the same that attacked the village the second time?

Mamie Kpavai: After the first attack they stayed in the village.

Leader of Evidence:  So they were there since the first attack?

Mamie Kpavai: Yes.

Leader of Evidence:  How did the soldiers take you for treatment?

Mamie Kpavai: After I was shot, I never knew what happened; I found myself in the hospital.

Leader of Evidence:  Was there a fight between the soldiers and the rebels?

Mamie Kpavai: No.

Commissioner Torto:  We have asked you so many questions and you have answered.  Do you have any questions for the Commission?

Mamie Kpavai: Yes, I have a very short question for you.  You have invited me, I obtained permission from my husband, and he  allowed me. I told you I sustained injuries and pain all over my body.  I have been brought here and answered your question what will you do after this?

Commissioner Torto:  Thank you. Irrespective of all the pains, you have answered us. By the end of this session our staff will talk to you about that. We have the Red Cross at hand.  We also have a nurse attached here and if the matter is beyond them, we have doctors to assist.  We wish we could do more than that, but the mandate that created the TRC does not have the power to do more.  Any other question?  Any recommendation you would like to make so that we can pass it on to the government.

Mamie Kpavai: There has been no development after the war in our village, no drinking water. The whole village was burnt down; the medical centre was also burnt down. There is no school building, no mosque, church.

Commissioner Torto:  Thank you very much, we will note all these and it would be included in our report.  But before our report is realized I will encourage you that there are NGOs who provide well systems.  There are others: between now and then I will encourage your community to contact those NGOs that will provide those facilities for that community. Do you have other recommendation?

Mamie Kpavai: No.

Commissioner Torto:  Thank you very much for coming.

DATE:            27th MAY 2003.


WITNESS NO:    011


Tamba Amara Vandy took the oath on the Bible administered by the Presiding Commissioner, Sylvanus Torto.


TAMBA AMARA VANDY: Nothing pains me more than the condition I am in now.  Without your hands and fingers you are nobody.  All have been chopped off.  When the rebels attacked my village, Bo Ngeleya, they surrounded the town and they fired everywhere.  When they started burning houses those of us who stayed in the middle of the town were trapped.  They told us that since they’ve not killed many people, they were going to amputate our limbs.  They held one of my hands and chopped it off.  I pleaded with them in God’s name for them not to chop of the other.  They said I’ve angered them by calling God’s name.  They said if I had mentioned Foday Sankoh’s name, they would have spared me. I did not beg them but I told them that there is only one God. Then they chopped off the other.  I told them to kill me instead but they said that they’ve given me an everlasting punishment.  They also said, I had used my hands to vote for Tejan Kabbah; I will never vote again in my life.  They went away and I was left alone.  One of my brothers heard my cry and he assisted me to get up and we managed to walk  to the  highway.  On our way, we met many amputees on the way, lying down in bushes.  A vehicle from Segbwema met us on the highway but the driver refused to carry us because of my condition.  Fortunately, they informed the Red Cross in Kenema who later came and took me to Segbwema, since there were many patients in Kenema.  I was admitted at the hospital and I stayed there for five months.  Later, I was transferred to Kenema and then to Freetown.  My hands were operated on and I can now use my hands to eat.

Commissioner Torto:  Thank you for coming; it was a painful experience you went through.  The Commission is appreciative of the fact that you can come forward to testify.  In your written statement you said that four other people were amputated where are they and what are their names?

Tamaba:  They are in Koi.  I only know Mammy Yatta, a very old woman.

Commissioner Torto:  In your written statement, you spoke of a dumb man that was shot.  What is his name?

Tamba Amara Vandy:  He was shot in the head, but the bullet did not go through; he was taken to the hospital in Segbwema and he died on the fourth day.  I don’t know his name.

Commissioner Torto:  Do you know why he was shot?

Tamba Amara Vandy: Nobody knows.

Commissioner Torto:  In addition, they also amputated your hand because you voted for Tejan Kabbah with it?

Tamba Amara Vandy:  Yes.

Commissioner Torto:  Who did that to you, is it Kamajors, RUF, or SLA?

Tamba Amara Vandy:  They were SLA’s.

Commissioner Torto:  Can you identify any of them by name or facially?

Tamba Amara Vandy:  I know one who was based in Talia.

Commissioner Torto:  Is there a garrison there now?

Tamba Amara Vandy:  No.

Commissioner Torto:  Do you know where he is now? 

Tamba Amara Vandy:  Though they were many I will never forget his name.  He is called Mohamed Lansana.

Commissioner Torto:  You said he was in Talia but you are not sure?

Tamba Amara Vandy:  At first I met him in this town, but for now I don’t know where he stays.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thank you for coming to the  TRC.  We are sorry that the rebels had left you in this situation, but I am sure you are happy to be alive. What do you mean you can eat now? Do you mean you can use one of the hands?

Leader of Evidence:  You said apart from other people that were amputated with you, other people were killed as well is that correct?

Tamba Amara Vandy:  Three lost their lives.

Leader of Evidence:  You said the same group amputated other people apart from four of you?

Tamba Amara Vandy:  Yes they did that as well.

Leader of Evidence:  Do you know if they survived or all of them died?

Tamba Amara Vandy:  Most of them survived.

Leader of Evidence:  How did you know that these people were SLA?

Tamba Amara Vandy:  They were stationed at Talia, a mile from us.

Leader of Evidence:  Did you identify them because you knew them or because they wore uniform?

Tamba Amara Vandy:  Since they were in military fatigue, one who does evil to you, you will never forget, especially when you knew him before.

Leader of Evidence: Have you ever been in touch with any organization that can provide artificial limbs for you?

Tamba Amara Vandy: Some of the limbs cannot function well.

Leader of Evidence: Thank you.

Commissioner Torto: Have you any question to ask about the Commission?

Tamba Amara Vandy: Yes, my question is to help me as I have nowhere to sleep and I sleep in people’s houses; they usually evict me if I don’t pay. All the houses in my village were burnt down.  I have no food and proper medical care. 

Commissioner Torto:  Is that all?

Tamba Amara Vandy:I have nothing; I have to beg for food.

Commissioner Torto: We thank you very much, Pa Tamba.When you were amputated you mentioned a daughter who helped you. Where is she now?

Tamba Amara Vandy: She is now in the village.

Commissioner Torto: What was the relationship between you and your daughter?
Tamba Amara Vandy:  We were still there as a family.

Commissioner Torto: Do you have an Amputee Association in Kenema District?

Tamba Amara Vandy:  Yes, we had one, but it’s not functional.

Commissioner Torto:  But there is one in Kenema,have you been able to contact them?

Tamba Amara Vandy: Yes, I have done that.

Commissioner Torto: What was their reaction?

Tamba Amara Vandy: They have never done anything for me.

Commissioner Torto:  Do you know where they are in this town?

Tamba Amara Vandy:  Yes.

Commissioner Torto: Can you give the address to our staff after the session? Our staff will give you a letter to them.  I ask this question, because the Norwegian Refugee Council has built houses in Freetown and also in Kabala for Amputees. I don’t know why they have not done the same so here. We even visited one of the building sites in Koinadugu District.  Any other question?

Tamba Amara Vandy:  No.

Commissioner Torto: Do you have any recommendation that we can pass on to government?

Tamba Amara Vandy:  I have said it all.

DATE:                27th MAY 2003.


WITNESS NO:        012


Balia Mansaray took the oath on a Muslim. The oath administered by the Presiding Commissioner, Sylvanus Torto.


BALIA MANSARAY: What happened was that, after being in the bush for sometime, we came to inspect our houses.  They captured and took us to one place and told us not to worry, as we are safe.  They also captured my other brothers.   They asked whether they were from the same village and they told them that they were from a nearby village.  They committed a lot of atrocities in Sembehun Nagboma. They said they’d kill my two brothers because of interference in the war.  They said that we should inform our people that they’ve killed their people because they interfered in a war they had no business with. They said we should advise our people to drop their shot guns and that said they’ll take the war up to Freetown.  As I was moving I was thinking of my brothers, so I fell in a mining pit and I injured my leg, which affects me.

Commissioner Torto: Thank you very much.  You said that they killed four people who had no business with the war, who were they?

Balia Mansaray:  We met the four people already dead. 

Commissioner Torto:  You also said that your brother was killed. where?

Balia Mansaray:  He was killed in Segbwema.

Commissioner Torto:  Was he a hunter?

Balia Mansaray: He was a vigilante.

Commissioner Torto:  Do you know who your attackers were?

Balia Mansaray:  I do not know them.  However, they said they were rebels.

Leader of Evidence:  Can you tell us the name of your brother?

Balia Mansaray:  Moi Bakarr.

Leader of Evidence:  Do you also know the name of the other person that was killed with your brother?

Balia Mansaray: His first name is Balla Sheku.

Leader of Evidence:  Was he a vigilante?

Balia Mansaray: Yes.

Leader of Evidence:  Were they the only vigilantes in your village?

Balia Mansaray: Yes.

Leader of Evidence:  So they were specifically targeted because they were vigilantes?

Balia Mansaray:  They said they interfered with the war, because if you were captured no explanation was sought.

Leader of Evidence:  Did they tell you which group they belonged to, RUF or SLA?

Balia Mansaray:  They only said they were rebels?

Leader of Evidence:  Did they tell you were they come from?

Balia Mansaray:  They said they came from Kailahun.

Leader of Evidence:  What language were they speaking?

Balia Mansaray:  They spoke different languages.

Leader of Evidence:  Was any other family member of yours injured?

Balia Mansaray:  My brother was in captivity until Zogoda was captured. He died later due to the illness.

Leader of Evidence: Did the rebels abduct him?

Balia Mansaray: Yes.

Leader of Evidence: What was his name?

Balia Mansaray:  Mansaray.

Leader of Evidence:  How long was he with the rebels?

Balia Mansaray:  A very long time.

Leader of Evidence: Eventually he died a natural death or was he killed?

Balia Mansaray:  When he was freed from captivity he came back very sick and died later.

Commissioner Torto:  Have you any question for the Commission?

Balia Mansaray: I have no questions, as long as they have asked us to accept what has happened to us and reconcile, I’m okay with that.

Commissioner Torto: Have you any recommendation to pass on to the government?

Balia Mansaray: My mother is in pain, even when I was invited, she was in fear that I will not return to the village; her husband had been killed, I am the only one taking care of my old mother. I’m also sick, I need help and I’m asking that you assist me.

Commissioner Torto:  After your return, have you sought any medical treatment?

Balia Mansaray:  I have been drinking herbs and, I usually go for an injection whenever I have some money.

Commissioner Torto:  Thank you for coming.

DATE:            27th MAY 2003.


WITNESS NO:    013


Bockarie Swarray took the oath on the Koran, administered by the Presiding Commissioner, Sylvanus Torto.


Bockarie Swarray: When the rebels attacked Panguma, a doctor was killed.  After two days Tom Nyumah came to our place and some other places.  My people told me that since I fought in the Second World War, I should help to mobilize the young men in the defence of the area.  One day an unidentified soldier from Panguma dressed in civilian clothes, come to Gbado.  I ordered him to be tied and I brought him, to Tom Nyumah in Kenema.  Tom Nyumah said the man was his personal bodyguard who escaped and that he would be court martialed.    As soon as we left, he released the man, who returned to Panguma.  Sometime later, some men dressed in military uniform came to Gbado; they told us that they had come to protect us.  Little did we know that they were there to help the rebels.  However, the one who seemed to be their leader was not properly dressed.  He had on amulets and this made him look frightening.  He was drinking palm wine and as he drank, he was misbehaving, which made me conclude that he was not behaving like a military man.  A while later, soldiers were scattered everywhere.  People started fleeing from the town.  Some of the people who came had masks on and some painted their faces.  There were clapping and dancing.  The Sergeant Clapped and gave a command.  They started firing.  A Limba man was killed and I fled with my children to the outskirts of the town. They burnt my house, that of my grandfather’s and my timber stock.  On that day, they killed one Jaward and I lost all my wives and children.  This is my testimony.

Commissioner Torto:  We thank you very much for this revealing testimony.  If there were many people courageous like you the war would not have lasted longer. Some people don’t want to say the truth.  The moment you spoke the truth you become an antagonist of the people. I want to commend you; if you had not  done that you might  have been dead.  I want to clarify some issues with you.  What permit did they request from you?

Bockarie Swarray:  I don’t know. In a Military Force during the colonial period,   if you were asked for a permit, you would have to go through the right channel and  it is sort of pass for a day or night. This was called Military Tattoo. Your leader will have to count you all.  If anyone is absent and had been given a pass, upon your return there is no query but if you did not have a pass you would be put in a guardroom. 

Commissioner Torto:  What is not clear to me is ,  why were you asked to produce a permit?

Bockarie Swarray:  It was for a reason.  We don’t know what they were doing. The government was only wasting resources on them.

Commissioner Torto:  Where is Sergeant Gbateh?

Bockarie Swarray:  He hails from Jerihun.

Commissioner Torto:  When you brought this captive  whom Tom Nyumah said was his bodyguard, did you set eyes on him again know where he was and what he would have been doing.

Bockarie Swarray:  Since then I don’t know where he is.

Commissioner Torto:  You saw a truck of soldiers who told you that you should not move.  He sited you and he looked his time and said ‘time’, and there was firing,  do you think it was an arrangement between the soldiers and the rebels?

Bockarie Swarray:  As I perceived it there was indeed an arrangement between them because they were happy. That why he clapped, saying ‘time’ and ran towards the area the firing was coming from.  If they had gone there to secure us, they would have secured us.  A Limba man was shot dead.  It was out of their happiness that they did so.

Commissioner Torto:  During their attack apart from the Palm Wine Tapper were there other people killed?

Bockarie Swarray: Many people were killed but not on the same day.

Commissioner Torto: Can you tell their names?

Bockarie Swarray: One of my uncle Jaward, his children in another village, many people were killed in that village.

Commissioner Torto: Are these the only names you are able to recall?

Bockarie Swarray:  There was another one named Sallu Kamara Vandy,whose grave is still in Gandon Buaya. A Town Chief was wounded and he died later by the riverside. 

Commissioner Marcus: Jones: Thank you for the detailed account of what happened in Gbado.We are sorry that you had so many problems that you lost property as well.  But it is a good thing that you were able to tell the rebels the truth and tried to convince them to stop the destruction.  What happened to your elderly wife who went into the bush?

Bockarie Swarray:  She was in the bush without food.  She later fell sick and  died.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  I am so sorry.  You also lost a brother am I correct?

Bockarie Swarray:  The Jaward that died was my uncle.  He was my mother’s brother, and  was staying with me.

Commissioner Marcus: Jones:  I am sorry for all the loss and  bereavement you suffered. Thank you for telling us your testimony so clearly.  Thank you.

Leader of Evidence:  I just want to know, which year did this incident take place?

Bockarie Swarray: I am not an educated person; this is the sorrowful part of my story. It was before the election in 1996,when NPRC was in power.

Leader of Evidence: Was the first group SLA?

Bockarie Swarray: Yes.

Leader of Evidence:  And the second group that came to your village were they rebels?

Bockarie Swarray:  All of them were SLA.

Leader of Evidence:  So there was no RUF in your village?

Bockarie Swarray:  They worked in collaboration.

Leader of Evidence:  The second group were they RUF or SLA?

Bockarie Swarray:  They were mixed, rebels and soldiers.

Commissioner Torto:  Thank you, do you have questions for the Commission?

Bockarie Swarray: I don’t have any question; I pray that God blesses all those who are loyal to Tejan Kabbah.

Commissioner Torto:  Do you have any recommendation to pass on to government?

Bockarie Swarray:  I have two recommendations but not for me alone but for all the citizens in Sierra Leone with special reference to my chiefdom. They created so many problems, no toilet facilities. I am an old man, with no strength to brush my farm. I would like the government to give us toilets and help us with our Agricultural work, but they  should give the project to good patriotic citizens.

Commissioner Torto: The recommendations about agriculture and other infrastructure are noted, but let me make a brief statement about the sanitary situation. We do not need to wait for government for such. In every chiefdom, there is a health overseer who should be instructed to plan a waste disposal programme.  These are issues that will not wait for government assistance.  It is not something that we can put in our report.  All the other recommendations will be included in our report.  I can only assure you that everything you have mentioned will be included in our report; it may not be specifically for Gbado town but all the other communities. 

Commissioner Torto:  Any other recommendations?

Bockarie Swarray:  No more recommendations, I just want to thank you. I spoke about the toilet  because I have it is on  my mind.  So I have to say it out. I thank the government who is helping us, although the help doesn’t reach us.  May God bless us all.

DATE:            27th MAY 2003.

WITNESS NAME:        MIATTA FODAY                

WITNESS NO:        014


Miatta Foday: took the oath on the Koran administered by the Presiding Commissioner, Sylvanus Torto.


MIATTA FODAY : We were in my village Diema; I was there with my nieces and nephews, when our village was attacked early in the morning.  We were in the big house and we all ran into the bush.  Some of my children were with my mother in the other house.  My mother and children were captured and one of my children was killed in front of my mother.  They ordered them to carry loads, one of my child refused to carry the load, so one of the rebels threatened to kill him.  My mother pleaded and they said they would take her along.  They took her away with them.  I hid the other children and came to the village to spy. On my return, I met my mother sitting by the dead child, weeping. The rebels were all gone. So I took the child with my mother into the bush.  Whilst we were in Kenema, my husband heard about the incident, he eventually came to Kenema.He decided to go back in search of food and on his way he too was killed.  I was confused and asked God why he had done this kind of thing to me. When we returned back to the village, my mother died and I was confused.  The other children were with me; the rebels also captured my brother’s child.  He decided to go in search of his child and he too was killed. Up till now I haven’t seen him.  I continue to encourage myself to be strong so that I do not die and leave the other children behind.  I rely on God for everything; I don’t have a husband and in fact I do not need one.  My concern is how to bring up my children.  My brother was a farmer and a miner and he used to assist me, but he is no more.  I brush the swamp myself and I have sent all my children to school. I engage in some gardening to maintain my children in order for them not to suffer.  That is my story.

Commissioner Torto:  Thank you for coming to share your testimony with us.  We know what it means to go through such pains.  I must also congratulate you for the faith you have.  We have a few questions for you.  We just want to get the information straight.  What was the name of your husband?

Miatta Foday: Bockarie Mansaray.

Commissioner Torto:  What are you doing now?

Miatta Foday:  I am engaged in backyard gardening, I want to do mining also but there is no support.

Commissioner Torto:  You said in your written statement that your brother was killed; his throat was cut off while he was going to retrieve his brother why did that happen to him?

Miatta Foday:  There were conflicting reports about my child some said he was in Freetown, whilst others  said he was  in Guinea and some in Pujehun.

Commissioner Torto: Was it your child or brother?

Miatta Foday: It was my child.

Commissioner Torto:  The brother who was a kamajor was killed?

Miatta Foday: Yes.

Commissioner Torto:  Where did that happen?

Miatta Foday: I did not know.

Commissioner Torto:  How did you know the story?

Miatta Foday:  Somebody told it to me.

Commissioner Torto: What fighting group did that to you?

Miatta Foday:  They were rebels.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Miatta Foday: we thank you for coming.  From your testimony you are a strong woman with faith in God.  And we hope you stay that way to bring up your children.  We sympathize with you for the loss of your husband and other members of your family.  I have one or two questions.  Do you know how many people were buried in the mass grave were your nephew was buried?

Miatta Foday:  We were in the bush; I did not go there to see.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Where were they buried? Was it in Diema Town?

Miatta Foday:  Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Since they were buried you never went to the spot to see?

Miatta Foday:  I was so tormented I have never gone there to see.

Leader of Evidence:  I am sorry for the loss of your family.  Do you remember when this incident happened?

Miatta Foday:  August 15, I cannot remember the year.

Leader of Evidence:  Can you tell us the name of your brother who was killed?

Miatta Foday: Moina Foday.

Leader of Evidence:  And the name of your nephew?

Miatta Foday:  Mohamed  Moinina.

Leader of Evidence:  Can you remember the name of the rebels?

Miatta Foday:  I did not know them; it was very early in the morning.

Leader of Evidence:  Who is Captain Manorwa?

Miatta Foday:  While we were in the bush, we overheard them saying that Manorwa’s group was coming.

Leader of Evidence:  So they were called Manorwa?

Miatta Foday:  Yes. 

Leader of Evidence:  So they said they were rebels?

Miatta Foday:  Yes.

Leader of Evidence:  Do you know whether they were RUF, AFRC, Kamajors, or CDF?

Miatta Foday:  They were neither Kamajors nor soldiers, but RUF.

Leader of Evidence:  You said that the rebels abducted your son and children of your brother?

Miatta Foday: Yes three of them.

Leader of Evidence:  Did you ever hear anything about them?

Miatta Foday:  Six months ago, I received a letter from them; they are in Guinea.

Leader of Evidence:  All of them are alive?

Miatta Foday:  Yes they are all alive.

Leader of Evidence:  Thank you very much.

Commissioner Torto:  We have asked you a lot of questions and your have bravely answered them all.  Do you have any question for the Commission?

Miatta Foday:  Yes, now you have called us to testify before this Commission, can government help us to bring back our children and find a means to help us with those we are staying with?

Commissioner Torto:  Do you know were the children are?

Miatta Foday:  I do not know the town, I remember they told me they are in Guinea.

Commissioner Torto:  You received a letter from Guinea; does the letter have no address?

Miatta Foday:  They sent a picture but not a letter.

Commissioner Torto:  What refugee camp or town do they stay?

Miatta Foday:  The person did not tell me, I would contact him.

Commissioner Torto:  Is it a difficult thing.

Miatta Foday:  To me it is not difficult I will contact the person and he will tell us where they are.

Commissioner Torto: Immediately after the session you will talk to our staff, which will contact the NGOs that are responsible for repatriating people. I was asking the question because I sensitised people in a number of camps in Guinea.  The Sierra Leoneans were very excited about coming back.  I want to encourage you not to lose hope you will see them one day, provided they want to come back.

Commissioner Torto:  How old were they?

Miatta Foday:  My daughter is thirteen years old.

Commissioner Torto: Are you sure they are alive, it is a big consolation to know that they are; you will be expecting them, apart the effort you are making, the High Commissioner for UNHCR is also on repatriation. Any other question?

Miatta Foday:  No.

Commissioner Torto:  Do you have any recommendation to make to the Commission?

Miatta Foday:  We do not have any health centre, or proper drinking water; I have no one to depend on, I did the swamp work all by myself. 

Commissioner Torto:  I thank you. Manual Agriculture is a very tedious one; I will encourage you to continue in farming.  We wish the Commission had a program for personal assistance to victims, but we don’t.  I wish you success and I believe that you will see your children again. 

DATE:            27th May 2003.

WITNESS NAME:    SAM MUSA           

WITNESS NO:    015


My name is Sam Musa took the oath on a Bible administered by the Presiding Commissioner, Sylvanus Torto.


SAM MUSA: We were in our village, Waiama Tongbombu. My daughter died and as we returned from the burial, rebels attacked us. We fled into the bush and whilst there, we saw our town burning. As the whole town was burnt, we went back into a nearby town and as the fire died out we went back to our town. We met two corpses.One of them was Amara Bundu from Tongo.  Our town was situated on top of a hill.  As we were going up the hill, I met one of my uncles, Pa Musa, dead.  It was not too long when we saw other rebels coming.  They told us not to run and if we do, they would fire at us.  They asked what was wrong with the people and we told them we didn’t know.  We went to Penyima.  In the evening there was another attack and we fled.  We fled to one of my brothers, an ex-soldier called Kekura.  We had spent one month with him, when rebels also attacked us.   The moment I saw them I fled.   I met a pregnant woman who told me that when they killed her husband, they ordered her to laugh.  When they finished, they stripped her naked; she had some money hidden in her private parts and it was taken from her.  I went to Alhajie in Blama.

Commissioner Torto:  Thank you for sharing your experience with us.  In your written statement you said a woman was raped several times and shot. Do you remember the name of that woman?

Sam Musa:  Yes, she is Martha Ngombu.

Commissioner Torto:  Do you remember their faces? The perpetrators?

Sam Musa:  I was not there when she was raped, it took place in the bush;Kekura’s wife told all these stories.

Commissioner Torto:  What do you recall of the names of Martha John, John Bull and Ernest Buckna?

Sam Musa:  Ernest Buckna is my brother and we went to stay in Peyima.  Kekura had three wives one of his elderly wives was Mariama and the other, Sallay.  Martha was a daughter.

Commissioner Torto:  Do you know where Captain Manorwa of RUF is now?

Sam Musa:  I don’t know.

Commissioner Torto:  No. You stated that he is in Pujehun District.

Sam Musa:  I have not heard that, and I‘ve not gone there.

Commissioner Torto: Which group attacked your village?

Sam Musa:  They were rebels headed by Manorwa.

Leader of Evidence:  In what year did this happen?

Sam Musa:  It was during phase II of the war.

Leader of Evidence:  Did anything happen to your son?

Sam Musa:  One of my sons Allieu Sam Musa was captured and he died later.

Leader of Evidence:  Thank you very much.

Commissioner Torto: In your testimony you said that a woman saw four people killed, do you remember their names?

Sam Musa:  Yes, Keikulrah Jombu,  Keh Momoh, Mariama Bunyoh, Ernest Buckna, and Martha Jombu. Six of them were killed.

Commissioner Torto: Including Sallay?

Sam Musa: Sallay was a pregnant woman. She was not killed.

Commissioner Torto:  Where is Sallay now?

Sam Musa:  I don’t know her whereabouts.

Commissioner Torto:  Do you have any question for the Commission?

Sam Musa:  I don’t have any question.

Commissioner Torto:  Do you have any recommendation that we can pass on to Government?

Sam Musa:  Yes.  I would like government to construct schools in our town; one root cause of the war was lack of education.  If people were educated they would not think of such evil.  There are lot of villages that are far away from schools.  If there are no schools, then one will be forced to send his child to the bush. There are many children who are illiterate,  they have nothing to do except  go to the farm.  

Commissioner Torto:  We will include your recommendations in our report and pass it on accordingly; I have to congratulate you because you have been able to realize that illiteracy was the cause of the war.  But there is free education for primary school children.  Now that you really know what illiteracy can lead to you will not relent to send your children to school, even though the distance may be far away from home.  Send your children to school. It was officially announced that there is free education for primary school children. Do you have any other recommendations?

Sam Musa:  I have no recommendation.

Commissioner Torto:  Thank you for coming.

DATE:            27th May 2003.


WITNESS NO:    016


My name is Sheku Mattia took the oath on a Koran administered by the Presiding Commissioner, Sylvanus Torto.


Sheku Mattia:On the 9th of March 1993, late in the morning, we heard the sound of a gunshot. It was an RPG and the fragments fell in the centre of the town. People were shouting; we overheard somebody shouting ‘Manorwa, I have brought war and nobody will sleep, go to Kenema, where Tom Nyumah is’.  We all fled, some of us did not go far away, and from where we stayed we could get a view of the town.  The town was set on fire.  There were up to 72 houses in Waima Togbombu;the whole village, except for four houses and the mosque, was burnt down. When the firing died down we returned to the town in the evening.  We saw four corpses. Up to this time we have not seen the bodies of other people, we do not know what happened to them.  Eventually, we decided to go to Kenema and I later went to Bo because conditions were so difficult and I was ashamed to beg.  I grew up in Bo, I had a lot of friends, so there was not much of a problem.  Whilst we were in Bo, the issue of Kamajors sprung up.  Those of us who moved from small Bo formed a kamajor group.  We had a lot of confidence in the movement and we became members.  All of us who left small Bo went to Bo where we were initiated into the society and we returned to our village.   We came prepared, and we repelled the rebels from our village; we liberated our chiefdom.  The rebels in our area were divided into 18 camps.  At first we had no guns, we had knives, which helped us to drive away the rebels from all camps.  After this, we felt very confident so we went to Zogoda and we drove the rebels from there.  That was what we did.

Commissioner Torto: Thank you very much. I want us to go back to the factors that led you to join the Kamajors that was the mission of Manorwa; during that invasion of Waiima how many people were killed?

Sheku Mattia: Four people.

Commissioner Torto:  Do you know their names?

Sheku Mattia:  Musa Bundu, Akim Amara from Tisor, Mammy Matu, and Bendu.

Commissioner Torto: During your offences, did you encounter civilians?

Sheku Mattia: Yes, we used to call civilian areas target camps.

Commissioner Torto: When you met them what did you do?

Sheku Mattia:  We searched and removed them from the bush, then brought them to the town.

Commissioner Torto: Did you witness violations by Kamajors or civilians?

Sheku Mattia:  No, we did not harm them. 

Commissioner Torto: During your offensive against the rebels, how many were killed?

Sheku Mattia:  We did not kill them.  They fled from us but we had knives.  They’ll fire and we’ll advance and they’ll flee.

Leader of Evidence:  Can you give us the names of your dead brothers?

Sheku Mattia:  I have mentioned them. 

Leader of Evidence:  Repeat them for me?

Sheku Mattia:  Amara, Musa, Bundu and Matu.

Leader of Evidence:  I am very sorry that you lost members of your family. You joined the Kamajor to protect your village?

Sheku Mattia: Sierra Leone as a whole.

Leader of Evidence: Was this immediately after the attack on your village?

Sheku Mattia:  I joined the Kamajor in 1995.

Leader of Evidence: When were your brothers killed?

Sheku Mattia:  In 1993.

Leader of Evidence:  Between 1993 and 1995 were you in your village?

Sheku Mattia:  I was driven from my village, so I went to Bo.

Leader of Evidence:  How many of you joined the Kamajors?

Sheku Mattia:  Two of us.

Leader of Evidence: How many Kamajors did you meet in Bo?

Sheku Mattia:  About 250.

Leader of Evidence: Were you one of the elders?

Sheku Mattia:  We were the chiefs.  We organized them.

Leader of Evidence: What does it mean to be a chief in the Kamajor?

Sheku Mattia: I am the chief of my village not in the CDF.  I was still a chief however.

Leader of Evidence:  What did you actually do as a Kamajor?

Sheku Mattia:We used to organize and advise the fighting forces.

Leader of Evidence: How were they organized?

Sheku Mattia:  If we decided to clear any village we joined them and we used to settle disputes.

Leader of Evidence: You said you were initiated when you joined the Kamajor?

Sheku Mattia:  Yes.

Leader of Evidence: Can you tell us what this initiation was about?

Sheku Mattia:  To bring peace in our village.

Leader of Evidence:  You later became an initiator?

Sheku Mattia:  No, I did not initiate anybody.

Leader of Evidence:  On your assignment you decided on the village you wanted to attack and you also said the rebels fled from you because of the knives?

Sheku Mattia:  Yes.

Leader of Evidence:  You said that the rebels used to run away from you?

Sheku Mattia: Yes.

Leader of Evidence: What kind of weapons did the rebels use?

Sheku Mattia:  They had all types of guns.

Leader of Evidence: Why did they run away from you?

Sheku Mattia:  We had supernatural powers. When they shot at us nothing happened and we’ kept on advancing.

Leader of Evidence:  Were Kamajors killed during these attacks?

Sheku Mattia:  Yes.

Leader of Evidence:  How many of you were killed?

Sheku Mattia:  Up to the time we went to Zogoda two were killed.

Leader of Evidence: How young was the youngest in the Kamajor?

Sheku Mattia:  The other was the same age group as the interpreter; the other was about 30 yrs old.

Leader of Evidence:  You said you were about 250 I want to know how old was the youngest

Sheku Mattia:  The youngest was 14 years old.  At the battlefront they used to do some domestic work for us and not to fight.

Leader of Evidence:  During the attacks of the rebels, only adults join in the offensives?

Sheku Mattia:  We all went together, but we were very safe.  We would all go to the farms.

Leader of Evidence:  Did the 14-year-old boys go to the front?

Sheku Mattia:  They carried loads and fetched water. Sometimes they ran errands for us.

Leader of Evidence:  Did they join you to fight?

Sheku Mattia:  No.

Leader of Evidence: Did any of you have guns.?

Sheku Mattia:  Sometimes, we ran after the rebels and when they are tired, they’ll drop their guns.  We’ll then picked them up and hand them over to the soldiers.

Leader of Evidence:  Did you ever use these guns?

Sheku Mattia:  We were using knives not guns.

Leader of Evidence: During these attacks did any of the rebels get killed?

Sheku Mattia:  I did not see any dead rebel, if they confronted us they were wounded.

Leader of Evidence: Did you capture any one of them?

Sheku Mattia:  Yes so many of them.

Leader of Evidence:  How old were they? Small boys and girls.?

Sheku Mattia:  We captured a lady who said she was a cook and not a combatant.  We turned her over to the military.

Leader of Evidence:  What happened to the others?

Sheku Mattia:  We handed them over to the military.

Leader of Evidence:  Did you ask them questions?

Sheku Mattia:  Yes.

Leader of Evidence:  What kind of questions?

Sheku Mattia:  We used to ask them how they joined the movement; some will say they were captured.   They never said they joined willingly.

Leader of Evidence:  Did you punish them?

Sheku Mattia:  No.

Leader of Evidence: Did the soldiers give you training?

Sheku Mattia:  No, we were not friends.

Leader of Evidence:  But they asked you to work hand in hand with them?

Sheku Mattia:  At first they were willing, after a while we discovered that they wanted to betray us, so we stayed away from them.

Leader of Evidence:  When you decided to keep a distance, did you hand over the rebels to them?

Sheku Mattia:  Yes, we still handed them to the soldiers

Leader of Evidence:  Did you know what happened to the captives when they were with the soldiers?

Sheku Mattia:  No, they always drove us from their base.

Leader of Evidence:  Did you see the captives after that?

Sheku Mattia:  Yes, sometimes we saw them.

Leader of Evidence:  Of the 250 Kamajors, only two were killed?

Sheku Mattia:  I only knew about two.

Leader of Evidence: How long you were with the Kamajors?

Sheku Mattia:  Three years.

Leader of Evidence:  During those three years, how many confrontations or fights did you have with the rebels?

Sheku Mattia:  So many. I was attacked in my village, at that time Johnny Paul was in power, my village was attacked three times, and we repelled them.

Leader of Evidence:  When Johnny Paul was in power who were the rebels?

Sheku Mattia:  When he was in power they came to town, and they stayed with us and called themselves People’s Army.

Leader of Evidence:  But you said when he was in power the rebels attacked your village three times who were the rebels by then?

Sheku Mattia:  They were RUF/AFRC/SLA.

Leader of Evidence:  So at that time you were not fighting with the government?

Sheku Mattia:  We fought for the government to come in to power.

Leader of Evidence:  Which government?

Sheku Mattia:  The democratically elected government.

Leader of Evidence:  During those two years, did you chase the rebels?

Sheku Mattia: They attacked and we repelled them.

Leader of Evidence:  Any time you had a confrontation, they used to run away, how many years did that take?

Sheku Mattia:For  three consecutive months they attacked our village.

Leader of Evidence:  You said you spent three years in the movement, how come it took a long time before the rebels were chased out of the country?

Sheku Mattia:  I continued to stay there because it was an initiation. I will continue to stay there and even now I am a Kamajor.

Leader of Evidence:  Since you stayed three years and always the rebels ran away, how come it took several years to overthrow the rebels?

Sheku Mattia:  I continued to stay because I was initiated and it was for life. If you go against the initiation, you will be killed.

Leader of Evidence:  What did they do to go against these laws?

Sheku Mattia: I can’t tell.

Leader of Evidence:  After the rebels had killed those two people, they then realized that the Kamajors had fake powers?

Sheku Mattia:  I don’t think so.

Leader of Evidence:  We have heard rebels who testified that they knew the Kamajors had supernatural power but they relied on their guns?

Sheku Mattia:  That’s was their belief but we have ours.

Leader of Evidence:  It still hard to believe that the rebels could flee from you when they had guns.  Are you saying the truth since you are under oath?

Sheku Mattia:  We were chiefs we did not go to the front.

Leader of Evidence:  During this fighting none of them got killed?

Sheku Mattia:  We were chiefs, we encouraged them to go ahead, I saw the wounded but I did not see corpses.

Leader of Evidence:  Since you were chief I suppose they will come and report to you event in the front, what did they report?

Sheku Mattia:  We used to go together.

Leader of Evidence:  To the war front?

Sheku Mattia:  Yes.

Leader of Evidence:  Did anyone report of any rebels killed?

Sheku Mattia:  No report of deaths,  only of  the wounded.

Leader of Evidence:  Civilians spoke of Kamajor atrocities, did you hear of any one of these?

Sheku Mattia:  Our group did not do that.

Leader of Evidence:  If any of your member was to break the rules imposed on them would they be punished?

Sheku Mattia:  Every society has it laws and we had many.

Leader of Evidence:  If a Kamajor committed any atrocity to the civilians, will he be punished?

Sheku Mattia:  Yes.

Leader of Evidence:  Were there any sanctions imposed on them?

Sheku Mattia:  Yes, we used to punish them.
Leader of Evidence:  What kind of punishment?

Sheku Mattia:  We investigate the allegation after which punishment will be meted according to kind atrocity committed.

Leader of Evidence:  Can you give us some examples?

Sheku Mattia:  One Kamajor captured and beat a civilian and they brought him to us, because he ran away.  The matter was brought to me I also inflicted punishment to the Kamajor.

Leader of Evidence:  Did that happen frequently?

Sheku Mattia:  I am explaining to you now that the Kamajors didn’t go close to the civilians, because of the laws.  We came to protect the civilians.  We had a good   relationship.  We looked a bit   fearsome that why they kept away from us.  We came to save them from the soldiers.

Leader of Evidence: I thought you were working with the soldiers?

Sheku Mattia:  Yes, they were our bosses, whatever we did we reported to them.  Before we went to the front we obtained permission from them.

Leader of Evidence:  You were there to protect the civilians from the soldiers and you handed over civilians to the soldiers but they were not afraid of you?

Sheku Mattia:  Yes.

Leader of Evidence:  Then you said you took a distance from the SLA, was there any point when the SLA and the Kamajors fought?

Sheku Mattia:  The Small Bo group did not fight with the SLA.

Leader of Evidence:  The questions are not meant to embarrass you, but we think we have to ask you these questions, on how the kamajors were organized and what was their action during these years.   Also during these years, several people accused the kamajors of human right sviolations, and this is your opportunity to explain what happened and we need to get the truth.  Do you have anything to add, do you have any information to give?

Sheku Mattia:  The confusion you have is when I said we collaborated with the soldiers. When we returned from Bo we reported to the soldiers, because they were the government fighters. We joined that force because we wanted to help them.  When we came we met them and they accepted us. They tested us and approved.  The problem was that there were eighteen rebel camps around small Bo and they did not engage the rebels because they did not understand the bush.  When we came we attacked these bushes and destroyed them.   When they saw this and the civilians praising us, they were annoyed.  We told civilians not to go down to the soldiers and this did not go down well with them. 

Leader of Evidence:  Thank you for the explanation.  It is necessary because there are so many allegations made against the Kamajors. We will continue to hear more testimonies throughout the hearings.  I thank you for coming and hope that others will come out and do the same.  I must congratulate you very much. I want you to pass on this information to the rank and file of the kamajors that it is to their advantage to appear before this Commission to testify.  So the series of question were not meant to implicate or embarrass you, we are not in a court. I also wanted to add this peace of information that appearance in the TRC will not be referred to Special Court.  We hope to see more of you ,since we are here up  to Friday. One last thing,  did you have women fighting with you?

Sheku Mattia:  There were no women; some other groups had women like Kamo Lahai’s group. They cooked for us at the front.

Commissioner Torto:  Thank you for this explanation, now that we have asked you a number of questions do you have any questions for the Commission?

Sheku Mattia:  I don’t have questions but to ask for help.

Commissioner Torto:  Do you have any recommendations?

Sheku Mattia:  I said in my statement that 72 houses were burnt down in my village except the mosque and four other houses.  We cannot ask government to go and put up all those structures, the direst need is a water well.

Commissioner Torto:  Where is that village?

Sheku Mattia:  Seven miles from here.

Commissioner Torto:  We cannot promise that those needs could be met immediately; our duty is to pass on our recommendations to government.  Your recommendation will be taken in to good part along with the others for onward transmission to government.

Sheku Mattia:  I will talk to my men.

Commissioner Torto:  Thank you very much.


DATE:            28th May 2003.

WITNESS NAME:    Iye Bockarie



Justice Laura Marcus-Jones, the presiding Commissioner, administered the oath.


Iye Bockarie: Whilst we were in our village, the rebels captured my mother and me in a farm hut and brought us to the village.  As soon as we arrived in town the rebels were instructed to take me along with them, then decided to release my mother.  They took me into the forest. I was with them for a very long period.  There were three of us, myself, my elder and my younger brother.  On our way, my elder brother escaped.  As soon as they realized that my brother had escaped, they got angry with me.  They were scared about my brother’s escape and thought that I would escape too so they threatened to kill me.  They later inscribed RUF on my back and because I was carrying the inscription on my back, I decided to join them.  Being the youngest, I was handed over to the leader of the rebels’ wife and I became her maid.  I stayed with them for a very long time. 

She took care of me until I was a bit older and she handed me over to a man to be married.  We had two children.  On several occasions, when he went on trek, different men raped me.  Whilst we were in Makeni, we had no food, my bush husband sometimes maltreated me, and due to this maltreatment I decided to escape, especially when I became pregnant for the second time.  I wrote a letter to my sister who sent some money to pay my way home.  In her reply, she indicated that I had lost my mother and father.  I received the money and the letter and decided to come home.  I said goodbye to my bush husband and he bid me farewell with a promise to visit me.  On my arrival, I found out that my sister had also lost her husband; I am now staying with my two children.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thank you for telling us your story. We are sorry that all these unpleasant things happened to you and that you also lost your parents.  How old were you when this incident took place?

Iye Bockarie:  I was about 10 years old when I was captured.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Were you going to school at the time?

Iye Bockarie: No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  How many children had your parents?

Iye Bockarie: Nine children.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: At the time you were captured had you started your menstrual circle?

Iye Bockarie:  No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: You told us that your elder brother escaped, did you see him escape, and how did he manage to escape?

Iye Bockarie: I don’t know.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones – From which village were you captured?

Iye – I was at Boajibu

Commissioner Marcus-Jones – Was that the place you were captured?

Iye Bockarie: No., that was not the place, I was captured at Moindu.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  How far is Moindu to Makeni, how far was the distance from the bush?

Iye Bockarie: I don’t know the mileage; it is a far distance.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: How many days did  it take you to walk to the bush?

Iye Bockarie: It took us two days.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Did your Commando’s wife treat you well?

Iye Bockarie: Sometimes she maltreated me.  She beat and punished me.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: What would she punish you for?

Iye Bockarie:If I did not obey her instructions she will me beat me.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: You were separated from your younger brother, have you seen him since?

Iye Bockarie: Yes, we met in Makeni recently.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: How long have you been separated?

Iye Bockarie: It took about ten years before we actually met.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Were you able to recognize each other?

Iye Bockarie: Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Did he share his experiences with you?

Iye Bockarie: – No, not yet.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: You were given to a man when you were little older, how long was it from the time your were captured to the time you married?

Iye Bockarie: It took about two years before I got married to him.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Had you started your menstrual circle when you got married?

Iye Bockarie: Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: You said they threatened to kill you if you attempted to escape and they inscribed RUF on your back, have you still got the mark?

Iye Bockarie: Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Do you mind if we see the mark?

Iye Bockarie: I don’t mind,  (witness shows mark to Commissioner)

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: How did they inscribe marks? What did they use to inscribe this mark on your back?

Iye Bockarie: They used razor blade.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Did you have a sore on your back at that time?

Iye Bockarie: It did not take long to heal up.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: What did they apply to heal the wound?

Iye Bockarie:  – Nothing.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: You said when your bush husband was away, other people used to rape you, did you complain to him on his return.

Iye –Yes, I complained to him.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Did he do anything about it?

Iye Bockarie:  No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: So he did not mind?

Iye Bockarie: No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: You are not even sure who the father of your children is?

Iye Bockarie: I know him.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Who is he?

Iye Bockarie: Morie.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Is he the bush husband?

Iye Bockarie: Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: I want you tell me what your life in the bush was like, you were able to write letter to your sister, and your sister was also able to reply, your husband bid you farewell and allowed you to go.    It all sounds so easy to me. Can you say something about that?

Iye Bockarie: He agreed for me to leave.  I told him about the letter, In fact at a point in time he even told me that if I had my fare I was free to go to my parents.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: In what year were you captured and in what year did you leave the camp? How long did you stay in the bush?

Iye Bockarie: I was captured in 1992; I took ten years in captivity.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: So you left the bush in 2002?

Iye – Yes, we left the bush in 2002 and went to my sister in Makeni.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: How long were you with your bush husband?

Iye Bockarie: I spent nine years with him.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: He was not interested in seeing your parents to marry you properly?

Iye Bockarie: No, he left us to come by ourselves.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Since then has he come to see his children?

Iye Bockarie:  – No.

Leader of Evidence –Thank you very much for coming, I would like to ask you few questions. Did your bush husband  have any other wife when you were in the bush?

Iye Bockarie: I was the only wife when we were in the bush.  But when we got to Makeni, he married two other women.

Leader of Evidence – Did you think he let you go because he had other wives, or was the general disarmament; the reason why he decided to let you go?

Iye Bockarie: Maybe it was because of his other women.

Leader of Evidence: What was his rank in the movement, Colonel, Captain?

Iye Bockarie: He was a Sergeant.

Leader of Evidence: Who was the highest in command in the group and what was his name?

Iye Bockarie:  – Mohamed.

Leader of Evidence – Did he have any other name apart from Mohamed?

Iye Bockarie:  That is the name I know.

Leader of Evidence: What part of the country did the group come from?

Iye Bockarie: I can’t tell.

Leader of Evidence: What language did they speak?

Iye Bockarie: It was a mixture of Mende and Kono.

Leader of Evidence – Were there other abducted girls with you?

Iye Bockarie:  Yes, many young girls.

Leader of Evidence – Were they given as bush wives to the rebels?

Iye Bockarie:  Yes.

Leader of Evidence – Were there young abducted boys?

Iye Bockarie:  – Yes.

Leader of Evidence – What happened to them?

Iye Bockarie:  – I cannot tell because we were not staying together.

Leader of Evidence – Were other children involved in military training?

Iye Bockarie: No.

Leader of Evidence – Did you witness the rebels attack villages, amputate or kill civilians during your stay?

Iye Bockarie:I cannot tell.  I always stayed in the forest, I never left.

Leader of Evidence – After your release, did you find your elder brother who escaped?

Iye – Yes, he is at Bandu.

Leader of Evidence: Can you tell how your parents and Sister’s husband were killed?

Iye Bockarie: They all died by a natural cause.

Leader of Evidence: I am really sorry for you mishaps, how are your children doing?

Iye Bockarie: They are not keeping too well, the young child is sick, and I don’t know the cause.

Commissioner Marcus –Jones: I am really sorry for what you went through.  Is the other child a boy?

Iye Bockarie: Yes, he is a boy.

Commissioner Marcus –Jones: You seem to me to be angry about something or about the whole thing, which one are you particularly angry about?

Iye Bockarie: The thing that troubles me most is that they captured me and took me away from my parents; I have lost both my parents. On my arrival I found out that my eldest sister is dead and my stepsister’s husband is also dead.  The two children I had from the bush are suffering; there is no body to take care of them. What do I do now?

Commissioner Marcus–Jones: It is sad and unfortunate that all these things happened and there is nothing you can do to change them.  Now that you have come to us and expressed yourself we do hope that you will be able to get some relief in your mind and you need to have courage and to find comfort in your children.  When you are finished with us here you may talk with our briefer and she will be able to refer your child who is sick for treatment.  How old are the two children?

Iye Bockarie: The older one is five and the younger one is two years old.

Commissioner Marcus –Jones: Is the older one going to school now?

Iye Bockarie: I registered him on our arrival but he hasn’t started going to school because I cannot afford to pay his school fees and buy his uniform.

Commissioner Marcus–Jones: Primary education is supposed to be free.

Iye Bockarie: I was asked to buy uniform, they cannot allow him without uniform.

Commissioner Marcus –Jones: Again talk to our briefers to see if there is any way they can help you out.

Commissioner Marcus –Jones: Thank you very much Iye.   We’ve being asking you questions; have you any question to ask the Commission?

Iye Bockarie:  When I was in Makeni I was trained in hairdressing.  I want to know if this Commission would assist me to undertake my career.

Commissioner Marcus –Jones: The Commission has not got money to give to people, but at the same time we would be able to recommend NGOs who would assist you set up something.  We will also put in our report to the government that people like you in this position need assistance, now you’ve seen the worst side of life, and mercifully you’ve come back with your life.  Do you have any recommendation to make so life may be smooth for you and your children in the future and that there will not be a recurrence of such again?

Iye Bockarie: I am on my own, my sister is helpless, and I want support for the education of my children.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: We would include this in our report.  Your children are very young.  They are now at the age when they can get free education.  By the time they are ready for secondary education, government would have made provision for all Communities ravaged by war.  Thank you very much for coming.  I would say to you, try and be courageous and smile because of your children so that your they will be happy; if you continue to be sad your children would be worried about it, try to be happy.  Thank you for coming.

DATE:            28th May 2003.

WITNESS NAME:    Baindu K.Amara

WITNESS NO:    08/27/0503


Baindu K.Amara took the oath on the Bible, administered by the Presiding Commissioner Justice Laura Marcus-Jones.


Baindu K. Amara: The rebels killed my parents and I was captured and taken into the bush. I suffered a lot.  Ten of them raped me violently.  I was their maid in the bush; I used to do their domestic work.  They maltreated, beat and insulted me. After the raping spree, I escaped and went to the camp in Segbwema and from there I came to Kenema.  In Kenema, we were registered last year with an NGO.  I was then assigned to a foster parent to take care of me.  Whenever there is aid from the government, they contact us.  We have come so that the Commission would assist us.

I want somebody to help me, I felt bad on sometimes.  I was very worried and lonely; roaming the streets of Segbwema hoping for somebody to pick me up.  Fortunately for me a lady who brought me to Kenema rescued me.

Commissioner Marcus -Jones: Thank you, we are sorry that you lost your parents; can you tell us the year your parents were killed?

Baindu K. Amara: I can’t tell.

Commissioner Marcus -Jones: Were they killed in your presence?

Baindu K. Amara: No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Were you told how they were killed?

Baindu K. Amara:  No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Who told you?

Baindu K. Amara: My late aunt told me.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Did you see the Corpses?

Baindu – Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Did your aunt tell you the people who killed them, were they RUF, AFRC?

Baindu – Yes, they were rebels.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: How soon, was it after you were abducted?

Baindu K. Amara: After the death of my parents.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Were you able to give them a fitting funeral?

Baindu K. Amara – No, their corpses were abandoned.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: where were you abducted?

Baindu K. Amara – In Segbwema.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Were you living in Segbwema at the time?

Baindu K. Amara: Yes, I was born in Segbwema.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones – So your parents were killed in Segbwema?

Baindu – Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: You said they took you to the bush.   What did they do to you? 

Baindu K. Amara:  I was raped and maltreated.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Were you handed over to a woman?

Baindu K. Amara: No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Were there women in the bush?

Baindu K. Amara – Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Who was responsible for you?

Baindu K. Amara: A man called Amara.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: How old were you when you were captured?

Baindu K. Amara: I was a little over ten years old.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Have you started you menstrual circle by then?

Baindu K. Amara:  No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: When you went to the bush, were you taken by one of the rebels as a bush wife?

Baindu K. Amara – No, all of them.

Commissioner Marcus Jones: What was your daily life like in the bush?

Baindu K. Amara: I did the laundry and prepared their food. In the morning when they went out on missions, I was left to do their domestic work.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Did they feed you well?

Baindu K. Amara: No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Did you have any friend amongst the people in the bush?

Baindu K. Amara: Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Who were they?

Baindu K. Amara: Aminata and Amie.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Were they also captured?

Baindu K. Amara: Yes, the rebels captured us.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: At the same time?

Baindu K. Amara: – Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Why did they beat you?

Baindu K. Amara: Because I refused to have sex with them.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Did they give you drugs like Marijuana and Cocaine?

Baindu – Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: How was it administered?

Baindu K. Amara: They used to mix it with coke or water and force it into our mouths.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: How often?

Baindu K. Amara: – Several times.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: After you came back from the bush, have you been taking the drugs?

Baindu K. Amara: No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: The camp you escaped to what kind of camp was it, refugee or displaced?

Baindu K. Amara: I was in a refugee camp.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: How did you escape?

Baindu K. Amara: I was sent to fetch water, and I took the opportunity to escape.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: How long did you stay in the bush?

Baindu K. Amara: I spent one year with them.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: When you ran away had peace come?

Baindu K. Amara: Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Can you tell us the name of the NGO you registered with?

Baindu K. Amara: No, I can’t tell.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Can you describe where they are situated, are they in Kenema?

Baindu K. Amara: They are in Bo.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: So you left Bo and came to Kenema?

Baindu K. Amara: I came with a friend.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Did you inform the NGO before coming?

Baindu K. Amara: Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: What of your foster parent, where is she?

Baindu K. Amara: She is at No. 6 Nadeyama Site.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones – Are you still with her?

Baindu K. Amara: Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: How does she treat you?

Baindu K. Amara: She doesn’t feed me well, she sometimes tells me that I am an orphan.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: What does this woman do for a living?

Baindu K. Amara: She is a petty trader.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: You said you feel bad sometimes, when does that normally happen?

Baindu K. Amara: When I am teased that I am an orphan.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Have you any physical problems?

Baindu K. Amara: I normally experience a headache and pains all over my body.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Have you had a child before?

Baindu K. Amara: No.

Leader of Evidence: Do you know the group of rebels that attacked you?

Baindu K. Amara: They were RUF fighters.

Leader of Evidence: Did you see Foday Mansaray: Sankoh when you were in the bush?

Baindu K. Amara: No.

Leader of Evidence: But the rebels told you that they belonged to Foday Mansaray: Sankoh’s group?

Baindu K. Amara: Yes.

Leader of Evidence: Do you know the name of the Commander in Charge?

Baindu K. Amara: Musa.

Leader of Evidence:  What was his rank?

Baindu K. Amara:  They usually address him as Colonel Musa.

Leader of Evidence: Do you remember if he had other names?

Baindu K. Amara: Mustapha Kpenga.

Leader of Evidence: Were the rebels all men or there were women?

Baindu K. Amara: There was one woman, the majority were men.

Leader of Evidence: What was the name of the woman?

Baindu K. Amara:  She was called Musu.

Leader of Evidence: Were there others girls your age?

Baindu K. Amara:  Yes.

Leader of Evidence:  Were they also sexually abused?

Baindu K. Amara: Yes.

Leader of Evidence: How many of them were your age?

Baindu K. Amara:  Three of us were the same age.

Leader of Evidence: Do you remember their names?

Baindu K. Amara:  Baindu and Aminata.

Leader of Evidence: Were they able to escape?

Baindu K. Amara: Yes, but I don’t know their whereabouts.

Leader of Evidence: Since your escape, have you seen any of the rebels?

Baindu K. Amara: No.

Leader of Evidence:  Do you know where the rebels came from?

Baindu K. Amara: They said they came from Camp Zogoda.

Leader of Evidence:  Did the abducted children receive military training from the rebels?

Baindu K. Amara:  No.

Leader of Evidence:  Did you ever get pregnant during your stay with the rebels?

Baindu K. Amara:  No.

Leader of Evidence:  Did you receive medical attention when you came back?

Baindu K. Amara: No, my foster parent has no money.

Leader of Evidence: On your return, have you been involved in skill training?

Baindu K. Amara: My foster parent said she has no money, but her children do go to school.

Leader of Evidence: Were you going to school before you were abducted?

Baindu K. Amara: Yes.

CommissionerMarcus-Jones: We have been asking you many questions.  Have you any questions to ask the Commission?

Baindu K. Amara:  – After inviting me what do you want me to do?

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Well you’ve come from your foster parent, after this session, our briefer will explore the possibility of your going to an NGO that will be able to assist you.  If they are in a position to they would make another arrangement for you.  Any other questions?

Baindu K. Amara:  No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Any recommendation?

Baindu K. Amara: Yes, I would like to continue my education; I would like financial support for my foster parent so that she can continue her business.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thank you very much Baindu.  The briefer will talk you later on.

DATE:            28th May 2003.

WITNESS NAME:    Saidu Fofana

WITNESS NO:     11/27/4503


Saidu Fofana took the oath on the Koran, administered by the Presiding Commissioner, Justice Laura Marcus-Jones.


Saidu Fofana: I was in my village with my father; he usually went to work on the farm and during his absence that the rebels attacked the village. On his way from the farm the rebels killed him.  When the firing died down we decided to go back to the village.  Four years later, there was another attack on the village and my mother was killed. I ran to the bush, but I was captured by the rebels and taken to their base.  I was did domestic work for their wives.  After cooking, my food was left in the pot from which I ate. I later escaped and came to my aunt.  My elder brother and sister were staying with her. The rebels attacked Kenema again and my brother and sister were killed.  I am staying with my aunt here in Kenema.  I registered with an NGO called KEDAR last year. They promised to contact us whenever they are ready. I was there when I was called to come to this Commission. 

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thank you very much Saidu, you have given us the fullest account of what you went through.  How old were you when you were captured?

Saidu Fofana: I was four years old.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: How old were you when your mother was killed?

Saidu Fofana: I was eight years old.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: When your mother was killed, was it the time you were attacked the second time?

Saidu Fofana: I was captured when I was four years old and later recaptured when I was eight.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: So your mother was killed after the second attack?

Saidu Fofana: Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones – How long were you with the rebels?

Saidu Fofana:  I spent two years with them.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Who were the rebels?

Saidu Fofana: I don’t know them.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Did you hear them call their names?

Saidu Fofana: No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Were there women in the bush?

Saidu Fofana: Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Who were they?

Saidu Fofana: They were wives of the rebels

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: You were not given enough food except what was left in the pot, is that so?

Saidu Fofana: Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Did you receive military training?

Saidu Fofana: No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Did they give you drugs?

Saidu Fofana: They did but I refused.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Did they beat you?

Saidu Fofana: Yes, if I refused to take the drugs, they beat me.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: How did you escape?

Saidu Fofana: One day, they went on an attack, I was left with their wives and I escaped.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Where was this bush?

Saidu Fofana: In Lunsar.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: When you escaped from the Lunsar, where did you go?

Saidu Fofana: I came to Kenema.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: How did you get to Kenema?

Saidu Fofana:  I traveled through the bush on to Kenema.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Did you travel alone?

Saidu Fofana: No, I traveled with some of my friends.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Did all of you escape at the same time?

Saidu Fofana: Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: How old were you by then?

Saidu Fofana:  One was eleven and the other ten.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: How long did it take you to get to Kenema?

Saidu Fofana: Ten days.

Commissioner Marcus Jones: What were you feeding on?

Saidu Fofana: We used to get food from the bush.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: What kind of food?

Saidu Fofana: Fruits like Malombo…

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: How did your brother and sister who were with your aunt get killed?

Saidu Fofana: They were in Kenema attending School. On their way home from School, the town was attacked and they were killed.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Were you able to give them a proper funeral?

Saidu Fofana: After the fighting subsided, we came and buried them.
Commissioner Marcus-Jones: This KEDAR organization where did they operate in Kenema?

Saidu Fofana:  In Maxwell Khobe Street.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: What is life like  with KEDAR?

Saidu Fofana: They only registered us for the attention of government, in case of availability of aid, but I am staying with my aunt.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Did they make arrangements for your schooling, or were you offered food and clothing?

Saidu Fofana: They never supplied us with clothes, but we got food from them.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: What type of food?

Saidu Fofana: They supplied us bulgur, beans and oil.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: So you give those foods to your aunt?

Saidu Fofana: Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Is your aunt an old or young person?

Saidu Fofana: She is a middle-aged woman.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: How does she treat you?

Saidu Fofana: She takes care of me.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Why did she not send you to school?

Saidu Fofana: She has no money; I used to go to the forest, fetch wood and use the money for food.

Leader of Evidence: Can you tell what group the rebels belonged to?

Saidu Fofana: No.

Leader of Evidence – Did they tell you who they were?

Saidu Fofana: No.

Leader of Evidence: Did they ever explain why they were fighting?

Saidu Fofana: No.

Leader of Evidence: Were there schools in the camp?

Saidu Fofana: There was no school.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Saidu Fofana you seem to be a bright boy; we’ve been asking you questions, do you have questions to ask the Commission?

Saidu Fofana: Can the Commission help us go to School?

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Have you ever posed that question to Kedar, if they are an organization they could help with clothing, because we don’t pay school fees for primary level?

Saidu Fofana: I did not ask them.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: What about the other children registered with KEDAR, are they not going to school?

Saidu Fofana:  No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: The Commission has no money to give but our briefer will refer you to an NGO, which might be able to help you with clothing, so that you will be able to go to school.  If you are at school would you be able to help with the wood after school? 

Saidu Fofana: No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Are there no other children who could help?

Saidu Fofana: Except children in the neighbourhood.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Have you any other question?

Saidu Fofana:If I am in school, how can you take care of me?

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: The Commission cannot take care of you as such, but we can refer you to some NGO who I think will give assistance.  Any other question?

Saidu Fofana: No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones – You seem to be a bright boy, do you have any recommendations to government so that this country will be a bright place in the future?

Saidu Fofana: The government should allow peace to prevail.  If there is peace one could move around to get food to eat.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: That is why we are asking you all these questions; so that you would be able to go to school your aunt will be able to make a living.  Any other recommendation?

Saidu Fofana: No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thank you very much Saidu

DATE:            28th May 2003.

WITNESS NAME:    Foday Mansaray

WITNESS NO:    09/27/0503


Foday Mansaray: Mansaray took an oath on the Koran administered by the Presiding Commissioner Justice Laura Marcus-Jones.


My father was a Farmer; we usually went to the farm and returned home in the evening.  Whilst we were in bed one night, our village was attacked; we fled for our lives but my father was captured, shot and killed.  I then fled with my mother to the bush, and slept there.  The next day we came out in search of food. The rebels were under a tree sleeping. I was left in the hiding place by the banana tree whilst my mother entered the house.  She was captured and killed. When I saw the incident I ran and started weeping. Whilst I was running, I met a man who took me to KEDAR and my name was registered.  It has been a very long time; they promised to help those of us who were orphaned.  That is my story.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thank you Foday Mansaray, you said you had been registered at KEDAR for a long time.  How long was that?  

Foday Mansaray:  It was a year ago.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: With whom are you staying?

Foday Mansaray:  The man who rescued and brought me to Kenema.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: So you are still with the man who brought you to Kenema?

Foday Mansaray:  Yes.

CommissionerMarcus-Jones: What does he do for a living?

Foday Mansaray: Nothing, I had to work for people before we get our food.

CommissionerMarcus-Jones: What type of work do you do for people?

Foday Mansaray: I usually fetch water and pound pepper.

CommissionerMarcus-Jones: Before you met him what was he doing?

Foday Mansaray: He was a trader.

CommissionerMarcus-Jones: Why is he not doing the business anymore?

Foday Mansaray:  The rebels had destroyed his business place.
CommissionerMarcus-Jones: Is he an old man?

Foday Mansaray: – No, he is not that old.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: How long did you stay in the bush?

Foday Mansaray:  Four days.

CommissionerMarcus-Jones: So, it took you four days to get to Kenema?

Foday Mansaray: No, about 7 days.

Leader of Evidence – Can you tell who killed your mother and father?

Foday Mansaray: The rebels.

Leader of Evidence: Can you tell us which group they belonged to? RUF, AFRC.

Foday Mansaray: They were rebels in the bush.

Leader of Evidence: How old were you when your parents were killed?

Foday Mansaray:I cannot tell.

Leader of Evidence: Do you have brothers and sisters?

Foday Mansaray:Yes.

Leader of Evidence: Where are they now?

Foday Mansaray: Some were killed, but I cannot tell where the others are.

Leader of Evidence – Do you know of any who is alive?

Foday Mansaray: Yes.

Leader of Evidence: Is he a brother or sister?

Foday Mansaray:My brother.

Leader of Evidence: Is he older than you?

Foday Mansaray: Yes, he is my senior brother.

Leader of Evidence: Do you know where he is?

Foday Mansaray:They told me  he is in our hometown.

Leader of Evidence: Have you made effort to contact him?

Foday Mansaray: Yes.

Leader of Evidence: Did anybody ask him whether he would be able to take care of you?

Foday Mansaray:  No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Foday Mansaray, Thank you for coming, I wonder whether you have any question for us?

Foday Mansaray:No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones – Do you have any recommendations to make to the Commission for onward transmission to government?

Foday Mansaray:  I would like the government to assist me continue my education.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Any other recommendation?

Foday Mansaray:  I would also like the government to assist my foster parents to take care of me.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: We would find some NGO’s who would assist in those areas.   I want to assure you that your recommendations will be included in our report.   For now you are collecting food from KEDAR, Isn’t that so?

Foday Mansaray: – Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thank you very much for coming.

DATE:            28th May 2003.

WITNESS NAME:    Alieu Bockarie



Alieu Bockarie, he took an oath on the Bible, administered by the Presiding Commissioner Justice Laura Marcus-Jones.


Alieu Bockarie:I was staying with my uncle and attending school.  The rebels attacked Serabu and we fled into the bush. Since then I stopped going to school.  In the morning, we used to go in and search for food, and the rebels again attacked us in the bush.  I ran away with my brother and sister.   Unfortunately, for us, we were captured and taken to the town.  As soon as we were taken to the town, we were interrogated.  We replied that we abandoned the town because rebels chased us out.  While in captivity, we were separated from each other; we were taken to different locations.  The following morning, one of the rebels came in to search for us but he did not see my brother and sister.   They threatened to kill me because they thought I had incited them to escape.  I understood later that my brother escaped.  I was in the company of other boys and we were later taken to their base.  I was singled out and asked to lie down under the sun.  A lady came and pleaded on my behalf and I was released.  After that, I was asked to join the others, after a while they asked us to go outside. Whilst standing outside, I was shot on my left foot; I sat down on the ground and was later taken to the hospital.  After that incident I decided to stay with them.  The woman who rescued me asked me to stay with her husband and  I did.  I was with them but there was no proper medication and food.

They took us to a nearby bush in Kono. I was in the bush and undergoing treatment until I was cured.  At the end of the war we were told to come out and disarm.  I had a wife whilst I was in the bush and he had a baby girl for me, after the disarmament, we had some confusion and she left, but the child was staying with me.  After the disarmament we were engaged in some technical skills, I was trained in carpentry and we were given a start off kit.

At the time we were captured, I did not know the whereabouts of my sister; it was until after the disarmament that I met her in Makeni.  We rejoiced and explained our ordeal.  I advised her that we should locate our parents and she accepted my idea.   We later went to her husband telling him that we heard that our parents and relatives were dead.  The husband refused but I pleaded with him after convincing he accepted.  We agreed on a date, but I suggested to him to allow me go and check because we have heard that our village was burnt down. Upon my arrival in the village I discovered that my mother and few of my relatives were dead, I went back and came with my sister and we returned to our home.    I have been trained as a carpenter with my kits, but I am having problems with my feet.  Since we came, our eldest sister’s husband died. We had to struggle for our food.  We are happy that we have come to testify.  It is not our wish to join the movement.  It was the will of God.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Alieu, thank you for your testimony.  We’ve heard part of it before.  How long did you spend with the rebels in the bush?

Alieu Bockarie: I spent ten years with them.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Which of the fighting group were you staying with? RUF, AFRC.

Alieu Bockarie: It was the RUF.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Were you given military training?

Alieu Bockarie: No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:   Throughout the period you were with them, you were not involved in any fight?

Alieu Bockarie:  Because of the injury I sustained by the gunshot, I used to stay with my commando’s wife.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Do you want to show us the foot?

Alieu Bockarie: Yes, (Shows foot to Commissioner)

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Are you still undergoing medical treatment?

Alieu Bockarie: No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Why haven’t you gone to the hospital?

Alieu Bockarie: There are no proper medical facilities in the hospital.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: In what area is the hospital located?

Alieu Bockarie: In Boajibu.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: So you are no longer staying in Moindu?

Alieu Bockarie: I was staying in Boajibu.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: What are you doing to earn your living?

Alieu Bockarie  : My foot prevents me from doing any hard work.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Can’t you even sit down and make small furniture so that you can sell?

Alieu Bockarie – I can’t.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones – How far is Boajibu from Kenema?

Alieu Bockarie: About 24 miles.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: You should be coming for treatment in Kenema. 

Alieu Bockarie: I have nobody to stay with to take care of my treatment, if there is such an arrangement I will be happy.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones – After this session our briefer will assist in that issue.

Alieu Bockarie – Yes Ma.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: So you were not actually involved in any fight?

Alieu Bockarie  : No. I was always staying at home with my commando’s wife.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: What happened to the woman and her husband?

Alieu Bockarie: Nothing.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Where are they now?

Alieu Bockarie: Since we separated, I have never set eyes on them.

Leader of Evidence: Do you the names of the people you were staying with in the bush?

Alieu Bockarie: I don’t know their real names, the man was called ‘Commando’ the woman “Scare the Baby”.

Leader of Evidence:  How did the man call his wife?

Alieu Bockarie:“Scare the Baby”.

Leader of Evidence: All the years you were in captivity, were you staying in the bush or town?

Alieu Bockarie:  In the bush.

Leader of Evidence:  Were you staying in the open?

Alieu Bockarie: There were huts.

Leader of Evidence: Were you stable?

Alieu Bockarie:  Yes.

Leader of Evidence: What was your duty when you were with them?

Alieu Bockarie: I was in charge of cleaning my commando’s room and also did domestic work.

Leader of Evidence: Were there small boys of your age in captivity?

Alieu Bockarie: Yes.

Leader of Evidence:  What were they doing?

Alieu Bockarie: They did similar housework.

Leader of Evidence:  What did the others do?

Alieu Bockarie – They moved about with their bosses.

Leader of Evidence: Do you know if any of those children received military training?

Alieu Bockarie:  I can’t tell.

Leader of Evidence: Do you know whether these abducted children were involved in attacks with their commanders?

Alieu Bockarie:  Yes.

Leader of Evidence: Did they explain how they went about it?

Alieu Bockarie:  No.

Leader of Evidence: Did you have friends?

Alieu Bockarie:  No.

Leader of Evidence: Did you see them come back with looted items?

Alieu Bockarie:  Yes.

Leader of Evidence:  Did you see them come back with newly abducted children?

Alieu Bockarie: Yes.

Leader of Evidence: Did you see children or the rebels came back with wounds after the attacks?

Alieu Bockarie:  No.

Leader of Evidence: Did you hear or witness abducted children killed.

Alieu Bockarie: I don’t know and I have never heard about that.

Leader of Evidence: Did the rebels use drugs?

Alieu Bockarie: I did not see them, I was worried about my life and the pain I was going through.

Leader of Evidence: Thank you very much.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Even though you stayed home, didn’t the RUF initiate you as member?

Alieu Bockarie: No.

Commissioner Marcus Jones: So you did not go through any ceremony with them?

Allieu – No.

Leader of Evidence:  You said you had a baby with a lady in the bush, how did you come to know each other?

Allieu Bockarie: It was an arrangement with her mother and me, she went to Kono,where we met and I moved with her to Makeni.

Leader of Evidence: Did the rebels abduct her as well?

Alieu Bockarie:  No.

Leader of Evidence: How did she get to Kono?

Alieu Bockarie:  That was towards the end of the war, when civilians were moving in and out of Kono.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: How old is the child?

Alieu Bockarie: One year old.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: We’ve been asking you questions; have you any question for the Commission?

Alieu Bockarie: We have been brought here, what income have you for us.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: The Commission does not give money to people.  All we have to do is to recommend to the government and in some cases if there is need for you to seek medical attention we arrange for such facilities if you so desire.  Any other questions?

Alieu Bockarie : No.

CommissionerMarcus-Jones: Have you any recommendations to make to the Commission for onward transmission to the government?

Alieu Bockarie: I am recommending to the government to help our community; we have lost our parents, and we are appealing to government to rehabilitate our community.  We are also appealing for food and medical assistance and zinc for houses.
CommissionerMarcus Jones: Thank you.  Your recommendation will be included in our report.  The government has helped you to go through some skills training and you have your starting tools with you to help in your community.  Thank you for coming to help us. Even with your disability, try to do something out of your knowledge to sustain you.

DATE:            28th May 2003.

WITNESS NAME:    Abu Mansaray

WITNESS NO:    10/27/0503


Abu Mansaray, took an oath on the Bible, administered by the Presiding Commissioner Justice Laura Marcus-Jones.


Abu Mansaray:I lost my mother before the war started in Kenema.  I was staying with my father when the rebels attacked Kenema Town.  The rebels knocked on our door and demanded for money from my father.  At that time, he had no money; he was beaten and laid on the floor.  They still insisted that he give them money; he was shot on his stomach.  I ran with my grandmother to a nearby village.  After a week my grandmother sent me to check for my father, I met him in severe pains; after two days he died.  I went back to the village to inform my grandmother about his death.  My grandmother then advised that I should report the matter to the Chief.  I did that and I was given five strong men to help with the burial of my father.   We came to the house and opened the door, there was no time to wash his corpse, no money to buy some cloth, and we then used a blanket and a country cloth to wrap him.  We observed the funeral rite for only a day.  

After the death of my father, I came to collect our property; unfortunately for me there was a fight between the Soldiers and Kamajors.  The Kamajors alleging that I was a Soldier captured me.  I pleaded with them that I was a Schoolboy and I took out my identity card. They tore it and threw it away.  They insisted and tied me with a rope and beat me and they threatened to put a tyre around my body and set me ablaze. I thank God for the timely intervention of the ECOMOG.  I then went to their camp and they took care of me until I recovered. Since my father died in the year 2000 I have not been able to go to school.  After I left the ECOMOG base, I put up with some of my friends.  My grandmother was a very old woman, since then I have not seen her.  The friends I am staying with are all going to school.  Their father only cares for my feeding.  I was in Form 2 when the rebels struck. Now I am at home doing nothing.

Commissioner Marcus Jones: Thank you for coming and sharing your experiences with us.  We are going to ask you few questions based on your verbal statement, just for some clarification.

Commissioner Torto: Thank you for coming.  I just want you to clarify some issues; the people who attacked your father what fighting group did they belong to?

Abu Mansaray: – They were RUF fighters.

Commissioner Torto: Can you identify the people who shot your father?

Abu Mansaray: I can still remember their faces.

Commissioner Torto: The kamajors who had wanted to kill you, can you identify them?

Abu Mansaray: Yes, if I see them I can identify them.

Commissioner Torto: Are they in town?

Abu Mansaray: No.

Commissioner Torto: You said your father was asked for money, how did they know that your father had money?

Abu Mansaray: My father was a popular tailor.

Commissioner Torto: Was he a member of any of the fighting force?

Abu Mansaray – No.

Commissioner Torto: What are you doing now?

Abu Mansaray: I am not doing anything.

Commissioner Torto: What do you intend to do now?

Abu Mansaray: I want to continue my education.

Leader of Evidence: You said that there was a fight between the soldiers and kamajors, is that so?

Abu Mansaray: Yes.

Leader of Evidence: What soldiers were they?  SLA

Abu Mansaray: Soldiers and kamajors

Leader of Evidence: Was it  the soldiers fighting the kamajors or kamajors fighting rebels?

Abu Mansaray: I mean soldiers and the kamajors.

Leader of Evidence: So the RUF were not in town?

Abu Mansaray: No.

Leader of Evidence: Where did the fight take place?

Abu Mansaray: In Kenema.

Leader of Evidence: When was that?

Abu Mansaray: Three weeks after the death of my father.

Leader of Evidence: Do you remember the month?

Abu Mansaray:Yes.  It was in February.

Leader of Evidence: Why did you think they accused you of being a soldier?

Abu Mansaray: During the war, any young man was accused of being a solider with the aim of destroying their life.

Leader of Evidence: Were they in a particular cloth?

Abu Mansaray:No.

Leader of Evidence: Do you have brothers and sisters?

Abu Mansaray: I had no brother but a sister. I was told she is in Bo; she is living a life that is not favourable with me, that is why I have not bother to contact her.

Leader of Evidence: Do you have other relatives?
Abu Mansaray: I don’t have any relative; I am staying with my friends whose father is taking care of me.

Commissioner Marcus Jones: Why didn’t you go to Wanjama, to find out whether anybody can give you news about your grandmother?

Abu Mansaray: – I have never gone there.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Why then did you say you don’t know her whereabouts?

Abu – The people we were staying with don’t know anything about her.

Commissioner Marcus Jones – Did they not tell you about your grandmother?

Abu Mansaray: No.

Commissioner Marcus Jones: I am sorry for the loss of your grandmother. Have you been to your old School to ask for assistant?

Abu Mansaray: No.

Commissioner Marcus Jones: But the school is in Kenema. 

Abu Mansaray:Yes.

Commissioner Marcus Jones: Thank you very much, do you have any questions for the Commission?

Abu Mansaray: I have explained my plight, I want to know if there is any way you can help so that I will continue my education or if there are other ways you can be of assistance to me.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: TRC does not have money to give to individuals; our staff will refer you to an NGO that would be able to assist you.  Are you in form 2?

Abu Mansaray: Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: You can go back to your school and see if you can get any help from them.  Were you a good student while in school?

Abu Mansaray: I used to do well.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Have you any recommendation you want to make which we can include in our report to the government?

Abu Mansaray: I am still emphasizing on my education, I want to continue my education, I don’t have parents; even if my grandmother is still alive, she can’t be in a position to help me because she would be old by now. 

DATE:            28th May 2003.

WITNESS NAME:    Sheku Mattia



 Sheku Mattia took an oath on the Koran, administered by the Presiding Commissioner, Justice Laura Marcus-Jones.

The witness testified yesterday, and he said he wants to give additional information and would be very happy to answer any questions.


Sheku Mattia: Yesterday, I informed you that I was a kamajor, what forced me to become a kamajor was that I was a chief in my village.  My brothers who were with me were all in the movement fighting.  I used to go to the war front and fight.  I was an administrator; I used to organize the fighters, whenever there were disputes I used to make peace.  In the Kenema district, we were the first people to be initiated in the movement.  We were not in large number; we were about 250 men on the ground.  We fought and the people of the district were impressed.  Before we came the soldiers used to punish our people.  A lot of people died in the struggle; any time they saw a young man they will interrogate him and within few    hours he will be branded a rebel and killed. That was the punishment our people were going through.  That was the reason why our people went into the bush.  The soldiers used to collect possessions and food from us in the bush.  When we started operating, we stopped them from doing all those things.  At the initial stage, the soldiers did not accept us because they said we were not trained fighters.  For two weeks we negotiated and at last they accepted us. Our fighting skills were put to test.  We demonstrated for them, they shot some of our men.  We stood before their machine guns and they released bullets on us, but the bullets did not kill any one of us.  So they were satisfied with us.  We went with them to the front, but at that time we only had knives.  There were eighteen rebel camps in our chiefdom.  Before we knew it, the soldiers had connived with the rebels.  The civilian populace in Blama used to inform us that the soldiers and the rebels had formed collaboration. Those of us that came saw it clearly, at night we would see a lot of people in Blama Town.  When we destroyed all the camps and finally reached Bandawo, they decided to join us and the soldiers accepted us.  We decided to work hand in hand with them because the government recognized them.  The day we went on the attack there were 50 soldiers, the arrangement was that we lead and they follow.  Upon our arrival in Bandawo, the rebels were far from us, they saw us from a distance and they opened fire. As the firing continued, the soldiers who went with us returned but we still continued to advance.  We captured some of them; their guns were taken and handed over to the soldiers.  Since then would go to the war front with them; in some cases they used to hold our clothes for protection; that was how we started working together.

When they saw our strength, they organized themselves quietly, and went to the initiator.   They were initiated, a huge sum of money was paid to our initiator; because of poverty, our initiator performed the initiation ceremony.  Akim, a senior member in the rank and file of the army was also initiated alongside over 500 soldiers.  We never knew their intention.  Some other rebels came and they were initiated, they then went and posed as kamajors and committed so many human right violations and the blame was on the Kamajors. Civilians who were not initiated also adopted the dress code of the kamajors.  They also committed atrocities and blamed the kamajors.  This was the additional information I had wanted to give. I should have said it all but there were soldiers around; I still fear their old tricks.  If you can invite another senior member of the kamajor he may give you the same story.  I am a Muslim and also a Chief, I will not misinform this Commission, and if I do I will be ashamed of my self.  I am saying this because our intension was to protect our people.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thank you very much for explaining to us.  According to your story, many of the violations people blame your movement for were not true.

Sheku Jayah: Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: We have been told that the kamajors would just stop people, question them, insist that they were rebels and killed them just for the sake of killing. Is that true?

Sheku Jayah: Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: What did you do to the initiator, did you punish him or did you agree that he continue the initiation of other people?

Sheku Jayah: At first when the soldiers came, we were comfortable with them, being that they were fighting for the nation, and  they had guns but no protection; each time we went to the bush they had to run, so we welcomed the idea.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: After the initiation did they turn their guns to kill you?

Sheku Jayah: Yes, they did.

Commissioner Torto: Thank you very much Sheku, just a follow up on some of the questions we asked yesterday.  What happened to Akim and the soldiers who were initiated, did they end up as Kamajors?

Sheku Mattia: He did not join us they broke away and fought against us.

Commissioner Torto: According to one testimony, there was a lady whose brother was killed and forced to dance in the process.  What group of kamajors did that?

Sheku Mattia: There were a lot of initiations performed in different places.  People were initiated here and there.

Commissioner Torto: How did you get your weapons?

Sheku Mattia: We got guns from the rebels, when we overpowered them, we collected their guns.

Commissioner Torto: What was the cost of the initiation?

Sheku Mattia: There were lot of things involved, we paid our fees in groups.  The Le250,000.00 I spoke about in Small Bo was just a token to the initiator.  The actual fee was about Le500, 000.00 .We bought all the materials that were needed for the initiation and other traditional practices.

Commissioner Torto: Is it true that cannibalism was practiced by the kamajors?

Sheku Mattia: I told you earlier on that there were so many initiators and they had their norms. Those of us who were on this side did not do such.  There were so many things that we could not eat.  The laws prevented us from eating so many things.  We were advised not to eat outside food.  Some of those foods would have been prepared with certain things that were taboo to our society.   If one were to partake of such food, you would have gone against the law.  Even at the war front the only thing we were allowed to eat, even if we were there for two days, was one palm nut.  You cannot just eat any food.

Commissioner Torto: There were speculations that during the early part of the war the kamajors did very well to protect their people.  Civilians were more comfortable with the kamajors than the soldiers.  But there were times when the Kamajors went to Kono and started killing people who did not belong to their tribe; they started operating on tribal lines.

Sheku Mattia: I am under oath; I did not go to any other chiefdom even within the Kenema district after fighting in my chiefdom.  After declaring our chiefdom safe we were there to do administrative work. We made arrangements for most of the chiefs who had left their villages to go back.  I have never heard of such a violation.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Do you know where the soldiers got those huge sums of money to pay for their initiation?

Sheku Mattia: They were miners and they used to collect money from us.  They made a lot of roadblocks; each time you passed through their checkpoints you pay Le500 or Le1, 000 as a war effort. Every civilian paid that sum of money everyday.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: What did you do with the money they paid for initiation?

Sheku Mattia: The money was paid to the initiator not the fighters.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Was he not a member of the movement?

Sheku Mattia: He was our leader.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: So you allowed him to keep all the money?

Sheku Mattia: The money he collected was for initiation, we were initiated ourselves.

Leader of Evidence:  Maybe I have asked you some questions that might have sounded strange to you; it is because I am a foreigner.  On the question of initiation, since the initiator was the leader of the kamajors, would you explain why he decided to initiate everyone that came to him?  At one point you mentioned that rebels were initiated too.  Are there no rules as to who should be initiated?

Sheku Mattia: There were laws guiding the initiation.

Leader of Evidence: But you said that the initiator started initiating people at random, is that so?

Sheku Mattia: The chiefs selected people from their Chiefdom and Community level and brought them over for initiation.  The chiefs stood as a guarantors before they were initiated.  I do not want you to get confused about the number of people the soldiers brought for initiation.  Because they wanted the initiation, they went through some authorities, and we organized a traditional performance; they brought a lot of food for us.  We were all convinced that the soldiers were comfortable to work with us.  But they had a hidden agenda.  They were initiated like every one of us.    If you are an initiate your colleagues will fire but it will not work, unless you put up a fight.  The only time it works is when you go against the rules and regulations.    If they urinate on our uniform then they will overcome us.

Leader of Evidence – Even if they violate the law, will they still be Kamajors?  After putting up resistance against you, I mean the solders; did they continue to be kamajors?  Were the Kamajors able to kill some of the soldiers?
Sheku Mattia: I can’t deliberate on that; after clearing my chiefdom I did not go to other chiefdoms to fight.

Leader of Evidence: When was the fight between the kamajors and the soldiers?

Sheku Mattia: I can’t tell.

Leader of Evidence: Were you involved in the fight?

Sheku Mattia: No.

Leader of Evidence: Which groups of kamajors were fighting with the soldiers?

Sheku Mattia: I can’t tell, at the initial stage we were about 250, within six months the number increased to about 10,000.

Leader of Evidence: Is this figure in your Chiefdom alone?

Sheku Mattia:  I mean the whole region.

Leader of Evidence: By the end of the war can you specify the number of kamajors that were in this country?

Sheku Mattia: I can’t tell.

Leader of Evidence: Since you were a Chief can you tell us the number of people you selected for initiation?

Sheku Mattia: I told you we were about 250 in number.

Leader of Evidence: Who then introduced the rebels for initiation?

Sheku Mattia: We were told that the Chiefs in that area where the rebels were, stood as guarantors for them.

Leader of Evidence: Why did the chiefs do that?

Sheku Mattia: Some of them who came from the bush, for instance, were related to the Chiefs.  They would claim that they were captured by the rebels and have now escaped and so would like to be initiated in the movement to protect their chiefdom.  Based on that they were initiated in the movement.  When the number increased, a lot of things went wrong.

Leader of Evidence: Was there a command structure in the movement?

Sheku Mattia: Yes.

Leader of Evidence: Can you explain the command structure of the movement?

Sheku Mattia: When we first started to operate, control was under the Chiefs.  When the number increased, they delegated powers to some executive members who were not even members of the movement and this did not go down well with the entire membership, especially the Chiefs.  When our Chiefdom was declared safe I then decided to continue to perform my duties as a Chief and forget about the movement.  I cannot tell who were responsible.

Leader of Evidence: Was the executive at the district level?

Sheku Mattia: I cannot tell.

Leader of Evidence: In Blama, Small Bo who took over the control of the movement.

Sheku Mattia: Most of the people who were executive members were not initiated members at that time, we were frustrated, we queried them and opted to go back to our village and defend our territory. 

Leader of Evidence: So did you inform your men (250) not to follow the executive?

Sheku Mattia: The 250 men were the number in the entire chiefdom.  I advised my men from my own village to defend our own locality.

Leader of Evidence: You said that the number was increased within six months period?

Sheku Mattia: Yes.

Leader of Evidence: Will you agree with me that as the number increased, strange things started to happen?

Sheku Mattia: I have already explained one such issue,  the creation of an executive and the initiation of the soldiers, and we also understood that rebels were initiated from Kailahun, and this  problem gave rise to the increase in human rights violations.

Leader of Evidence: Do you think that the initiation of several people in the movement created the blame for the Kamajors?

Sheku Mattia: One should say a lot of things happened.

Leader of Evidence: Can you tell us some of those atrocities committed?

Sheku Mattia: They used to take people’s belongings from them and even rape at times.

Leader of Evidence: Did they kill people?

Sheku Mattia: There were people who put on the dressing of the kamajors and committed these atrocities.

Leader of Evidence: Were those people initiated?

Sheku Mattia: They were not initiated to do the work of kamajors; if they were genuine kamajors who underwent the  initiation like I did, they would not go against the law.  I am sitting under oath, everything I have said here is the truth especially issues relating to civilians.

Leader of Evidence: In other words you are not convinced that the real initiates do committed such crimes against humanity? 

Sheku Mattia: If you don’t abide by the rules and regulations that governed the movement ceased to be a Kamajor.

Leader of Evidence: Which year were you initiated?

Sheku Mattia: In 1995.

Leader of Evidence: From which year did you cease to be in command of the 250 members?

Sheku Mattia: It was around the latter days of 1999 when the executives were elected.

Leader of Evidence: So during those four years chiefs like you were in command of the kamajors in your different Chiefdoms?

Sheku Mattia: Yes.

Leader of Evidence: Thank you very much.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thank you very much, I don’t know whether you want to ask us some more questions or make additional recommendations?

Sheku Mattia: I have no more questions I rely on the ones I submitted yesterday. One thing I wanted to say is that all of us have to say the truth.  The thing I have told you, at least I went to school and have some basic education and have worked for 27 years. I have retired and gone to my village; my training and activities in the society prompted the people in the Chiefdom to elect me as Chief.  I want you to believe all that I have said. What I saw and did, is what I have said and beside that I am prepared to say it anywhere; I know it is the truth and God loves the truth.  My fear yesterday was of the soldiers, I do fear their tricks.  We did a lot for the Police; we saved them on many occasions.  I want you to believe all that I have said. 

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: We thank you very much for cooperating and coming here today.  As for yesterday we quite understood; self-protection is a natural instinct. Thank you.

DATE:            28th May 2003.

WITNESS NAME:    Mohamed Kallon


Mohamed Kallon took an oath on the Koran, administered by the Presiding Commissioner Justice Laura Marcus-Jones.


Mohamed Kallon:In 1997 when the rebels attacked Nomorfama, there was rumour of war; we never knew what it was and we were only interested in farming.  I am the eldest in my family.  My father used to advise me never to under-rate war.  I used to go to Kenema, and I saw people coming; he advised us to be saving money. I continued to neglect him until the war came in our village and he asked me where we should go .  I told him we should come to Kenema; he opted to go to the bush instead of coming to Kenema.  We took some of our belongings and constructed a farmhouse; we only went to spy on our village.  A village near us, Waimotocombur, was attacked. I left my people in the bush. I saw flames in the air and when I got closer to the village, people were running from the village.  All of us ran into the bush.  We were told somebody was killed in that attack.  I did not venture to reach to the village; the moment I got that information I returned to the bush. 

Whilst we were in the bush, we only fed on bananas; there was no place for us to go.  Three days later our own village fell under the rebels, the place were we were located was about three miles to our village; in the evening we saw flames in the air. A few of us went to spy.  In the evening when we went to the village in the evening it was already burnt down.  I ask my colleagues to escort me to my own house; my father’s house and toilet were on fire, I returned to the bush and informed my father of the ugly incident. I told him that two houses were burnt down.  He was confused because it was already night; in the morning he came to the site and was weeping.  There were soldiers in Serabu Mansaray at that time; they were on patrol and went to that village, they met and they arrested him, he refused to go with them. He told them he had built his house out of proceeds he receives from the sale of Palm Kernel.  He insisted that he was not going anywhere.  He would gather the burnt zinc sheets for the rest of the day and return to bush in the evening.  I told him that the zinc sheets were not useful anymore; if anything happened to him in the process it will be a shock to the family.  He insisted that he is not going with them.  I went in search of food for my family.  There was nothing we could  do nowhere to go.  We were in that bush and looking for a way to come to Kenema but the distance was too long.  There were a lot of things my people needed but they were not in the bush.  I promised my father that I would come to Kenema to get those things for them.  He advised me to be careful. In the morning I was in the company of some my colleagues and we traveled for the rest of day until we reached Kenema.  I bought the items, 5 cups of salt and tobacco; we traveled all throughout the night, and finally went back to the bush and presented all the items I had bought in Kenema.  I persuaded him to come to Kenema but he refused; he said I am a young man and I can stay in Kenema; if I happen to have food I should send it for the family.  I bade farewell and came to Kenema the next day.

I spent four days in Kenema; there were soldiers in Serabu. I met soldiers in Kenema and called Peter’s attention. I told him I could not stay in Kenema because my families were still in the bush.  I asked him to allow me stay with him so that I can have something to assist my family.  I went with him and he advised me to stay with my family, if they had palm oil I could easily bring it to Kenema.  The soldiers accepted but they said that if they allowed me to stay in the bush each time I did business we would have to pay them a fee. I had a lot of friends who had confidence in me.  I introduced them all to Mr. Peter.  We used to get the palm oil and bring it to Kenema for sale; each time we made sales we would give them their fee and go back to the bush.  We did that for a while, when we heard about the initiation in Bo.  They said that people were initiated to defend their Chiefdom.  I obtained permission from my mother to go to Blama and enquire about this movement; she gave me her blessing.  By that time people used to travel in a convoy, by the time I arrived the convoy had already left, but one vehicle was about to take of. One of my friends and some other people boarded the vehicle and we left. Beyond Serabu, the last village to Blama was my own village, after that village we fell in an ambush. At that time I did not know what an ambush was.  I saw people coming from the bush, half dressed in military uniform some holding guns. The vehicle was stopped and we all ran into the bush, the place was thick.  The little money I had, about Le30, 000 was taken from me, I was severely beaten and stripped naked, and I only had my underpants on.  I went through my village, into the bush and found my parents.  I put on my shorts and went to Serabu and returned to Kenema. I met my people weeping. When they heard about the ambush they thought I was dead.  We came out of the bush and met the soldiers at Serabu.  They hired a vehicle for me to come back to this town.  We used to work for people in this town.  Then this kamajor initiation came into effect in this town and I decided to join the movement. I was initiated; even now I am an initiate member of the movement. I was initiated so as to secure my self and protect my people.  I was an initiate when the peace agreement was signed.  They asked us to go back to our village and I did return. I am now in my village residing in our burnt house.  I took my brothers who were non-initiates back to the village.  That was what happened to me during this war.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thank you Mohamed, for telling us about your experiences.

Commissioner Torto:  I would limit my questions to just two.  Why were you giving the fee to the soldiers?

Mohamed Kallon: He was protecting me in the bush.

Commissioner Torto: What type of protection?

Mohamed Kallon: He was a solider and they were in power.

Commissioner Torto: So you were just giving it to him because he was a soldier and a Godfather as well?

Mohamed Kallon: At that time, soldiers were not Godfathers, but they had a lot of power.

Commissioner Torto: Did you engage in any fight when you were in the movement?

Mohamed Kallon: No.

Commissioner Torto: Did you normally go to the war front?

Mohamed Kallon –No.

Commissioner Torto: What were you doing in the movement then?

Mohamed Kallon: I was a young man, and I could not stay with my people in the bush, so I decided to join the movement.  I was a student in Blama. 

Commissioner Torto: What were you doing in the Kamajor movement?

Mohamed Kallon: We used to organize people in our community, each time they wanted to go to the war front we were asked to subscribe youth.

Leader of Evidence: In what year were you initiated?

Mohamed Kallon:In 1999.

Leader of Evidence: How long did you spend in the movement?

Mohamed Kallon: I have never broken the law, I am still a kamajor.

Leader of Evidence: Were you actually part of the group of kamajors initiated by Sheku Mattia?

Mohamed Kallon: They were initiated in Bo, they were our Commanders, and we took instructions from them. He was the general overseer for the two villages.

Leader of Evidence: Did you actually join in the fight?

Mohamed Kallon :I was not involved in the fight.

Leader of Evidence: What type of report did you receive, from the front?

Mohamed Kallon: If there is an attack on a village, they would report that they had repelled the attack.

Leader of Evidence: Did they report rebel causality?

Mohamed Kallon: They used to report on that, but I have never witnessed it.

Leader of Evidence: So they told you that they killed rebels?

Mohamed Kallon: Yes.

Leader of Evidence: Which particular fighting group of rebels did they actually kill?

Mohamed Kallon: They killed rebels from different groups.

Leader of Evidence: How did they know that they were rebels?

Mohamed Kallon: They used to give us the information.

Leader of Evidence: But they reported to you, you were supposed to ask questions?

Mohamed Kallon: As they told us they had killed rebels I didn’t bother to ask questions.

Leader of Evidence: In these attacks did they kill kamajors?
Mohamed Kallon :I was told that one of my brothers who was a Kamajor was killed in a battle.

Leader of Evidence: Did you find his corpse?

Mohamed Kallon: No.

Leader of Evidence: Was he your biological brother?

Mohamed Kallon: No, we were cousins.

Leader of Evidence: During these confrontations, did the kamajors capture rebels?

Mohamed Kallon: I can’t tell.

Leader of Evidence: Did you have any report that rebels were captured?

Mohamed Kallon: No.

Leader of Evidence: Do you have any idea about the age of the youngest rebel killed?

Mohamed Kallon: I can’t tell.

Leader of Evidence: Earlier you told us that you subscribed Kamajors to go to the front, is that correct?

Mohamed Kallon :Yes.

Leader of Evidence: Why didn’t you go yourself?

Mohamed Kallon – Only the strong ones went to the front.

Leader of Evidence: How old were they?

Mohamed Kallon: 25 years and above.

Leader of Evidence: How old are you?

Mohamed Kallon: I am 35 years old.

Leader of Evidence: So an adult like you never went to the front? Are there reasons for that?

Mohamed Kallon: There was a reason, I have bad eyesight, and if I had forced my way it would have been a problem.

Leader of Evidence: Before someone is initiated is there no stipulation that you must be in proper physical condition so as to enable you go to the front when called upon?

Mohamed Kallon :I got the problem after my initiation.

Leader of Evidence: How long was that?

Mohamed Kallon: After one year.

Leader of Evidence: You want to tell me that before that time you never went to the front?

Mohamed Kallon: Yes, I never did.

Leader of Evidence:  As a Commander, Why didn’t you go yourself?

Mohamed Kallon :If any thing went wrong whilst I was away what will I do?

Leader of Evidence: But some Commanders did go to the front?

Mohamed Kallon: We used to put things straight before they went on an attack.

Leader of Evidence: What about your cousin who was killed, how old was he?

Mohamed Kallon: I cannot tell his age.

Leader of Evidence: Are you older than him?

Mohamed Kallon: Maybe I am older than him.

Leader of Evidence: What particular weapon did the Kamajors use to fight?

Mohamed Kallon: We used Knives.

Leader of Evidence: How then did you kill rebels?

Mohamed Kallon: We used our knives to kill them.

Leader of Evidence: Didn’t they have guns, how then  did you kill them with your knives?

Mohamed Kallon: They had guns, but we used our charms to overpower them.

Leader of Evidence: After killing the rebels did you collect their guns?

Mohamed Kallon: I did not witness any of those incidents, the fighters who went to the front told me.

Leader of Evidence: When the kamajors came back did they normally bring guns?

Mohamed Kallon: It did not happen in my area.

Leader of Evidence: How many kamajors did you have in your area?

Mohamed Kallon: Sometimes I sent 5; there were times when I sent 10.

Leader of Evidence: How many of you were initiated members in your area?

Mohamed Kallon: We were in fifteen in number; it is a small village.

Leader of Evidence: Whom did you report to?

Mohamed Kallon – All reports were made to our Headquarter in Blama, Small Bo.

Leader of Evidence: Who was your Commander?

Mohamed Kallon: He was Kini Brima.

Leader of Evidence: What was his post?

Mohamed Kallon: He was the Section Commander.

Leader of Evidence: What was the Command structure of the movement?

Mohamed Kallon: I only made reports to him, I don’t know whom he was answerable to.

Leader of Evidence: Did you hold meetings?

Mohamed Kallon: Yes.

Leader of Evidence: Where did you hold meetings?

Mohamed Kallon :In Blama, Small Bo.

Leader of Evidence: Who usually attended the meetings?

Mohamed Kallon: All those who were under his command.

Leader of Evidence: How many of you were in that meeting?

Mohamed Kallon: More than 150.

Leader of Evidence: You said you were already fifteen in your village; I suppose that the number would increase as the struggles continued. 

Mohamed Kallon: We were initiated for several reasons, mostly for protection.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Mohamed Kallon we want to thank you for your testimony, we’ve been asking you a number of questions and we want to know if you have any question for us.

Mohamed Kallon: Yes, I was in my village, when I got the invitation. I am supposed to be in my swamp now.  Why did you invite me to come here?

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: This Commission is set up by an act of Parliament, and we are to collect information to make a report, an unbiased report about what happened during the war and we invite people to make statement to the Commission.  We invite them to come and share their experiences in public, or if they are not comfortable to tell us their experiences in public we have a closed hearing like this one.  Sometimes when people have very vital information for us and they refuse to come we could and we have the power to issue a subpoena to handle the individual.  But in your case we are happy that you have come willingly to help us and you’ve come to a closed hearing, so that if you are feeling uncomfortable to talk in public, here, there is nothing to worry about.  Any other question?

Mohamed Kallon: Is there any assistance you can give to me after this explanation?

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: From what you told us, I gather that you were a successful farmer.  You are an able bodied man and you seem to be carrying on fine.  The TRC has no money to give to people; some people, who are handicapped, are referred to NGO’s or medical centres where they can get help.  If you have needs like that which you haven’t told us, you can talk to our briefer at the end of the session and she will refer you, if possible, to an NGO but then you have benefited for coming here.  Because in the long run the Government will have to act based on your recommendations.  The improvement the government would be able to make will benefit you, your father and your children and your community as a whole.  Do you have any recommendation you would like us to put in our report to pass on to government?

Mohamed Kallon :I told you my father’s house was burnt down, I have no means to put up that structure now. I would like the government to help me rehabilitate my father’s house.

CommissionerMarcus-Jones: Any other recommendation?

Mohamed Kallon: No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Possibly when government implements our recommendation, you might have  a housing scheme or other means of help to develop your Community.  Thank you for coming.


DATE:             29TH MAY 2003

WITNESS NAME:     Jeneba Konneh (Christian)

WITNESS NO:     025

REFERENCE NO:     3/23/3486

Commissioner Slyvanus Torto, the presiding Commissioner administered the oath,


Jeneba Konneh: When the rebels attacked our village at about 2 a.m., they gathered all of us in our house; I then went out with my child to a banana tree. People were shouting and crying and I saw blazing fire. By then, my husband was not around. The fire was raging and we ran away into the bush. We passed the night in the bush. We later went to a town called Telu Bongor. In the morning two people went to the town and met people gathered in our burnt house. I told my mother that we should go to Bo. We then went to Taiama camp but we had not stayed there for long when another attack took place. We went to settle in another camp and later we returned to our village. My father was amongst those burnt in our house.

Commissioner Torto: Thank you very much. We sympathize with you for the loss of your father. On the 14th of February 2003 you made a statement to the statement taker. This question is based on your written statement that your father and seven students were burnt down in the same house. What kind of students were they.

Jeneba Konneh: My father had three children together with the other four children he was taking care of.

Commissioner Torto: Where they children attending school or was he teaching them?

Jeneba Konneh: His brother died leaving the children behind so he had to take care of them.

Commissioner Torto: Do you know the rebels who did that to you?

Jeneba Konneh: I can’t identify them as they covered their faces with blue paint and some were in uniforms.
Commissioner Torto: If you were to make a wise guess what group do you think the rebels belonged to?

Jeneba Konneh: There were tall ones among them speaking Liberia pidgin, Mende and krio.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thank you Jeneba Konneh for coming to the Commission. The Commission is sorry that you lost your father, children and other people in such a gruesome way. Can you tell us the names of your sisters and brothers who died in that fire?

Jeneba Konneh: Yes. Pa Konneh, Fatmata Konneh, Kadiatu Konneh, Ibrahim Konneh, Bockarie Konneh, Aminata Konneh and Natoma Mansaray.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Pa Konneh was your father?

Jeneba Konneh: Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: The names given including the students were they your brothers and sisters?

Jeneba Konneh: Yes they were my sisters and brothers including the students.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: What happened to your mother?

Jeneba Konneh: My mother who was captured and fell sick on the way. She had an injury on her left leg.  I met her in Sembehun

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Who captured her before she fell down?

Jeneba Konneh: The rebels.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Is she having treatment for the bad leg?

Jeneba Konneh: Yes. My uncle took her away and she is receiving medical attention.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: In what year did all this happen?
Jeneba Konneh: In 1991

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: That is quite a long time now hasn’t the bad leg healed yet?

Jeneba Konneh: Thanks to God, she can walk now.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: where is the husband now? Did he suffer from  rebel atrocities?

Jeneba Konneh: He is dead; he never suffered from rebel atrocities

Leader of Evidence: Do you think that your father was targeted?

Jeneba Konneh: I can’t tell because the town was attacked and many people were killed.

Leader of Evidence:  Can you remember how many people were killed?

Jeneba Konneh: Yes. I can remember some of them

Leader of Evidence: Can you name them?

Jeneba Konneh: Yes. Pa Momoh Sheriff he was old. Alhaji Mohamed Koroma was also old, his sister Mamie Koroma, those are the names I can recall.

Leader of Evidence: How many were killed in all since you cannot remember their names?

Jeneba Konneh: I was told that 23 people were killed, including strangers and displaced people.

Commissioner Torto: We have asked you a lot of questions have you any question to ask the Commission?

Jeneba Konneh: No.

Commissioner Torto: Do you have any recommendations to make to the government?

Jeneba Konneh: I am pleading to the government; we have lost our house so we need rehabilitation. We have no n health centre, no toilet, and no proper drinking water. We drink water from the drainage. We have organized ourselves in some agricultural work. So I want the government to assist me through TRC, with agricultural facilities. These are my recommendations.

Commissioner Torto: Thank you very much. I want to congratulate you for forming the women’s agricultural group. That was a very brilliant point for resettlement. The issue of medical facilities is taken into good part because we know after the war communities lose these facilities. The Commission does not have the mandate to build houses for people. There are NGOs that assist with some kind of help so I want to encourage you to remind us so that you can meet our staff. The provision of sanitary service is an area that should not wait for government intervention. You should start finding ways to help yourselves. So continue with the agricultural programme. All recommendations will be put in good part. Do you have another recommendation? If not, you may step down.

Jeneba Konneh: I don’t have any other recommendation.

DATE:             29TH MAY 2003
WITNESS NAME: Mohamed Conteh (Muslim)
WINESS NO:           026
REFERENCE NO: 3/23/3486
The presiding Commissioner, Mr Sylvanus Torto, administered the oath.


Mohamed Conteh: The rebels attacked our village at about 1.30 a.m. and they gathered all of us that were captured in one place. They collected our possessions and put them in a commandeered vehicle. They killed my brother and took away our belongings. At about 8 a.m., they came again and assumed that we were safe and that some of us could join them but we refused. They left and came again early the following morning. Most of the young people fled to a nearby bush but the old and sick were unable to. They burnt a lot of houses and when we returned to the town some time later, I only saw the charred remains of my father and grand children. I took my sister to Gerehun and the Kamajor movement started; I was initiated as a Kamajor. At that time, we had a cordial working relationship with the soldiers. We went to the war fronts together. When chasing rebels, if they dropped their guns, we’ll pass them on to the soldiers. After the war, they told us to disarm but since I hadn’t a gun, I did not receive the disarmament benefits. However, I am grateful to Tejan Kabbah that we have been resettled in our villages. I fought to defend my village and to protect my people.

Commissioner Torto: Thank you. We sympathize with you for the loss of your father and others. What was the name of your father?

Mohamed Conteh: Mustapha Conteh.

Commissioner Torto: What is the name of the town where this incident happened?

Mohamed: Kando Nyama.

Commissioner Torto: What about the other people who died can you name them?

Mohamed Conteh: Ibrahim Conteh, Umaru Conteh, Hawa Conteh, Abdulai Conteh, Mamie Conteh; they were my relatives.

Commissioner Torto: Do you know who killed them?

Mohamed Conteh: The rebels who set fire on the house.

Commissioner Torto: Can you identify them by face?

Mohamed Conteh: No because they looked very fearful.

Commissioner Torto: What does the following name mean to you Bangura and others?

Mohamed Conteh: Those were some of our leaders in the Kamajor movement. Bangura was our initiator.

Commissioner Torto: Did you kill any body?

Mohamed Conteh: No.

Commissioner Torto: Did you kill any rebel?

Mohamed Conteh: No.

Commissioner Torto: When did you join the Kamajor?

Mohamed Conteh: I joined the Kamajor in 1996.

Commissioner Torto: I want you to remember the oath and tell me that you didn’t kill any rebel.

Mohamed Conteh: No I was using a knife so I did not kill any body.

Commissioner Torto: Don’t you believe that a  knife kills?

Mohamed Conteh: I believe that but sometime when my colleagues killed, we shouted and left the corpse there.

Commissioner Torto: What did you do with the body?

Mohamed Conteh: We abandoned it.

Commissioner Torto: During your encounter with the rebels did you meet civilians on attack?

Mohamed Conteh: In some villages, we saw civilians running during cross firing and stray bullets sometimes caught them.

Commissioner Torto: You joined the Kamajor out of frustration after your father’s death?

Mohamed Conteh: I joined the movement to liberate my country and my self because we were under threat from the rebels and Soldiers.

Commissioner Torto: If you had encountered a rebel what would you have done to him?

Mohamed Conteh: If it had happened that way, I would have fought.

Commissioner Torto: So you did not kill any civilian or rebel even by accident ;you did not even inflict wounds on d them?

Mohamed Conteh: No.

Commissioner Torto: Did you help civilians?

Mohamed Conteh: Yes.

Commissioner Torto: Under what circumstances?

Mohamed Conteh: I was the discipline commander. Sometimes when we went to the front and my colleagues threatened people, I stopped them.

Commissioner Torto: If you were to turn back the hands of time and find your self in a similar position would you join the Kamajor?

Mohamed Conteh: As long as we get support from the government I will join again.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thank you for coming and for the testimony you have given. You partly answered the question I am about to ask.  We had evidence that the combatants indulged in drugs, did the Kamajors take drugs as well?

Mohamed Conteh: We were in groups. In the Bo area they took drugs but for us here in Kenema we were not allowed to take drugs because we were under oath.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: As a commander, what was your duty?

Mohamed Conteh: I was the discipline commander.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: What was your duty; did you give instructions?

Mohamed Conteh: When anyone offends a civilian and is brought before me, I would put him in a guardroom.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: What I am talking about is that if there was pending attack what instruction would you give to the subordinate?

Mohamed Conteh: When there is an attack I would go to the patrol commander immediately.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: And you will do nothing more?

Mohamed Conteh: Sometimes when people are asked to and they refused I will force them to go.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: So the Kamajors had guns?

Mohamed Conteh: Some did and some did not.

Leader of Evidence: I thank you very much for coming. Can you explain to me why the Kamajors didn’t allow the government army to protect them?

Mohamed Conteh: They were causing many problems for the civilians. That forced us to take up the challenge and God sent the initiation to help the people of this country.

Leader of Evidence: Why did the army need help?

Mohamed Conteh: In my own thinking the soldiers were giving the civilians a lot of problems.

Leader of Evidence: Can you tell me some of these problems?

Mohamed Conteh: They were behaving like rebels to the civilians. They were looting, killing innocent people. That’s why God send the initiator and that was why many people joined the Kamajor.

Leader of Evidence: A lot of people joined the Kamajor to protect their villages and people?

Mohamed Conteh: Yes.

Leader of Evidence: What made the Kamajor and the SLA work as one since the soldiers were behaving like that?

Mohamed Conteh: The time we were working together, they were not doing bad things because of our presence.

Leader of Evidence: On one hand you were stopping them and  at the same time working together?

Mohamed Conteh: Yes.

Leader of Evidence: Did the Kamajors seek the support and recognition of the government?

Mohamed Conteh: Well the Kamajor were not fighting for the government to support us. We wanted peace in our land and we wanted to protect our people.

Leader of Evidence: Why did you say that you needed to work with the SLA and you had the power?

Mohamed Conteh: They were paid we were not paid that is why I said they had power.

Leader of Evidence: Why did you decide to work with them?

Mohamed Conteh: I think that when the Kamajor incident came it helped in bringing about the peace process because the civilian populace lost confidence in the SLA.

Leader of Evidence: You said you had support from Kabbah what kind of support?

Mohamed Conteh: During the disarmament, those with guns were given a package. Although those without guns didn’t receive anything.

Leader of Evidence: You told us that if there is another war you will be a Kamajor and if Kabbah does what he was doing you will still be in the force what type of help were you talking about?

Mohamed Conteh: I was talking about the concern he had for the kamajor, if he has the same concern, I would become a Kamajor again at any time.

Leader of Evidence: Did you succeed in changing the attitude of the SLA?

Mohamed Conteh: Yes all the areas were there were checkpoints we were together.

Leader of Evidence: The conflict between the Kamajor and the SLA what was it about?

Mohamed Conteh: The time they fought I was not part of the movement.

Leader of Evidence: Did you leave the movement?

Mohamed Conteh: At that time I was not initiated.

Leader of Evidence: But you said you were initiated and you were working in collaboration with the soldiers are you still in the kamajor?

Mohamed Conteh: At that time we went together to Kailahun to chase the rebels.

Leader of Evidence: Then you stopped working with them?

Mohamed Conteh: Yes.

Leader of Evidence: Can you tell us something about the group how many people were in your group?

Mohamed Conteh: There were 235 of us.

Leader of Evidence: Can you tell us something about the conditions to become a kamajor? Who selects the candidate?

Mohamed Conteh: The chief, the more you pay the more you are prepared. We paid for uniforms and other items.

Leader of Evidence: So anyone can become a Kamajor?

Mohamed Conteh: People from other tribes were not initiated. Only Mendes were.

Leader of Evidence: The Commission was told that soldiers were initiated; do you know any thing about that?

Mohamed Conteh: I heard about it.

Leader of Evidence: And some of the rebels were initiated?

Mohamed Conteh: I did not know about that.

Leader of Evidence: Your group of 235 going to Kailahun did you go to fight?

Mohamed Conteh: We went to Jorku.

Leader of Evidence: You went to Kailahun, Jorku, Nyama and Masigbe.

Mohamed Conteh: Yes.

Leader of Evidence: Any other locations were you went?

Mohamed Conteh: After those fights I ended up in Bandama where I was based.

Leader of Evidence: How many confrontations did your group encounter with the rebels?

Mohamed Conteh: Three times after 1996.

Leader of Evidence: From 1996?

Mohamed Conteh: Yes.

Leader of Evidence: What did you do to all this places you went to and during those attacks how many rebels were killed?

Mohamed Conteh: I can’t tell.

Leader of Evidence: You said some of the bodies were lying around how many did you see?

Leader of Evidence: Yes. It was about 10, 15 but I cannot tell the exact number.

Leader of Evidence: Those bodies were there men, women boys and girls?

Mohamed Conteh: Yes. The women were cooking for them.

Leader of Evidence: Were there any small women among them?

Mohamed Conteh: No girl child was among them.

Leader of Evidence: What about boys?

Mohamed Conteh: There were boys among them.

Leader of Evidence: How young were they?

Mohamed Conteh: The youngest could be around 8:9.

Leader of Evidence: Were they wearing uniforms?

Mohamed Conteh: Yes. At times

Leader of Evidence: Sometimes they were in civilian clothes?

Mohamed Conteh: Yes, jean trousers.

Leader of Evidence: Those that were not dressed in uniform how did you know that they were rebels?

Mohamed Conteh: They have RUF marks on their arms

Leader of Evidence: What is the age of the youngest among the kamajors?

Mohamed Conteh: 7 years.

Leader of Evidence: How many of them were around the age of 18?

Mohamed Conteh: I can’t tell. But I believe they were about 7 or 8.

Leader of Evidence: Did you capture rebels live?

Mohamed Conteh: Yes. But on our way to kenema it started raining and we decided to wait for sometime and during that time he escaped.

Leader of Evidence: During this time you had three confrontations with the rebels; apart from that there was no fight between you again?

Mohamed Conteh: I witnessed three fights. I usually send people.

Leader of Evidence: So they were fighting?

Mohamed Conteh: Yes.

Leader of Evidence: Since you were a discipline commander can you give example of what you were doing to the civilians?

Mohamed Conteh: Yes. Sometimes when the kamajors come from the war front, they forced the civilians to assist them fetch water and do the laundry for them.

Leader of Evidence: Any case of beating of the civilians?

Mohamed Conteh: Yes once.

Leader of Evidence: Any case of a civilian killed by kamajor?

Mohamed Conteh: No, except through  a stray bullet.

Leader of Evidence: When was that?

Mohamed Conteh: At a point in time the rebels attacked a town and when we went to repel the rebels, confrontation ensued. Stray bullets may have killed some civilians.

Leader of Evidence: That means that Kamajors had guns?

Mohamed Conteh: Some had guns.

Leader of Evidence: How many of you had guns in your group?

Mohamed Conteh: I can’t tell.

Leader of Evidence: In a group of 235 just a little of you had guns?

Mohamed Conteh: Those of us with knives were in greater number?

Leader of Evidence: Where did the guns come from?

Mohamed Conteh: When there is a fighting between the rebels and Kamajor they usually dropped their guns and we collected them.

Leader of Evidence: So you don’t take it to the SLA?

Mohamed Conteh: No.

Leader of Evidence: Journalists said that the Kamajors were more disciplined in their chiefdoms than when they moved out to other chiefdoms?

Mohamed Conteh: I cannot deny that.

Leader of Evidence: How did you know about that?

Mohamed Conteh: Sometimes you may train some body not to steal but when he moves out he may practice that.

Leader of Evidence: Where there violations of killing, raping or looting?

Mohamed Conteh: I did not see that.

Leader of Evidence: I understand that you did not see or hear of any crime like that?

Mohamed Conteh: I did not get such complaints.

Leader of Evidence: Do you think some of the allegations made on the Kamajors were false? Like people beaten by kamajor, house burning, eating people.

Mohamed Conteh: I had about cannibalism but it was hearsay.

Leader of Evidence: Did you hear of a village called Nyama were they were doing cannibalism in the Nogowa chiefdom?

Mohamed Conteh: I don’t know.

Leader of Evidence: What about the other allegations?

Mohamed Conteh: I did not see any of them doing these things.

Leader of Evidence: Do you think that there is a kind law that you should not talk about?

Mohamed Conteh: Yes.

Leader of Evidence: Don’t you think that you  have to come and apologize for what they did?

Mohamed Conteh: I don’t think so.

Commissioner Torto: We thank you very much. This thing you have said here should not be held against you so we need the facts because  we want everlasting peace. So don’t leave this place feeling guilty. Is the kamajor an organization or a society?

Mohamed Conteh: It a society.

Commissioner Torto: They Kamajors where killing people on accusation of being a rebel is that correct?

Mohamed Conteh: I heard about it but I did not see them doing it.

Commissioner Torto: You have been in the Kamajor for four years and didn’t hear of or kill a suspect?

Mohamed Conteh: Yes. Because at that time I was in the village

Commissioner Torto: Thank you. We have asked you a lot of questions and you have answered. Do you have any question to ask the Commission?

Mohamed Conteh: No.

Commissioner Torto: Do you have any recommendation for consideration?

Mohamed Conteh: Yes. I am in the village at the moment; my recommendation is that our community needs a health centre because it is too far from Kenema. I was in school but at this moment I can’t go back to school because I have my family but I am a trained carpenter so I can take care of the family so I want government to provide tools for me.

Commissioner Torto: Thank you. The health issue is taken into good part; I will comment on the skills training. There was a DDR programme wherein people were sent for skills training. You can check so that you can take a part in that. Some go to school and others to colleges and some train to be a carpenter like you. Meanwhile the other recommendations are taken into good part.

DATE:             29TH MAY 2003
WITNESS NAME:     Jenneh Lansana (Muslim)
WITNESS NO:         027
REFERENCE NO:     3/23/48
The presiding Commissioner Mr Slyvanus Torto administered the oath.


Jenneh Lansana: They killed my husband and my child. They the burnt down the whole chiefdom and I am presently sick. At a point in time, they captured us and carried us to Gandohun for four good nights. One Saturday, they separated us according to places of origin. They said they were going to kill my husband. They tied and put him on a motorcycle. A mango was then forced into his mouth and they said they’d take him to Potoru. They wanted to kill him with a knife but they didn’t since he was reciting verses in the Koran. Despite his plea that he had 14 children, they killed him.

They ask us to go home, and we went, crying; after 3 days we saw people coming from the river end. A woman said they were coming and I told my mother that we should go into the house. We heard somebody saying that he had come with a vehicle to take us to Blama. I told my mother not to go out; those who went out, been killed.

Later, I fled to the bush, but fell on a rock and I’m still feeling sick. I was able to locate my mother and children later because we had earlier separated as we fled to the bush. We later went to Bo. This is my story

Commissioner Torto: Thank you Jenneh Lansana for this explanation we sympathize with you for the loss of your husband. Could you tell me the number of people taken away and killed?

Jenneh Lansana: I cannot name them all.

Commissioner Torto: Can you estimate the number?

Jenneh Lansana: No. I was in hiding, how can I tell their number?

Commissioner Torto: Who were the people who actually took those people and killed them?

Jenneh Lansana: The first one was in Gandorhun. They were rebels.

Commissioner Torto: What group of rebels?

Jenneh Lansana: They never spoke Mende language they came from Liberia.

Commissioner Torto: Under what circumstances was your mother killed?

Jenneh Lansana: They did not kill my mother; they only killed my husband.

Commissioner Torto: You also said a group of people were taken into a house and four of them were taken out and killed do you know their names?

Jenneh Lansana: Yes. Lansana Bockarie, Momoh Gibateh, Amadu Dabor, Momoh Bondu.

Commissioner Torto: A boy who was executed at the age of 15 do you know why he was killed?

Jenneh Lansana: I don’t know why he was killed.

Commissioner Torto: Do you remember who actually killed him?

Jenneh Lansana: No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: We are sorry you lost your husband. Was it your husband who was reciting the Koran?

Jenneh Lansana: No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Who was the person?

Jenneh Lansana: He is Amadu Abateh.

Leader of Evidence: You said that your husband and son were killed; was your son killed together with your husband?

Jenneh Lansana: Yes.

Leader of Evidence: What is the name of your son?

Jenneh Lansana: She was a daughter called Hawa Lansana.

Leader of Evidence: Was she killed in the same attack?

Jenneh Lansana: No. She went to Freetown to see her husband and she was killed.

Leader of Evidence: Was the baby killed as well?

Jenneh Lansana: No but a stray bullet cut its finger.

Leader of Evidence:  And you said there was a second attack in your village, those who attacked the first time, were they the same rebels who attacked the second time?

Jenneh Lansana: I can’t tell.

Leader of Evidence:  I think, I heard you say that your village was attacked twice.

Jenneh: Yes.

Commissioner Torto: Do you have questions for the Commission?

Jenneh Lansana: No.

Commissioner Torto: Have you any recommendations?

Jenneh Lansana: Yes. They have burnt our house. I am pleading with the government to rehabilitate our houses. We have no medical centre, no food; we have used sticks to build huts were we dwell. The road to our village is not motorable, there is no proper drinking water, no toilet facilities so I want you to assist us with the above facilities.

Commissioner Torto: Those are taken into good part there are Ngos that will provide those facilities for you. Your recommendation about the health situation will be included in our report. I advise that you talk to our staff so that you will be given a letter to take to MSF, if there is a branch here they can help you. Thank you very much for coming, do not  forget to talk to the briefer to give you a referral letter to  take to the hospital.

DATE:             29TH MAY 2003
WITNESS NAME: Emmanuel Jabati (Christian)
WINESS NO:      028
REFERENCE NO:  Ken/amputee/06

The presiding Commissioner, Mr Slyvanus Torto, administered the oath.


Emmanuel Jabati: I was not a fighter. I came from Taima and I am a Kpa Mende. I came in search of money. I was in Hangha one morning, when I saw a lot of people running from Kenema to Hangha. I was in the company of a brother called Borbor. I sent him to enquire but when he returned he advised that we hide ourselves. We were there till late in the evening, when I advised that we should return to town and put our trust to God.

At about 4.30 in the morning, we heard firing all over and I asked my brother if it was an attack. He said yes and advised that we wait till the firing subsided. As we escaped people were running and shouting. We ran closer to a banana tree when someone descending a hill and saw us and started shooting; I was shot on my left leg and I rolled down the hill. I was there till the firing subsided. My brother advised that we move to kenema. A friend of my brother put me on a hammock and brought me to the Kenema hospital; there was no doctor but he came later and advised that my foot should be amputated. I was in the hospital till I recovered.

Commissioner Torto: Thank you for your story. Do you know who actually shot you?

Emmanuel Jabati: They were rebels. They were speaking Liberian pidgin.

Commissioner Torto: What Language were they speaking?

Emmanuel Jabati: Mende, Liberia, and krio.

Leader of Evidence: In what year did this happen?

Emmanuel Jabati: After the overthrow of Tejan Kabbah.

Leader of Evidence: Were they in uniform?

Emmanuel Jabati: Yes.

Leader of Evidence: Do you mean they were AFRC or SLA?

Emmanuel Jabati: That was the time they were together.

Commissioner Torto: What are you doing now?

Emmanuel Jabati: I thank God for Rev. Alimamy kargbo who registered me in one programme. This is the uniform I am wearing. We want to appeal to government through TRC; I have children and wife, I pay 30 thousand per month. We are really suffering, so am appealing to government to educate our children and provide houses and food for us the handicapped.

Commissioner Torto: That is a Recommendation, have you any question?

Emmanuel Jabati: No.

Commissioner Torto:  Do you have a branch of the amputees programme?

Emmanuel Jabati: Yes.

Commissioner Torto: When you contacted them what have they done?

Emmanuel Jabati: The Reverend organized us but we pay for ourselves I have not been assisted by any group.

Commissioner Torto: You mean the association it self?

Emmanuel Jabati: Yes.

Commissioner Torto: They don’t have skills training for people like you?

Emmanuel Jabati: No.

Commissioner Torto: Thank you very much; in Freetown the association is so strong that they have started building houses for them. We even visited one in Kabala. The Norwegian Refugee Council has done well for them. I want the head of this association to put more interest in this because they told us that they are all over the country.
Commissioner Torto:  Is the Reverend in town?

Emmanuel Jabati: I don’t know.

Commissioner Torto: Find out if he is here so that we can talk to him.

DATE:             29th MAY 2003
WITNESS NAME:  Jebbeh Ansumana (Muslim)
WITNESS NO:       029
REFERENCE NO:   3/23/3486

The presiding Commissioner, Mr Slyvanus Torto, administered the oath. 


Jebbeh Ansumana:
My mother gave birth to two of us, my brother and I. When the rebels attacked Yebeima my brother was the first to be killed. I gave birth to a baby and after two weeks, I was raped. I later went to a camp in Bo. At present I am have pains all over my body.

Commissioner Torto: We sympathize with you on the death of your brother. During the attack how many people died?

Jebbeh Ansumana: I can’t tell I was in the bush with my husband and the children.

Commissioner Torto: So your brother was killed in your absence?

Jebbeh Ansumana: Yes.

Commissioner Torto: You just came back and found the corpse?

Jebbeh Ansumana: Yes. Those who went to the town returned and explained it to me.

Commissioner Torto: Those who raped you, do you remember them?

Jebbeh Ansumana: No, because it was at  night .

Commissioner Torto: Where is the baby now?

Jebbeh Ansumana: He is with me.

Commissioner Torto: How old is he?

Jebbeh Ansumana: He is seven years old.

Commissioner Torto: Could you remember or identify your attackers?

Jebbeh Ansumana: I could not tell.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: The Commission thanks you for coming and telling us about your experiences and the loss of your brother. In what place were you raped?

Jebbeh Ansumana: In Jerehun.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Where you taken to a bush or a house?

Jebbeh Ansumana: To a house.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: How many of them?

Jebbeh Ansumana: Two of them raped me.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Can you tell us whether they were young men or people of your age?

Jebbeh Ansumana: The people that raped me were young men.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Have you been able to seek medical attention?

Jebbeh Ansumana: No, I usually buy tablets in the streets and drink herbs.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Why have you not gone to the hospital?

Jebbeh Ansumana: I was going when the refugees were getting free treatment but that  is a long time now.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Have you been able to bear children?

Jebbeh Ansumana: Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: How many children apart from the boy?

Jebbeh Ansumana: I have given birth to two children but both of them died.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Why?

Jebbeh Ansumana: I don’ know.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: How old were they when they died?

Jebbeh Ansumana: The first one was 4 months and the second 3 and a half months old.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Have you reported this to a doctor to know whether those deaths were as a result of the rape?

Jebbeh Ansumana: No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Are you expecting a baby now?

Jebbeh Ansumana: No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: What happened to your husband, where is he now?

Jebbeh Ansumana: He is dead.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Did he die in the course of the war?

Jebbeh Ansumana: No it was a natural death.

Commissioner Torto: We thank you for sharing your experience with us, we have asked you a lot of questions and you have answered, have you any question to ask the Commission?

Jebbeh Ansumana: Yes. We have gone through these trials and humiliations, why did you call us here?

Commissioner Torto: This is a question a few people asked the Commission. The answer is there may not be any direct benefit now but it is a long term one. The most important thing is that the Commission cares about you; what happened to you, who did it, so that it won’t happen again and to record all the human rights violations that happened during the war. Very shortly, we will be asking you for your recommendations, your recommendation will be analysed with others but more important, is the relief that you get after testifying to the Commission.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: You spoke about pains; you could talk to the briefer in detail.

Commissioner Torto: Have you any recommendation?

Jebbeh Ansumana: Yes. The road to our village is not motorable, there is no proper drinking water, our school is not in good condition there is no health centre; all our houses have been vandalized, toilet facilities are very poor but the most important of all is the food problem.
Commissioner Torto: Thank you very much for all these concerns. Your recommendation will be   included in our report.

DATE:         29TH MAY 2003
WITNESS NAME: Philip Foday Tommy Foday Tommy(Christian)
REFERENCE NO: 3/23/3486
The presiding Commissioner, Mr Slyvanus Torto, administered the oath. 


Philip Foday Tommy Foday Tommy: The rebels killed my younger brother and took away my second wife, Hawa Fofanah. Since then, I have not seen her and my children are worried. Her parents blame me, saying that I ran away and left her behind. However, my parents are consoling me. I was in Tongo when my mother informed me that my brother was killed. Initially, my mother had advised that, since I was an educated man, I should leave the town. That was why I left. When the rebels came, the commando said that my wife was the most beautiful woman so he took her away. I was in UMC when I heard about the Commission. So that is why I am here to see how best you can help me.

Commissioner Torto: Thank you very much for coming. We know what you are going through as a man; you have been able to withstand it .We want you to explain a few things to us. According to your written statement, you said your brother was crossing the river from Tormabum to sell a few items and ECOMOG soldiers shot him and six other people.

Philip Foday Tommy: Yes.

Commissioner Torto: Why was that?

Philip Foday Tommy: According to what I was told in my village, the ECOMOG thought that the rebels were giving them these items to sell for them; at that time any body connected to ECOMOG was killed.

Commissioner Torto: When you entered the village, were the ECOMOG in the town?

Philip Foday Tommy: My mother told me that they were Guinean soldiers.

Commissioner Torto: Was there any indication that somebody knew them?

Philip Foday Tommy: No.

Commissioner Torto: Have you heard about your wife that was taken to Liberia?

Philip Foday Tommy: Yes I heard that she was in Freetown but her relative said she is in Daru. When I got this information, I went to her parents and explained to them. The chief advised me not to go in search of the lady at the time; if she loves me she will come. I decided to wait and see.

Commissioner Torto: Do you have children?

Philip Foday Tommy: Yes I have two children Joseph Tommy and Mommy Tommy; they are here with me going to school.

Commissioner Torto: What are you doing now?

Philip Foday Tommy: I am a teacher. I use my salary to take care of my children.

Commissioner Marcus Jones: We are sorry for the loss of your brother and wife. Do you think that you were a special target for the rebels?

Philip Foday Tommy: I don’t want to believe that.

Commissioner Marcus Jones: Why didn’t you take your wife and children with you?

Philip Foday Tommy: At that time I had no money and the children were small.

Commissioner Marcus Jones: I would have thought that as an educated man you would have made your own decisions.

Philip Foday Tommy: Is it against the law to chase a woman that is taken from you.

Commissioner Marcus Jones: What kind of law?

Philip Foday Tommy: That was an advice from my people.

Commissioner Marcus Jones: It was an advice and not a law.

Philip Foday Tommy: People advised me not to look for her.

Commissioner Marcus Jones: At that particular time it was a good decision but I know of no law under civil society concerning chasing your wife. Thank you.

Leader of Evidence: You said an ECOMOG soldier killed your brother.

Philip Foday Tommy: That was what I was told.

Leader of Evidence:  In which year?

Philip Foday Tommy:  In 1993.

Leader of Evidence: ECOMOG was not here by then, to my knowledge ECOMOG arrived in 1997.

Philip Foday Tommy: I spoke about Guinean soldiers they came to this country before that time.

Leader of Evidence: So the Guineans were not ECOMOG?

Philip Foday Tommy: That was the information I got.

Leader of Evidence: After the abduction of your wife, you got angry and your wife was taken to a barray. They were attacked by the Kamajors with the hope of taking your wife from them.

Philip Foday Tommy: I was confused and there was nothing I could do.

Leader of Evidence: Did you join the Kamajor to get her back?

Philip Foday Tommy: It did not occur to me.

Commissioner Torto: Have you any questions to ask the Commission?

Philip Foday Tommy: Yes why have you brought us here? Is to remind us about the things we went through?

Commissioner Torto: We have called you here because we are concerned about you. We know that you have suffered a lot, we want to know what happened to you, who did it and why. We can only do that if we talk to you. Any other question?

Philip Foday Tommy: Yes, will the Commission help me to get my wife back?

Commissioner Torto: We’ll analyse the situation and see how best we can help out. If possible, we can refer you to some NGOs that can help you trace your wife.

Commissioner Torto: Any recommendation?

Philip Foday Tommy: I will start with Tormabum. We had a rice mill that was destroyed. We have serious accommodation problems and we want government to rehabilitate the schools that were destroyed in our chiefdom. Also we need medical facilities.

Commissioner Torto: Thank you very much for the recommendations.

DATE:             29TH MAY 2003
WITNESS NAME:  Foday Mansaray (Christian)
WINESS NO:         031
REFERENCE NO:    3/23/3486

The presiding Commissioner, Mr Slyvanus Torto, administered the oath. 


Foday Mansaray:I was a security officer at the Panguma hospital. Before that, I was a Kamajor. I was going to work one day when I came across some men. One of them called me and said that they should arrest me because I am a Kamajor. They took the rice I was carrying on my head and after some struggle, I was overpowered. They tied and laid me on the ground. There was a small boy called Eco. He insisted that they should not set me free. There was Sergeant Kailondo who was from Kailahun. He tortured me. He had wanted to kill me with a knife, but his colleagues prevailed on him and took it from him. They however, stabbed me on my shoulder. They later stripped me naked. I later saw my boss Katuna who prevailed on them with the help of the chief. I was then released and Katuna advised that I go to Kenema.I refused because I did not want to leave my people unprotected. Gina, who tied me first, is now dead.

Commissioner Torto: On the 13 of the December 2002 you made a statement to TRC at Panguma. In your written statement, you said that one day people started looting and you were arrested for  killing a soldier is that correct?

Foday Mansaray: Yes.

Commissioner Torto: How many?

Foday Mansaray: The time we fought they were eight in number they said they will kill me so I killed one of them in the end.

Commissioner Torto: Was he really a soldier?

Foday Mansaray: At that time he was wearing civilian clothes and military boots that was the reason why I say he was a soldier.

Commissioner Torto: In your written statement you said you killed two and now you say one.

Foday Mansaray: No, one.

Commissioner Torto: Later you joined the kamajor?

Foday Mansaray: Yes. After the threat.

Commissioner Torto: Who threatened you?

Foday Mansaray: The soldiers.

Commissioner Torto: Did you join them to revenge?

Foday Mansaray: No.

Commissioner Torto: What about the man that beat you up if you had seen him, as a Kamajor, what would you have done to him?

Foday Mansaray: I wouldn’t have done anything to him, I came across him one day but I didn’t do anything to him.

Commissioner Torto: What kind of assistance did you give to civilians?

Foday Mansaray: I rendered series of help. The hospital  was not  burnt down because of me .If Vega General of the catholic mission is present here he would testify that I am saying the truth. I took care of the hospital.
Commissioner Torto: During your campaign did you by accidentally kill a civilian?

Foday Mansaray: At that time no one died because I think and believe I was well protected.

Commissioner Marcus Jones: Who was Eco?

Foday Mansaray: He was a soldier born of Panguma. He was one of those who destroyed Panguma; if he was alive he would have paid for that.

Commissioner Marcus Jones: Is he dead?

Foday Mansaray: Yes.

Commissioner Marcus Jones: How did the fighting end?

Foday Mansaray: The fight in Korkie? The rebels came from Kenema, kono, Kailahun; we were in a meeting at this same place when we heard that the rebels were coming .We fought them with knives and chased them out of Korkie. We fought for five hours and it was during that time that the Kamajors got guns because when chased, the rebels would drop the gun and run away but if you say Kamajors received guns from government is a lie. If it was not for  the Kamajors you wouldn’t be seating where  you are today.

Commissioner Torto: If I want to be initiated in a Kamajor what is the requirement?

Foday Mansaray: If you want to be initiated in any society you have to pay for it so that you can respect it.

Commissioner Torto: How much?

Foday Mansaray: the type of protection you require would determine the fee. If you need more protection, you will have to pay more. I paid more than the actual price that is why I am not afraid of anyone.

Leader of Evidence: You said you were a security officer at the Panguma hospital were you in the army?

Foday Mansaray: No.

Leader of Evidence: How did you kill the thief?

Foday Mansaray: We were fighting and in the process, I killed him but he didn’t die instantly.

Leader of Evidence: There was a serious fight at Korkie can you tell us who you were fighting?

Foday Mansaray: At the time the soldiers and rebels were working together. They attacked the Kamajors and we drove them out of the place. We were based at Korkie.

Leader of Evidence: Were people killed on the side of the rebels and soldiers?

Foday Mansaray: When we arrived in the town in the morning, we saw corpses in the town dressed in combat.

Leader of Evidence: How many were killed on the side of the Kamajor?

Foday Mansaray: On that day only one person was injured but he did not die.

Leader of Evidence: How many soldiers and kamajors were there?

Foday Mansaray: I can’t tell the number of the soldiers nor rebels Kamajors because we were many.

Leader of Evidence: They took over Korkie for two days?

Foday Mansaray: We were stationed at Korkie.

Leader of Evidence: Did any of you have guns?

Foday Mansaray: I have said it earlier on that we were not fighting with guns initially. The guns we had were those captured from the enemy.

Leader of Evidence: During the fight were you with guns?

Foday Mansaray: Yes.

Leader of Evidence: Were those six people killed during the fight or after?

Foday Mansaray: After the fight we met them on the road.

Leader of Evidence: Other witnesses have told us that when rebels saw kamajors, they would run but in your own case it is different. Why?

Foday Mansaray: Rebels are stubborn. If they say they are going to fight, they will. If they say they are coming to attack this place at about 2p.m, they will, and not a second late.
Commissioner Torto: Do you have questions for us?

Foday Mansaray: This war that broke out this country came from the Temne line to Mende line; but we have heard that there is rehabilitation going on in the North but it is not happening in our own part of the country. I want to know why.

Commissioner Torto: Thank you very much for this question. It is an interesting question but I don’t think I have the answer for you; the TRC is not a government. It is not a ministry. We are here to consolidate peace; TRC does not deal with issues along tribal lines. I beg you to forgive me for not giving the answer to your question. Two weeks ago the President, His Excellency Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, was here I believe you should have asked the government. Maybe he would have been the best person to answer your question.
Commissioner Torto: Have you any recommendation?

Foday Mansaray: Panguma hospital was destroyed, so we are asking the government to assist us rebuild it. It is a long distance from Panguma to Bo and Kenema and if someone   falls sick, it is difficult to convey him to hospital, particularly considering the cost of transportation.

Commissioner Torto: We thank you for these recommendations. These are the kinds of recommendations the government is interested in because you hear many witnesses talking about personal houses, but in your own case you have made a recommendation concerning the road between kenema and the hospital what about the SLC Tongo field what do you want to be done about it?

Foday Mansaray: I want the government to rebuild it.

Commissioner Torto: It is taken into consideration.

DATE:             29TH MAY 2003
WITNESS NAME: Braima Koroma (Muslim)
WINESS NO:        032
REFERENCE NO:    Ken/amputee/09

The presiding Commissioner, Mr Sylvanus Torto, administered the oath. 


Braima Koroma: What pains me most is my amputation. I was in Bowa when we heard that rebels were approaching our place. I advised my people that we should move to Tanima. I took my possessions to Tanima. One day, we heard that the rebels were close to Tanima, so I moved my belongings to the bush. One day, I was taking food and clothing to my mother when I was arrested and my hand was chopped off with a cutlass. I pleaded with them not to cut the right hand but one of them hit my mouth and broke two of my teeth. We struggled and later they over powered me and chopped off the right hand. I was brazed and sat on the wall. They moved around the town shouting in Mende and Krio. Some were in military clothes while others were in ordinary combat. When they left, I ran to the bush and the people I met there took me to Gerehun. Later I was taken to Kenema Hospital where I spent one month and two weeks. I was later taken to Freetown through the help of ICRC. I later returned to Kenema and Reverend Alimamy Kargbo helped us. Nobody, not even an NGO has come forward to help us.

Commissioner Torto: Thank you for your testimony. We very much sympathize with your situation. Thanks to God you survived the war. Do you remember the people who inflicted such punishment on you?

Briama: I can’t recall.

Commissioner Torto: What fighting group did they belong to?

Briama: Rebels.

Commissioner Torto: In 1993 there were many factions AFRC, RUF, SLA which of them?

Braima Koroma: RUF rebels. One of them told me that they were Foday  Sankoh’s men.

Commissioner Torto: Were you they only one who suffered this punishment?

Braima Koroma: Yes because I returned and did not see any body.

Commissioner Torto: Have you received any kind of assistance from any NGO?

Briama: I was given a gadget but whenever I put it on, it created problems for me.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thank you for making the effort to come to the Commission to tell us your ordeal. Sorry for the mishap. Nothing can be given to compensate you for the loss of your hands. Who is taking care of you and attending to your needs?

Braima Koroma: My mother is alive but too old and I have my children who are staying with me.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: That is good. You have your wife and children looking after you, you still have a mother; it’s a blessing to have a mother at that age.

Leader of Evidence: Did the rebels give you any reason why they amputated your hand?

Braima Koroma: No.

Leader of Evidence: Did they give any command?

Briama: No.

Commissioner Torto: Have you any question to ask the Commission?

Braima Koroma: Yes. We have heard that assistance was given to amputees in Freetown and other areas, amputees here did not benefit at all, why have we been left out?

Commissioner Torto: Government does not build houses for amputees. There are other NGOs that provide structural facilities, Norwegian Refugee council built houses in Kabala and Kambia and they are doing it through the amputees association. I will encourage you to form an organization and that will do something. FNA groups are all over the country, they are presently in Kono but I don’t understand your problem with your organization not affiliating with FNA, why you are lagging behind. Any other question?

Braima Koroma: No.

Commissioner Torto: Have you any recommendation?

Braima Koroma: Yes. The first is accommodation even in Kenema to pay rent is difficult. I have five children I want government to help me with their schooling. If I don’t beg, my mother wife and myself we will all have nothing to eat. My landlord has reminded of my rent. I had to loan money to enable me be here. My problem now is that I have spent the whole day here, what should we eat this evening? I am appealing to the government to help me with accommodation. I used to have a lot of people around me, but because of the hardship I am going through they vanished. Even my little boy over there, while we were hiding in the bush, he had a problem with his eyes; my children are very small am asking government for assistance.

Commissioner Torto: Those are recommendations. Thank you, we have heard all what you you’ve said. You mentioned accommodation. That is a pathetic situation. You said five children. How old is your oldest son

Braima Koroma: He is fourteen years old.

Commissioner Torto: Is he going to school?

Braima Koroma: Yes.

DATE:            30TH May 2003

WITNESS NAME: Solomon Cooper (Christian) Representative of Amputee Association Kenema



The Presiding Commissioner, Justice Laura Marcus Jones, administered an oath on the Bible.


Solomon Cooper: I want to thank the Commission for giving me the opportunity to make this statement.  I want to talk about the Association and then myself.  (Shows scar on hip). Whilst travelling from Jorum to Kenema, we fell into a rebel ambush and I sustained gunshot wounds on my hip.  The bullet was extracted here in Kenema but I was not fully recovered.   I had to travel to Freetown where I received proper medical treatment. On my return to kenema, Reverend Alimamy B. Koroma formed the Amputee Welfare Association on the 20th February 2000; I became a member of this Association.  We were doing well.  Some of us were in camp and others outside.  We usually held our meetings on Saturdays, even up till now.  A project was written by (SEDO) Social Economic Development Organization and  funded by Cause Canada.
An official from Norwegian Refugee Council came to Kenema and they promised to construct some buildings for amputees; it was broadcast on the radio and workshops were organized.  Although they started building new structures at the sites, the constructions were not properly done.  They demolished the buildings and a proper one was reconstructed at the site.  After the construction of those houses, the officials of the Norwegian Refugee Council told us that the houses were for the amputees in Freetown, who were registered members of the Sierra Leone Amputees Association.  We stormed the office of NaCSA in Kenema.   Upon hearing this I travelled down to Freetown and took the matter up with NaCSA boss Mr Kanja Sesay and Mr Sidi Bah. They told me that they had received a similar complaint about the issue, but nothing was done. We then wrote a letter of protest, which we copied to about twelve NGO’s and organizations, including the Paramount Chief and the press.  We also issued another press release that the government of Tejan Kabbah does not seek the interest of the amputees in Kenema. 

We then decided to use another strategy to display placards during the handing over ceremony of the houses. We were not going to allow them entrance to the camp.   What they did was to come overnight; before we knew it, they had already resided in the houses. 

We thank Sierra Leone Red Cross and appreciate their efforts in helping us in several ways; by getting us involved in skills training and offering us micro-credit facilities. Red Cross did a good job, we say bravo to them. They had been advocating for us on the radio to employ amputees, even if it was to serve as security personnel. In Freetown Cold Storage, Cause Canada, NRC, TRC employ amputees, but here in Kenema nothing is being done.  We don’t know why they had neglected us. Above all, they concentrate on victims rather than Amputees. What I notice in Sierra Leone is that when you do evil you are compensated. All the perpetrators are offered privileges to undertake whatever they desire in education and technical skills.

Three officials of NaCSA came and they registered all the amputees in Kenema.  After the registration, nothing was done.  To me it seems as if Freetown is Sierra Leone because all assistance is centred in Freetown. The only thing NaCSA did for us is that they supplied us 4 bags of rice and six cartons of soap to share among 115 Amputees.

The other sad part of my story is that the Action Aid took a snapshot of my bullet scar and displayed it on SLBS/TV in Freetown against my wish. Some money, about eleven million leones, changed hands.  They told me it was for peace, but I never received anything as compensation from this organization.  I protested to Action Aid and copied Human Rights Organizations and then the advert was stopped.  Later, Action Aid put out my photographs on the Internet, which a friend, Sam ,in the USA saw; he called to inform me.

I am appealing to us all not to neglect the amputees.  I was amputated during the war due to lack of medical facilities. My hand was amputated.  But I still use my knowledge even though I have only one hand; I use it to earn my living.   As for the association, I want to tell this Commission that we are suffering. We are well organized, and anyone saying that we are not united is telling lies.   They can prove me right, being that we held meetings at 1 Bayoh Street, every Saturday at 10 a.m. in the morning.  Some of our members had given testimonies here.  We had taken a unanimous decision that we were not going to participate.  But when the Commission came they sensitised us and we decided to send our people to testify.

We heard on the radio that when the amputees went to the camp the people refused to obey, but they were sensitised.  We too thought it will happen here and some members of the Commission came and we were willing to give our statement.  One of our members who worked in the TRC advised and persuaded us to register.  He was told that the Chairman of the amputees is a difficult man. When I spoke with him, I had to move with him to the areas were we held our meetings. He later confessed that they’ve told him many things about me. But he had proved that I am a simple man.  I then told him that it is the way people portray my image.  I told him that we should work in solidarity. I explained our plight to him.  He told me that they are going to form a national body.

We the Kenema amputees again showed up in T-Shirts on the launching of the musical track called “Destiny” it was also televised on the SLBS/TV.  The Nigerian Contingent in Kenema saw it and was moved.  They phoned our Coordinator and promised to send us a gift, it was broadcast over the radio that they had donated $500 and used clothing to the amputees but nothing was done.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: We have been wondering why the amputees don’t seem to have much help; what you have said throws some light over the position here.  We are going to ask you few questions here just to elucidate some f points.  Is there an Amputee camp in Kenema?

Solomon Cooper: There was a camp for internally displaced people.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Does the camp still exist?

Solomon Cooper: No. NaCSA said we should be repatriated so we then abided by the government’s regulation. Some of us are now dwelling with friends, and there are no more houses in our villages.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Well the amputees are here not only in Freetown, but there are Amputee camps in Koinadugu, how many members are in your association?

Solomon Cooper: We were about 115 members, amputees and the war-wounded. The houses you spoke about are in areas that I had traveled to. They had one camp in Makeni, going towards Kabala; the number was about 45.There were others in Kambia, Port Loko, and Masiaka and of course Grafton, Bo and Moyamba.   We had four that were built for amputees who were in Freetown and had decided to come to Kenema. In all the areas I have mentioned, there were amputees who were at Aberdeen camp.  Not that they had camps specifically in the areas where the rebels had attacked and destroyed.  According to the Norwegian Refugee Council the first phase was about 250.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thank you, I understand your plight, and I suppose something will be done in future.

Commissioner Torto: We thank you for your testimony; I have few clarifications to make.  Are the Amputees in Kenema registered with the Sierra Leone Amputee Association?

Solomon Cooper: We were registered with the government through the Ministry of Social Welfare, we had never heard about the National Amputee Welfare Association.

Commissioner Torto: Do you know Jusu Jakka? He was the Chairman for the Aberdeen Camp.  Is he not the Chairman for the Amputee Association? He is the Chairman for the Association.  However, registering with the Ministry of Social Welfare’s support programme is different from the Amputee Association.   To register with NGO’s, there are certain conditions in order to be eligible and that is where the Amputee Association came in and all aid went through this Association. Does your Organization contact the Norwegian Refugee Council?

Solomon Cooper: Yes they registered us in 2001?

Commissioner Torto: What is the current position?

Solomon Cooper : Nothing is done, the woman that came went to search for funding.  I visited her but she was busy in the office and only took a day and returned.  No further conversation was made.  Our colleagues in Freetown told us that if we want houses we should go and stay in Freetown.

Commissioner Torto: I just want to know where the problem lies; maybe it was because you were not registered at that time with the Norwegian Refugee Council.

Solomon Cooper: The Association in Freetown, to be precise, are not fair with us. They are aware that amputees are in Kenema they should have informed us that they had formed an Association that they would like us to join.  It is only today that I know about the existence of such an Association.  Now we will do a follow-up with them in Freetown.

Commissioner Torto: In fact we have two of these Organizations; we have the War Wounded and the Amputees Association. Please make effort to find out.  I know it is very disheartening to listening to your ordeals. Under what condition were you filmed?

Solomon Cooper: I don’t even know, I got the information from friends.

Commissioner Torto: Have you contacted the Director of Action Aid?

Solomon Cooper: I went to there office in Lumley, the matter was reported to Sam Musa, who was the coordinator, I even told him that I have contacted my lawyer and it is still not late, I am going to pursue the case.

Commissioner Torto: I encourage you to pursue the case. It is your right; you need to stand up for your right.  It is even worst to be shown on the Internet.  The next issue is the five hundred dollars; after the launching of the track, whom did they give this money to pass on to you people?

Solomon Cooper: The money was not given to us directly; we heard that the Nigerian Contingent of UNAMSIL donated it to the Amputee Camp in Aberdeen.  Before then, our coordinator told us the Nigerian had called him  saying that they love the album “Good heart Kombra”.  We thought that some of that money should be given to us.

Commissioner Torto: Have you contacted the regional office to know whether the money was for you?

Solomon Cooper: They said the money was dedicated to Amputees, but, as you had rightly said that it was because we were not registered that was why we did not benefit from the gifts.

Commissioner Torto: Make sure you find out, 115 amputees have their dependants; make an effort to find out who actually received the money.  You are not really sure who received the money.  I want you to make a follow up; the money may not be much, but you are entitled to a portion.

Commissioner Torto: Every other statement is taken in good part; it is being recorded. But those are the few areas you should be sensitive about.  Especially concerning the film that they had shown over Internet; take it up even with the human rights section, explore everything within your knowledge.  I will encourage you to register with the Association in Freetown; it is not too late.  Follow up that as well.  Thank you.

Leader of Evidence: Is your organization representing the amputees and war wounded in Kenema Town or Kenema District?

Solomon Cooper: Yes, it is an umbrella Association for the entire Eastern Region.

Leader of Evidence: We have met the Amputees Association in Bo and Makeni; I want to know whether your association is an independent one.  I want to know whether in the places you have mentioned there are amputees that came from Freetown, which means that they had members all over the country.  I want you to clarify that point.

Solomon Cooper: In those houses built in the various areas were internally displaced persons who went and settled in Freetown. What they did was when they were asked to go back; they said they had nowhere to go.  For us in Kenema when we were asked to go out, we obeyed instructions.  We could not have gone to Freetown since there was no access road; the rebels had occupied the route to Freetown.  We had anticipated going to Liberia, which was why we were based in Kenema.  There were Amputees out of Kenema, who registered with us whilst they were here.  We catered not specifically for Kenema, but for the entire district. What we should do now is to register with the national body.

Leader of Evidence – So the most urgent need for the amputees in Kenema is shelter and food, is that so?

Solomon Cooper: When I was explaining I spoke about Red Cross. Our most urgent need is Shelter.

Commissioner Marcus -Jones: Now we have heard your testimony, do you have questions for the Commission?

Solomon Cooper: In the TRC before giving a testimony we are asked to take an oath and questions are raised as to whether witnesses would recognize the perpetrator, is TRC not the witness for the Special Court?

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: I must say I am disappointed at you.  Commissioner Torto came to Kenema and did some Sensitisation; since we came we’ve been to the radio station for three nights sensitising people about the mandate of TRC.  And we’ve been explaining the differences between TRC and Special Court.  Even this morning I mentioned that witnesses had nothing to fear, we have nothing to do with Special Court we are different.  The Special Court is a body with money, they do their own investigation, they have investigators they can find out what they want to know.  They are not depending on TRC at all.  Special Court has made statements that we have no business in common.  The only link we have is that both TRC and Special Court are working for peace and justice in the country.  The Special Court will indict people and at the end of the trial, they give their verdict, so that peace will prevail.  Whereas TRC has nothing to do with that, what we want is to reconcile people to bring permanent peace in Sierra Leone.   Those statements we took from people are with us and are confidential documents.  All the staff took an oath of confidentiality and if they break it they will be sacked. Have you any other question?

Commissioner Torto:  Let me add to what our Commissioner has said. We’ve heard that there was a doubt as to whether we have made points clear to people, or people don’t want to understand.  And if somebody as enlightened as you can still come out and make a statement like this, then we need to double our effort as to make it clear to people.  In order for you to understand more, we will hand over a booklet to you so that you know the difference between the TRC and the Special Court.   After the testimony you will receive the book and help us to propagate the difference between the TRC and Special Court.

Solomon Cooper: It is a deliberate question, because people were having different views about the role of the TRC. When you listened to the jingles you will understand better.   The hearings in Freetown took the whole of the day but in Kenema before six in the evening the session ended.  Maybe they had not been getting the meaning of TRC.  Sensitisation had not gone down well, for people to come out and talk.  People should have come out to talk in the open.  We have gone to some workshops were people spoke about how they chopped off people’s hand.  If we have not heard that, then TRC has to do more in Kenema.  For me Mama Bondu and the Leader of Evidence did convince me to come out.  In Freetown, people watch TV and they are aware of the work of TRC.  People in Kenema are not sensitised enough to know the difference between the TRC and Special Court.  In this hearing nobody has come out to testify that he had killed the relative of somebody in the audience and the process of reconciliation done; it has never happened here.  If this recommendation is forwarded to Government and then Government fails to implement it, what will the Commission do?

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Sensitisation was done even before we started the hearings phase.  I will answer your question.   The recommendations will be handed to government; the civil society will have to do something so that the recommendations will be implemented.  Somebody like you should be able to explain to your association and to other people as well. In Kenema we have a District and a Regional coordinator.  If you have your questions you can put it to them.  The Commission also received submissions from individuals and organizations; if you so desire to make one it is not too late.  Now that I have reassured you that your recommendation will be considered, have you any recommendations to make to the Commission?

Solomon Cooper: Yes, I recommend the provision of shelter, education, medical facilities food and a Centre for skills training for all Amputees.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thank you very much for your recommendations, it will be included in our report. 

DATE:                30TH May 2003.

WITNESS NAME:        Frederick Lansana(Muslim)

WITNESS NO:        3/20/4088


 The Presiding Commissioner, Justice Laura Marcus Jones, administered an oath on the Koran.


Frederick Lansana:In 1997 when AFRC took over power from the legitimate Tejan Kabbah government, rebels came from the bush and joined the military.  We were in Luwoma area and whilst in the bush we ran short of food.  People were moving from their location to search for food.  One day, I left Luwoma for Tongo to collect food.  When I arrived the soldiers and rebels had mounted checkpoints.  One of the soldiers accused me of being a kamajor informant.  I was stripped naked and beaten.   They took me to the PRO, Dennis Mannah.  Upon my arrival I was beaten and asked to enter the basement of a building where I spent the night.  The next morning, they took me out and Dennis Mannah reported that, I used to give information to the Kamajors about the rebels; I was flogged and they stabbed me with a bayonet.  I was locked in the guardroom where I spent three days. They told me that I was going to die in three days time. We were all lined up. Fortunately for me Captain Demor who was the Captain in Charge of the Secretariat in Kenema saw me and instructed that I should be taken to his office.  Whilst in his office he advised them not to kill me. 

He told them he had instructed the Kamajors to join them; if they started killing kamajors, then they will not come out.  He advised me to go and take a bath.  A soldier, Morie, was assigned to accompany me and he told me that if I returned to the office it will be dangerous; he assisted me to escape and I went to the Segbwema Hospital.  That was during the time of the ECOMOG intervention.

CommissionerMarcus Jones: Thank you for your coming.  We are sorry you suffered in that way.  You said in your statement that you were given a cut on your palm have you got the mark.  Do you mind to stand and show us the cut?

Frederick Lansana –  (Shows scar to Commissioners).

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Why do you think they did that to you?

Frederick Lansana : I believe they just wanted to be wicked.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Why your palm?

Frederick Lansana: They hit me with the butt of the gun when I resisted they used the bayonet.

Commissioner Torto: Thank you Mr Lansana, Thank God nothing more serious happened to you.  Where is Dennis Mannah who gave you that cut?

Frederick Lansana : He is still in Tongo, even when the Statement Takers went to obtain statement I told them he is in Tongo.   He is an RUF combatant.

Commissioner Torto: Is it possible to invite him here if we made the effort?

Frederick Lansana: He is still there.

Commissioner Torto: What about Captain Demoh who helped you escape?

Frederick Lansana – I’ve not seen him since then.

Commissioner Torto: Thank you.

Leader of Evidence: You said you were accused of being an informant for the kamajors, is that correct?

Frederick Lansana: No.

Leader of Evidence: You were not a kamajor?

Frederick: No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Can you tell us something about Dennis Mannah, what is he doing in Tongo?

Frederick Lansana: He is a miner in Tongo.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: If we are able to invite him, will you at any stage be ready to meet with him?

Frederick Lansana: For the sake of peace I ‘m ready.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Well we will make the   effort for the reconciliation process. Have you any question to ask the Commission?

Frederick Lansana: I have no question.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Do you have any recommendation for the Commission?

Frederick Lansana: Yes, the road from Tongo to Luwoma is not motorable, there is no good drinking water, infrastructure like community centres and the rebels destroyed schools.  

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thank you very much Frederick Lansana, if we succeed in getting Denis Mannah we will let you know.

DATE:                30TH May 2003.

WITNESS NAME:            Musu Koroma(Muslim)

WITNESS NO:            1/25/138


An oath on Koran administered by the Presiding Commissioner, Justice Laura Marcus Jones.


Musu Koroma: We were in Mano Kotohun when we heard that rebels had attacked the town of Talia.  We fled from there and spent a week in a nearby village.  We later heard that the rebels had reached close to our village and left for Kenema.  We were staying in Kenema when we ran out of food, so we separated, and some went into the bush whilst others went in search of food.

We were given supplies and I sold part of it and bought two gross cigarettes; I went with it to Talia and I was doing business, when the soldiers informed we that they had received a letter from the rebels of an imminent attack on our village.  Their intention was to fight with the Kamajors.   They told the kamajors about that and suggested an ambush at Banana Highland.  However, the secret was leaked by one of the soldiers.   Later, one of the soldiers, Mohamed, came with an RPG gun.  He went to the Headquarter close to where we were staying. As he was about to enter, they stopped him from entering the office.  He was dead drunk and he put the RPG on the ground with force and it exploded.  Two of my sisters who were sitting in the veranda died.  By that time, I was lying in the room.  I then saw a blazing fire at the door; I thought that the rebels had entered the town.  After the sound died down, I came out of my room and saw four dead bodies, including my sisters’ on the veranda.   I was shouting going towards the town, people heard me cry and they all came out; due to the explosion I was half deaf. He was matched to the headquarters for interrogation because the fragment also hit one of his colleagues.  A soldier called Staff Yaja, had two wives, one of whom said that her own child resembles the husband; the co-wife, upon hearing this took the child and wanted to kill the child.   When the woman came back to breastfeed her baby she couldn’t find the child.  She reported the matter to her husband, all of us who were in the surrounding were asked to come out, and we were manhandled by Staff Yaja and his men.  Staff Yaja was claiming that the Kamajors and civilians in the village did the act.

Pastor and a soldier, Iceman, told us to go in search of the child.  We followed the bush path and luckily for us we saw the child lying on the grass crying.  We brought the child back to the village, and she was all right.  The lady was mercilessly beaten and she finally admitted to stealing the child.  She said that her husband had said that her co-wife’s child resembles him more than her own child.  The child was taken to hospital in Segbwema.  The lady and her husband were asked out of the village by the kamajors.  Soldiers became inhuman to us, so I decided to come to Kenema.  We were in Kenema when we saw Kamajors moving towards Mambu Street; we all abandoned the area fearing the battle between Brima and his group. They were many.  There was no chance for us to go out, particularly those of us who stayed by the hotel. There was a great battle in that area.

One day they ordered us out and looted our possessions, and burnt down our houses.  We who were in Mambu Street only survived by the grace of God.  We eventually came to Jojoima and settled in the bush. We spent 12 days in the camp.  The juntas went in the area and told us that they wanted peace and we should move out from the bush.  They captured some of us, some were wounded and some were killed.  Jojoima is not our hometown, those who were citizens decided to hide at night and we followed them.  We suffered a lot in that village and eventually came to Kenema.

In Kenema a boy who claimed to be a kamajor, informed us that he had killed our brother who was a soldier.  Since then we were separated from his wife and children.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: We are sorry that you suffered all round.  How far are these places to Kenema?  Talia and Boijibu, just give us an idea.

Musu Koroma: Boijibu is about 16 miles from Kenema and Talia is half way from Kenema to Segbwema.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: What about Jojoima?

Musu Koroma: Jojoima is in Kailahun District.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Is it true that you have to roam all these places because the fighting forces made Kenema a hell for you?

Musu Koroma: Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: So you suffered from the Kamajor, SLA and Junta?

Musu Koroma : I didn’t suffer in the hands of rebels, but in the hands of the kamajors and SLA.  The only time I can recall suffering in the hands of the rebels was when there was a fight between the rebels/soldier and kamajors.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: In your written statement, you mentioned that your uncle and father were killed by SLA but you did not mention it in your verbal statement, is that correct?

Musu Koroma: the juntas killed them.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Why was your brother who was a soldier, killed by a Kamajor?

Musu Koroma:It was due to the animosity between the soldiers and kamajors.  If a soldier set eyes on kamajor he is dead and vice versa.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: What happened to your husband, was he a soldier or a kamajor?

Musu Koroma: My husband was not a member of any fighting force that was why we suffered.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Can you tell us how long the rivalry and fighting between the kamajors and soldiers went on?

Musu Koroma: They fought twice, the last one, we could not withstand so we moved out.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: How long did they go on fighting, was it a period of two or six months?

Musu Koroma: It didn’t last for a month.

Commissioner Torto:  Thank you Musu Koroma, can you just go over the facts of your story, as to why the child was stolen?

Musu Koroma: She took the child because her husband said the child resembles him more than her own children.

Commissioner Torto: So what did she want to do with the child?

Musu Koroma: She wanted to poison the child.

Commissioner Torto: With caustic soda?

Musu Koroma: Yes.

Commissioner Torto: Was he a member of any of the fighting forces?

Musu Koroma: He was a soldier.

Commissioner Torto: What happened to the soldier who dropped the RPG, you said he did not die on the spot?

Musu Koroma: He died late in the night.

Commissioner Torto: Do you remember the kamajor who told you that he killed your brother?

Musu Koroma: Yes.

Commissioner Torto: Do you know where he is now?

Musu Koroma: I heard that he is in Zimmi.

Commissioner Torto: Are you certain, or did somebody tell you he is there?

Musu Koroma: Somebody told me he is in Zimmi; I have never been to Zimmi before.

Leader of Evidence: What does the name Sergeant Yaya remind you of,  who is he?

Musu Koroma: He was the second in command in Talia.

Leader of Evidence: Second in command of which group?

Musu Koroma: He was a soldier.

Leader of Evidence: Who was Wanja?

Musu Koroma: Wanja was a Ground Commander.

Leader of Evidence: Who is Fatmata Samura?

Musu Koroma: A witness who can bear witness to my testimony.

Leader of Evidence: Who is Chief Sama?

Musu Koroma: He is another witness that can testify of how the RPG exploded and killed my sisters.

Leader of Evidence: Brima Koroma as well?

Musu Koroma: Yes.

Leader of Evidence: Are Wanja and Sergeant Yayah responsible for the death of your sisters?

Musu Koroma: No.

Leader of Evidence: Do you know the names of those who were responsible for the death of your sister, brother and father?

Musu Koroma: Mohamed killed my sister; he is dead.  Sao killed my brother.

Leader of Evidence: Is Sao still alive?

Musu Koroma: I heard he is still alive, but I have never set eyes on him.

Leader of Evidence: Do you know where he is?

Musu Koroma: I heard that he is in Zimmi.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: The Kamajors and SLA’s, who made life more miserable for you in your town?

Musu Koroma :It was the SLA’s.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Did you see any of the SLA’s here in Kenema?

Musu Koroma: Wanja was here at one time but he is in Freetown now.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Did you say you don’t see any of them in Kenema?

Musu Koroma: Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thank you very much for coming, we see that life was so miserable for you and you had to be running all over the place.  If these perpetrators are here they would have been ashamed of themselves; I know we are all yearning for peace to prevail. Have you any question you want to ask the Commission?

Musu Koroma: Yes. When the TRC staffs were passing around to take statements, we gave them statements in our houses, but I am explaining now in public.  My concern is that the perpetrators, if they have relatives here, they’ve heard us; would they not repeat the same act to us?  Most people tried to prevent me from giving this testimony.  Because I am a Sierra Leonean and I love my country and love development for myself, I told them I must come forward to explain.  Even if I happen to die as a result of that, I will not be a stranger in heaven; I have my father and relatives who are there already.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: When you made your statement, you indicated that you wouldn’t mind to participate in the hearings in public that was why you were invited.  We wish we would have more people of your type with the courage and determination to come out.   If the relatives of the perpetrators are here, they will be thinking to correct the wrongs of their children and try to amend them, not to insult you again.  People cannot do wrong and expect not to be told about the wrong they have done.  The mandate of the TRC is that people should hear about the evil they have done and decide to change so that peace would prevail in our country. People thought they had achieved something by wrong doing; they have destroyed the little we have acquired in the country and made life miserable for themselves, so sensible people will be thinking about better education and development in their different communities and to be happy to be alive.  When you leave here you can talk to our briefer about witness protection.

Commissioner Torto: Let me explain about witness protection for the understanding of you and others who are afraid of testifying.   We did not think your testimony would cause any problem at all.  If you think your testimony is going to cause you problem, let us know, we have a witness protection mechanism.  If you think that people in the audience or radio will disturb you, let us know, we have a mechanism to forestall such situations.  We want you to be happy, rather than frustrated, for coming.  It is no secret that the kamajors and the SLAs were fighting instead of protecting the civilians; we have heard testimonies about such atrocities caused by these two groups.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Do you have questions to ask the Commission?

Musu Koroma:No question.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Do you have recommendations to make to the Commission for onward transmission to the Government?

Musu Koroma: Yes.  In our village, Manokotohun, we have no school.  Our children want to be educated, we conduct school session in a hut; during the rains there is no School.  The road leading to our village is destroyed, we need Constructions of new roads; in upper Nongowa chiefdom we need a secondary school; this has led to a lot of school dropouts.  I am appealing to the government of Tejan Kabbah, to assist lactating mothers to educate our children; if they were educated there would have been no war. All of us in Mambu street, our houses were destroyed; we are appealing to the government for the reconstruction of our houses; the women are appealing for micro credit facilities in our chiefdom.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thank you.  Our briefer will talk to you on the issues of micro-credit and training facilities. All your recommendations will be included in our report, thank you for coming; you are such a sensible and progressive woman.

DATE:             30TH May 2003.

WITNESS NAME:     Seibatu Kallon (Muslim)

WITNESS NO:     24/04/03


The Presiding Commissioner, Justice Laura Marcus Jones, administered the oath on the Koran.


Seibatu Kallon: My village, Barsolia, is behind the Kambui Hills and was frequently attacked by soldiers.  They killed our people and burnt down our houses.  It was during the reign of the AFRC.  At that time the issue of Kamajor movement was centred in Bo.  At about 4 a.m soldiers and rebels attacked our village; the soldiers advised us to go into our houses and shut the doors because the fighting was fierce.  They advised us not to go to the bush because of stray bullets.  Four of us went under the bed, whilst other civilians who were familiar with rebel attacks ran into the bush.  Since that was my first experience, I heeded the advice of the soldiers.  We were in the house whilst my husband ran to the bush. When the Kamajors retreated and left the village to the AFRC soldiers, one of them knocked on our door and threatened to kill us if we didn’t open the door.  We opened the door and four of us came out.   They released the three girls and the little kids and I was taken away. My captives told me that I was beautiful and they are taking me along with them; I should not fear, they would not kill me.  The Commander told me that I was going to be his wife and he would take care of me.  When they retreated there was only one of them who were left behind and he set the house on fire.  The commander, Papa, who forced me to be his wife, was killed.

Another soldier and a female soldier ordered me to carry a bushel of rice for them.  Before Papa was killed he had a G3 gun; after his death other soldiers took the gun from him and abandoned his body.  It was during the heavy rains at that time and the female soldier, Musu, told me that I am no longer going to be part of them that they are going to kill me.  I pleaded with them that I preferred going with them than to be killed.  Because I mentioned God’s name they were annoyed all the more and said they were not going to release me.  In the evening they took me to the farm, behind the cemetery and Musu hit me with the gun butt. Mohamed pleaded on my behalf and they gave him an ultimatum that if he wanted to be alive, he should stay away from my issue.  I fell unconscious when she hit me with the gun butt. 

They put my hands on a stick and started chopping my hands from my fingers up to the point where it is now. And she threatened to slaughter me from the back fearing that I will identify them in the hereafter.  Because of the wounds and cuts all over my body they abandoned me thinking that I was dead. 

The other group that came wanted to rape me, but somebody told them not to rape a dead woman.  I was bleeding profusely and there was blood all over my face, I couldn’t walk properly but I staggered until I get to the town.  It was exactly a mile.  I want to believe that my mother’s ghost and God led me.  I heard somebody speaking to me saying that if I go to the hospital, I would not die that I should follow him; I followed him.  Whilst they were cutting my hands they were calling names like Brima, Mohamed, they were over 200.  I followed the ghost until I reached the town, she advised me to enter the compound and lie down and if people discovered me they will come to my aid.

My uncle also met them and he was severely beaten with a stick that had nails on it.  He was accused of being a Juju man who prevented them from entering the village.  I lay there drinking from a bucket of water that later turned to blood.  Each time I put my mouth in the bucket, the blood on my face would spill into the bucket.  I wasted a lot of blood that night.  When my uncle met me in that condition he was terrified he ran way from me.

He called some people to help him carry me to the hospital. Because of my condition they told him that before reaching the hospital at Kenema I would die. He insisted and eventually I was taken to the hospital but I did not receive any medical treatment due to lack of money.  My Uncle who was in Bo finally came and he removed me from that hospital to Dr Banya’s hospital, were I was admitted for nine months. My sister, Yata, was with me in the hospital.  She was very helpful to me, she used to sell salt so that we would have food.

The doctor said except the fingers were removed from my hands it would not heal up, so he amputated the right hand and two fingers from my left hand.  I have only three fingers now.  I was not cured in those nine months, my sister who was assisting me was pregnant and her husband insisted that we must go back to the village.  Rebels again attacked us, so we spent most of our time in the bush.  My Mother, Mammy Kallon, took me to Tongo. My sister then gave birth but the baby died shortly after his birth.  We were in Tongo throughout the reign of the AFRC Junta.  Whilst in Tongo we were under constant rebel harassment and this made us to leave for Segbwema. Segbwema was also attacked.

One day, when I was in the hospital, one day one of the perpetrators met me in the hospital, with a bullet wound on his mouth.  He was shocked when he saw me thinking that I will identify him.  He pleaded with the doctor to treat him fast because he wanted to go somewhere.  He couldn’t look into my eyes.  After receiving treatment he hurriedly left the hospital. After he left, I told my sister and she was annoyed with me, saying that she would have ordered his arrest.   I told her I would not do anything to hurt anybody but I leave everything to God, as he is the best judge.

Another time we went to the Town Field in kenema.  There again I met two of the other perpetrators, and one of them said, “look at the girl whom we thought was dead” I told them that I am created by God and he made it possible for me to be alive.  Since then I have never set eyes on any of them.  I am still suffering from the pains on my head and all over my body.  Because I had wasted so much blood I now experience problems with my eyesight.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Your story is a very sad one; we sympathize with you.  It is clear that you were not meant to die.  So having recovered your life, now, try and make the full use of it.  We believe you had a guardian angel, I suppose that angel will still continue to be with you.  From the testimony we heard about people who were abducted and taken into the bush and were about to be killed and most times, women pleaded on their behalf, why do you think this female soldier was so wicked to you?

Seibatu Kallon: I don’t know.  Only God knows.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Are you still receiving medical attention?

Seibatu Kallon :No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: I think you should still continue treatment, while taking your baby to the hospital you should also try to see the Doctor. 

CommissionerTorto:Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I admire the fact that you have started the process of reconciliation even, though you were still suffering from pains, you refused to identify them at this age. I congratulate you.  Under what circumstances was Papa killed? 

Seibatu Kallon: He was killed by another group of Juntas.

Commissioner Torto: Under what circumstances was it by accident or fight?

Seibatu Kallon: He was trying to protect other people and he was killed.

Commissioner Torto: Was he protecting you?

Seibatu Kallon: Yes, he died protecting us.

Commissioner Torto: Which particular group of juntas?

Seibatu Kallon: He was killed by the kamajor.

Commissioner Torto: Were you the only victim or were others were involved?

Seibatu Kallon: I was the only one who sustained wounds but others were killed, including my Uncle.

Leader of Evidence: Could you tell us the name of your Uncle who was killed?

Seibatu Kallon: Mohamed Kabala

Leader of Evidence: Who actually told you to stay in your houses?

Seibatu Kallon: The kamajors advised us to stay in our houses.

Leader of Evidence: You said when you were unconscious the rebels attempted to rape you again, does that mean you were raped initially?

Seibatu Kallon: No.

Leader of Evidence: You said you met some of these perpetrators, do you know their names?

Seibatu Kallon: They are Amadu, Mohamed and Bockarie.

Leader of Evidence: Do you know their real names?

Seibatu Kallon: I heard their colleagues calling their first names.

Leader of Evidence: Have you come in contact with Musu?

Seibatu Kallon: No.

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

Seibatu Kallon: I am an orphan; I don’t have relatives, only my sister and the man I am staying with whom I had this child. We are living in a deplorable condition.   We don’t even have a room of our own, we sleep in the sitting room, we have to fetch firewood in the bush and sell.  The person who went to collect me met me on a local mattress in the market.  I am appealing for assistance, I don’t have food and shelter and I have pains all over my body.   I ask the Commission to assist me with my child.  I would also need medical assistance for my eyes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: When we finish this session, our briefer will assist in that area.  Any other question?

Seibatu Kallon: After my explanation, what would have happened if these perpetrators had been here?

Commissioner Marcus-Jones – Nothing would have happened.  They would have felt ashamed of themselves, and if you had named them, we would have invited them to say something for themselves, and if they had admitted their wrongdoing, we could have, arranged for them to ask for your forgiveness.   Any more questions?

Seibatu Kallon: No more questions.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Do you have recommendations to make to the Commission for onward transmission to the Government?

Seibatu Kallon: Food, shelter, medical assistance and the welfare of my child.  I cannot do anything for myself, I don’t have my hands to do hard work and cannot see clearly.  I am no more beautiful, even if I am well dressed.  If I lose my eyesight then I have no future.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Our briefer will refer you for medical help and other possible means.   As for beauty, the outward appearance is not important, what is within you makes you what you are.  You will surely come across people who will appreciate your worth, you don’t have to put yourself down; raise your head high, you are meant to live if not, you wouldn’t be here now.   So make the best of out of it for the sake of your baby and yourself.   Thank you for coming.

DATE:                30TH May 2003.

WITNESS NAME:        Coomber Kanneh (Muslim)

WITNESS NO:        3/20/4860

The Presiding Commissioner, Justice Laura Marcus Jones, administered an oath on the Koran.


Coomber Kanneh: I was in my village, Lalehun, when RUF rebels overpowered the Kamajors, and took over town.   I fled to Kenema with my family. We were in Kenema struggling; going into the bush to fetch firewood. On a Friday one of our brothers, a Kamajor from Lalehun, told us that Kamajors had captured Tongo.  We were all happy and I told my wife to return to the village.  We then decided to take some money and domestic tools along with us. We departed. As we approached Manogay, we met the Kamajor checkpoint and they asked us where we were going.   We were four in number; my brother Mohamed, and his wife, my wife and I.  As we went further we were apprehended again; we told them that we were informed that our brothers had captured Tongo so we wanted to go and check on our relatives.  They ordered us to pack all the items aside, and took us, to a house, locked the door, and one of the kamajors spoke through the window and asked us to open the window.  He pointed a gun through the window; we were very uncomfortable. They took us out one after the other, to a place between Kenema and lower Bambara at the bridge. As they took the first one we heard two gunshots, that was what they did for the three people and it came to my turn. I refused, but I was forced to go.  On my arrival I found the others still alive.  They took our belongings from us and asked us to go back to Kenema.

However, we left the village and on our way back to Kenema, we saw a group of Kamajors, one of them called my name and said if they had not known me they would have killed me I begged them to give me easy access to Lalehun.  I managed to reach Lalehun.   I told my wife that she must return to Kenema, and narrate our ordeals to our relatives.

My Uncle who was in Segbwema was a Town Chief. He was happy when he heard that Kamajors had taken over Lalehun and he attempted to go. On his way, he met some kamajors having a meeting; he was arrested and accused of feeding the AFRC soldiers at Lalehun.  They told him that whatever they said, he must accept.   He was frightened and he was stripped naked, with a block placed on his head. They were blowing a trumpet behind him in the village saying that chief had arrived. When they reached Lalehun, my Uncle told me that they had captured him. I wanted to go with him but he told me to stay behind, as they are terrible people and I should not under rate them.    We went to the guardroom the following morning and met two other prisoners with my uncle making a total of three.

The kamajors, one with a knife, one with a gun and the other with an empty five-gallon container that was open at the top, led my uncle away to some area. We were watching them from at a distance and we saw them descending a hill and they chopped off my uncle’s head.    When they returned, the five-gallon container was full of my Uncle’s head and other parts of his body.  We were asked to dance and they placed my Uncle’s head on the veranda. I told them I that I will not dance. One of my Uncle’s friends Samuel was called to dance as well.   They met him pounding coffee; he had about Le250, 000, which he gave to them, and he ran into the bush. Those who killed my uncle are Sheku, Sahr, Brima Jalloh, and Vandy Momoh.   After two days, one of their colleagues, a Kamajors named Laggah with a band on his head, came and asked for his own portion of the meat.  He was directed to the scene and  he went  to the spot and we saw him coming back with a plastic bag containing the body of my uncle.  My uncle was a carpenter; he left his children with me.  That is my story.

CommissionerMarcus-Jones: Thank you, that was a very heart-rending story and we notice how distressed you are.  Sorry about the way they killed your uncle, so heartless. You said the people who did these things were Kamajors, is that correct?

Coomber Kanneh: Yes, they were kamajors.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: What reason did they give for killing your uncle?

Coomber Kanneh: They accused him of supporting the rebels by cooking for them.  However, he was forced as the Town Chief, to cook for the rebels when they were at Lalehun.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: From what I gathered, is it that they were going to use your uncle’s head for food?

Coomber Kanneh: Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Did you actually see them cooking or you saw them preparing the food for cooking?

Coomber Kanneh: They killed him just to eat his body.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Can you give information about the process, how they cooked, where it was done?

Coomber Kanneh: It happened in Lalehun.  I saw it happen. When they carried parts of the body in a five-gallon container.  They were selling marijuana, alcohol and some other drugs at a spot. By then I used to smoke and drink so I went to the spot, and I met them cutting the body into small pieces.  It was a very horrible sight.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Can you identify any of these people; are they around your area?

Coomber Kanneh: Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Where are they?

Coomber Kanneh: One of them is dead.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: which one is dead?

Coomber Kanneh: The one who asked for his own portion.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: What is his name?

Coomber Kanneh: Lagga.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: What are the names of those who are still alive?

Coomber Kanneh: Sheku Sahr, Brima Jago, Vandy Womah; at that time I never knew his real name he was Vandy Kawa.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Do you know were they are, do you know their addresses?

Coomber Kanneh: One is still in Lalehun.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Which one is in Lalehun?

Coomber Kanneh: Sheku Sahr.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Can you give a definite address?

Coomber Kanneh: He is around the market area close to the Court Barray, in a town called Tohun, going toward Tongo.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Where is Brima Jago.

Coomber Kanneh: I heard that he is staying in Semewahun.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Do you know the area?

Coomber Kanneh: can’t tell.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: What about Vandy Woma?

Coomber Kanneh: He is in Panguma.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Which area in Panguma?

Coomber Kanneh: I don’t know the area; if you want to get him I will try to locate him.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: it is a pity that you are only coming today; will you be willing to meet with these people if we can get them?

Coomber Kanneh: Yes, I am willing.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Are you willing to meet and reconcile with them?

Coomber Kanneh: I have forgiven them in my heart, I am not talking on behalf of my entire family, my sisters and brothers; I don’t even want to recall the incident.  When I told them that I want to reconcile they frowned at me.  I told them that they don’t even know what they did.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Why did you say they don’t know what they did?

Coomber Kanneh: Whatever happens is in the hands of God.  I am not revengeful.

Commissioner Torto: Thank you for this revealing testimony, I’ll ask questions just to clarify some issues. When they led your uncle away you did not follow him, you later found out that he was killed, how do you think he was killed?

Coomber Kanneh: They brought his head.

Commissioner Torto: You did not hear gunshot?

Coomber Kanneh: Yes.

Commissioner Torto: So you went to the site and found bloodstains on a wooden plank, which meant his head was chopped off.

Coomber Kanneh: They did not kill him with a stick, but a knife.

Commissioner Torto: Which part of his body did you see in the five-gallon container?

Coomber Kanneh: His liver, heart and part of his flesh.

Commissioner Torto: Did you see his limbs?

Coomber Kanneh: No.

Commissioner Torto: How then, were you sure that they were human parts?

Coomber Kanneh: I was convinced when I saw his head with one of the boys and I identified it.

Commissioner Torto: Was that the only incidence of cannibalism you know of, that was done by the Kamajors?

Coomber Kanneh: There are many others, which are not important to me.

Commissioner Torto: So you want me to believe that it was the usual habit of the kamajors that your uncle was not the only victim? I want to know whether it is the constant practice of the Kamajors.

Coomber Kanneh: Even if it happened elsewhere it was not my concern.

Leader of Evidence: You mentioned that your brother Mohamed was a Kamajor. Was he around when this incident took place?

Coomber Kanneh: He was not present.

Leader of Evidence: Did you inform him later?

Coomber Kanneh: I did not tell him, on his return he heard about it from other people.

Leader of Evidence: What was his reaction?

Coomber Kanneh: Mohamed is not my biological brother but a native of the same town, so he hadn’t much to do.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Have you questions you want to ask about the Commission?

Coomber Kanneh: Yes, in a family there is a breadwinner, no matter what happens. He was my mother’s elder brother, my mother died before him. What I am going through is really serious.  I want to know if you will be of help to me, until my problem is settled down. I am a cow without a tail, no one to take care of my dependents and me.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: So that is the question you want to ask?   What are your recommendations?

Coomber Kanneh: I am an asthma patient; I want you to help with my health and accommodation in our place; the construction of Schools and other infrastructure.

Coomber Kanneh: I am appealing with the president to offer help through my recommendations

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thank you for coming and we are sorry about the death of your uncle.

DATE:            30th May 2003.

WITNESS NAME:    Borbor Orlando Brown (Christian)



The Presiding Commissioner, Justice Laura Marcus Jones, administered an oath on the Bible.


Borbor Orlando Brown: When the war struck in 1991, rebels entered Bunumbu. Our late Paramount Chief A.M. Farma, the late Pa Joki and the Chiefdom Speaker called a chiefdom meeting. They were concerned that there was a war and it was coming to our Chiefdom.  Our chief and a few others left to speak to the Inspector General, Bambay Kamara.   They brought the ULIMO fighters and SSD; I was instructed to work with them, because I am conversant with the terrain.   They were replaced by the SLA.   In 1992 the Military Coup of NPRC took place.  The Resident Minister was Tom Nyuma, who set up a Security Network in our town. Dr Lavalie was the Chairman and I was an Executive member of the committee.  I served in that capacity until the rebels took over Bunumbu. Lieutenant Kabia, Pa Abu Mansaray and I were separated from each other.

After we were repelled, I went to Panguma with the Chief and we later came to Kenema.  I knew the rebels would enter Tongo so I came with the Chief.  On 5th February 1994, I was at my place, 4 Sembabu Lane at 9.00a.m. when I saw two vehicles full of military men.  The soldiers told me that Brigadier J.O.Y. Turay wanted to see me at Brigade Headquarters. I wanted to get dressed but they did not allow me; I was pushed out of the house and there was pandemonium in the area.   At the headquarters, I met Brigadier Gottor, Brigadier Turay, Paul Thomas and Brigadier Andrew Koroma and an MIB Lieutenant.  They told me that a captured rebel had testified that I was training them in Weima to use the AK 47; I told them that I was under the military and the SSD, if I was guilty of such an offence Kabia and Abu would have arrested me.  I told them I am not guilty. A soldier slapped me and Idriss threatened to kill me; I told them if that is the will of God, so let it be.   He said they are next to God; whatever they say will surely come to pass. They took me to another room where Paul Thomas, Major Andrew Koroma and other soldiers were.  They said that this war is not a war for hunters; they took out a list and  said that 25 of us will have to die.  No. 1 on the list was Alpha Lavalie; I was the second on the list.  I reminded them that if the rebels had implicated me I would have been arrested long ago.

Because of that, I was given several slaps and was taken to the guardroom and detained.   Lieutenant Kabia told me not to bother myself as he had worked with me and I am faithful to him.  They brought out my SLPP executive card.  They asked if I knew anything about the card and I said yes.  I told them I acquired it when the then President Momoh declared that the ban was lifted on political parties. When   Lieutenant Kabia, in trying to defend me told them the accusation was baseless, he was slapped.  They commented that a Temne man is defending a Mende man.  The boy who they said told them I trained rebels to use the AK 47 said that burning cigarette stubs were put on his body for him to answer that I trained them. My wife later informed me that all my possessions had been looted.  The man told my wife to bring me food.  Whilst I was eating J.O.Y. Turay came with Idriss. He asked who gave me food, kicked it and ordered that I should be taken out and stripped naked.  They kicked me all over my body and I was tied up, with my hands and feet behind my back. (Shows the scar).  I was brought outside and all the children around came watching me.  They hung me on a stick naked.  They then put a rock on my back.  My Chiefs heard my cry.  The NPRC Officers were standing outside.  I asked Gottor how he could stand and see me being disgraced when he attended school with my brother.  J.O.Y. brought out a Camera and a recorder.  He said that if I don’t admit he would not release me.  I asked him if my face resembles a rebel.  They started putting burning cigarette stubs on me.  I told them that they invited us to fight with them.  I placed a curse on them and one said it was because they hadn’t killed me.
They sold the copies of my nude photograph in Bo, saying that I was a rebel.  J.O.Y. Turay tortured me by pouring kerosene all over my body, ready to set fire on me.  I prayed that somebody would save me.  Shortly, I heard Tom Nyumah call Lieutenant Kabia and ask him whether the allegations were true. Lieutenant Kabia said the he had tried to defend me but J.O.Y. Turay had slapped him.

The SSD said that if they had suspected that before, they would have arrested me.    He took out the card and said that SLPP brought war in this country.  Tom Nyuma said that if they had brought politics in the war even if I am an SLPP supporter I have fought for APC and NPRC.  Alpha Lavalie promised to take the matter to State House, saying that even if I had committed such an offence they should have met to discuss such issues.  Then one of the soldiers asked if Dr Lavalie will be alive to go to State House.  Nyumah ordered my release.  I was then taken to the hospital. The next day Tom Nyumah removed me from the hospital to Banya’s hospital saying that he wanted me to be closer to him. The Bishop used to go to the hospital to pray for me until I recovered.

I want to say something about my son Borbor Orlando Brown Junior he was attending the Albert Academy, he came on holidays; he obtained permission from me to go and spend the holiday with some of our relatives in Panguma.  I told him not to go because there was fighting between Kamajors and the Peoples Army.  There was animosity; the People’s Army would not come over to the Kamajor Area whereas the Kamajor would not go to the People’s Army area.

One day I went to the chief and on my return, my son was nowhere to be found; in November my sister reported that my son was dead, that she saw his corpse amongst four others at Talama Junction.  Upon investigation they said that four of them came from Tongo and the Kamajors killed them.  That was what we were told.  Then my wife said she wanted to know the real kamajors and who gave the information. The lady promised to give me the names of the kamajors.  I told the Chief Hunter and P.K. Salieu Buckaroo that I had got the information about the death of my child and I would like to know if he knew anything about his death.  I told him that when I was in the war front I had a committee set up to investigate matters concerning civilians.  Then I asked him if there were such committees to deal with such issues, he said no and I told him that he is not a real leader.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thank you.  We feel and sympathize with you.  Indeed you were close to death.  Thank God you are alive.  I am sorry for the loss of your son.

CommissionerTorto:  How many people were killed in the list of 25 shown to you?

Borbor Orlando Brown: Only Dr. Lavalie’s whose death was reported, alleging that he fell in a Land Mine.

Commissioner Torto: So he was the only one killed on the list?

Borbor Orlando Brown: Yes.

Commissioner Torto: They told you that you were accused of training rebels, what were the charges of the other people?

Borbor Orlando Brown: They said we were all executive members of the Eastern Region Defence Committee.

Commissioner Torto: Do you know what happened to the boy, who was forced to say you were training rebels?

Borbor Orlando Brown: He was severely tortured and I don’t think he survived it.

Commissioner Torto: Did you do a follow up?

Borbor Orlando Brown: There was no follow up; I was taken to the hospital. A few days later, Dr Lavalie was killed.

Commissioner Torto: Why didn’t you make a follow up yourself?

Borbor Orlando Brown: I reported to Dr Demby, who was Vice President; I believe people were afraid of the military.

Leader of Evidence: How old was your son who was killed?

Borbor Orlando Brown: He was sixteen years old.

Leader of Evidence: Your sister told you that if you need the names of the Kamajors she would get their names.  Is that correct?

Borbor Orlando Brown: I had advised her to wait.  I have still not got the names of the perpetrators.

Leader of Evidence: Thank you very much.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: We sympathize with you for all that had happened. Do you have any question for the Commission? 

Borbor Orlando Brown: Is it possible to bring the people I have named before this Commission so that we can explain our grievances?

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: If you can give the names and addresses of these people, then we can do a follow up.  We already have your contact address.  Are you willing to meet them and reconcile with them, because that is the mandate of TRC.

Borbor Orlando Brown: Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: We will try to do our best.  Any other questions?

Borbor Orlando Brown: I experience pains all over my body, due to the torture by these soldiers.  Is there any assistance you can render to me for my health?

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: If you talk to the briefer you will be given addresses of some NGO’s, who will assist, Looking at you, I thought you would be able to seek medical attention yourself: but if you still need help we can help. Do you have recommendations to be included in our report for the attention of government?

Borbor Orlando Brown: The people who did wrong to me were trained soldiers and they had taken an oath to protect lives and property of people in this country and since they deviated I will recommend that the law take its course.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: You know that some of these people have been trained and absorbed into the Army and we trust that they would have changed by now to keep to the oath they took and their commitment to serve the nation.

Commissioner Torto: We are actually here to reconcile, the Special Court will handle the other aspect of it, and you never know, some of them might be indicted.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: I want you to make it clear that we have nothing to do with Special Court.  I thank you.


Commission Chairman Bishop Joseph C. Humper called the hearings to a start with the singing of choruses. Interfaith opening prayers were said, Muslim prayers was done by the Chief Imam of the District and Christian prayers was done by Rev. Usman Fornah of the TRC. The Chairman of the Commission then outlined the rules and regulations of the hearings; he explained the goals and objectives of the Commission with due attention to the mandate of the TRC.  The Chairman introduced the Commissioners present and made mention of the other Commissioners in the other team working in other districts. He went on to give the pattern to be adopted in the hearings .He stressed on the expectations from the witnesses as well as the expectation of decorum from members of the public and therefore the non-acceptance of indecorum and /or disturbance during  the hearings.

The Leader of Evidence, Ms.Lydia Apori-Nkansah, asked that the Interpreter for the hearings be sworn in. The oath to the Interpreter,Mr. Foday Sesay, a Muslim by religion, was  administered by Bishop Joseph C. Humper.

1st Witness –Mr. David L. Boulah – A Christian by religion. Bishop Humper administered the oath .

Commission Chairman Bishop Joseph C. Humper-   Presiding  .

Bishop J.C. Humper –     We thank you for coming. We appreciate your presence and efforts made to be here today. Your cooperation here to push the peace and reconciliation process forward is as a result of your willingness to say the truth. You have come here to give your testimony and we have not come to take you to jail. We have to make a record and we expect you to say the truth. The worst  disservice you can do is not to tell the truth to the Commission, but the best you can do for the Commission is to tell the truth, so that we can know the truth about what happened to you during the war.

Mr.David L. Boulah -  Mr. Chairman and Commissioners, members of the high table, leaders and local authorities of Magbema Chiefdom and all people of Kambia District, I thank the Commission for giving me this opportunity to come and tell all that happened to me during the war. I am so happy that when the statement takers came to Kambia; I willingly came forward to give my statement. I am prepared to give you the true picture of what happened to me during the war. I will introduce myself officially to this Commission, who I am and where I come from. I am Mr. David L. Boulah, a native  of Liberia. I am here in Kambia but you do not know me and why I am here or how I became part of the war. I came into Sierra Leone as a refugee in 1991. Because of certain circumstances, I went to a training base to train so that I can be part of the war. The armed group I was part of was the Liberia United Defence Force which was later renamed ULIMO. One way or another, I became a leader in this group and certain armed men of Liberia signed an agreement with the Government of Sierra Leone .The Government of Sierra Leone at that time was under the APC as the ruling party. The Sierra Leone Government gave us arms and we were fighting with the armed forces of this country. It was because of certain allegations concerning practices made against this group that I had to fight from Tongo field area through Javahun, Kovo and Benguema as well as Kpetema on a mission to verify the facts and make for corrections. Upon the death of Major Freekala the rebels were able to take control of Pujehun and we had to withdraw from Tongo field to Bo and Pujehun. We later carried out a counterattack and recaptured Pujehun. Between Pujehun and Bo we were able to push the rebels far from Bo district. In 1994,  allegation was was again levelled against us; because in the confrontations between the ULIMO, the RUF and the SLA, the latter were not able to do anything. The allegation was that the ULIMO had connived with the RUF and that was the reason why the SLA always fell into the RUF ambush . Therefore we were disarmed in 1994 and brought to a camp at Allen Town for 9 months . Because the RUF was pushing forward and had come up to Rokel area, the government went and pleaded with our authorities who then agreed and gave us arms again to fight but our name was changed from ULIMO to Special Task Force . This agreement was signed with the NPRC. We were told we would be  treated in the same way as the SLA . We were given ID cards, uniforms and arms. We were sent to Kono, Bo and Bonthe Districts. I was sent to Bo because I had been there before . There we went back into battles . The arms supply they gave us was in 1995.  In 1996 our ammunitions got badly depleted while the war was very on . And we were fighting alongside the kamajors against the RUF; but we found out that the kamajors were against us. The kamajors attacked us in Mattru Jong. In this circumstance we withdrew from all areas and came back to Freetown. In 1997 when the AFRC took over, as armed men we served the government of the day, during this time I was battalion QM for the Special Task Force. In 1997 when the intervention started in Freetown we were all in Freetown until when ECOMOG came to bring back the SLPP into power. The government disbanded the army and we all went back with the RUF into the jungle. During that time the AFRC regime had asked all RUF to come back from the bush to join them in town during the intervention; we were all driven back into the bush. Whilst back in the bush we still had to fend for our families. I had to get a bag of rice for my family, with that I added the salary I was paid in the field and gave them to my family. We took the Peninsular road and we crossed to Tombo; we walked by foot to Masiaka and  from there we trekked to Makeni area . Those who were fortunate to get any vehicle went by vehicle , otherwise one had to trek. I walked with my wife and kids on foot .Then at last, my wife was lucky to get a ride . On the other hand, we ,the fighting men  went as far as Koinadugu area; some went as far as Kono and Kailahun area. I stopped at Koinadugu. It was at Koinadugu that we came up with the plan to go to Kono and Kailahun to remove ECOMOG from their base. We were still in Koinadugu , when the first Jet came, I was the first person who got injury from the fragments from the jet, I was also involved in an accident which affected my left hand and my left foot. In the jungle people had to  fend for me and my family until God helped me and my foot got healed by the time we got to Kambia. The advance team was to capture Makeni. I was in the base group. When we were about to go back into battle, I was made a battalion adjutant in the rank of captain until Makeni was captured. I started my own battle at Jungle Area. We were at the Rogbere junction. We used to attack the Guineans who travelled on that route; I was using RPG. Later there was another plan that had us withdrawn  from Rogbere junction to Kambia ;and we were brought to Lunsar and there another plan was made. The leader of the team was Col. Komba Gbundema, we walked from Lunsar to Kamakwie; we joined some of our companions who gave us manpower and arms , we left for Kambia; we came as far as Madina and we were faced with no confrontation, until we left Madina for Kambia . I was made C company commander. As we advanced to Kambia, we came across a check point,  it was during night fall . There was somebody about to use en-route Kambia, our commanders got the individual under duress to take us through the bye-pass and into Kambia . At Romaka, we organized ourselves to launch this attack on Kambia, because not all of us had the guts to come and launch the attack on Kambia, I  came forward  with a small number of men and I was in front with my RPG ready for action. We met the Guinean guard at  the check point smoking, but because some of our men panicked; he saw us and escaped and called for support . We closed in on them using the road branching from the FAO . When we came to where the Guineans were lodged we saw one of them with a lamp pointing around the house,and as I was ready with the RPG , I launched it on the building and the building caught fire. There was gunfire everywhere. And because the counter fire and their reinforcement was much, we had to withdraw and reorganize. We had then created a launching point for the Guineans, they launched all night, so we left them launching and used the bye-pass and entered Kambia town. They were at the check point. Later on though, they tried to get us , but at that such  times I would use my RPG and send the bomb so you will never come near me again . So, I was given the name “CO One Bomb”. When we had settled, we tried to set up a brigade at Madina. Strangely enough, we had certain men amongst us whose duty it appeared was to set houses on fire. I never knew what their problems were as I had not been here before .But upon their entry into the place, you would see houses on fire ; that means they know about that place. This was what happened and that is why in certain areas you see a lot of burnt down houses. To stop this atrocity, we divided ourselves into three officers who were doing the work in turns and if one person comes to Kambia he will serve for a week and would go to Madina and rest for a while. During this time the people of Kambia had generally deserted their , though once in a while they would come  and check to see what was going on. We set up a brigade and appointments were given to people who were seen as competent , I was made a second battalion commander, the other man was third battalion commander at Rokupr he was Col. Emmanuel, the other was Mustapha Dawi who was the  first commander in Kamakwie. Still after these battalions had been set up the Guineans were still launching at us from the check point and sometimes they even came out to attack us. During this time I tried to make peace with the Guineans so that we could live in peace. I also went out looking for the inhabitants of Kambia to come back; those who had the guts to do so, came back. Later I was able to get a link with the Guinean commander Capt. Pepe and we came together as one.Once upon a time,it happened that one of my men, one Musa, went with one woman to the Guinean battalion and stole from them a radio set and a wrapper .The matter was reported to me . In order to prove that my command was not tolerant of  bad  behaviour, I sent for this man I interviewed him but he denied. However , later on he confessed and I ordered my men to give him 150 lashes and lock him in the guard room . After he was released , he ran away with his woman to Freetown. I still continued to encourage the people to come back as people were looting the zinc from their houses and indeed those who had the courage came back. I did not know that everything that I was doing; thinking that they were in line with good practice ; were  sending wrong signals to my commanders and I became a target. They would send their bodyguards to come and watch my activities. At some point we were able to open Kolenten Secondary School and some primary schools and some children started school. Whilst all this was going on I had another problem with my commander.It happened that the District Medical Officer came with a team for immunization . I led the team from here to Bramaya to sensitize the people about this programme. I even have documents to show. I met my commander holding meeting with the people.Therefore, I asked my boss that whilst they were on the meeting, he should give me time to go and sensitize people in  the other villages .My boss misunderstood my language  and my intentions, as he was illiterate.And there and then, he put me under “mess” arrest and I had to walk from Kukuna to Madina. I was under mess arrest for one month and one week. He even told me he could have me shot and nothing would come out of it . Later on however , I was freed and I came back to Kambia. Because of my relationship with the members of the community, he changed me and brought another person. One of my body guards went and shot  an old man at Rogbere for fish. At the time of that incident, I was living here behind this house. And also at that time I had invited the MSF who were examining and immunizing the Under Fives. I went out to see what had happened .Meanwhile, I had just woken up and had not even washed my face ; and I went and saw the Pa  that was shot. His foot was badly hurt .I then went to see the culprit and by then the man in command was here. By then I held no office I was an ordinary officer. When I went  to see the man who had committed the offence he was already bound up  and put in a container. By then the man in command was right behind me in a vehicle. I took the man from the container, as he was my body guard and put him in the vehicle and came here . By then two thirds of the Kambia population had gathered to see what would be the punishment for this culprit. The Brigade Commander and the Officer in Charge  put heads together to decide what should happen to the culprit.Then they asked that a report be sent to the brigade; but I reminded them that the man in question was my own bodyguard but,this notwithstanding, he should suffer in the same way as the man he had shot . We did not want the Kambia people to think otherwise of us; we shot him, right at the junction here as a deterrence to others that may be tempted to do wrong.I was transferred from Kambia to Rokupr, that very day I was taken to Mange Bureh and given another position, Brigade Task Force Commander, I followed orders ;but before the end of the week it was changed to Finance Officer and brought back to Rokupr . This was another problem area between those selling petrol and the Boat Owners Association. All this happened in 2001, I was in the office as Finance Officer, the brigade commander would send and I would go and meet the people and measure petrol and send to the brigade commander. But I was put under all this pressure and therefore, targeted for two main reasons, one my nationality and secondly I was once an enemy and thirdly I was community-friendly. I had a problem, a very critical dilemma, whenever ,as they often did, sent for fuel without money; I would  always ask them, if we continue to take fuel from this people without money what will happen when they want to buy ,and how do we continue ? The petrol dealers   met me and complained. The brigade commander and even those from Makeni would come to me for petrol and if they do not get it , that would be trouble. We accrued a debt of two million which we are still not able to pay up till today. The Brigade Commander had often retorted that  countries do owe debts how much more us. I was the one signing for the petrol and this was a very serious problem because the people get their living from this selling fuel and to continue to take fuel without paying was a serious problem. This last time there was a bargain against me, they fought me in Mambolo . This happened about a week before the disarmament. The Brigade Commander set up a committee to look into the matter; we all made statements and they said they would  call the witnesses to testify, but nothing happened up till now that we have been disarmed and the DDR process has taken place. Of all the statements that I made, given maybe there are people I have wronged apart from what I have explained because as long  as you  are alive ,apart from commission of errors which man is liable to as a result of man’s fallibility,you cannot please everyone,though this no license to do what we know is evil .Therefore, where I have wronged anyone I ask that person to forgive me. We fought the war and it some time and it is not everything one can remember. This is all I have to say . Thank you.

Bishop  Humper –     We thank you for your testimony. This is our procedure. We listen to your testimony and the Commissioners will ask you questions to clarify certain issues raised. The Leader of Evidence will also ask you questions and we will also ask you for questions and recommendations. We are, therefore, asking you to be brief. We need to write our report, so we ask questions for clarification. Let me ask you the first question, you said this process started in 1991?

Mr. David L.Boulah – Yes.

Bishop Humper –     You have any idea of the three categories called Vanguards, Special Force and Commando.

Mr.David L.Boulah – I have no idea about them.

Bishop Humper –     You said you were trained with the Liberian Defence Force, then ULIMO, then the Special Task Force, did you say the Government of Liberia and the Sierra Leone Government signed this agreement for you to fight?

Mr. David L.Boulah – No, it was the senior officers from Liberia who signed the agreement.

Bishop Humper –     We need this clarification because you named the APC party, you said it had knowledge, is that correct?

Mr. David L.Boulah – Yes.

Bishop Humper -     Then we came unto 1994, ULIMO and SLA were fighting this war. It was during this time that the ULIMO and SLA were fighting together?

Mr.David L.Boulah –     It was during this time the ULIMO and SLA and all fighting forces with the government joined together.

Bishop Humper –     You said that  in 1994 you were disarmed and sent to Allen Town?

Mr.David L.Boulah  –     We were disarmed in 1994 and taken to Allen Town but NPRC armed us again.

Bishop Humper –     May 25 1997, AFRC/RUF came onboard you were part of them, where were you in 1996?

Mr.David L.Boulah – I was in the jungle.

Prof. Kamara –     Thank you Mr. Chairman. Mr. Boulah, so you have given us a very simple and coherent story of your involvement during the war and you capped it all by making a plea to all the people you have wronged consciously or unconsciously to forgive you. So , there is very little anyone can ask you in regard to your violations of human rights  during the war . But I have interest in your story because we have a problem in the Commission to unravel why the SLA who were supposed to be protecting the people turned round and became enemies of the people. And your story might help us to unravel the puzzle. You have fought on all sides of this war, you have fought as ULIMO, you fought with the SLA, and you fought with the Kamajors and also your former adversaries the RUF. You were telling us about what happened in 1994 and 1996, why were the people trying to frame your group as fighting alongside the RUF?

Mr. David L.Boulah –    It was because during that time the ULIMO bosses did not joke with the business of fighting the enemy. ULIMO was in the forefront in the battles with the enemy.  It was through ULIMO, that the SLA was able to fight the enemy. Those who were around would confirm this even the Chief of Staff Tom Carew would testify to this.

Prof. Kamara-     Are you trying to tell us that because you were forthright and trying to be positive in bringing the war to an end that was why the Sierra Leone army was against you?

Mr. David L.Boulah – The reason was best known to them.

Prof. Kamara –     What is your own opinion?

Mr. David L.Boulah – We were helping them that was all.

Prof. Kamara –     If you are trying to help someone and then he turns against you what will be your own conclusion?

Mr David L.Boulah –     well, it would mean that the person does not want my help in his country to stop what was going on.

Commissioner Jow –     I join the other Commissioners to thank you for your testimony. Please be patient and answer  our questions for clarification. Can you tell us your age?

Mr. David L.Boulah – Presently I am 32 years  plus.

Commissioner Jow – When did you start fighting with ULIMO?

Mr. David L.Boulah – In 1991.

Commissioner Jow – How old were you then?

Mr. David L.Boulah – I cannot be exact ;except I calculate.

Commissioner Jow – Can you tell us your educational background?

Mr. David L.Boulah – I just passed from 10th grade to 11th grade in Liberia.

Commissioner Jow – You told us you came as a refugee, how?

Mr. David L.Boulah – I came here as a refugee during the intense period of  the war in Liberia. 

Commissioner Jow –     You told us that initially you fought on the side of the government and later you were accused of collaborating with the rebels was it true?

Mr. David L.Boulah – There was no truth in that allegation and because government proved that; that was why they sent for us again.

Commissioner Jow –     You claimed you fought alongside the Kamajors and they turned against you can you explain that?

Mr.David L.Boulah – That was why when Prof. Kamara was explaining I had wanted to put my hand up and explain. The Kamajors were brought to fight alongside the government troops against the RUF and we had that same motive also. The ULIMO also had the same intention so these three groups were in the same stream but unfortunately on the side of the SLA the kamajors turned and started fighting against us.

Commissioner Jow – Thank you very much, we as a Commission have had plenty testimonies about the kamajors, since you have fought alongside the kamajors can you tell some of the atrocities they committed?

Mr. David L.Boulah – I cannot tell easily.

Commissioner Jow – Can you name some of the Kamajor leaders you fought alongside with?

Mr. David L.Boulah – No.

Commissioner Jow –     From 1998 you were with the RUF, but in your testimony you have not told us about some of the atrocities committed by the RUF?

Mr. David L.Boulah –     I did mention that in some areas people burnt down people’s houses. This was what I saw during this time. I was only a stranger in some of the areas we went through and since we all came from different battalions we only joined forces to advance . I will not be able to say any other thing other than what I have said. In the area of the execution of the man who shot the Pa that is all I can say that I ordered the execution.

Commissioner Jow –     So in a way will you hold yourself responsible for some of the bad things that happened to the people of Kambia as you were one of the commanders?

Mr.David L.Boulah –     I cannot say so, why? During that time I was protecting my family and those around me, you can be working with somebody but his own idea or thinking will be quite different from yours.

Prof. Kamara –     Are you trying to disclaim or refuse that you did some of the things you said you did, like giving command to give somebody 150 lashes? By the way can you tell the name of the man you ordered to be given 150 lashes?

Mr.David L.Boulah–      Musa.

Prof. Kamara –     The other one was the man who shot the civilian you ordered his execution, not so?

Mr.David L.Boulah –     Yes sir.

Prof. Kamara –     You have to accept what you did and ask the people to forgive you.

Bishop Humper –     You have been forthright with us. We will ask our staff to meet you because we will want to have more talk with you, you are very important and we are looking forward to someone like you to help us find the way forward. You have been very honest with us. I will only ask you one question as we will have to meet you again. When did you come into Sierra Leone and from what point did you come in ? I want to know whether it was through Kailahun?

Mr.David L.Boulah – I came in through Zimmi Magbele, I have never been to Kailahun.

Bishop Humper – Will you be able to explain to us what happened in 2000 to the UNAMSIL at the Pamlap?

Mr.David L.Boulah – I went to Rogbere to have a meeting with them, on my return by Yilleh I was in the boat crossing  the river when I saw a lot of people waiting for a boat with which  to cross . When I got there I asked them what the problem was ? They said they heard  gunshotS from the check point area. I asked them to come back with me, when we came back at the check point I met the Brigade Commander and he told me that the UNAMSIL had come to clear the check point.

Bishop Humper –     Who are you referring to as them?

Mr.David L.Boulah –     The Brigade Commander for the RUF, as I was with the RUF. I came back home a sad man as I had done everything to bring back the people and open the schools.

Bishop Humper –     So indeed it happened?

Mr.David L.Boulah –     Yes.

Bishop Humper –     Now the Pamlap issue.

Mr.David L.Boulah –     I was not there. I was Finance Officer in Rokupr at that time. What they put together and what they did I do not know I only learnt of it later.

Leader of Evidence – Ms. Lydia Apori-Nkansah

Ms. Apori-Nkansah -    In your narration you made it clear to us you ran away from your country because of the war. Sierra Leone, therefore, became a place of refuge for you. You made it clear to us that for the attack on Kambia you gave the first shot. You also told us that some people’s duty was to burn houses. Having known the effects of war in your country, how do you feel when you see the carnage as you walk around Kambia, being the one who gave the first shot here in Kambia?

Mr. David L.Boulah –     Many of us know and many of us do not know what war is all about. I come from a home. It makes me  feel bad.

Bishop Humper –     We have been asking you questions . Now, it is your own turn to ask questions  and  make recommendations.

Mr.David L.Boulah –     TRC wants to know the causes of the war, is that not so? And the reasons why somebody like me decided to join the war. You have got statements from me. Now, the problem is this, we do not want a situation wherein we will be faced with another problem in the country, the ex-combatants have been through a reintegration process, the government had said they would give them a package and a certificate to show they have been through the process, what will be the next step if the government does not fulfill this promise to such people?

Bishop Humper –     I believe the next plan should be to go to the DDR office and enquire and you will get an answer.

Mr. David L.Boulah –     This has been put to the Regional Officer North whom I believe is the person to put this forward to but we have not had any reply. I can easily write an application to another area for a job but what about the next man who cannot read or write; how can that man take care of his family?

Bishop Humper –     I understand some people have still not benefited from the DDR. I will advise that you see the TRC staff after this hearing and they will help you channel this issue.If you have any recommendation to give to this Commission as regard those who are victims and those perpetrators who committed the worst atrocities please give it now.

Mr.David L.Boulah –     I will say that youths are the leaders of tomorrow. Unnecessary provocation towards youths should be curtailed. Therefore,youth unemployment should be addressed. There should be a corridor or any community area for youths to be gainfully employed. The government is talking about food security; there should be a farm in every district or community where youth should be gainfully employed to work .

Bishop Humper –     On Friday there will be a reconciliation ceremony. After your testimony you asked for forgiveness. We want you to say that clearly on that day to show that you really mean what you have said today in a simple manner so that the people will forgive you.

Mr.David L.Boulah – Mr. Commissioner sir, please allow me to say this. There is a coincidence. We have a church programmme which will start in Freetown tomorrow to end on Saturday. That is the reason why I  had to come today .That is why I plead that what I should say on Friday ,let me  say it here today.

Bishop Humper –     I am also a man of God, the ceremony is on Friday and we cannot cut it short for you. So you either wait for Friday or you find another time to talk to your people and we are not coming here again and if the traditional rulers and the religious leaders do not lay their hands on you to show that you have been forgiven you will have no complete forgiveness from your people. You can leave for your religious meeting in Freetown today and come back on Thursday.

Mr.David L.Boulah-      No problem sir.

Bishop Humper –     At one point you spoke like David and now you want to speak like Jonah. Please go and try to come back for Friday. You are a traditional man yourself and you understand what it means. The minds of your people are bleeding .So, please try to be here.

2nd Witness – Ya Alimamy Kafor – A Christian by religion. Oath was administered by Commission Chairman Bishop Joseph C. Humper.

Bishop Humper – We thank you, you are one of the hundreds of people we are looking forward to help us find the way forward in this country. Your statement is very important. So, we ask you to be calm and give your statement.

TESTIMONY: - I am a Sierra Leonean. Our mother gave birth to two of us. I am a business woman who sells cookery on the border. When the war broke out I ran away to Guinea . When I came back I was given 13 ULIMO soldiers. I fed them and at day break they left when they got to the border they were sent back by the Guinean soldiers who asked them whether they knew anyone around they said they knew the woman who sells cookery and Captain Kamara sent them back to me. In the evening Captain Kamara came and I asked him why he sent back the ULIMO soldiers to me. He said they were accused of fighting against the government and had been asked to go back to their country but they had run out of fuel and the Guineans had sent them back.According to him, arrangements were in place to send them back to where they came from. Meanwhile, one of their Majors named Sheriff, decided to get back to Freetown and left the twelve others with me. The next day CID came and accused me of harboring rebels . I asked them to ask Capt. Kamara  about the true situation. The next day police came. And the next day the District Officer. I was agitated and I went and scolded the Captain and I asked him to come for his strangers. The next day he came for them in a vehicle and took them went away. In 1995 when the rebels entered this town,I had just returned from Guinea. I arrived here on a Tuesday and the rebels entered in the early hours of the next day. We ran and after the rebels left the town around 2:00pm we came back. Around 4:00pm Tom Nyuma came and his driver’s name was Nabieu. They came and packed in front of our compound and I told him we were looking out for helicopter as 17 people had been killed and their corpses were lying there in the town. He asked after the government troops and I told him they had all left for Kambia town; he then left. Another group came they asked for water I gave them two rubbers of water, they asked me for medication as some had wounds on their body. And for fear concerning my life, I gave them whatever they demanded which I could provide . When the group left, Tom Nyuma came again and asked me for a pot and other items. He said they were going to cook at the headquarters. I gave them and even went to neighbours, to get other materials for them which I did not have in my possession. They left and somebody came and advised me to move before they came back. I then escaped to Freetown to my uncle’s place. At 11:00pm Freetown was attacked and we fled to Lungi. Not long after our arrival at Lungi, ECOMOG soldiers came. Unaware that people were  being arrested  and that already, a large number of people had been arrested, we were also arrested and detained as prisoners of war. Many suffered from malnutruition-related diseases.People got swollen bodies from the food they were eating and some even died. We were 77 in all. I went without rice for five days. There were two pastors amongst us. They asked me if I had relatives around and in the affirmative I  gave them the name and relevant information regarding Komkanda. They took my ID card to him and he sent  food and clothes for me, but the ECOMOG seized them and the items never got to me. When the Bishop in Makeni came, Komkanda was able to facilitate the release of all 77 of us. But at that time I was unable to walk. They sent for my children and Komkanda helped me with medical facilities. I then left for Freetown. Upon my arrival in Freetown, the rebels entered on 6th January and on the 11th they entered my house and one rebel put a knife to my throat. I remembered what we had been told in the church to say when the rebels attack us.So, I said :”Are you going to kill everybody in this war?” Then another rebel came and pointed a torch light at me and asked for my identity, I told him I was there to seek refuge. He told his companion to put the knife down. There were some people who were hiding in the cellar of our house, there was one fair lady Theresa and a rebel called America came and they started raping young girls .When I saw this I told my sister that we should escape otherwise, having finished with those girls we will be their next victims. We ran into the bush. One Saturday morning we came out and went to the ECOMOG who saved our lives.

Bishop Humper –     We want to thank you for the time you took to give us your testimony. I can only imagine what you went through during that time. I will ask my colleagues if they have any questions for you.

Prof. Kamara –     It is quite unfortunate and a pity that all these  things  happened to you during the war which you have taken your time to tell us. There is not much to ask you as regards our mandate. You are just one of those who have gone through such experience .However, I would  like to have some clarification concerning the beginning of your story . You said you were a cookery seller; do you mean in Kambia here?

Ya Kafor –         It was No. 1 Guinea Road Check Point in Kambia.

Prof. Kamara –     During that time was there SLA presence here?

Ya Kafor -         Captain Kamara was here.

Prof. Kamara –     But he was not alone, were there other soldiers?

Ya Kafor -     There were no other soldiers. Captain Kamara brought the ULIMO soldiers.

Prof. Kamara –     Did Captain Kamara come with the ULIMO soldiers on that day?

Ya Kafor -         He did not come with them, they met him here.

Prof. Kamara –     What was he doing here? Was he on official duties or on leave?

Ya Kafor -     He was here with his companions working under the mandate of the government.

Prof. Kamara –     And alone?

Ya Kafor –         He was here with other government troops.

Prof. Kamara –     So, he was here with his colleagues?

Ya Kafor -         Yes, it was during NPRC time.

Prof. Kamara –     While you were selling this cookery was it usual for soldiers to come and ask you for food?

Ya Kafor –         Yes, they used to buy rice from my place.

Prof. Kamara –     So it was an ordinary thing for Capt. Kamara to send the ULIMO soldiers to you?

Ya Kafor –         Yes.

Prof. Kamara –     So when they got to the border and were sent back; they sent them to you?

Ya Kafor –         Yes.

Prof. Kamara –     And they stayed with you, for how many days?

Ya Kafor -         For four days, they did not have money.

Prof. Kamara –     And you were feeding them for four days without them paying you?

Ya Kafor –         Yes.

Prof. Kamara –     Why did you not tell Captain Kamara who sent them to you to feed them?

Ya Kafor -     When that security torment started , I could bear it no more.So, I asked Captain Kamara to come for them.

Prof. Kamara -      Where did he take them to?

Ya Kafor -          He took them to Freetown.

Prof. Kamara –     Two days after the CID came to accuse you?

Ya Kafor –         No, the ULIMO boys were there when the CID men came.

Prof. Kamara –     After that they left?

Ya Kafor –         Yes, they left.

Prof. Kamara –     So there was no connection with those soldiers for what happened to you? 

Ya Kafor -          No.

Prof. Kamara –     After they left Nyuma came?

Ya Kafor -          It was after the attack that  Nyuma came.

Prof. Kamara-     So why did the ECOMOG people arrest you ? So, what happened in Kambia had nothing to do with your arrest in Lungi?

Ya Kafor –     When we escaped to Freetown and the rebels entered on the 25th ,we crossed over to Lungi and; then whosoever was pointed out as from out of town was arrested.

Prof. Kamara –     When you left here and went to Freetown did you continue with your cookery business?

Ya Kafor -         No, I was engaged in fish business. 

Commissioner Jow –     Thank you for your testimony, it is clear and straight forward and I have only few questions. You said 77 people were arrested and detained in Lungi and some died because of the food they were eating, can you tell us what food they ate that led to their death?

Ya Kafor -         They prepared food called Eba; but I refused eating it.

Commissioner Jow –     Did you suspect that the food was tampered with?
Ya Kafor -         I cannot tell. I only saw something black.

Commissioner Jow – Can you tell us what happened to the people who died?

Ya Kafor -     One boy choked to death ,out of fear .The other was a policeman who came from Mende land he died because of the quality of the food.

Commissioner Jow – Were you tortured during your arrest?

Ya Kafor -         I was not because I was always crying and shouting all day and night.

Commissioner Jow – who facilitated your release?

Ya Kafor -         Chief Komkanda and the Bishop at Makeni facilitated my release.

Commissioner Jow – Were you the only one released or were you released with the others?

Ya Kafor -     With the help of prayers and thanks to God, all of us were released; we had two pastors with us.

Commissioner Jow – So you had no connection with the AFRC?

Ya Kafor –         No

Bishop Humper –     You knew that ULIMO were fighters?

Ya Kafor –         I never even knew their names.

Bishop  Humper –     When you reported to the District Officer and then to the CID , did you make it explicit that you were not responsible for this people but Captain Kamara was?

Ya Kafor –         Yes

Bishop  Humper –     You were branded prisoner of war when you went over to Lungi, not so?

Ya Kafor –         Yes

Bishop Humper –     Did you understand that a prisoner of war is one who has been fighting and was captured?

Ya Kafor –         No, that was what I did not understand.

Ms. Apori-Nkansah-    Please in your statement you mentioned that your friends son was shot in the leg, can you give us his name?

Ya Kafor –         Adikali

Bishop Humper –     We have asked you a lot of questions. You experienced killings, rape and threat on your life. These are all violations of human right. Do you have any questions or recommendations for the Commission?

Ya Kafor –     I do not have any questions to ask; but I have a recommendation to make so that there will not be a repetition of this war as women and children have suffered greatly during this war.

Bishop Humper –     Thank you very much. Your testimony is good and your recommendation will be included in our report to help our children and children’s children.

3rd Witness – Kemokoh Kargbo – A Muslim by religion. Oath was administered by Commission Chairman Bishop Joseph C. Humper.

TESTIMONY: - A vote of thanks to you; you came safely and I pray God to take you back safely. I am a native of Kambia. I am married with two wives and fourteen children. One night, we had all gone to bed,when we  were rudely awoken by bombardment apparently from the Guinean territory. We opened our doors and saw  rebels fighters. We ran outside for shelter. I took all my children and my father. We could not take anything along. We crossed one river here in Kambia  and settled in a village. We did not have anything to eat so, we used to come back to Kambia here to find something to eat. One day one of my brothers came to Kambia here to find something to eat . He did not know that rebels were around. They saw my brother up the tree and they asked him to come down the tree. He did. They asked him to show them where the people were taking refuge. He said, he did not know. They hit him with the gun and he took them along with him and they crossed the river to where the people were. As the people saw them they ran away. My step father had gone out to look for my brother. He also saw them and ran, They gave  him a chase and caught him. One of them called out to his other fellow rebel saying: “this man wants to try me.” He came up with a knife and stabbed him on his stomach and his bowels came out. My brother was still with them. They came and gathered all the pots and whatever they met, tied them together and put on the head of my step father. As my step father was groaning under the intense pain, they decided to end him up. There were three of them, Devil, Killer and Target. They told Target to go and cut off the rope. Target used the rope to tie the old man and my step father pleaded with them not to kill him but they hit him with a stick till he died. We were told  all this two days later by one man. And we went and saw the corpse and buried him in that same area. The rebels came back to look for the corpse but we had buried it. They rained a lot of abuses and went away. It was within that same area that my brother was able to escape.Then he ran away. He said he could not withstand living in that area anymore. Meanwhile, the rebels came from Makeni and did barter system with the Guinean soldiers for rice and fuel. One day having sold their valuables to the Guineans , when they wanted to buy rice, the Guineans rejected them and insulted them. So the rebels came together and planned to launch an attack on Pamlap. By then we were in Kambia here as we had nowhere else to go. At first we  heard  the Guinean bombardment. We ran away for shelter. Then, one night we heard the RUF gun shots. This went on all night but the Guineans were difficult to overrun. We could not put up with it so we had to run away again. My memories and emotions are getting a better part of me and I do not think that I can continue with this story.

Bishop Humper –     We have heard your sad story. You really witnessed all this happen to your people. You will listen to the Commissioners as they will have questions to ask for clarification.
Prof. Kamara –     We share in your sadness over the loss of your step father. I am just wondering, you told us the story in a way as if you were present in all the actions that took place.

Mr. Kargbo–         Yes I was there.

Prof. Kamara –     How could you have been there when they stabbed your step father and you people ran away, not so?

Mr. Kargbo –         Yes.

Prof. Kamara –     When they stabbed your step father, you were on the other side of the river, am I right?

Mr.  Kargbo-    I was in the verandah with my family and when they took him away we all ran away. When he was apprehended and stabbed I was hiding nearby.I heard him  shout. When they left, we came out and saw blood.

Prof. Kamara –     According to your story it was your brother that was held by the rebels not you. So , was it your brother who came and told you the story?

Mr. Kargbo –     After my brother managed to escape it was somebody who narrated this story.

Prof. Kamara –     So you agree now that you were not present ; you are reporting something your brother told you?
Mr. Kargbo –         Yes.

Prof. Kamara –     Where is your brother?

Mr. Kargbo –     Since he ran away from that scene we have not seen him. We learnt he lives somewhere in Barbara.

Prof. Kamara –     So you are alright now with your 14 children?

Mr. Kargbo–         Yes, better.

Commissioner Jow – How long did your brother who was abducted spend with the rebels?

Mr. Kargbo –         He did not spend up to a month with them.

Commissioner Jow – Did he tell you his ordeal with them, can you tell us what he told you?

Mr. Kargbo –     He said that as he was captured and brought to town they told him if he ever tried to escape he will be killed. He was simply lucky; because whilst he was with them they captured people and dump them alive into the water wells . Some of this information people here can testify to. When you fetch water from these wells you will bring out human hair.

Commissioner Jow – How old was your brother when he was abducted?

Mr. Kargbo –    He was 25years.

Commissioner Jow – And you say with all this your brother is okay now?

Mr. Kargbo –         Yes, he is at Barbara and he is engaged in farming.

Commissioner Jow – You mentioned three names, Devil, Killer and Target do you know them?

Mr. Kargbo –         Yes, very well.

Commissioner Jow – Can you identify them now if you see them?

Mr. Kargbo –         Yes, very well.

Commissioner Jow – Where are they now?

Mr. Kargbo –         They left for their villages after the disarmament.

Bishop Humper –     Thank you, do you have any questions or recommendations?

Mr. Kargbo –     I have fourteen children and my brother who was killed was of great help to my family. Since his death I have not been able support my family. I am only managing, putting up mere appearance .

Bishop  Humper –     So this is a recommendation. We will put it into perspective,but  in the mean time on Friday we will talk to some NGO’S who are responsible for such cases.

4th Witness – Pa Abu Laprah Kamara - A Muslim by religion.Oath was administered by Commission Chairman Bishop Joseph C. Humper.

Bishop  Humper – We are meeting publicly so that people will hear your story and know what people like you went through during the war. We now ask you to give your testimony.

TESTIMONY: – What happened to me during the rebel incursion in this country is this. On the 11th of February at 11pm the rebels attacked our village and, we all went into hiding. Early in the morning we crossed over to Rogbere and then from there to Rokonta. At Rokonta my wife became very ill because we were sleeping in the bush. I asked my sister what should be done, we had two children and we decided to  return to Kambia. Now, there was one lady in Rogbere named Koloneh who said she would heal my wife. Her condition was deteriorating  and I had to  bathe my wife and launder her clothes. I had no food  for the family, so I went around doing menial jobs just to get food to eat. I am a driver by profession.Unknown to me after the Guineans had quelled the rebels, Koloneh went and reported me to the rebels. And they came to meet me at my place of work in the bush. I saw the rebels from where I was. Koloneh had told the rebels that I had protected as well as provided escape route for  a group of Guinean soldiers. I was bound by the rebels and hung on a stick; they brought me that way to the town.I was left helpless. They contemplated on killing me and/or what manner of atrocity to inflict on me. My son was around. As this was going on, my wife passed away. The rebels kept me in that bound state  till mid night. And Koloneh spoke to the corpse and said:” You lie here your husband is on his way he will soon join you”. Then I asked her where I had wronged her to deserve all this and reminded her that she had promised to heal my wife. There where I was bound and laid down, a boy named Soso came along and pleaded on my behalf. He told them that my wife had just died and that they should not kill me. I was kept that way up to 6:00pm the next day and I was brought to the bridge. Some of the rebels contemplated on throwing me into the bush; but in the end  they took me to the customs office. There was one commander named Philo here. I was locked for 17 days. My son was crying and as he was crying someone gave him 100 Leones. The rebels uprooted cassava and gave to him. My son was with me. Ya Kanu was consoling my son. My son was with me right through and said he would die with me. I was released after 17 days. As I was released, Philo asked me whether I released the Guinean, I said I do not know about any Guinean. He said I should take a broom and sweep but I was so weak and my son came and assisted me. My son found 500 Leones and he asked what to do with the money and I told him we will buy rice. We had a paw paw tree he picked some and cooked it for me and gave to me. The day I was set free Koloneh who wanted me to be killed faced the law of retributive justice.It happened that a rebel had given her a gun and asked her to provide him place to sleep. She took the gun and magazine from the rebel and they went into the room with her husband .Then the rebel came along running and reported to Philo that the woman had snatched his gun from him and as the woman was at Rogbere, Philo went to the woman’s house and saw the gun. I hid myself because I did not want further trouble and since then all I do is cut wood  sell to make a living and that is what I do now. As things turned out the woman was arrested and bound up. The people of Rogbere came to me and said: “Go to the bridge and see how the woman who made false allegation against you is being tortured”. But I had to keep to myself .  I understand she went somewhere and I do not know whether she is still alive. I can show all the scars and wounds that I sustained from that torture. But I have a son; if I had my way, I will be home by now. But now I cannot. When I  leave here, I am going to the bush to cut my wood.

Bishop Humper –     We want to thank you for your testimony. I will now ask my colleagues if they have questions for you.

Prof. Kamara –     I join the Chairman in thanking you for your testimony. I was just wondering how a lady who was helping you to heal your wife could turn round and accuse you. I still can not understand you, I am sure you must have done something to her.

Pa. Abu L. Kamara – I am sure the only thing that must have happened between us was because I failed to meet her demands for money to heal my wife.

Prof. Kamara –     There is not much to ask you, I feel sorry for your wife because she is a human being. But fate has cut your case.

Pa. Abu l. Kamara – It is said : In all things thank God.

Prof. Kamara –     How do you feel now, you said your feet was burnt, can you now go to the bush and collect your wood?

Pa. Abu L. Kamara –     Now I thank the Almighty God. Now, I have no single piece of job as it used to be when I was in Freetown. That is the reason why I decided to go into the bush to avoid asking alms from people. If I cannot get anything today, my son will understand; because when I was a driver he was okay. So, now that I am a wood cutter we have to make do with what we have.

Commissioner Jow –     We have listened very closely to your testimony and we are sorry for all the torture you had to go through. But we need to clarify the testimony you have just given us. You speak very highly of a child who stayed beside you all the time. The written testimony says it was a daughter but throughout your testimony you said a son.

Pa. Abu L. Kamara –     Maybe it was a mistake. I am talking  about my daughter  named Mabinty Kamara.

Commissioner Jow – How old is she now?

Pa. Abu L. Kamara –     9years 6months

Commissioner Jow –     After all she witnessed do you think she is psychologically okay?

Pa. Abu L. Kamara – Yes, she is. God will not allow anything bad to happen to her.

Commissioner Jow –     The woman Koloneh, was she a traditional healer?

Pa. Abu L. Kamara – She was pretending to be one.

Commissioner Jow – But was she not one?

Pa. Abu L. Kamara –     She was pretending to be a Bondo society initiator.

Commissioner Jow –     You came close to these rebels can you tell us what they looked like?

Pa. Abu L. Kamara –     I was kept in a cell I could not see what they looked like.

Commissioner Jow –     Were they in military fatigue?

Pa. Abu L. Kamara –     Some wore uniform, some wore vest, and some wore sleeveless vest or  bared their chests  just to show how useless they were.

Commissioner Jow – Was commando Philo one of them?

Pa. Abu L.Kamara –     Yes

Commissioner Jow –     What did he do to you?

Pa. Abu L. Kamara –     If I tell lies against him, God will punish me. He never raised a finger on me and never allowed anyone to do anything bad to me.

Commissioner Jow –     Finally Pa Abu, its been years since this happened to you. Are you ready to forgive and reconcile with those who did this to you?

Pa. Abu L.Kamara –     I have no option. I am looking up to you people who have come with peace. The only thing is that if I have a house I will never rent it out to any rebel;because they never wanted to live in houses. That was why they burnt down houses.

Bishop  Humper –     We thank you for venting out your feelings that is a healing process. One question that I want you to clarify for us; the Commissioner asked you about Philo and I heard you make a statement, who subjected you to forced labor when you were released?

Pa. Abu L.Kamara –     My first captives came from Makeni that happened at the check point by then Philo was not around, after my wife had been buried I was in Philo’s house.

Ms. Apori-Nkansah-     Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. I would like to know whether Commando Philo or any of the other commanders who tortured you are still around.

Pa. Abu L.Kamara –     Since my bitter experiences and the death of my wife I have not set eyes on any of those men.

Leader of Evidence – You also mentioned your wife who died can you tell us her name?

Pa. Abu L. Kamara –     Saffie Sesay

Bishop  Humper –     We have asked you a lot of questions, do you have any questions?

Pa. Abu L.Kamara –     All I want to ask is for you people to help me out with a job as I am a driver.

Bishop Humper –     We refer you to our staff here: The Regional and District Coordinators. They can assume that responsibility.

5th Witness – Ibrahim Bangura – A Muslim by religion. Oath was administered by Commission Chairman Bishop Joseph C.  Humper.

Bishop  Humper – We thank you for coming here today. You are one of the people whose testimony will help us in writing our report. Please relax and tell us your story. We now await your testimony.

TESTIMONY: – I am a native of Kamakwie. I joined the army in 1971. I was a friend of J.S Momoh. We  once went for a firing exercise at Waterloo and there I met with Momoh and he said he wanted me to be his friend. Though I am a teetotaler , I always bought palm wine for Momoh. I was told by Momoh that since we had become friends, I should join the army. But I told him that I will not be able to run from waterloo as I have seen the others doing. He insisted and I began to avoid him. One day I went to Dock Yard. It happened that  Momoh  had taken   Umaru Sesay, the footballer to fisheries and offered him job. He said he wanted to go to Kenema on a short patrol and wanted me to go with him. He asked me to meet him at his office at Murray Town .As at then he was the head there. When  I got there, he gave me a letter to take to one Kosia in Kenema. When I got there I was told Kosia was at Daru.And I headed for Daru, when I got to Daru I was given a warm welcome. I got to Daru on a Thursday, and on Friday I went to them. I met A.K Dumbuya and Kosia. Kosia said: “I have that letter you have been trapped.” We then went into the training for a period of 8 to 9 months. Then hernia struck me. During this period late Dr. Sheriff paid us a visit. And whilst we were in the parade I fell down and started vomiting. I was taken to Magburaka and operated. Mr. Kosia took us to Solima for advanced training. We did not meet the Fante Ghanaians who were fishing there. Kosia said as my health was not proper I will facilitate the fishing process with the chiefs.

Mr. Kosia, Peter the driver and myself went to the chief and spoke to the people so that we could have fish to eat. We had about fifty men but there was no fish on the ground. One night we saw Captain Kellie he was a crew man to Sim Turay.  Captain Kellie and Sim Turay finished the training. C.A. Kamara Taylor took the salute at the passing out in Daru. We returned to town with joy . As soon as I saw Kosia he burst into tears and said he had been accused of training foreigners. I wept with him.  I never saw him at work again. I was in the job until Momoh called us together in 1991 and told us that trouble had broken out at Pujehun. During that time we did not know the true but harsh reality and challenge represented by the rebels.We did not know what we were faced with. So, they gave us semi automatic rifles that had ten rounds, and as we shoot the rebels counted the rounds and after the ten rounds they started firing at us. I am a Muslim and as I was going to pray an old woman advised me to maintain sexual abstinence in addition to other practices in regard to food. And as things turned up, we fought and returned home with no problem  I was sent to Kambia to work during the time when the mission people were arrested here in Kambia. We could not withstand the pressure so we went back to town. Then NPRC took over the reigns of government, we took command from them. I was sent to Kassiri under the navy, I was sent to Yeliboya, I served as a commander in the rank of a sergeant, I had nine boys and myself making ten we were working amicably. Then problem struck, my colleagues came in a boat and my boys took off. I had one boy with me and I loved him very much, his name was Abdul. I saw Col. Turay who was the third figure head in the naval wing he was in sympathy with me as all my boys had left. I asked him to help me with a boat to go to Kassiri and hand over. At that time with the jet bombing and strafing intermittently  the risk was very high in moving ammunitions across some distance. Under the circumstances  my son asked:“what are we going to do?”By and by ,I made an arrangement with certain  civilians that helped me carry the ammunition to the police at Kassiri. My wife was there at that time the Chief told the people to keep away from my wife and she was constantly threatened and reminded that whosoever houses a soldier will be severely dealt with. My kids advised me to go and surrender. I went to Lungi and surrendered . My other wife Kadiatu was helping me for my survival and we were there till June. During the stay at the camp at Lungi we were given a spoon of garri for the whole day. Soldiers were dying. Once my wife prepared food for me and took it to me at Lungi and she was thoroughly beaten by ECOMOG. We were severely dealt with for whatever little thing we did. Things changed when the British Soldiers came. They sent us 7 cows for Christmas. On the 27th by then I was fasting my wife prepared a delicious meal for us and also took the money for safe keeping.  The ECOMOG  came up with the idea that they will take us to different places for safe keeping. Then another trouble began. The ECOMOG soldier asked who the senior officers amongst us were, somebody pointed me out and I was asked to board a vehicle. And I kept asking the ECOMOG driver where we were heading to. They said they were taking us to the hotel for safe keeping. They took us along until we got to Pademba Road and we were asked to disembark. The ECOMOG soldiers were all holding RPGs and other ammunitions. I had food with me which my wife had prepared and as it was close to the time to break my fast, I quickly  ate it. I was now prepared, my mind was made up and I decided to face whatever would be like a man.It was clear to me that we were being taken to the Pademba Road Prisons. We were all lined up according to battalions. I was in the Second Battalion. We were asked to enter the prisons.  We took two weeks in the prisons. We could not sleep. We were so worried. But Momoh and others gave us courageous words. Whilst there we began to hear gun shots from Up Gun and they started firing at the doors. We thought that ECOMOG was coming for us. That was around 3:15am. At 6:15am they asked us to move off the doors. Finally they were able to break in. They told us they had  heard that we were all going to be killed. They asked us to go to state house. They told me not to go beyond Congo Cross as that was were they had drawn the red line. I used my military intelligence and crawled out of the prisons and made straight for the grave of the late Patricia Kabbah. I had some other military boys with me and they promised to die with me. As we got to Congo Town my son Kawuta saw me and said:” Papa you are finished! See your companions are all lying on the ground, dead!” Then one madam Aina, whose hand was amputated, asked whether they were taking me to be killed. And she told them not to do that . My son Kawuta tried to escape with me through the mosque .Then , they warned him saying: “Kawuta, you are going to die with your father.” And in return he  said: “If you want to kill my father, we will all die.” Madam Aina advised me to put up my hands when I get to the check point. And  as I got to them, I put up my hand. We met armed men from the ECOMOG, SSD and kamajors. I thought we were in with the men who had come to free us but to my dismay I saw one of the officers who were with us at Lungi . I told my military boys to follow me so that we all die together. My son was worried and said that I should look at the road and see the dead bodies of my colleagues.So, I told them to go back saying I would rather die alone. The soldiers with me strongly believed that my presence will save us all. They asked us to lie on the floor saying our comrades are burning the town, one of them wanted to shoot me but the ECOMOG soldier there pleaded on my behalf. They asked me what I had to say. I told them that  as an army officer I was told that as soon as one lifts up a hand you have surrendered. I also told them that if I had ever wronged anyone since 1997; then I will go to hell if I die, but that I know I will go to heaven. The SSD, one Mr. Lavally said I was only talking too much sweet talk. I had on a Seiko watch and the SSD focused his attention on it, he took my bag from me and placed it under the fountain . We lay there on the floor. They had killed 18 people and the blood was rolling down towards us. The kamajors were desperate to see us dead but the ECOMOG soldier said:’’ You have heard from this old man”. Another ECOMOG soldier came up and asked us to come out in threes as we normally do in parades. I had my Tasabia and they said it was juju and the ECOMOG soldier said we were free and we were called Fatigue Commander and I was made the Leader. Then a van came and said time was running out and we should clear the corpses and be moving. The SSD had then taken my watch; I had Le 160 thousand given me by my wife in my bag, that was also taken. We were given garri and cold water and later asked to load the corpses into the vehicles. I wanted to help but was stopped. Later another police vehicle came and we went to Murray town to collect ammunition, we collected 3 boxes. We went to Wilberforce, we collected 14 remains of soldiers. The corpses of the soldiers were set ablaze. We were then later taken to the rice store at Wilberforce, soldiers in the band section were there in their uniform. They opened and locked us in with our companions, but the door had two padlocks. And I told them to take courage because I believe the rebels who had freed us at Pademba Road will be able to set us free again. On Friday we were brought out and one Dr. Julius Spencer who was in complete military fatigue came with one John Langba, a Kamajor. Julius Spencer asked who we were and the ECOMOG answered that we were fatigue men,that we had no problems. On Saturday we heard no gun shots ; instead an announcement was made to the effect that everybody should be set free. ECOMOG came and told us that. We were set free again and food was brought for us. But I could not eat. An ECOMOG soldier offered me a bottle of soft drink; but I was unable to drink it. They said we should all be taken to Collegiate but time and insufficiency of vehicle did not permit that so we slept again outside at Wilberforce. The next day we were taken to Collegiate and we stayed there till Pray Day and people came to see us. We were later taken to Mammy Yoko where we were later freed and given a document and 50 thousand Leones. After 7 months at Mammy Yoko we were all set free to go to our different ways. Later we were told that the British soldiers had come to take over the army and whosoever wishes to return can do so. I did not want to go back, but my kids asked me to .They reasoned maybe there will be benefits for us; so I did. And I went through the training and was sent to Kabala. I was in Kabala for 1year 8months when another document was issued to me on the 9th of December 2002 that my services had been terminated. I was paid the sum of 172 thousand Leones in kabala when I was terminated. One Mr. Kamara gave this to me. I am now jobless with 10 children. This is my most important concern . Now I am in Kassiri. I am only here by chance; since the Commission is here that is why I came.

Bishop Humper –     Thank you very much for sharing your experience with us. 1971 to 2001 is not a few days. What we are going to do is share some time with you .According to you, you received the sum of 172 thousand Leones with a letter terminating your appointment. I will read this letter for the benefit of all those here present. Your retirement letter is dated 9th July, 2001. The letter states that you should take no further action on receipt of this letter but to make further arrangement for your retirement, your retirement package should be there. The 172 thousand is not your retirement package. Now we will call on the Commissioners to ask questions.

Prof. Kamara –     Thank you Mr. Chairman and Good evening Mr. Bangura. We thank you for the length of service in the Sierra Leone Army. You are one of the people who will help the Commission in its work. When the day started I asked the same question to somebody about the army. I will ask you this question and I want you to give me the true answer. Are you a dissatisfied man with all that has happened to you under the circumstances you left the army?

Mr. Bangura -         I am happy and pleased with that.

Prof. Kamara –     Therefore, nothing needs to be done about you since you are satisfied?

Mr. Bangura -     I am dissatisfied with what I have gone through having given my services to the army for 31 years. That was why I came to the Commission.

Prof. Kamara –     Do not be afraid that whatever you say here will bring you any problem. Even if somebody should come here now and say that as you were passing you saw somebody’s throat being cut up. We are not here to hold you responsible. If you say what went wrong and tell us the plain truth, it does not matter how terrible; that information will lead us to make the right recommendation for the people of this country to avoid that kind of mistake so that what has happened will never happen again.

Mr. Bangura –     That is actually what I want.

Prof. Kamara –     So you joined the army in 1971 and that was a very crucial period in the history of this country. It was almost a turning point. I do not know whether you came in before or after the treason trial that involved Foday Sankoh.

Mr. Bangura-         I was already in the army then.

Prof. Kamara –     I want to take you far into the war 1991- 94/95 that was when you were 13-14 years old in the army; did you see any difference then in the behavior of the army vis-à-vis what it was  when you joined in 1971?

Mr. Bangura -   There was discipline in the army then when I joined in 1971 - 1991 and there was nothing like undisciplined brandishing and use  of guns.

Prof. Kamara –     So, when did indiscipline start in the army?

Mr. Bangura –     When the war broke out; then one saw an era were commanders were no longer obeyed.

Prof. Kamara –     What did you experience in 94/95 when the army joined the rebels? Why do you think the army became disloyal?

Mr. Bangura –     In my opinion that all came about as a result of the rebel incursion.

Prof. Kamara –     Why do you think the army turned against the people and the government?

Mr. Bangura –     The soldiers did not want the civilians and the civilians did not want the soldiers.

Bishop Humper –     The question my colleagues asked you is because you have spent 31years in the army. I will come back to that question. Did I hear you say ECOMOG soldiers were ill treating surrendered Sierra Leone soldiers at Lungi?

Mr. Bangura –     Yes.

Bishop Humper –     Did ECOMOG register all surrendered soldiers at Lungi?

Mr. Bangura –     We had  a roll call every morning.

Bishop  Humper –     Did you have a fore knowledge of the January 6 invasion before it happened?

Mr. Bangura –     No.

Bishop Humper –     You were a surrendered soldier, you were at Pademba Road and these boys who entered in January 6 released you until you finally re-entered the army?

Mr. Bangura –     Yes I was called again.

Bishop Humper -     You cannot remember but when you were at Mammy Yoko I went there on three occasions to talk to you. Now why did soldiers take up arms against its people? Now we come to the question. Why did the soldiers turn their guns on civilians? Some of you told me the government was not treating you fairly as soldiers, you said some of your bosses were not treating you rightly, am I right?

Mr. Bangura –     Yes.

Bishop Humper –     I am not saying you did it . But you and your brothers, what went wrong that you decided to take revenge and take up arms against the people of this country?

Mr. Bangura-        I did not do anything. As a soldier we work on commands.

Bishop Humper –     We are not accusing you or anybody but did you not at Mammy Yoko say that you were not treated nicely?

Mr. Bangura-     Wherever you find a group of people you have different minds and attitude and that was what saved me.

Prof. Kamara –     Mr. Bangura; we want people to help build a new army and I don’t know whether you have children in the army or who intend to join the army and as I said before if we do not have the truth about what went wrong in the army we will not be able to protect this country from a repetition of such. You are not before a court of justice; it will only help us so that those who join the army later will be happy. I am not saying this for Mr. Bangura alone but for those in the army and ex- military people who will come to testify and tell us what went wrong in the army and how to straighten the army.

Bishop Humper –     You are saying your gratuity is 172 thousand we will talk to you later from here because according to this letter there is much more in your retirement package. Do not sit down and say nothing. Please follow the correct channel.

Ms. Apori-Nkansah -     I just want a clarification of an issue from you. I want to know if people who served on the side of the rebel and are still in the army?

Mr. Bangura-         Yes. They are there. They were retrained and recruited.

Ms. Apori-Nkansah –     So according to your own opinion is the national army loyal and capable of giving security to this nation?

Mr. Bangura-         Yes.

Bishop Humper –     We have been asking you questions for clarification, now do you have questions or recommendations.

Mr. Bangura –     If after having gone through all this training and I were still in the army I believe all these problems would not have come; now I am jobless.

Bishop Humper –     You are a seasoned man and you are talking to seasoned people. You were not expecting this kind of letter and that makes you dissatisfied. I believe there is the possibility that you can be employed with some security agency. You can come to Freetown they are looking for trained men like you and I would like you to explore this possibility.

Mr. Bangura-     This is the route now I think I can get from you. If I get a job all my problems will be solved.

Bishop Humper –     I want you to know that getting a job will not solve all your problems, they will only be minimized. What recommendation can you give to the Commission with regards to all your experiences in the army?

Mr. Bangura –     I say thank you to them.

Bishop Humper –     One recommendation you have given here is that people should not retire but should continue working even when they get to retirement age.


The interpreter, Mr. Abdul Rahman Kamara, a Muslim was sworn in. Oath was administered by Commissioner  Professor John  Kamara. My name is Abdul Rahman Kamara .

1st Witness - Ya Alimamy M’mah Kamara – A Muslim by religion. Oath was administered by Prof. Kamara.

Prof. Kamara – We appreciate your coming and we are grateful that you could come and tell us your experience during the war. We want you to know that whatever you will be telling us here will not resolve in your suffering anything. You have suffered much already. What you are doing, the whole country will be grateful. So we ask you to seat calm and tell us your story.

TESTIMONY: – At about 10:00am one morning I was in the kitchen when suddenly I saw all my  neighbours running helter skelter. I asked them what the problem was and they said the rebels were coming. Leaving behind everything, I took my children and ran for cover away . We were in our hiding place when we heard that the house of Pa Santigie had been burnt down. I still  praise God that I was able to save my life and that of my children even though I lost every household property I had. I was in my hiding place for a while and then we left for another village. I stayed there for six months and later returned to my village. I was in Rokupr when I became pregnant. Initially , we had no problems. Problems began to evolve  at that time I was already 8 months pregnant and about only a week away to the maturity of the pregnancy.  It happened that I started seeing in a school a group of soldiers and I became worried. I saw them again when I went to the market; I became more worried and I was so afraid I that started bleeding. A friend of mine came to my aid and gave me a piece of cloth and took me to the hospital where we met one Mr. Paul who asked me what my problem was. I said I was afraid seeing the men in uniform and he advised me to leave the place and find a hiding place. I left the place and after a week on the 6th of January I delivered. At the time of delivery, I was attended to by a neighbour, but I later went to the hospital. My legs became swollen and paralyzed and I could not walk. I was very fortunate to have a sister who found some herbs for me in the bush which I was using as medicine. This was what I experienced during the war, the child I gave birth to is well and alive and is here.

Prof. Kamara –     Thank you very much. I know it must be painful for you to recall all the memories of those difficult days. We have no intention of continuing to distress; you but you have to allow us to ask you some questions for clarification.

Bishop Humper –     I can sense your anxiety, your frustrations and your sufferings. I have two questions for clarification. You said you were paralyzed ; how did you manage to overcome that paralysis?

Ya M.  Kamara –     I forgot to enlighten you on one area. We were at the hiding place, when we heard that the disarmament had taken place.So, I came out with my husband in that paralyzed state. I was given an injection, then I was taken home .There was no question of hospital at that time. My sister went into the bush and got some herbs which she used to heal me. After some time I was able to walk again. Presently, whenever I feel the pain coursing through my legs, all I do is sit down.

Bishop Humper –     Do you have children and how many?

Ya M. Kamara –     Yes. Six children.

Bishop Humper –     And they are all going to school?

Ya M. Kamara –     Yes.

Commissioner Jow – Thank you for coming. We are sorry about what happened to you. We will ask a few questions to clarify your story. You told us when the rebels attacked you went into hiding, was it in the bush?

Ya M. Kamara –     We crossed the river and went to a village called Makali. We stayed there for over 3 months .

Commissioner Jow – During those 3 months how did you support your family?

Ya M. Kamara –     The villagers helped us and were very hospitable. We went to an abandoned farm and found rice and in that manner continued we to feed.

Commissioner Jow – During that time there was no rebel activity in that village?

Ya M. Kamara –     No, at that time when we were there, there were no rebels.

Commissioner Jow –     You said in your statement that one Pa Santigie’s house was burnt down, who is Pa Santigie?

Ya M. Kamara –     My husband

Commissioner Jow –     So your house was burnt down?

Ya M. Kamara –     Yes.

Commissioner Jow – Did you witness any other violation?

Ya M. Kamara –     I was afraid to be amongst them, I was even afraid to listen to those kinds of talk.

Commissioner Jow – Have you been able to rebuild your house?

Ya M. Kamara –     No, I don’t even have a bed .At present I sleep on the floor.

Commissioner Jow – What is the occupation of your husband?

Ya M. Kamara –     He is an old man now and cannot do anything.

Prof  Kamara –     Thank you .You said you have six children , the one that you had on 6th January is that the  last one?

Ya M. Kamara –     Yes.

Prof. Kamara –     When you delivered was it a boy or girl?

Ya M. Kamara –     A boy

Prof. Kamara –     And it is the last child?

Ya M. Kamara –     Yes.

Prof. Kamara –     So how old is the eldest of your children?

Ya M. Kamara –     I gave birth to my first child in 1981.

Prof. Kamara -     So it is about 22 years, what is he doing now?

Ya M. Kamara –     He is in school.

Prof. Kamara –     Are all of them in school.

Ya M. Kamara –     Only two including the last are not attending school.

Prof. Kamara –     Why is that one not going to school?

Ya M. Kamara –     Alimamy is learning skills as a carpenter.

Prof. Kamara –     The eldest is about 22 and you said he  goes to school?

Ya M. Kamara –     He is in JSS 2; the other in JSS 1; the third is learning carpentry and the fourth is in class 2; the fifth is in class 2.

Prof. Kamara –     Why is the last not attending school?

Ya M. Kamara –     I will send him to school when he is old enough to go to school.

Prof. Kamara –     Why is the fifth one not going to school?

Ya M. Kamara –     He was there; but after several complaints from the school I had to withdraw him.

Ms. Apori-Nkansah -    Thank you very much for coming to share your experiences with us. Before the attack what were you doing for a living?

Ya M. Kamara –     I was a petty trader.

Ms. Apori-Nkansah –     Currently what work are you doing to support yourself and your family?

Ms. M. Kamara –     I am still doing this petty trading, I  got aid from ARC in the form of a loan which I am using to do petty trading to upkeep my family and I should pay back within a stipulated time.

Prof. Kamara –     We have been asking you questions, now we want you to ask questions if you have any.

Ya M.Kamara –     The only problem I have now  concerns my children; if the government cannot help me in any other way, I want them to assist me with my children that is my greatest desire under the circumstances. However,if I can get reasonable financial loan, I will be grateful.

Prof. Kamara –     As I said earlier I admire her ambition for her children. Fortunately for her and for the people of this country the government policy now is to provide free education at primary level and because you have made this request we have noted it and will remind those people who are responsible for this. We will do so diligently. We hope she too will continue with this same ambition.

2nd Witness – Nabie Musa Sesay  - A Muslim by religion. Oath was administered by Commissioner Professor John  Kamara.

Prof. Kamara – Welcome. You were seated here when I addressed the first witness.Be assured that nothing you say here will put you in trouble. We only want the truth about what happened during the war; because it is only that truth that will help us record the event. So seat calmly without fear and explain what happened to you during the war.

TESTIMONY- We have already prayed to the Almighty Allah to help us have a good day. I am coming to tell you what I encountered during the war. We had a great scholar at Rokupr his name was Sheik Abdul Rahman Mansaray, who was teaching us the Holy Koran. It was during one Fast Month and  this man , our Imam ,had preached to us during the fast month. One morning we were there trying to have some food after having been through the month of Ramadan. It was Pray Day and after eating, everybody went to his or her own place . Since we were in Rokupr  my brother, Pa Alimamy asked me to strike the local drum called the Tabule .The Tabule was in the verandah of the Sheik.So, I went and  struck the Tabule. As I raised up my head I saw a strange group of people coming and initially, I thought that they were part of the Imam’s followers. I  called out on other neighbours to come and see with me and as we entered the verandah we heard 3 gun shots. And there was chaos. Everybody started  running helter skelter. No one had time to look for family. Before  we got to our  own place, our wives had taken to their heels with our children. Our house was along the street .We ran into an okra plantation for cover.  Sheik Abdul Rahman Mansaray was in his house. He had two parlours and two rooms. He laid himself on the floor with the Koran in his hand. Meanwhile these rebels moved right down to the wharf area. They broke the stores. We saw them carrying heavy loads on their heads, husk rice, and headed the direction of  Makati .They did not use the main roads.  From where we were hiding we watched them as they  moved about .When they entered Rokupr, they were in large numbers . If they had been here for killing, they would have killed a lot of people.However, after they had all virtually gone; four of them stayed behind. These four who stayed after the main group had gone kept us wondering what was happening. They  entered the gate to the Sheik’s house and entered into the rooms and met  Sheik Abdul Rahman reading the holy Koran.  We were now behind the fence and we  heard violent movements.Then, we heard the Sheik testify and shout: “Oh! These people have killed me.” It was now the time for the four to leave. When they left  we got up and opened the fence. They had killed the Sheik,and taken his body into the parlour ;where they laid him and placed his cap and his Koran on his chest. My  brother cried out to report that the Sheik has been killed. He cried out saying: “This man who has been killed they have killed us”. There was chaos everywhere; from  Kulia to Limba corner . People came out in their numbers. However, the Sheik while he was teaching us there was at a point where  he told us that if a person gets  killed by  gun shot(s) ,that the  corpse should not be washed; and that no matter how high or low ,that the buried in that clothe that the person had on at the point of death. And since we are Muslims we cannot go against the teachings of Islam and he was our Sheik. Therefore, we took hoes and Shovels and dug his grave near our mosque. Without wasting  any time , we prepared him as he had told us and laid him to rest. After covering his body we heard that another group of rebels were on their way, we all ran away. Some of us took the route to Mobembe that was the only place for us. As providence would have it ,they went another way and we stayed there for 2 days. On the 3rd day, my brother told me that my house had been burnt down. I had to find a way and see things for myself, hoping it may just be a bad dream. I went and saw the ashes of what used to be my house. I can remember there were seven beds in number, 18 chairs in my parlour .I said to myself ,at the age of 80 years and my house burnt down,what kind of life is that,what can I do ? My children tried to comfort  and encourage me and said that we should not lose faith but instead wait and see what God will do for us. So,we walked through the land until we got to Mambolo and then Tombo and at Barbara we came across a vehicle and so we were taken to Freetown. I informed my children and I explained to them what had happened. I developed  swollen feet thereafter and  ever since then ,after every three months I experience this swelling. The last bout of this swollen feet, just happened a few days ago. If you are asking me what I saw and experienced during this war. It is there for all of us to see.

Prof. Kamara –     Thank you very much. Certainly this is not a pleasant experience but you have the courage to come and say it here, you have done so well . I will ask the Commissioners to ask you questions and the Leader of Evidence will also ask you questions.

Bishop Humper –     We thank you again for coming. The Commissioners are going to concentrate on two main areas according to your testimony. One which you explained intensively, you were a key witness and two you were a victim. I want you tell us again when the rebels attacked and you ran away, where did you go?

Mr. Musa Sesay –     When they attacked the first time, we hid under an okra plantation. We were there lying down.

Bishop Humper –     How far is the distance of that plantation to Sheik Abdul Rahman’s house?

Mr. Musa Sesay –     Not far

Bishop Humper –     How many Rebels do you think entered that day?

Mr. Musa Sesay –     At Sheiks house?

Bishop Humper –     No, the town.

Mr. Musa Sesay –     They were many. I cannot tell the number.

Bishop Humper –     Usually what happens when the rebels enter, do they concentrate on one area or move about?

Mr. Musa Sesay –     They scatter all about.

Bishop Humper –     Before 1996 when these rebels attacked, did you ever hear about rebel activities around the area?

Mr. Musa Sesay –     Yes, at a place called Sanda.

Bishop Humper –     Did you say on the morning of 1996 when the rebels attacked was Pray Day? Reports here to the Commission in many instances indicate that the rebels used to attack on festive days, on special religious days. I wonder why and what was going on in this country ?

Mr. Musa Sesay –     That was our first experience of seeing the rebels, but we cannot tell why they attacked on that day.

Commissioner Jow –     We thank you very much for your testimony; we know you are a fairly elderly and respectable man in your community. We would like to know your position during the time the rebels came to your town, were you the deputy to the Imam or one of the elders?

Mr. Musa Sesay –     I was Deputy to the Town Chief; whenever he was not there I acted in his stead.

Commissioner Jow – Religiously, what position did you hold?

Mr. Musa Sesay –     Sheik Abdul Rahman was our teacher. I was his student.

Commissioner Jow –     You said you heard of the rebels before they attacked, did your Imam ever preach condemning the rebels in his teachings?

Mr. Musa Sesay –     No.

Commissioner Jow – He never preached about them in his teachings?

Mr. Musa Sesay –     No, not to my knowledge. If he did; I was not aware.

Commissioner Jow – Was he ever  threatened?

Mr. Musa Sesay –     I am unable to tell; God only knows the heart of men.

Commissioner Jow – But generally, was he popular in his community?

Mr. Musa Sesay –     He was deeply loved by his people.

Commissioner Jow –     Can you tell us what group the rebels belonged to?

Mr. Musa Sesay –     They told us they came from Sanda in the Port Loko district.

Commissioner Jow –     The four rebels who entered Sheik’s house were they in uniform?

Mr. Musa Sesay –     No, they were in civilian clothes.

Commissioner Jow –     were they young men?

Mr. Musa Sesay –     Yes

Commissioner Jow –     You also told us they carried heavy loads. Were they looted from Rokupr or did they come with them.

Mr. Musa Sesay –     Yes; they were stolen properties.

Commissioner Jow –     Have you had a replacement of Sheik Mansaray; as he was a man of God?

Mr. Musa Sesay –     No. We have some young men assisting; but they were also students of Sheik. But there were also some superior students who had been sent to Cairo  who at present are  helping us.

Commissioner Jow –     You told us about your wives, what happened to them? Are they safe?

Mr. Musa Sesay –     My two wives and three children, nothing happened to them except that we lost a brother.

Commissioner Jow –     We have the mandate to promote reconciliation and healing. As a religious man what is your opinion about reconciliation and healing?

Mr. Musa Sesay –     If you are offended and you want to reconcile with that somebody; if you know that person you will reconcile but if you do not know him how can you reconcile?

Prof. Kamara –     You spoke of not being able to reconcile with somebody you do not know. So, does that mean you cannot recognize the four people who killed Sheik Mansaray?

Mr. Musa Sesay –     No. I cannot.

Prof. Kamara –     You told the Chairman that the people you observed while calling prayers on that fateful day were from the group that came from Sanda?

Mr. Musa Sesay –     Yes.

Prof. Kamara –     The whole of yesterday people were telling us that the attack and settlement of the rebels started in 1995, and according to you they went to Rokupr  a year later, so all the time they were in Kambia you did not hear about rebels at all?

Mr. Musa Sesay –     No, that was the only time we saw them.

Prof. Kamara –     Also the attack on that day, you said they came and went down to where the commercial houses were and then they left. Was that the end of that attack?

Mr. Musa Sesay –     They used the main road while entering the town. After they had looted they took another route.

Prof. Kamara –     So, they did not settle in Rokupr?

Mr. Musa Sesay –     No, until after that attack they decided to come back.

Prof. Kamara –     Concerning the killing of Sheik Mansaray, you said there were four rebels. Were they young boys ?
Mr. Musa Sesay –     Yes.

Prof. Kamara –     In your opinion ,would you say they were the leaders of that gang of rebels ?

Mr. Musa Sesay –     I would say they were because after their departure; there was no other rebel left behind.

Prof. Kamara –     Would you say that these people killed the Sheik because they found him with a Koran?

Mr. Musa Sesay –     Only God and the four know why they killed him.

Prof. Kamara –     Finally, the turn out of the people when they heard of the death of the Sheik was a clear indication that they had all intention to fight for their Sheik?

Mr. Musa Sesay –     Yes, that was their intention but the rebels had gone.

Prof. Kamara –     After this did the people organize any defence force to defend their town?

Mr. Musa Sesay –     No, I was not there again.But I did not hear of any defence force.
Ms. Apori-Nkansah -    Thank you very much Mr. Commissioner; I am sorry Pa Nabieu to hear of the death of your great teacher. Was there any other person killed on the day the Sheik was killed?

Mr. Musa Sesay –     No.

Ms. Apori-Nkansah – Apart from looting were young boys and girls abducted?

Mr. Musa Sesay –     No.

Prof. Kamara –     You have told us your story. We have asked you questions, now it is your own turn to ask us questions and make recommendations.

Mr. Musa Sesay –     How does one know more than his teacher ?You asked a question concerning reconciliation, but at my age ,I have no strength my strength is in your hands .It is you people that can decide my fate. That is why I told you my house was destroyed and if I am going to build that house the strength depends on you. You are the go between; whatever people say everything relies on you.

Prof. Kamara –     As the Chairman has continued to  remind every one involved,our mandate requires us to fulfill certain conditions and we cannot do that without people like you coming and telling us what they went through, what happened and how it happened in order to help us make recommendations in order to prevent it recurrence; and also help people who have suffered. We have recorded what you have said, it is not different from what other people have said and we will take it into consideration when we write our report. We thank you very much for coming.

3rd Witness – Nabie Kamara - A Muslim by religion. Oath was administered by Commissioner Professor John  Kamara.

Prof. Kamara – Feel comfortable and have no fear. Go on and give us your story.

TESTIMONY: – My father was a station sergeant. He is dead now and his death was due to pressure during this war. He died in our village, Bokoi. At first, the  war seemed so far away from Bokoi until it came close to a neighbouring village named Senthai. The village ,Senthai suddenly became a place of refuge for many and then the rebels got to the place. Then from Senthai ,people began to seek refuge in Bokoi and we had it. The rebels moved in tightening the noose around our village,pilling pressure upon pressure until it turned as desolate as the other areas  under the rebel impact. The noose tightening began with  the  rebel demand for food supplies.For the avoidance of trouble, we collected goats, palm oil and other food items and sent to them. For three years we were under this sort of control of the RUF. We got fed up and stopped sending the usual items and they came to meet us. We in our village decided that this pressure from the rebels was too much for us. At one time some of the rebels came and said they were going therefore,  to make our village their base. They moved in , beating, buffeting ,harassing and maltreating us. We were under their  command  until they left for Lokoya. And whilst they were there they said we were responsible for there feeding. We did not ask them to protect us but when they came, they said that they had come to protect us. We were so confused our with our elders   accusing us of encouraging the rebels; saying that whenever any group of rebels  showed up we gave them our support.  From another side,the Guineans were sending heavy artillery on the village in order to destroy the rebels, instead they were destroying the village .The village sustained much damage; the village school was destroyed. The rebels migrated and made Lokoya their base. As a result of all the pressure from the war coming from all the sides my father gave up the ghost. I was left with  my elder brother alias PZ .So, I asked  my brother what was to be done as our father has died,though our uncle was there ? My brother told me we had to be patient and watch the way things unfolded . Even as at then my brother had had all his children. As at then  I had two but one later died . It happened that I had taken my family to  Lokoya and on this occasion I had collected some food items to take  along with me to Lokoya .The distance was about three miles. My brother had come along with me , to keep me company. Unfortunately, we ran into some rebels who began to molest us. One of the rebels known as Bastard  told me I was not going anywhere.For the avoidance of trouble I continued to  follow the rebels’ commands. However, at a stage  my brother who had been there all along got very agitated. And he told them that we were only obeying their commands because they had guns. Because of this they removed the magazine from the gun and really set upon my brother, to the point that they had to put him in a torture box well sprinkled with very hot pepper.My brother cried out for compassion and made them all manner of promises, but they left him there till the next morning.It so happened that the Guineans again had commenced the bombardment of the rebel positions . And we were all under fire. So ,they commanded us to provide them with bamboo canes, which when hit in a particular manner sounded like a gun.And when the Guineans heard this sound they responded. The Guinean shelling  was such that the whole base was set ablaze. In that commotion we ran for cover and made good our escape. From the place where we had taken cover we could hear their threats directed at us  .They had threatened that if we did not show ourselves up they would disgrace us .But we remained under cover until we were able to find a way to safety. My brother then showed me his body with sores all over.

Prof. Kamara –     We thank you. Although you have not suffered much as your brother, you suffered too.

Mr. Kamara –     Yes. Apart from the sores on his body, he was also made to carry heavy load.

Bishop Humper –     We thank you for coming. We will try as much as possible to know who are giving testimonies. We want to believe that you are a victim and you are also a witness. You are a victim because you suffered at the hands of the rebels and a witness because you saw all what happened to your brother. Did these people hit you at any time with their gun ?

Mr.  Kamara –     No.

Bishop Humper –     They forced you to get food for them; how did you get them?

Mr.  Kamara –     In our village our people had a lot of sheep, goats, pigs etc. when they ran away they left them behind and we collected them.

Bishop Humper –     Then we put you under another category, victim perpetrator because you took from other people for the rebels?

Mr. Kamara –         That belonged to my parents that was why I took them.

Bishop Humper –     How many goats did your people own?

Mr. Kamara –         Two

Bishop Humper –     And how many goats did you supply the rebels?

Mr. Kamara –         Only two at other times we found fish and gave to them.

Bishop  Humper –     We do not hold you responsible. We know you did what you did to protect your life and your property so that is what we are trying to find out. We are not trying to hold you responsible for anything.

Mr.  Kamara –     We had two goats and we are fishermen we live close to the sea; at other times we gave them fish.

Bishop Humper –     We are told your brother disappeared, have you heard from him since then?

Mr.  Kamara –     My brother Lamin PZ was a petty trader. He was staying in Freetown but when his guardian travelled he came to live with my father; but unfortunately my father died.

Bishop Humper –     Your family was not happy with you because you were very close with these rebels and when you were warned you said you will follow whosoever comes to you.

Mr.  Kamara –     I have very good relationship with my family and we are very close I will only leave them to come and see what the situation was in the village and that was when I saw the rebels.

Commissioner Jow –  Thank you very much. During the time of the incident you told us you served as a guide, is that correct?

Mr.  Kamara –     Yes.

Commissioner Jow –     So, are you telling us you lead the rebels?

Mr.  Kamara –     No, I was not with them I was in town trying to guard my house. We only met when they came in search of food.    

Commissioner Jow –     In your village did other young men play similar role?

Mr. Kamara –         Yes they were there.

Commissioner Jow –     Did you collect them by force?

Mr. Kamara –     Our people in the village gave us this money so that they will not burn our houses.

Commissioner Jow –     So, the question I am asking did you force your people for this money.

Mr. Kamara –         Yes.

Commissioner Jow –     Were there any violations against the villagers by the rebels?

Mr.  Kamara –     The time they were attacked by the Guinean troops they looted our houses.

Commissioner Jow –     Did they burn any houses?

Mr. Kamara –         Yes.

Prof. Kamara –         Can you identify these people if you are to see them now?

Mr.  Kamara –         Yes.

Prof. Kamara –         Do you know whether these people are still alive?

Mr.  Kamara –     We heard that some of them were killed when the Guineans attacked their base?

Prof. Kamara –         So, how old are you now?

Mr.  Kamara –         I think I am 30.

Prof. Kamara –         Have you got any questions to ask us?

Mr.  Kamara –     Yes. Now, we have seen all these atrocities done to us in our village, what plans have you got for us?

Prof. Kamara –     What is the purpose of this Commission, why are we here. Well we are here to find out the truth, why this war, what happened during the war, to what extent people suffered and what should be done for people and the community. There are other aspects of the mandate but we will deal with what I have just highlighted but the Commission will give some recommendations to help people affected during the war. If individuals are not assisted directly their communities will benefit and in a way you will be included.

Mr.  Kamara –     Following your explanation; we need help in our village. We need mosque, we have tried,but it was really destroyed.  Now we are using mats to pray. It is shameful how we suffer when there is heavy storm.There are no toilet facilities, we have water wells. We want you to assist us in our village.  We are only looking up to you.

Prof. Kamara –     We are here acting on behalf of the Government. When we complete our work, we shall send whatever report we prepare to the Government and will make it available to everybody in the country who can read; so that things can be improved and in that way, your children will not be in your present position.

4th Witness – Abu Kamara -  A Muslim by religion. Oath was administered by  Commissioner Professor John  Kamara.

Prof. Kamara –     I want you to feel comfortable; take your time so that you can remember everything that you have come here to tell us and tell it as clearly as you can.

TESTIMONY:–I am a trader. At one time I went to Solima  in search of Diamond.  I was there when the rebels attacked; so I crossed the river to the other side . I was there for two days with my work men and then I came back. I was called by the town chief and told that the commander of the kamajors did not like strangers so we left and went to another village in Pujehun District. We were there searching for diamond . Then one day, there was an alarm in the town .The message was clear and stern. In this respect, the leader of the Kamajors, one Eddie,had  given us three days notice to vacate that area. He informed the grand commander of the kamajors in that area and said that if he should meet anyone in that area after the deadline , he will be killed. Our host insisted that we leave.The situation  was very grave,so we had to go and  plead with Mr. Eddie to give us a pass. He gave us and  decided to head to Solima. The first check point we met was at Blama Massaquoi. Then, we met another check point at Masanga. There we were asked to pronounce John, as a shibboleth for Temnes.Then, we went to another check point we were also allowed to proceed. Then we came to a  particular check point and problems started. First, they stripped us naked and accused us of being rebels. I was the leader and together with my companions we were stripped naked and seriously beaten. They were using guns and whatever other things within their reach to beat us. At a point in their orgy, one small Kamajor  pointed his gun at me to shoot me but  by the help of God the gun did not respond to his wicked intention . Borbor asked us to give our statement. We were in that process and he had  to leave for town. Therefore, we were handed over to Kemoh. After  we had given our statements, they now came out with white cloths tied round their heads. The commander ordered us to get out of the house for us to be killed.It was at that point that  Kemoh called him inside the hut and told him that we should be transferred to the Headquarters.So, there was this bitter argument between Kemoh and the commander and; finally he agreed to transfer us to the headquarters but we were still left naked. The vehicle came and we embarked on it. When we wanted to seat on the benches of the vehicle, the Kamajor escorts refused and they said we should seat on the floor. Some of them hit us with guns and some kicked us on the chest. They  beat us incessantly  until we got to our destination. When we got there they called the people and told them we were rebels. After we were removed from the vehicle, Mr. Eddie who was in a meeting ,had to be called out to see the group of rebels that had been brought. When he came I greeted him and then surprised , he asked:” What happened?” I told him  that his people did not pay any heed to the  documents he gave to me. Mr. Eddie was very annoyed that though he was the second in command to Hinga Norman , people fail to respect the documents that he had authorized. Then he gave me another document with a lot of stamps and asked them to give us our clothes. When we got to this check point where they had wanted to kill us ; they again  beat us until I could hardly move my feet. In fact, due to the beating that I received I manifested several complications and had to undergo hernia operation. Be that as it may, Thursday morning we entered Bo, I was unable to use my two legs I had to get support with a stick, a young man  gave me trousers to cover my nakedness. And so I went to my house . That particular night the Kamajors visited my house and asked me to surrender the house to the kamajors as they did not have a house . We asked them to wait till  morning. 6am at dawn  they came back.They refused to allow us to remove anything from the house. And when I told them that some of the   beds are not mine, the Kamajor hit me with the gun on my head. I took two days in Bo helpless and bemoaning my bad fortune. Fortunately, I saw one of my brothers who gave me 20 thousand Leones; that was what I used as transport to come back. When I came my mother found some treatment for me. Then , I became very ill ;suffering one bout of illness after another. I was  taunted and provoked by my people that I had come from the diamond area with nothing. I was here till a group of rebels came. The Guineans were launching their shell fire, so I ran to Lungi. And there I went to the hospital for operation. It was only when I heard of disarmament that I came back. I had a house of two bed rooms in Bo which has been burnt down. My wife asked me to go back but I refused; she went and she came back on Saturday. This is all I have to say.

Prof. Kamara –     We thank you, it is not an easy thing for one to be scared by death we will however ask you a few question to clarify some of the incidents you have described.

Commissioner  Humper – We thank you for coming and telling us this bitter experience of yours. Again you are one for the victims of the war, part of the work of the Commission is to look into the activities of the fighting forces and what role they played in this country. Your experience is with a specific force and that is the Kamajors. For the Commission to put your story in a better perspective apart from asking question we need to revisit history. We have something here that is the date but we want it to come from you, what year did you suffer this?

Mr. Abu Kamara –     1998.

Bishop  Humper –     What year did you go to Pujehun District to mine?

Mr. Abu Kamara –     It was early 1998 and in April this incident took place.

Bishop  Humper –     How long did you take in Bo before this incident?

Mr. Abu Kamara –     I went to Bo in January 1976 and I went to Pujehun in 1998.

Bishop  Humper –     How did you relate to people of other ethnic groups before 1998?

Mr.Abu Kamara –     While I was in Bo, the Mendes were people who liked to exhibit tribalism and in every little thing they would say that the Temnes should leave their area.

Bishop  Humper –     In 1998, how many of you were mining?

Mr. Abu Kamara –     We were six in number.

Bishop  Humper -     Did you say you had already piled up the gravel?

Mr. Abu Kamara –     Yes, we had even started washing and we got one piece called under six.

Prof. Kamara –     And that area is the area of ethnicity or tribalism in this country? We want to be able to find out whether tribalism actually exists as a natural flow or is used for people to satisfy personal feelings or needs and I think that was what the Chairman was leading to when he was asking this question. You went to the south 20years before this incident , can you tell us whether tribalism is such a strong force that it prevents people from other tribes to live in the south?

Mr. Abu Kamara –     Yes.

Prof. Kamara –         In that case what do you think is the population of Northerners in Bo.

Mr. Abu Kamara –     Presently most of them are in Freetown.

Prof. Kamara –     1977 was also a special period you will agree with me. You are referring to the Jagboima incident, you know what I am talking about. That time it was politics and at that time too it was the North that launched the attack in the South. The point I am trying to make is you were mining, you had collected gravel, you were washing the gravel and they showed promise of returns, in your opinion was it not a way of getting you out so that somebody could get your gravel?

Mr.Abu Kamara –     Yes, that was the pretext.

Prof. Kamara –     In life we are always in competition with people and there are some people who do not compete fairly; they take advantage of situations. We see it in politics, we see it in business. Some what, we as Commissioners have to be careful to see that even business brought before us be interpreted correctly. So, you have lost the chance of being a wealthy man in Sierra Leone today. You are as poor as anyone of us sitting here as a result of someone kicking you out and even trying to kill you and you believe it is a sad result of tribalism; I want you to know that gravel was not in northern territory. So it must have been southerners who gave you land and gave you all the support. What I am asking is do you think that tribalism is so strong that no Northerner can succeed in the Southern Province?

Abu Kamara –     When this war broke out in the Southern Province,in most of the villages around no strangers were allowed to settle. There readily and easily told us it was their territory and that we should go to the big towns.

Prof. Kamara –         So, that was an abnormal situation?

Bishop  Humper –     I just want to use this opportunity to make this general statement. If we want to achieve sustainable peace in this country and we want to delve into what happened in this country I am of the opinion that all tribes in this country contributed to the war in this country. Sooner or later we will find out whether this war was a tribal war or not; or we will soon find out if it is a porridge pot war. So, we have to open our eyes , our ears and our minds . For most of us in Kambia district from 1991 – 93 we never knew what was rebel until we were attacked in 1995. Therefore, regardless of where we are coming from we should hope that the Commission comes out with an in depth report of what happened concerning the war in this country.

Prof. Kamara –         Eddie and Kemoh, do you know whether they are still alive?

Mr.Abu Kamara –     No, I do not know.

Prof. Kamara –         What about Kemoh?

Mr. Abu Kamara –     He was the secretary in that check point.

Prof. Kamara –         What about Borbor?

Mr.Abu Kamara –     He was the commander in that check point.

Prof. Kamara –     If we are able to locate Eddie he should be able to tell us were Borbor and Kemoh are?

Mr. Abu Kamara –     I cannot tell because I do not know whether the other people are still alive.

Prof. Kamara –         At one point; so you must have feelings against Borbor?

Mr. Abu Kamara –     Yes, I have. He  wanted to destroy my life.

Prof. Kamara –         If Borbor was located would you want a reconciliation?

Mr. Abu Kamara –     For Kemoh he was the one who saved us; the only one is Borbor .But then, if he is around I will reconcile with him, for lasting peace in this country.

Prof. Kamara –     We have been asking you all these questions do you have any questions to ask us now?

Mr. Abu Kamara –     Yes, the Commissioner was talking about the South and the Northern Province, is there any difference between the North and the South in this country?

Prof. Kamara –     I will, therefore, rephrase my question, do you see any difference between the South and the North?

Mr.Abu Kamara –     Yes, if there is any problem,the  people of the North will not ask those from the South to go or refuse them a place; but it is different with those from the South. They will ask a Northerner to leave if there is any problem.

Prof. Kamara –     The difference between the North and the South: First, there are physical differences and then, for administrative purposes they have to divide the country into North, South and Western area. Now, that peace has come it should be possible for you to go back. I am sure you have a lot of friends and that is why we are here and for people like you who have moved you have to help us and guide us; not every body in the South is bad. Now that we have asked you a lot of questions, what do you think should be done so that every Sierra Leonean could move to any part of this country and live as if it were her/his home?

Mr.Abu Kamara –     The entire country is headed by one President and we are all under his control. I want you to inform our brothers in the Southern Province that they should embrace people from other ethnic groups. When the Southerners come here we give them our sisters to marry and we live happily, but the problem is the Northerners are business people and when they see us prosper they become jealous. During the war if you speak Temne you are killed instantly.

Prof. Kamara –     I will advise you to remove this Temne line and Mende line from your thoughts and take it as Sierra Leone divided into parts.   

5th Witness – Sulaiman Sankoh -  A Muslim by religion. Oath was administered by  Commissioner Professor John Kamara.

Prof. Kamara – We welcome you to come and share your past experiences with us. I want you to feel quite comfortable and free to say whatever you want to say; because you are not going to be persecuted for whatever you say here. It is just to have a full picture of what transpired during the war so feel free and say what you have to say.

TESTIMONY: – I am a native of Sanda Mokolokoh Chiefdom in the Port Loko District. My father was born in this Kambia district .Coming to my experiences during the war, my elder sister was killed by the rebel; my aunts son, Momoh Bangura was also killed at a place called Rogbolo, in that village my uncle Foday was also killed and all their responsibilities now rest on me. My sister left behind six children; two of them are attending schools and one of my children is also attending school. During the attack on Freetown, their school was destroyed and now they cannot go to school as the school was totally destroyed. Then our properties were vandalized with nothing left. All these are the burdens of the war upon me.

Prof. Kamara –     Thank you very much. You have given us what you know and I hope you will allow us to ask you a few questions.

Bishop Humper –     Thank you for coming. What you have just said here appears to be different from what you gave to the statement takers. So, I will ask questions from the statement. Did you at any time say that the rebels captured your sister?

Mr. Sanko –         Yes, I said so.

Bishop Humper –     Did you also have a cousin who was stabbed?

Mr. Sanko –         Yes.

Bishop  Humper –     Was your brother also forced to carry load?

Mr. Sanko –         Yes Sir.

Bishop Humper –     And because he was tired; they said well you need rest and they shot him dead  ?

Mr. Sanko –         Yes Sir

Commissioner Jow –     You told us your brother, sister and uncle were killed did you witness the killings?

Mr. Sanko –         No. I learnt about them later on

Commissioner  Jow –     Can you tell us who told you all this?

Mr. Sanko -         My mother told me.

Commissioner Jow –     And she was eye witness?

Mr. Sanko –         Yes.

Commissioner Jow –     Were you badly affected by some of the atrocities that took place during the war?

Mr. Sanko –     I did not suffer directly from the hands of the rebels except for the death of my sister.

Commissioner Jow –     You said your sister left behind six children, where are they now, are you taking care of them?

Mr. Sanko –         They are with their uncle.

Ms. Apori-Nkansah -    You mentioned the death of your sister and brother; can you please give us their names?

Mr. Sanko –         They are Memuna Sankoh, Momoh Bangura and Foday Dumbuya.

Prof. Kamara –     Now that you have given that story and we have asked questions, we are now giving you the opportunity to ask questions.

Mr. Sanko –     Now I have this problem with me; some people were assisting me, now they are no longer alive . My child and two other children of my relatives are with me . So,my means will not be able to sustain their upbringing  . It is my intention to call on all extended family members to join hands with me as their school  is no longer there.

Prof. Kamara –     You said the children of your cousin and brother and sister and your own, what are their ages?

Mr. Sanko –     I cannot tell the ages of the other children because I was not there when they were born, my own child is 10 years.

Prof. Kamara –     Do you realize that there are organizations in this country that educate orphans.

Mr. Sanko –         I have heard of them but I do not  know how they operate.

Prof. Kamara –     The policy now is that all children must get primary education. I  advice you to take the matter to your village heads and authorities so that they can help you get this area sorted out.

6th Witness – Ousman Kamara – A Muslim by religion. Oath was administered by Commissioner  Professor John  Kamara.

Prof. Kamara –     you are welcome here we are grateful that you chose to come and share your story with us. We want you to feel free and comfortable as you tell us that story. We are ready to listen to you.

TESTIMONY: – I am a native of a village called Mankia, For quite some time after the beginning of the war, it remained a far cry to  my native land and the rebels did not  have any ground in the village. But  that was before we began to hear that the Guineans were coming into our country.So, the rebels said they were coming to protect us. The rebels settled in a place called Lokoya. The leader for the rebel group was called Abass. The rebels told us that their responsibility was to protect us and ours was to feed them. They would come for money unannounced and if you so much as failed to give money to them let alone refused, you would be dealt with severely. Finally,we were here when we heard that the Guineans were on their way. At one time we heard gun shots, the people who said they had come to protect us, some of us came in the front part of the village to see if what was said was true, we saw them coming from Lokoya area. So we went and took cover  to protect ourselves from being the casualties of the expected confrontation. We were in the bush and we saw smoke coming up and then  we were told that our  houses had been burnt down. When we came out we did not see the Guineans  but all our properties had been destroyed and our houses burnt. So, we went into hiding.  We took about two months where we had run for safety, before we were told that it was safe to return.     Today, whether it shines or rains , we have no roof over our hapless heads.

Prof. Kamara –     We have heard your sad story of how you lost your village and then your house. The Commissioners will ask you a few questions.

Bishop Humper –     This incident took place in 1991, did I hear you say your village was burnt down not by rebels but by Guineans.

Mr. Kamara –         So we were told.

Bishop  Humper –     How did you manage to get this money every time to give to the rebels who were protecting you?

Mr. Kamara –     We were involved in palm oil business and from the proceeds we were able to get whatever we had to give to them.

Bishop  Humper –     You said that anyone that failed to meet up with the demands of the rebels got dealt with seriously, how?

Mr.  Kamara –     By that time, there was no killing  but many people got lashed properly .

Commissioner Jow –     I would like to know whether your village was attacked twice.

Mr. Kamara –         Our village was only attacked once.

Commissioner Jow –     The written testimony tells of a first and second attack.

Mr. Kamara –     The first attack which I referred to was when the rebels entered the village they were not causing any havoc;while the second attack is the alleged attack of the Guinean soldiers.

Commissioner Jow –     But the villagers helped the rebels with food?

Mr. Kamara –     When the rebels entered into our village they told the town chief what they wanted and he went about from house to house collecting these items.

Commissioner Jow –     Did the Town Chief at any time use force?

Mr. Kamara -         No, they will not force us but when the rebels came they demanded.

Commissioner Jow –     Did they not force you to give these items?

Mr. Kamara –         No.

Commissioner Jow –     Did they at any time get your young people to follow them?

Mr. Kamara –         No.

Commissioner Jow –     Can you tell us why the Guineans burnt your village?

Mr. Kamara –         No, I cannot tell why.

Commissioner Jow –     Did they suspect you of being collaborators?

Mr. Kamara –     The rebels said they were coming to protect us and as we were unarmed we agreed.

Prof. Kamara –     These rebels settled in your village until allegedly they were driven away by the Guineans; when the Guineans did they ever come back?

Mr. Kamara –         After the destruction of the village the rebels left and never came back.

Prof. Kamara –         And about the Guineans, did you ever hear the word ECOMOG?

Mr. Kamara –         Yes, we heard of it but I do not know.

Prof. Kamara –         And the Guineans, they burnt the village and then left?

Mr. Kamara –         Yes.

Prof. Kamara –         How far is your village to the Guinean border?

Mr. Kamara –         About five miles.

Prof. Kamara –         What is the relationship between your people and the people in Guinea?

Mr. Kamara –         No connection.

Prof. Kamara –     So, apart from burning the town you say nobody was killed in your village.

Mr. Kamara –         No sir.

Prof. Kamara -         And nobody was abducted?

Mr. Kamara –         No sir.

Ms. Apori-Nkansah –     Can you tell us the extent of damage done by the Guineans in your village?

Mr. Kamara –     The whole village was burnt down, except for those in the out skirts of the village.

Ms. Apori-Nkansah-     Has your village been rebuilt?

Mr. Kamara –         It is difficult to rebuild.

Ms.Apori-Nkansah –     Have your people approached any donor organizations for help?

Mr. Kamara –         I have no knowledge of my authorities having approached any one.

Prof. Kamara –     We have asked you now, we want you to ask us anything you want to know from us.

Mr. Kamara –     Our village has been destroyed and  we have nothing .We need assistance. Personally, if I do not get assistance ,then I do not know where to get the ability to get another house.That is why I ask you of the way forward.You know what to do.

Prof. Kamara –     We have heard your question but as a Commission we cannot offer any  direct assistance to you or those who suffered during the war but we have the ability to direct you to areas were you could get assistance, we could also include them in our recommendation. I will start by asking you, have you ever heard of any organization helping people to restore or get back what they have lost?

Mr. Kamara –         I have not heard about that.

Prof. Kamara –     You have not heard about that ? Well in every chiefdom they have a development committee which forms part of a bigger committee for the district. So, the district committee will take responsibility for the development of the district through those. I would like to ask you when you go back, to contact your section or your town chief about the development of your village; and so through your section or town chief your village will be able to get some support. It will be easier to seek assistance as a village rather than as individual then you will be able to get some support. In addition to what I have told you we have noted what happened to your village and like all other villages which suffered like yours we shall consider them in our recommendation.

7th Witness – Foday Abass Sillah – A Muslim by religion. Oath was administered by Commissioner Professor John  Kamara.

Prof. Kamara –     You have come to give us testimony and I want to assure you that you  will not be prosecuted for whatever you tell us  here. Instead ,you will only help us in writing our report about what happened during the war. So, feel free to give us everything that you know.

TESTIMONY: – I still clearly recall the year 1995, when we were hearing rumors about these rebels. But during that time we had two ECOMOG troops the Nigerian and Guinean troops who were here to protect us. Then we began to notice a suspicious  movement of people up and down; then, we began to  get these rumours;that  the SLA too was here to protect us.So, in the morning hours many people  used to go into the bush to stay because of the rumours we were getting. At one time we saw one SLA called Taluva, he too was passing up and down the town and people were worried about his movement. He too had his own men at the check point to protect Kambia. One day he called a meeting at the court barray. In view of the rather uncanny situation in which we found ourselves we went, hoping to at least begin to unravel the confusing state of affairs. At the meeting after various issues had been raised, Taluva responded and recommended  that when ever the rebels struck we should enter our rooms and lie down. I was wondering what type of recommendation that was and I said okay a stupid man is as easy to talk to as a sensible man. But it made it clear to my mind that there was problem. Not so long after the meeting, specifically on the morning of Wednesday, the 25th January 1995, all hell broke loose. To compound matters there was much mist that morning and therefore, visibility was rather very low. So, one could not see the other properly, not to mention seeing into the distance. I was with a very best friend who was like a brother to me. He  had come two days earlier to visit his mother,with the intention to travel back that morning to his village Port Loko.  He had already packed his baggage, but he had asked us to wait as his mother was preparing food. So, we were at the gate conversing, when suddenly we saw a group of people coming in full military fatigue. You could not imagine they were evil people. They had already laid hold of a man named Samuel Fullah, who was having a paste and brush in his hands.Then, as soon as they came across us , they laid hold of my friend. And as I turned and pleaded for his release, I received  such a sharp slap that I fell down. Up till now I still have problems with my ears. I wanted to get up and retaliate but when I raised up my eyes I saw they had a red piece of cloth tied round their neck and I had earlier learnt that a red cloth signifies danger. The man said the slap was due to my interference and they took him away. I informed his mother and  advised her that we escape from the area. The mother asked where I was heading for and I made it clear to her that even if it meant dying on the way I was leaving the area. The mother was trying to hide under the bed but she could not get her whole body under,as the children too were under the bed and they were over crowded. I moved behind the house and I saw another group of rebels moving in the opposite direction.My mind was made up, so I kept moving. I met my friends and Tuwala told us rebels had come and we should run away. I entered my house. I had a handicapped person who was completely deaf. I heard gun shots and heavy bombardments, this  started at exactly 7:45am.But I was at the behind my house and, from that area whatever happens in the front one will be able to see , on the contrary, it is difficult to see anyone well hidden in that area. So, I saw these people coming with the nuns and Abdul Rahman Sesay another student who was shot .At a closer look, at them I saw a boy with an RPG on his back. He was raining abuses and  daring everybody to a challenge. From my vantage position,I was  able to see most of my family in the big house . Then I heard the dog barking. I raised up my eyes to see what was happening and I saw one of my neighbors Amadu Sinneh running away with a small child. Then I heard one for the rebels say they should go to the police station to light the candles of Joseph Saidu Momoh. Immediately I saw a clearing and a little rest period from the hurly-burly , I went into our house and told me family members including the deaf one to follow me. My father had 7 boxes, two full of gold and trinkets, my parents and siblings joined me outside the house and we took the road which we normally used to get water for domestic purposes. On the way I met my friend’s mother and she wanted to know where we were heading to and I told her that I  had nowhere in particular in mind; except to leave the place. She walked on with us for sometime; but after a while she turned back. We walked to another village called Mayafa where we were provided with cassava then we continued our journey. We were lucky when one man took us to another village. I did not have money in my possession but through the help of this man we were able to cross the river. We asked the man to help us with a place to rest awhile, we stayed with him for two days. I was weary of returning,but a friend of mine from the Ministry of Health said we could return and we cautiously began our journey back . After crossing the river, there was another man called Foday  who also supported our return. And so, after lunch we began our return. In the first instance, I asked the help of my friend to convey my wife and kids ,and then I followed later. When we arrived, we met our house completely burnt down.And my father, my uncle and I wept bitterly. My father said he was not worried about the house but what was in his boxes which he could have used to build three or four houses. What were we to do ?   We put up a make-shift structure with corrugated iron sheets as a temporary survival measure.  In order to survive, all the sort of work that I never contemplated ever doing, I began to embark on all of them .I would help my wife to load cassava and do all sorts of odd jobs. Before the war,I had established a small business from my savings; but after the attack I lost everything. I had 30 thousand Leones,  which I gave to my wife to include in her petty trading activity. Once on a while I would go and assist my friends in the rice mill to support my family. It also happened that there was another man called Pa Sawyer who was also assisting me. He performed circumcision according to the local practice and I also doubled as his assistant. In the evenings we used to go out for relaxation; chatting and drinking  Palm wine. That was how I got acquainted with a palm wine tapper called Chimota. At a time Chimota asked me to help him get chairs and I told him I was not a carpenter.However, after much persuasion, during the course of which he told me that he was not meeting me for the first time; and  that he had known me very well as far as at Kambia,I consented to his request. Everything went well and I delivered his furniture to him.The next request and task was to make a cigarette box . I gave him a measurement which he said  was okay. He gave me a deposit of 7 thousand Leones, which I gave to the carpenter. But when the carpenter failed to make the box ,he called the rebels for me . I had gone  to Freetown to visit my wife when I came back he asked me for the box and when I could not produce it he reported me to the rebels. They took me to the bridge and told me to remove my watch.Then, the watch was forcefully removed from my hand. He pointed a gun at my feet and then went ahead and shot me. Then, he asked me to walk on,but when I could not move after several attempts, he then handed me over to one child and they gave the child the gun with the instruction that should I disturb them; the child should take care of me. I later on wrenched away the gun from the child and after cocking the gun we moved towards the palm tree and struck the gun and the bullets came off . One Pa Saidu and another man in the village had investigated the matter . Furthermore, upon my arrest the rebel had questioned  me concerning 20 thousand leones and I said that what is between us is  only 7 thousand leones . Inspite of all my plea, I was bound and detained; and when she tried to find out about what the matter was, my pregnant wife was given such a slap that she fell flat on the ground.

Bishop Humper –      Foday Abass Sillah, we want to thank you for coming. Some of your presentation are so relevant here;but some  must be handled elsewhere. So,the rest of your story we ask you to take to the town chief, if your wife is molested take this matter to the Town Chief.

Commissioner Jow –     The rest of the testimony is of a civil case between your wife and others in the community; the final decision was taken by the court barray and a decision was taken in your favor.

Mr. Sillah –         Yes.

Commissioner Jow –     So the case is settled?

Mr. Sillah –     The case is there but I have still not received my property even though I have paid the money.

Commissioner Jow –     Pursue your case in that same way that is not why the Commission is here.

Prof. Kamara –         We are not a court; we do not sit  here to decide civil matters.

Leader of Evidence –      Ms. Apori-Nkansah

Ms. Apori-Nkansah -    Thank you very much Mr. Commissioner; I just want to make an observation, we want to know whether you suffered any violation when your town  was attacked?

Mr. Sillah –         I was slapped.

Ms. Apori-Nkansah –     What the Commission is trying to put to you is that since 1999 the violation you are reporting is not war related; all what happened to you and your wife did not happen because of the conflict?

Prof. Kamara –         So, you went to the chief and the chairman had taken a decision.

Mr. Sillah –         We were not taken to the chief we were taken to the rebels.

Mr. Sillah-         And then it has been settled in your favor?

Prof. Kamara –     We are advising you to go the local court. This matter falls outside the period of our mandate. If you are not satisfied with the verdict. In connection with what happened to you in1995, do you have any questions to ask or statement to make?

Mr. Sillah-         No. I do not have any question.

Prof. Kamara –     We have noted the violations you suffered in 1995 ; we hope that you and your children will not suffer such violations again. We thank you for coming.