Appendix 3, Part 2, Section D




Commissioner Mrs. Satang Ajaratou Jow - Called the Hearings to a start with interfaith prayers. She welcomed the Paramount Chief, all traditional and district leaders and all present.And  reminded every one about the rules and regulations of the Hearings.

1st Witness – Pa Bai Conteh -   A Muslim by religion. The oath was administered by Commissioner Jow.

Commissioner Jow – The Commission would like to welcome you. You are one of the very special people. We want to inform you that this gathering is not a court and coming before us does not mean you are going to be in trouble. This commission has a mandate.

TESTIMONY: - We are asking the Almighty Allah for this programme to be successful; to the end that there will never be a repetition of all that has happened in this country in the last ten years. This war came to us from an area called Check Point at about 11:00pm. At that time we had the Guinean contingent in our midst, there was heavy exchange of firing at that Check Point. I escaped with my family to a village called Sempe. After sometime, I came back to collect some items from our house. As I entered my  area I saw from a safe distance, a group of men  causing much commotion in the area and  raining abuses on everybody and daring anyone to challenge them. We decided to return to the place we had hidden our family and move with them to another village called Rolambe. After destroying the town ship they visited our hiding places and asked us to return. They said that if we refused they would destroy the entire village. We obliged them; not knowing that their intention was to make us their slaves. We had to provide the rebels with palm oil and rice and if we refused we were in trouble. They were asking our children to dig the bunkers and trenches in the area where the Guineans intermitently launching attacks. It got to a time we could not see our children as they took them to dangerous places. They took them away from us sometimes for a whole month. The rebels entered Pamlap and fought there. One night we were in the verandah with my children when one colonel of the RUF counted five of my children and said they should board his vehicle saying if they refused to go they would kill all of them.  They took them away and shot and killed two of them;  the remaining three returned and told us that their brothers had been shot. The grief was much and, even much more, as we had to continue to go and plead with  these rebels to give us their corpses. But they refused saying we were too strong headed and,that they had killed only two of our children and we  had the audacity of  asking them questions.  I told them that they  abducted my children in my house and that is why I have come for the corpses. They retorted that they had carried out what they told us they would, that they have killed them. About two or three days later they came with a bag of rice to perform a ceremony for the dead. Some of my neighbours wanted to refuse it but I told them to accept the rice; as it will be used as evidence against them; if and when the case should ever come up. So, we accepted the rice. Now, I am alone I have no food; my wife is an aged person and I am too. Col. Vandi has killed the one who was taking care of us. I thank you very much for coming to give us some courage.Because if there are people who share in your distress then you will have some courage and you can go on. If you do not have anyone to talk on your behalf in situations like these;then what do you do .What they did to me is what I have narrated.

Commissioner Jow –     We have listened very attentively to your story. It is indeed a sad story and as a Commission we sympathize with you .It is indeed good that you have the courage to come and tell us your story. Your testimony is consistent with what you have in the written statement, but the Commission will ask some questions for clarifications and also fill in some details where there are gaps.

Bishop  Humper –     We want again to thank you very much for your cooperation for coming to share with us your testimony. But before I ask  questions for clarification, I want to make this clear to you. All who come here to testify are put under the same umbrella: Witnesses.It  is a pregnant  concept. Our study of  the 11 year war has made us to put people under different categories . As you sit I want to put you under category; we have those we call Perpetrators, be you a Rebel , Kamajor or Guinean. Two, we have victims. And I am sure if I am to ask you here to put up your hand, you are in no doubt that every excepts that you suffered . Those who suffered during this war are those we refer to as Victims. Number three are Victim Perpetrators,where the rebels or other fighting forces abducted you and trained you and gave you a gun;and so from Victim you became a Perpetrator. Hence, the one person is Victim and also Perpetrator. Number 4 is Witness :Here, you saw what happened or somebody told you what happened,that is a  Second Hand Witness .The Witness saw what happened, you saw the clearing of people’s houses and some of the looting operations or even may be that the destructions caused here and there, were not caused by rebels but by certain civilians themselves. Number 5 category is a combination of all these; you the same person can be a victim, a perpetrator, anything. Pa Conteh is one of our very important witnesses here today .The testimony tells he is both a Victim and a Witness. As a victim he lost his son, he suffered displacement. We place him and it is in that context we ask him questions to clarify. When you ran to secure your life, did you say you went to a town in Guinea?

Mr. Conteh –         That is the boundary between Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Bishop Humper –     Do you still have the bag of rice Col. Vandi gave you, you said you were going to keep it as evidence?

Mr.  Conteh –         No

Bishop Humper –     You said you were subjected to taxation by the rebels, what kind of taxation?

Mr.  Conteh –     Palm oil, chicken, rice our children were even taken away to dig trenches and bunkers.

Prof. Kamara –     I greet you and express sympathy for what you went through. As you have been told we will ask a few questions for clarification. You said the attack started at the check point, are you referring to the check point manned by the Guinean contingent?

Mr.  Conteh-         Yes; that was the base of the Guinean contingent.

Prof. Kamara –         What did the Guineans do?

Mr.  Conteh -         They left their position.

Prof. Kamara –         You want to tell us the Guineans fled ?

Mr.  Conteh –     They did not flee but after serious fighting the RUF took the town and the Guineans remained at the check point.

Prof. Kamara –     So, the Guineans remained at the check point and the rebels occupied the town and the people were not protected by the Guineans?

Mr.  Conteh –         Yes Sir

Prof. Kamara –         So, you left because there was no protection and went to Dixon.

Mr.  Conteh -         Yes Sir.

Prof. Kamara -     You have given us a story wherein your sons and others were abducted and your son and another were killed; what happened to your wife and the other children?

Mr.  Conteh –         My wife is still with me nothing happened to her.

Prof. Kamara -         Have you other children?

Mr.  Conteh -         I have three other children but two are very young.

Prof. Kamara -     Of the five men abducted, three you said were your children, can you give us their names, who were the other two?

Mr.  Conteh -         Mohamed Conteh, Alikali Kamara

Prof. Kamara -         The other three that returned what were their names?

Mr.  Conteh -         Daddy, Lamina and Momoh

Prof. Kamara -     I cannot connect these people who took your children, do you know where Col. Vandi is now?

Mr. Conteh -         I do not know

Prof. Kamara -     What happened to the Guinean soldiers; did they remain here up to the time of the disarmament?

Mr . Conteh –         No; they were not here they returned to Guinea.

Prof. Kamara -         Were you here when the town was bombarded?

Mr.  Conteh -         I was living in Kafairor.

Prof. Kamara -         Did you witness the rebels going across and attacking the Guineans?

Mr.  Conteh -         Yes I saw them going to Pamlap.

Prof. Kamara -         How many times did you observe that happen?

Mr. Conteh -         I cannot tell.

Prof. Kamara -     Did you observe the Guineans causing any atrocities, burning properties and looting?

Mr.  Conteh –         No. I did not.

Commissioner Jow –     Thank you so far. I have a few more questions. You mentioned one Pa Adikali; can you tell us who he was?

Mr.  Conteh –         He was the Sub Chief.

Commissioner  Jow -     What was your own position in the community?

Mr.  Conteh -         I was only a farmer.

Commissioner  Jow -     You told us that the rebels stayed in your community for four months?

Mr.  Conteh -         Yes; inside Kafairor.

Commissioner  Jow -     I take it you did not interact with them.

Mr.  Conteh -     They were not treating us nicely but there was no way out we had to stay in their midst.

Commissioner  Jow -     Can you tell us some of the things they told you for their action?

Mr.  Conteh -     The four months they stayed in Kafairor we were not with them when we came back they stayed for only a month before they left.

Commissioner Jow -     One month is quite a length of time, what did they tell you?

Commissioner Jow -     Apart from Col. Vandi can you remember the names of other rebel commanders in your village?

Mr.  Conteh -     The commanders Col. Vandi and Boulah, the other one was called Kpondowa, the junior one was nicknamed Devil, the other one was Suck Blood.

Commissioner Jow -     Would you say they were all Sierra Leoneans?

Mr.  Conteh -         Most of them were Sierra Leoneans; like Vandi, he is a Mende.

Commissioner Jow -     Do you remember Boulah?

Mr.  Conteh -         He is not a Sierra Leonean.

Commissioner  Jow -     Do you see him around?

Mr.  Conteh -         Yes

Commissioner  Jow -     Was he one of those who forced you to provide them with food?

Mr.  Conteh -     At the initial stage when they entered we could not tell who was who; but later we realized Boulah was on the side of the civilians.

Commissioner  Jow -     Can you tell us whether these rebels took away some of your young girls?

Mr.  Conteh –      Rebels attacked this town twice. The first ones were the real rebels.And after they had gone the next set of rebels who came they took our belongings. Whilst we were fetching water for them they asked us if we know the type of people those first set of rebels who came into our midst were;and then went ahead to tell us that they were the men of Foday Sankoh. They asked us not to come out of our hiding places because if we were seen and we try to run we will be shot to death. The  real rebels were not from this country. When they were going they abducted one lady and she stayed with them until she had a baby then she ran away from them and came back.

Ms. Apori-Nkansah –     You have indicated to us that you have seen around some of the RUF people who attacked your village ?

Mr.  Conteh -         Yes, Boulah.

Ms. Apori-Nkansah -     What we would like to know from you is this, should the Commission arrange a meeting between you and such a person would you agree?

Mr.  Conteh -         We have to reconcile because what has been done cannot be done.

Commissioner  Jow –     You told us in your evidence that there was a lot of looting in your village and a lot of your own property was looted. Apart from that was there any burning done to your village?

Mr.  Conteh -         My village was not burnt down.

Commissioner Jow –     We have asked you a lot of questions and now it is your own turn to ask questions and make recommendations.

Mr.  Conteh –     We rely on you people to advocate on our behalf for all the atrocities wrought upon us and the several losses suffered in the course of this war;we count on you to make recommendations to the government on our behalf .

Commissioner  Jow –     We also rely on you, if you can recommend anything what you think needs to be done.

Mr.  Conteh –     We did not have the belief that what happened to us would have been addressed by people like you who will come and ask us again. So we rely on you.

Commissioner  Jow –     Thank you very much. As a Commission at the end of our proceedings we will write our report and all the recommendations will be included. And we hope they will be implemented. In order that our children and children’s children will enjoy a war free Sierra Leone where there will be no more blood shed.

2ND WITNESS = PA Soriba Bangura – A Muslim by religion. Oath was administered by Commissioner Mrs. Satang Ajaratou  Jow.

TESTIMONY: – We thank the government .May God continue to empower the government. We have been  asked to narrate what happened to us during the war.Because I  was ill and bed-ridden I never had a direct personal encounter with the war. However, I have had much indirect impact of the war by how it deleteriously impacted upon my family.I was ill and practically confined to the bed. In my condition , which was accentuated by the stories of the war,whenever there was a gun shot it appeared to me  as if  it was inside the village. I was lying helpless and hopeless there and, my wives were crying asking what would happen. I told them to run for their lives as I was an ill man and in that condition and that if it is the will of God that I should die there; no problem ,all is well.  The women were confused and did not know what to do. We had young children and I told them to take care of them and leave me to my fate. Finally,in desperation and as a last ditch effort,my sister  asked and got help from man who used  a bicycle to take me to Guinea. Where we were, my wife and children spent the day in the bush and at night they came and slept in the house. My leg was very swollen and prospects of healing seemed very dim , looking at the condition of the leg. I was on that sick bed for a period of 3 years. During that time I occasionally asked about the whereabouts of my elder son but my wife would inform me that my son was at Lokoya. Then at one time I my brother came around; I was much better then. He then told me that my son was around and was seriously sick. I discussed with my friend,my host ,about what to do and we resolved to take the risk and go and see my son. I improvised  a  walking stick and we walked from morning up till 2.00pm.And I saw that my son was ill.So ill at that point, that if you were not very close to him,you would not hear whatever he was saying. I asked him what the problem was and he said he was beaten up. I asked him: “who beat you the soldiers or the rebels.”Then I said: “I had in mind that you will be my next of kin and now you are dying.” Not long afterwards he died and I said: Allah is great. I was there for a period of two days and because of the distance that I had covered, my leg started paining me again. People were asked to take me to my village. My brothers and my wife stayed behind for the funeral rites. We were there when we heard the war was over and that people should return to their home town. Since I was in better health I returned and started rebuilding my house. We came back and the fight started again and we were in a village called Morla in a camp. We were there for some time and we heard that the town has been burnt down. How would we get the true story concerning whether it was the act of rebels or soldiers? Be that as it may, I was finally able to confirm that all my house had been burnt down. My son has died, and  my house burnt down. If the government should ask I will say this is no hear say, it is the reality with which I am confronted :My son is dead, I have no house, nothing, no food. We rely on the government .So ,if you are ask me this morning?  Then,this is what I experienced during the war.

Commissioner Jow –     The Commission would like to sympathize with you over the loss of your son. We know you have great faith in Allah; he will continue to strengthen you. Your testimony is very straight forward; but it is the practice of this Commission to ask questions for clarification. I now invite my fellow Commissioners to ask you questions.

Bishop Humper –     You fall in the category of a victim, your statement is straight forward so there is not much to ask. It seems you are talking of two different periods what year was that?

Mr. Bangura –     I cannot tell the year. When war broke out in this country it took four years before I went to the camp.

Bishop Humper –     Apart from the pains of the illness which was natural, you lost your son, your wife suffered paralysis , you lost all your property you have ever owned in your life, my last question which is very crucial which you will tell us , you said he spoke in a way you could not hear what he was saying?

Mr. Bangura –         Yes

Bishop Humper –     We want to establish whether the nod meant soldiers or rebels? We want to be fair to you and to ourselves because during this period 1995-1999 we had soldiers, rebels so we have to be clear and sure of what we say.

Bishop  Humper –     My final question when you heard of the illness of your son did it take a week, year or a month before you went there?

Mr. Bangura –     I was informed in the morning hour and immediately I left with my friend to see him as I was in Guinea and he was in Sierra Leone.

Prof. Kamara –     If I understand your testimony, does it mean you had fear of the two groups of people rebels and soldiers?

Mr. Bangura –         Yes

Prof. Kamara –     So, that means the soldiers who were sent here, were as much a threat to the people as the rebels?

Mr. Bangura –         Yes

Prof. Kamara –     There were Sierra Leonean Soldiers and Guinean soldiers here at the time.

Mr. Bangura –         That was what we heard.

Prof. Kamara –         Your son was he beaten?

Mr. Bangura –         At Lokoya because that was were he was staying I wasn’t there.

Prof. Kamara –         He was not beaten in the village or town that you met him?

Mr. Bangura -         No

Prof. Kamara –     How far was this village in which he was beaten to any area where there was soldier presence?

Mr. Bangura –         I was not there but we believe there were soldiers in Kambia town.

Prof. Kamara –     And we all know that the soldiers and rebels were not staying in the same place.

Mr. Bangura –         I am unable to tell because I was in a refugee camp in Guinea

Prof. Kamara –         Your village Foraya was occupied by rebels?
Mr. Bangura –         That was what we heard.

Prof. Kamara –     The rebels were occupying your village; how were they administering the people, were they doing any harm to them?

Mr. Bangura –         I have no knowledge of what they were doing.

Commissioner Jow –     It is not our intention to cause you any pain or open any old wound. I did tell you in the beginning that the Commission has a mandate and to fulfill this we have taken statement from all over the country and that is why we have to ask some of this rather difficult and sometimes painful questions. We understand your loss but understand also that we too have a mandate to fulfill. So, we are going to continue these questions. You said your village was burnt down at that time you were in Guinea but you were informed that it was the Guinean soldiers who did it; why do you think they did it ?

Mr. Bangura –         They said they were protecting the town.

Commissioner  Jow –     Was that a way of protecting a town?

Mr. Bangura –         Well that is what was our worry.

Commissioner  Jow –     Has the village been rebuilt? Have people come back ?

Mr. Bangura –         Yes

Commissioner Jow –     And life is retuning back

Mr. Bangura  –         Yes

Commissioner  Jow  -    Can you describe for us life in the camp ?

Mr. Bangura –     We  only eat after the person sharing the ration has taken his own portion.

Ms. Apori-Nkansah –     I am sorry to hear about the death of your son in your testimony you indicated to us that your wife experienced paralysis hearing the death of your son

Mr. Bangura –     Not my wife but my daughter. She was on the back of her mother while they were running for their lives and she fell off.

Leader of Evidence –     You also mentioned that the house in your village was  burnt down have you received any assistance in rebuilding ?

Mr. Bangura –         Yes.
Commissioner Jow –     Thank you very much for answering our questions according to the proceedings of this commission we have to give you the opportunity to ask questions or make recommendation in line with the conflict in this country

Mr. Bangura –     I do not have any question.In order to begin to solve the problems then the should be greater government intervention.For instance, in my village we have 160 houses involved, but  you are only given support for 20 houses; we have no medical facility and if you are or your child is sick then you are in trouble. The houses that have been built for us have only 3 rooms in each; if you are 20 in your family how can you live there ?

Commissioner  Jow –     You are talking about houses who built those houses ?

Mr. Bangura –     It is only the government that I know. I do not know about any  other organisation

Commissioner  Jow –     Do you have any chiefdom development ?

Mr. Bangura –         Yes.

Commissioner Jow -    Have you refered this issue to them ?

Mr. Bangura  -        Yes

Commissioner Jow -    What did he say ?

Mr. Bangura -        He too has promised to come to Kambia.

Commissioner  Jow –     That is good . We have noted your recommendations and your concerns; and we hope that after the implementation of some of these recommendations conditions will improve.

3rd Witness – Anthony Andrew Tollo – A Christian by religion. Oath was administered by Commissioner Mrs. Satang Ajaratou  Jow .

Commissioner  Jow – Thank you for coming to share your experience. Your written testimony is here with us but you have summed up courage to come openly and talk to us so that we have a clear story of what happened to you during the war . You represent the many many people who would have loved to come but are not here  because of circumstances. So, just relax and tell us your story.This is not a court, whether as Victim or Perpetrator or Witness or as a combination of these three.

Andrew – I am here to talk about what I experienced during the war. From 1991 we were hearing of the war around the Kailahun area. At that time we were in Moyamba district. We were receiving a lot of refugees from Kailahun who told us they had been attacked by the rebels . We continued to  wonder whether these rebels were human beings. Some told us that  they were human beings while  others said they did not see them. I was attending school at Taiama from 1991-95. My father was responsible for my schooling. But at the later part of 1995 my father became seriously ill and  could not pay for my Selective Entrance fees. He told me he could not pay for the examinations and does not even have money to pay his hospital bills. I  told  him that  I would be left with nothing should I not take the examinations;as all my mates and friends were sure about taking the examinations . So, he asked me to go to Bomaru and meet my brother who was a soldier and explain things to him; may be he might be willing to assist.  Therefore,I went to my brother and  explained my problems to him. And he told me that I was lucky as I had come at the right time as his colleagues at Daru had just received their salaries the previous day and if he receives his he will help me. He took me and introduced me to his bosses as his younger brother . We returned to his house at night and he gave me place to sleep. But I told  him that I was unable to sleep alone and ;that I would like to sleep with him even if it meant sleeping on the floor. At about 4.00am in the morning we heard gun shots. So, he asked me to stay in the room and if it was any bad thing he will come and collect me. I stayed there until 6.00am and I was not able to see him. I peeped through the window and saw lights from torches. I heard people shouting and crying and running all over the place. I did not come out as I was told to wait for my brother and I did not know the area. I was in the room when two men entered. They did not see me as I lay hidden  under the bed . They took all his belongings and went out. After five seconds another group came, two entered and they searched . Then they said:” Our comrades have been here”. Then another group came, they met the place scattered.As things turned out,one of them saw me;and ordered me to come out.He demanded my identity .I identified myself and told him that I was a student.He asked if my father was a soldier I said no but that my brother was.Then, he was happy as he said they needed information about soldiers he took me to his companions and told them I was the brother of a soldier and that he had taken me from the room of a soldier. He ordered that I be stripped naked and they said I would have some information about the soldiers. They asked me a lot of questions but I told them I was visiting the area for the first time. So, they took me to their commander one Pa Chako. He was Happy and said may be I was the son of a soldier . He held my throat and shouted out and asked me where the ammunitions were kept. I told him that all I know about the soldier was their  kitchen; because that was where I was taken to when I came. I told them that I do not know if that was where they kept ammunitions. So, they took me with them to show them the place.There nothing was found. They had abducted a lot of people including very young children. They were asking after the soldiers and the Paramount Chief in the area . If you failed to answer you were either flogged or killed. They were in the town for two days and then they changed their mind; they said they had collected a lot of civilians. So, they took some outside and started killing them. So, some of us who were little children started crying as we had never in our lives witnessed such horror and atrocity.  Then Pa Chako ordered that all children  be taken to the barray. But even from that point we saw them through the window. They then decided to fence the barray. So, those who were not yet killed were taken to the mosques to get mats to fence the barray. They gave us four men as guards, but two of them did not have guns. They would come and give us biscuits and all that. They said they liked small unit groups. They would come and lecture us that they had come for the country to change the rotten system. They said they did not want to see Momoh Soldiers. After two days, they decided to take us along. They decided to use the human parts of those that had been killed to “decorate” the town. So, they started to cut off parts from these corpses and used it to “decorate” the town. We the small boys were so scared. Having seen what had happened to the adults, what will be our fate? But some of the rebels told that those whose parents were not under a  curse should not worry. They packed the looted properties and gave them to those adults who had not been killed to carry. Some of them took a liking for some of us and they gave us their plastic bags. On the way they were telling us that we were not enjoying good education under this government ;and that we should have free education and those of us who were already with them were going to enjoy free education. So, we were not worried any more. We were happy. We discussed amongst ourselves;and I told them that even at that point my father was not in the position to help with my schooling. So, if what they were saying came true,I then reasoned that it would be of immense help to my father. We went on until we came to a village where we stopped .There, they prepared and had their meal. They made use us to catch fowls and goats. They kept the adults securely locked and closely observed. For us the children, they watched us through the windows and  and even when some of cried, they sympathized with us as we were kids. We were still in that town when they got information from their headquartes that they did not want the large number of civilians which they had abducted. They only wanted 35 persons: 10 big ones and 25 small ones. So, Pa Chako lined up all the adults and said that he  had received orders that they only needed 35 persons. So , there was much commotion among the adults as some of them had 8 and 6  members of same family, although there were some that got abducted alone. The other rebels asked Pa Chako what was to happen to all the property that they had looted; since the decision was that they will kill the rest after taking out the number they wanted. They counted out 10 adults and 25 children  and the rest were locked up in a house. The other rebels also asked Pa Chako :If the 35 people are for the “government” what about them who have carried out the opearation ? So, Pa Chako said they should all take one small boy to help carry their own loads. I was expecting this government load to come from elsewhere but then  Pa Chako told them that they should divide whatever spoils they had into two. One for the government and the other one for the individual rebel. This was done. And that which was put aside for the government was given to the adults and we the little children we were given little bundles so that we could move about freely. The adults were chained together with a rope; and they had to move along like that. Anyone that for any reason complained of being tired was  told to  prepare to die.And they did kill them  as they went along.And they continued like this adjusting the rope each time one person is removed from the chain. They told us that they killed them so that when  you see your partner killed before your eyes; you will not be tired but you will carry the load no matter how heavy it is. They alone had the power to say when to rest and even to answer to the call of nature and so on .Then, we were in one village and they said that all rebels should come forward with their boys. Couple Warrior was my boss. When that command was passed, he told me to hide. So, he hid me under the box that was nearby. My other companions were taken to Pa Chako. But when I was abducted I was clearly recognized as the brother of a soldier. So, they called out for me and they said that Couple Warrior wanted to take me as if I was the child of his grandmother. He lied saying that he had sent me to fetch water. But the other man who saw Couple Warrior hiding me gave him away and Couple Warrior was given 100 lashes. So, they went for me were I was hiding and they asked me why I did not come with the others.And I told them that Couple Warrior asked me to hide. So, they asked him and he said he was not going to say anything. So, they said they were going to punish him. They said he should always be infront and he should never come near me. I was now handed over to Pa Chako. On our way, we met 8 people who had on military fatigues of different types. They were moving about the town and, they were with some women. So, I asked the women why are these people here and they told me that they were waiting for the missionaries, when we got there they welcomed us warmly. It was in that area that Couple Warrior was released. But there was a command that if you were in possession of a civilian, you shoud report to the headquarters. We across a stream and  met some women  laundering and others taking their bathe. At that time we had been separated into groups and I was with Couple Warrior and he showed me my mates playing in the stream;and he told  me that they were happy and I will soon join them. He called out a woman who was the wife of his brother and introduced me to her and told her he had brought me to help his wife Sapphire. The woman told me not to worry. She said they were human beings like myself and I should not be afraid. She had two children and she called them out to meet me , They came and invited me into the water and; they told me they were very happy and they do not do any work except eat and that they had tapes in their rooms. They said they will take me to their place which was two miles away from the stream. We went through a very high hill until we got to Couple Warrior’s house. I met his wife and we discussed. She had known me for a long time and she even knew where I was born. She asked me how I got into the hold of these people and I asked her the same question. She told me she too  was an abductee . She said I should have tried to hide myself but I told her the security was tight. I asked her why she did not try to escape also she said the security was tighter than mine. I asked her what we were to do in the unknown and very dangerous environment . She told me that there was no good in that place for us . She said that all the lecture were lies. And I started praying; but she said with her I need not worry.But as for my other companions that they had ended up in the hands of  women who will  punish them.She reassured me that with her I will be happy. She gave me water to wash but I told her I had already taken my bath. She asked me if I saw children playing in the stream I said yes. She advised me to go and sit down quietly as I was new.  They took all the abducted children to the commander, Superman. All the boys were there but Couple Warriors boy was absent. So, they asked for me and couple warrior said he has asked me to go and take bath and after that they should take me to Superman. They said he was telling a lie and they commanded that he be given 500 lashes. They flogged him and his body was badly lacerated and then the threw him under the sun. They then took 3 boys for Superman. They asked us woith whom we would wish to stay and I pointed to Couple Warrior and; they removed him from the sun and I was handed over to him. He took me to his house and handed me over to his wife. But where his house was located, there was a thick forest and I told him that the place was cold. He said it was because we were outside; so I asked him were I was going to sleep and he said he would clear his wood store . He cleared it and gave me a foam and I slept in this store. For a whole week I did nothing. In the morning they would call them  out for training . I would stay behind and read my Book 5.But the others who were older went for the training each day. I was not allowed to train early as I was clearly a child. When we were going to Moyamba, they asked me to lead them , I told them that I did not know the route because all along I was staying in Taiama.They still advanced to Moyamba to attack; but the move was a failure. Be that as it may, they said they would continue to abduct people. . They got many people including my uncle so . During that time I had been with them for a reasonable length of time. So, they left us to take care of the abducted civilians, that night there was a kamajor who was moving round the town he was able to kill 3 and wound 15 rebels. In the morning a command was passed that the kamajor should be captured. They captured him and brought him, and, he was the son of my uncle. They cut off his hand and gave him a letter and sent him to Moyamba. The other captured people including my uncle they concluded that they were kamajors and should be killed. They were saying this among themselves .So, Couple Warrior came and told me that if I had any relatives among the abductees I should let them go . My uncle’s wife and children were there and I helped them escape. I went with them to the junction. That evening they killed all those people and my uncle was killed in my presense . I told Couple Warrior that I was fed up because my uncle had just been killed in my presence;and he was the one I had  expected  would help me. He said we were in the jungle and I should avenge  the death of my uncle. Couple Warrior loved me very much and he said he did not want me to go to the training grounds. At one time, on the way to Rotifunk, he was able to get a gun which he gave me .When we went to Blackford, he showed me how to use a gun . We came across the government soldiers having their lunch . We were at once given a signal : Two Flanks .And some of us went to the right and some to the left .Then, we stood ground for 30 minutes and then the commander informed us that the situation was tense and we should use a bye pass. He said he did not want everybody ;but only 35 armed men. And I was amongst that number. We left them on the road,and came up behind them on the road by Mabang. We told them at the Commander at Mabang would like to see all government soldiers. They believed us and came down towards us and the man with the RPG fired at them and we gave them weapon support. After that mission, they said they had all gone to the base. So, they said I am a special junior commando. There was one small boy who was the Commander and they made me his Assistant for the small boys. When they passed out they were surprised to see me giving orders and instructing them even though I never went to the training base. At one particular week, they decided to come to Kambia. Gibril Massaquio was to lead us. They said he should come with us within 72 hours. They assembled us, 250 armed men and 150 unarmed men and we took off. We passed by Rogbere junction and,we were not using the main routes because of lack of ammunition; we were using other routes . On the way we fell into an ambush around Rogbere junction; as we were not planning to pass through Port Loko. Many of us were killed .So, the  commander changed his command saying; since he had lost a lot of men it should be Operation  Spare No Living Thing . We were all bloody now. We now killed without any questions. We came in through Rokoya, we came across the kids in school. But Gibril Massaquoiu said we should not enter into any school until all strategic positions had  been taken. At that moment, we all answered, Yes Sir, as that was the military rule.But some of our men still entered the school. Meanwhile, the Guineans were at the junction. So, we attacked them and there was this intense fighting which went on for three days. It was only at a lull that  Gibril Massaquoi learnt that all the school  children had been abducted and, he ordered that they bring them all back. They used  us as tools because,no matter where we went or approached, we were not easy targets as we were always seen as little children and there would always be this momentof indecision about us. And during those moments we did whatever we felt like doing .And so it happened that during these moments having in mind the command of Operation No Living Thing we killed all living things we met on the way.We gave them no chance. We did grim things .The white man calls it Gun, it means it has gone off and can never be recalled. We made a mistake and we are apologizing to this whole country and asking them to forgive us for what we did.

Commissioner  Jow –     We thank you very much. For the record can I just ask a few questions before passing you on to the other commissioners.

Commissioner Jow –    How old were you when you were abducted ?

Mr. Andrew Tolloh-    I was 13 years old.

Commissioner Jow -    How old are you now ?

Mr. Andrew Tolloh –    I am now 23 years old.

Commissioner Jow -    Have you been through the DDR process ?

Mr. Andrew Tolloh -     Yes

Commissioner Jow -    You come from Moyamba; why are you still here, why have you not gone back ?

Mr. Andrew Tolloh -    After my disarmament I chose to stay here in order to participate in skills  training and  I intend going back home after finishing my training.

Bishop Humper –     We thank you. It is our wish, hope and prayer that many of your type will come forward. The senior people whom you  were  once with and  who were telling you not to come forward to testify were not doing you any good. The more people like you we get as a commission, the better it will be for this country and the international community. So many people felt that people like you will not come forward, and we are here today and tomorrow we are still encouraging you to come forward. I do not need to ask him many questions. He has told it all and we will spend the next 4 hours here. He was abducted at 13 and told about free education. He and others were looking for free education and social life instead they gave him guns to kill his own people. The simple and short message in all this is why he had been to Bomaru and how he moved all around again until he got to Moyamba were he was born. The only time he decided to take the gun was when he witnessed his uncle killed and he went for vengeance. Were you involved in the fight in Rotifunk Moyamba before coming to Kambia ?

Bishop Humper -    Do you know Camp Charlie  ?

Mr. Andrew Tolloh-    Yes Sir

Bishop Humper -    Do you know Boulah

Mr. Andrew Tolloh -    Yes Sir

Prof. Kamara –     We thank you for giving us this story. It is very clear we did not have to coax you to acknowledge the wrong you have done, therefore we do not have to ask you any questions to bring this out. But I am interested in two aspects of your experiences. One is the question of the relationship of ethnicity and tribalism, and the question which you have already partially solved is concerning what you did and what the others did. We start with the question of ethnicity, you have been here as an enemy of a people of this Kambia district and as you have accepted you and your companions killed a lot of people; my question is how do you find living in this area, a far distance from Moyamba district ?

Mr. Andrew Tolloh -    Presently things are much better because I get my daily bread here even though  I am not a native of this village. At times when I find it difficult to get food to eat,I still find people here who help me out.And I  am ever grateful to them for helping me; even if it with just good  counsel . So, I always remember people like Mr. Yaya for the lessons I obtained from him .

Prof. Kamara –     I am talking in terms of your social life, how do you live with the people do they love you or hate you ?

Mr. Andrew Tolloh  -    In every community you have the good people and the bad. And here it appears the good people are more; I am a Mende but now that  I  am  fluent in Temne , they are not treating me badly.

Prof. Kamara –     I am told you are a tutor in the institute, how come you are complaining?Am I sure they are  paying you ?

Mr. Andrew Tolloh -    I have just written an application which has just been approved and they promised me I will start receiving salary at the end of the month.

Prof. Kamara –      You have admitted the responsibility for what you did and an aspect of our mandate is reconciliation .As you have said they love you in Kambia but we do not know what your status will be in Moyamba.Have you been in touch with them ?

Mr. Andrew Tolloh -    I have not been there, but I have sent a message to them ;and they have sent people here to come and see if I am alive.

Prof. Kamara –     Would you like somebody either through this Commission or through any of the NGO’S  or may be through  contact with the DDR, to work effectively ,for you to be repatriated and reintegrated into your society ?

Mr. Andrew Tolloh -    For a long time various interest groups came in through the DDR office and they said we should all register to be repatriated. But I was skeptical as the waiting period I had suspected would be too long and up till now nothing has been done.

Commissioner  Jow –    You have already told us that you are ready to reconcile with the people with whom you live .And you used the analogy of a gun to underscore your actions and mistakes and asked for forgiveness. Yet with all this, we want to get one last word from you. Do you have any questions you would wish to ask or recommendations to make ?

Mr. Andrew Tolloh -    I want to tell my fellow ex-combatants that we should  stop listening to rumours.I say this  because we have been made to be afraid of coming before this commission. I should have been the first man to give my testimony this morning but because of I fear I did not come forward at that time.

Commissioner  Jow –     There is nothing to fear, we are not a court. You are not the only ex-combatant who has come to give testimony. If there is any problem or security problem please feel free to meet our District Coordinator because part fo our work is to look into what children went through so what happens to you will never happen again. Your commanders and those who bear the greatest responsibility are at the final court .So, what advice would you give to all your colleagues out there; it is still not late to come forward to give statements ?

Mr. Andrew Tolloh -    I want to tell my fellow ex-combatants that the rumours were not correct but wrong. Please come forward and give your statement .As the books put it : Seeing is Believeing. Some people of this town were not even here when this war was on. So, please come forward and testify. Otherwise, when you pass along people will be pointing fingers at you without even knowing who you are. So, please come forward and say what you have to say.

Commissioner Jow –     Is that you final word  ?

Mr. Andrew Tolloh -    No , I have question for the commission. This statement taking and testimony giving; what for and why are we doing it ? We have left our jobs and everything we are doing to come here. Why are we here?

Commissioner  Jow –     According to the government the war is over, the TRC is one of those peace mechanisms established and part of our mandate is to find out exactly what happened during the war;and, it has to be accurate. The TRC is also mandated to respond to the victims.In order that  there will never be a repetition, the reports will include a number of recommendations. And once government gets this report they will look  closely at the recommendations and implement them very promptly. Our commission is Victim- centered and it is our  hope that as result of the work of this commission ,that conditions will improve.We do not have money to dish out to victims .The recommendations we make will respond to victims like yourself and if there are immediate needs we refer you to NGOs who will  help you.

Bishop  Humper –     We  have disarmed you of your guns but what is left is to disarm your mind. What we have to give you is to ask you what you have to give us and you have given us something already. You have left your working place, and even provided answers to several questions such as: Why did you took up arms; what about the problems which happened before the war who and who are responsible; what happened to our paramount chiefs, district officers, the governments of the day;  with the resorcues of this nation, why is it that we cannot have free medical care, skills training; we are a rich country and we have mineral resources.But why only   just a hand ful. These are all questions you have helped us to answer. Its more than millions that we could have given you physically can pay for; you should know that you are a great man today.

Commissioner  Jow –     You and I and the children. We are having a closing ceremony. We want you to come along .


The Commission Chairman Bishop Joseph C. Humper called  the Hearings to a start with interfaith prayers. He welcomed everybody,in particular the witnesses for the day;the number of which he said is  3 .Then, he  asked  them to narrate  their experiences.

1st Witness – Gibrilla Kamara – A Muslim by religion. Oath was administered by Bishop  Humper.

Bishop  Humper –     We welcome you to this session. What we are now doing here; the country and the international community will know that you contributed to bringing about changes in Sierra Leone. We therefore ask you to remain calm and composed as you share with us your experiences.

TESTIMONY: – The difficulties that I encountered  during the war I am now going to narrate. I am a native-born of this District in a village called Salato. From there however, I went to Masiaka. There is one small village there called Mafanta  which was where I was trapped by the war. I ran into the bush and the rebels burnt down the whole village. As if that was not  enough, the rebels decided to hunt us down ;and  wherever we went the rebels followed us. We were in that condition of running from one place to another for a month. One day in our place of refuge; when only four of us with one child had stayed behind,we were attacked and abducted. They continued to beat us mercilessly and ceaselessly from the place they got us until we got to the place that they were taking us to. There we met one Fatmata whose hand had been amputated.   During that time we had newly harvested rice, which was still in its bundle stage. One abductee woman was asked to thresh the rice. Whilst she was doing this, we were being beaten. After she had finished threshing and winnowing the rice; they told that her she was going to be the first person amongst us to be killed ;and they killed her at once. They continued to beat the three of us who were still alive until one fell unconscious and he was killed. The rebels said he was no longer useful to them. Now, two of us remained. They questioned the other man about the rice and he said that it was in the bush. But he said the rice did not belong to him but that he knew were it was. Then it was my turn and they said they had killed three people in my group but that my own death would be different. They said I would be put in a farm hut and burnt down. I was taken to the farm hut . But then, one rebel said he had a dispute with me and I should be released so that we can settle our dispute. I was released and the rebel said:” I have no dispute with this man I only want you to release him without killing him”. They agreed with him not to kill me but then said that they were to amputate my left hand and my left foot. The same rebel said:” Since we started this mission I have seen amputation of hands and feet but I have not seen amputation of both the hands and feet of an individual at the same time”. They agreed with him concerning the correctness of his observation but they still insisted on cutting off both my left hand and foot. This rebel continued to plead on my behalf and told them that  I had already received much beating. Then , they turned on him and wanted to cut off his hands. But I said I would prefer they cut off my own hands because I knew if they were to kill that man; they will definitely kill me. So, I told them to leave the man and cut off my own hands. They asked me to bring forth my hand to be cut off, I placed it in a way which they claimed was not proper and my wrist was then cut off. They then went to my other colleague and asked him to lead them to where the rice was. But they decided to torture him before going for the rice and they lit a polythene bag and the hot droplets coming from the bag were directed to continue to  drop  into the man’s anus .Then, the commander ordered him to take them to where the rice was and that pronounced immediate death sentence on him ,should they not find the rice. I was then released. A week later I saw some of my friends and they took me to the ECOMOG base at Masiaka. I was taken along with a child whose hands had been amputated to see the ECOMOG doctor.  They radioed Freetown for the helicopter gun ship to come for us but it was on another operation and could not come. ECOMOG asked us to wait till after the rehabilitation of the road. After the rehabilitation of the road a white lady named Martha came and took us to Connaught hospital .From there we were taken to Aberdeen Amputee Camp and later we were brought to Kambia here. This is my experience.

Bishop  Humper –     Thank you. The commission has the responsibility to look into what happened during the war and in doing so we also ask some questions for clarification. In doing so we usually put into perspective, who this witness before us is.This enables us to put the witness  in a category and, thus proceed  in some order.In your case, we see you are victim and witness. The experiences you share with us are abduction, torture and killing. You are one of those who suffered amputation and we have the responsibility of looking into the problems of amputees as well. In this context I will ask the other Commissioners for their questions.

Prof. Kamara –     I am very sorry for what you went through and I hope that in your circumstances you are thankful to God. Now, you said there was a man amongst the rebels who abducted you who was pleading on your behalf?

Mr. Gibrilla Kamara -     Yes sir.

Prof. Kamara –         Have you known that man before?

Mr. Gibrilla Kamara -     Never.

Prof. Kamara –         What about the other rebels did you know them before that incident?

Mr. Gibrilla Kamara -     No.

Prof. Kamara –         If you were to see anyone of them would you identify them?    

Mr. Gibrilla Kamara –     Yes, if I should see any of them I would identify him.

Prof. Kamara –     What about the other man who was tortured and asked to go and show were the rice was; have you ever heard of him?

Mr. Gibrilla Kamara–     Yes, he died last dry season.

Prof. Kamara –         So he died a natural death?

Mr. Gibrilla Kamara –     Yes.

Prof. Kamara -         Where are you living now?

Mr. Gibrilla Kamara -     I am staying in the Kambia Amputee Camp.

Prof. Kamara –     Is it a temporary place or is it one of those built for you which has been given to you as your personal property?

Mr. Gibrilla Kamara -     We were informed by the government that the house is now ours.

Prof. Kamara –         So, you now have your own house?

Mr. Gibrilla Kamara –     Yes.

Prof. Kamara -         With whom do you live there?

Mr. Gibrilla Kamara -     I live with my wife and kids.

Prof. Kamara –         Who is assisting you now?

Mr. Gibrilla Kamara -     We receive assistance from the NGOs; we receive wheat, salt, beans etc.

Prof. Kamara –         Is your wife doing anything?

Mr. Gibrilla Kamara –     No.

Prof. Kamara –         Does she do minor farming?

Mr. Gibrilla Kamara -     Since we arrived we only have groundnut farm.

Prof. Kamara –     Once again I am sorry for you and on behalf of the Commission I thank you again for coming.

Commissioner  Jow –     We do not want to bother you but we need to ask these questions for clarification, you told us at the time of the incident you were living in Mafuk near Masiaka but you are a native of Kambia could you tell us whether you came there to settle or to visit?

Mr. Gibrilla Kamara -     I came there to settle.

Commissioner  Jow –     Can you tell us how many rebels attacked you?

Mr .Gibrilla Kamara  -     They were seven of them

Commissioner  Jow –     Can you tell us what they looked like and what faction they belonged to?

Mr. Gibrilla Kamara -     They were in military fatigue and I was told they were Issa’s boys.

Commissioner  Jow –     What language(s) did they speak to you?

Mr. Gibrilla Kamara -     Krio and other languages

Commissioner  Jow –     In your statement you told us you were beaten mercilessly what were they using?

Mr. Gibrilla Kamara -     Machetes.

Commissioner  Jow -     When they were amputating you did they give you any message?

Mr. Gibrilla Kamara -     They told us to go to Tejan Kabbah.

Commissioner  Jow –     Since the incident have you gone back to the village?

Mr. Gibrilla Kamara –     Yes, the day before yesterday I was there.

Commissioner  Jow –     Do you know when this happened precisely around what period?

Mr. Gibrilla Kamara -     Since my hand was cut off it has taken five years.

Commissioner Jow -     Was it during the AFRC period?

Mr. Gibrilla  Kamara-     Yes

Bishop  Humper –     We have been asking you questions throughout this period we want to see if the Leader of Evidence has any questions.

Leader of Evidence  -     Ms. Lydia Apori-Nkansah

Ms. Apori-Nkansah –     Can you please tell us the names of the people who died?

Mr. Gibrilla Kamara -     Marie Sesay and Pa Momoh

Bishop  Humper –     We want to ask if you have any questions or recommendations that could be included in our final report.

Mr. Gibrilla Kamara -     I don’t have any questions. I want to tell you one thing. I have children and I do not have a hand now to work and educate them. What plans have you got for my children?

Bishop  Humper –     This is a recommendation as far as we are concerned. There is an amputee association in Sierra Leone based in  Freetown; we have had series of your kind of case. I will ask the staff here to make a note of you as those who are in areas where they do not get the help from the appropriate organizations. Our Commission is victim focused .At the end we will make recommendations and some other recommendations particularly dealing with amputees. I am sure education will be top priority for us as a Commission. I must end up by saying that as a Commission we do not at this point in time deal with individuals. But at the end of this session we will make reference to NGO’s around here .We will recommend to you where to seek help. Any other questions or recommendation?

Mr. Gibrilla Kamara -     What you are doing; we are praying to God to increase your help not for me but for our children. The step you are taking now, so that we will have lasting peace in this country I greatly appreciate. It is better for a man to die knowing fully well that the children who are left behind will not have any problems.

Bishop  Humper –     That is what we are doing as a Commission; so that this country will no more experience what it experienced in the last ten years.

2nd Witness – Vandi Brima – A Christian by religion. Oath was administered by Commission Chairman Bishop Joseph C. HumperHumper.

Bishop  Humper –     We want to welcome you to this session. You are not only important to this session but to Sierra Leone as well; to present yourself as a soldier in this nation is a very important position. If the Commission is able to get even 20 or 30 of your kind who took up arms, stating the rationale behind it; then this country will be a fine country. You are given the opportunity to speak for yourself but in speaking for yourself tell what you saw other people do. We have a word now that we use instead of Perpetrator. You have the opportunity to tell this nation why you did what you did and do not be afraid; nothing will happen to you. So, many of your companions were poisoning your mind not to come and testify here saying you will be taken to Special Court; but you have come and you find yourself in a family. All we want is what you experienced, what you saw and what you did, So, feel relaxed and calm and share with us your experience.

TESTIMONY: – I was trained as a vigilante and later became a soldier. I was in Pujehun in 1992 fighting the rebels. I was later transferred to the 6th battalion from there we were under the NPRC fighting the rebels. We were in the bush fighting the rebels when we heard that the AFRC had overthrown the government. By then we were in the Bunumbu Manowa area. There was a brigade advance we stopped at Manowa. We were then fighting against the Kamajors. Then we got a call to leave that area. But just before we left the rebels told us that the government they wanted was now in power. They tied there weapons and gave it to some small boys to bring to us,and we received them. They said they were no longer going to fight and we were happy to hear that. We then sent to our commanders in Daru informing them that the rebels had said they were not fighting any more. Maj. Momoh sent a truck and some of the rebels were sent to Daru and some to Freetown.I was in charge of trucks but even then some of the rebels were on that road disturbing people. Though some of them were fortunate; we had  heard that a counter coup had taken place. We heard that Dr. Banya and some others had been arrested. AFRC sent some of their honorable to Kenema.

We went to Dr. Banya’s place to loot and we were apprehended. One of my men was killed and I was shot on the foot. They wanted to kill me but someone pleaded on my behalf. I was taken to 34 Military Hospital and when my foot got better I was deployed at Pademba Road Prisons as guard. When the intervention took place, I went into the bush and then to Makeni. Johnny Paul advised us to hand over our weapons, some of us went into the bush again and we went to Kabala. Some soldiers were unable to go to the bush as they had not joined forces with the rebels. Whenever we sent out men to spy what was happening, the Kamajors and ECOMOG soldiers would kill them. We were afraid at that time to come out as the situation was such that even parents were denying their children. Two officers Lt. Serry and Lt. Tumai said they were going to surrender when they came to Freetown they were killed. Those who were caught were put into Pademba Road Prisons and some of our brothers who were able to run away from Freetown to join us told us that things were not good. We then decided to go into the bush, we said we were International soldiers and we were not going to allow the government treats us as if we were outcasts.  I was in the northern area of Kabala, in Kurubonla when we started our movement. There were several factions and we had no control. It came to a point where the Junior ranks amongst us were now beating the Commanders. We were then fighting the ECOMOG who were in Freetown. Some of us decided we were International fighters, therefore, we should not allow ECOMOG to come and fight us in our country. We said we had fought for the government to be reinstated and we needed recognition. We were now in the bush committing atrocities. We went about taking food from civilians forcefully and we raped women forcefully if they had no food to give us. We did all this till we came to Makeni. We were in Makeni until we heard of the Lome Peace Accord. Pa Sankoh sent a message saying that every body should stay in his own camp. After the Peace Accord we were told that we had not been disbanded we were still an army. We were then with our boss Pa Mani. The Makeni people had come back to their town. Pa Mani told Pa Sankoh that if that was the plan he will leave them there and move on to Binkolo. We did not know that the rebels were sending for reinforcement from Kailahun . But before Pa Mani left us he warned us that no SLA should walk around armed. The rebels attacked us and we were driven from Makeni. By then Johnny Paul was in Freetown and we asked him to send us ammunition. He wanted to know whether we will be able to bring the war to an end if he sent us arms. We said we will be able to finish the war in an hour. We went to Kabala and met Maj. Kassim. We refused to surrender to our colleague SLA as they had betrayed us. Before coming we hid our weapons and informed Maj. Kassim that we had abductees with us and we would like to know what we were going to do in terms of feeding them. We normally moved from Kabala to the surrounding villages to find food. He was worried with the complaints about our activities and sent a message to Freetown.  Bishop Biguzzi was sent to talk to us and we agreed to merge with the other soldiers. When we heard of the disarmament we learnt that soldiers will be disarmed without payment as they were SLA and we were entitled to salary and other benefits, only civilians will be given a package. Some of us wanted to revolt but Maj. Kassim and Bishop Biguzzi explained to us and we agreed. We were there and they took us to Lungi and we were screened and accepted into the army again.

Bishop Humper –     We thank you very much for coming forward to tell us what you saw and what you did. One of the things we do as a Commission after you have given your presentation is to ask you questions. I will start the pace, and my fellow colleagues will also ask you, according to how you answer your questions put to you will make us stay here for 15 mins. or two hours, firstly you were in the SLA.

Pte.Vandi Brima -     Yes Sir.

Bishop  Humper –     And then later you betrayed the trust of the nation and instead of protecting us, you took up arms against us?

Pte. Vandi Brima -     Yes Sir.

Bishop Humper -     At the moment in the army what is your rank?

Pte Vandi Brima –     Private, Sir.

Bishop  Humper -     As a commander of G5 in Makeni, you were involved in killings?

Pte. Vandi Brima -     Yes Sir, my enemy Sir.

Bishop  Humper -     You were involved in torture?

Pte. Vandi Brima -     No Sir

Bishop  Humper -     You were involved in looting?

Pte. Vandi Brima -     Yes Sir.

Bishop  Humper -     You were involved in raping?

Pte. Vandi Brima -     No Sir

Bishop Humper –     So you agree with me that you committed very serious violations of human rights?

Pte.Vandi Brima -     Yes Sir, as long as you are in the bush.

Bishop  Humper –     Now, I will ask my colleague Commissioners to ask you questions.
Prof. Kamara –     We are happy as the Chairman has said to see you come here to testify. Nothing you say here or no questions asked here will lead you to prosecution. All we need to know is the truth about  why you betrayed the people of this country. You have given us a narrative, you did make a statement and I want to ask your opinion. As you sit here you said you did not want to disarm to the Sierra Leone army because they betrayed you?

Pte. Vandi Brima -     Yes Sir.

Prof. Kamara –     I want to ask you whether it was the soldiers who were loyal to the country who betrayed you or it was you who betrayed the people of this country?

Pte. Vandi Brima -     We betrayed the people.

Prof. Kamara –         So, your decision not to disarm was it right?

Pte. Vandi Brima -     No Sir

Prof. Kamara -     You said you were in Kurubonla that is Koinadugu what were you doing there?

Pte. Vandi Brima –     No, I was not there.

Prof. Kamara –         You were a vigilante, why did you join the army?

Pte. VandiBrima –     When the war came as I was a vigilante I was then conscripted into the army.

Prof. Kamara –         When you were in Kenema you earned the name of Sgt. Killer?

Pte. Vandi Brima -     Yes Sir.

Prof. Kamara –         So, that means you were killing people ruthlessly?

Pte. Vandi Brima -     Yes Sir, I alone had the guts to face the rebels.

Prof. Kamara –     We had information that the SLA had almost defeated the rebel in Kenema why did you withdraw?

Pte. Vandi Brima -     A cease fire was announced.

Prof. Kamara –         So, there was cease fire between the rebels and the SLA?

Pte. Vandi Brima -     Yes Sir.

Prof. Kamara –     It was during the NPRC time when you people were in the field when this word ‘sobel’ emerged?

Pte. VandiBrima -     No Sir. I cannot remember that name.

Prof. Kamara –     It was also during the time when the rebels and soldiers became friends; then you had problems with the Kamajors. You told us that at that time the Kamajors turned on the soldiers. Can you tell us what happened at that time?

Pte. Vandi Brima -     We were working hand in hand; then I was sent to the brigade. What brought the fight between SLA and Kamajors I do not know. I was only told that an SLA received a message that he was to go home and see his father who was a Kamajor. When he got to Kenema the Kamajors got hold of him and he explained to them that he had been sent for by his father who was also a Kamajor. They took him to his father and they told his father they were going to kill him and they killed him. The father reported the matter to the police station and the matter was reported to the brigade. The soldiers took the corpse of their colleague and buried it. Soldiers were then warned not to move around. Our commander Fallah Sewa was informed about this development. He sent a report to Freetown but no action was taken. Another officer at 18th battalion Lt. Sesay was sent to see what was happening and he was also killed.  Hinga Norman had at that time instructed the Kamajors to kill any soldier seen walking around after 6pm. The Chief of Staff and all commanders and the Town Chief pleaded with us and told us they would handle the situation. We danced with the Kamajors that night as a sign of reconciliation not knowing that the Kenema people and the elders of Kenema had paid the Kamajors ten thousand Leones to ambush us. That night the Chief of Staff slept at the Brigade. Early in the morning the Kamajors launched an attack on us; they crossed the church called Cathedral and entered our territory. We retaliated, we fought and since then we became enemies; we killed Kamajors and they killed us also.

Prof. Kamara –     I am particularly happy to hear this other version. I and the other Commissioners have another version but we will find out the truth. You have already been very cooperative in answering the questions; you said you were in Koinadugu after the intervention did you meet SAJ Musa?

Pte Vandi Brima -     We were all at Morgbor.

Prof. Kamara –         So, you were amongst those causing the atrocities in that area?

Pte.Vandi -         Yes Sir.

Commissioner Jow –     You said in 1996 your commander demanded escort?

Pte. Vandi Brima -     Yes.

Commissioner  Jow –     Was this immediately after the elections?

Pte. Vandi Brima -     It was during the time when the route to Kenema was blocked.

Commissioner  Jow –     Can you tell us your role as an escort?

Pte. Vandi Brima  -     When there is no security on the highway especially when food was being transported, vehicles were ambushed and burnt down; so, our commanders decided a stipulated time for vehicles to move around and we were on the escort team.

Commissioner  Jow –     Did you repel them?

Pte. Vandi Brima –     Yes.

Commissioner Jow –     Did you at any time confiscate  stolen goods from the rebel?

Pte. Vandi Brima –     No, because by the time we got to them they would have made away with whatever they had stolen.

Commissioner Jow –     You told us at one time you were security at Pademba Road Prisons did you witness any violation done to prisoners?

Pte. Vandi Brima -     Well I did not witness anything I was outside the gates of the prison and not allowed to enter, I was there to prevent prisoners from escaping.

Commissioner  Jow –     I understand there was a lot of damage done during the war who was responsible SLA or RUF?

Pte. Vandi Brima -     Foday Sankoh

Commissioner  Jow –     Where you actually involved in the fighting in Makeni?

Pte, Vandi Brima -     We were not able to fight them because by then we had laid down our weapons.

Commissioner  Jow –     In your testimony you accepted responsibility of looting Dr. Banya’s house can you tell us why?

Pte. Vandi Brima -     We received a command to loot his house.

Commissioner  Jow –     So, you had no reason to loot that house?

Pte. Vandi Brima -     I was only a junior obeying commands.

Commissioner  Jow –     You said you were shot, can you tell us why and where?

Pte. Vandi Brima-     At Dr. Banya’s house, when we went to loot.

Prof. Kamara –     Dr. Banya and Dr. Koba were accused by Mosquito they were arrested and locked up. I am sure it was during that time that information got up to Kenema and you people decided to use that opportunity to loot his house. They were later released from Pademba Road Prisons upon the intervention of human rights agencies.

Bishop  Humper –     Thank you very much you have done well for us here. I want to talk about your foot. If not for someone who showed sympathy for you, you would have been a dead man now. So, tell us the truth. Tell us a little bit more about what you know about RUF and UNAMSIL in Makeni.

Pte. VandiBrima –     I was not around at the time the incident took place, I was in Lungi at that time.

Bishop  Humper –     Can you recall a time in Kenema when SLA wore Kamajor uniform and attacked and killed people can you explain?

Pte. Vandi Brima –     Yes Sir I saw it happen. When our enemies kill us they take our uniforms from the corpses and when these uniforms are worn say by the Kamajors to go on their missions whatever atrocities they commit will be blamed on the SLA.

Bishop  Humper –     Did you hear or see SLA putting on Kamajor uniform going to kill civilians?

Pte. Vandi Brimah -     I never saw that.

Bishop  Humper –     One Paramount Chief told us in one area that the war was a chameleon war; even Brima here has said so, many people have said so too. Do not look at the war and conclude that this person is the cause of the war or this tribe brought the war; tomorrow it might be at your door step .We want to know some of the big guns in the RUF, can you tell us some of them?

Pte. Vandi Brima -     I do not know much about them.

Bishop  Humper –     Do you know Mosquito?

Pte. Vandi Brima -     Yes, I know Superman, Komba Gbundema, Bai Bureh, Rambo and many others; these were the top bras.

Bishop  Humper –     We want to set the correct records straight in this country. This is for you and for all of us. You said in the jungle you rose to the rank of major, now you said you are what? How are you coping with the question of discipline from Major to Private?

Pte. Vandi Brima -     Due to the Lome Peace Accord we were asked to disarm so no matter what position you held in the jungle you were expected to disarm.

Bishop  Humper –     Do you now obey orders from your senior ranks in the army?

Pte. Vandi Brima -     Yes Sir.

Bishop  Humper –     Do you want us to ask your bosses?

Pte. Vandi Brima -     Yes Sir.

Ms. Apori-Nkansah –     I just want to have a clarification and an opinion on certain issues. You stated that after the disarmament you went through training and you were again taken into the army. How do your companions see you, do they trust you?

Pte. Vandi Brima -     Yes Ma.

Bishop  Humper –     This is your opportunity and for those you represent here, if you have any questions or recommendations ask it now; so that there will never be a repetition of such awful performance in the history of the military or the nation as a whole.

Pte. Vandi Brima -     I am asking for forgiveness for all the wrong we have done.  We are asking the government for help especially in the area of shelter. Now that the war is over all we have done we are asking the government to forgive us. TRC we were told is like the Special Court if we come here they will persecute us. I have a lot of my friends out there who are afraid to come forward but I am here and I have seen with my own eyes that at TRC you come only to say what you have done. The government should not be afraid of us anymore.

Bishop  Humper -     Thank you very much for what you have said to us. I do not have the military uniform on but I know that all the forces in this country have been through hectic times and as a Commission we have this in mind. We do not want to make recommendations in the air.  We will talk of reconciliation here but we have to set the pace where the government and the army will be as they were before. When you joined the army in 1992 there were certain critical elements of discipline you met there which had been there from 1960.  What kind of recommendations do you have for the military which you believe will help in the area of discipline so that there will never be an recurrence of what we have just been through?

Pte.Vandi Brima -     My problem now is because I do not have lodging; if that is solved I will be okay.

Bishop  Humper –     So, if you are given lodging you will be the most obedient soldier is that what you are saying?

Pte. VandiBrima -     Yes, because my children are not even staying with me at the moment. I am here and they are in Freetown and this is so because I do not have accommodation.

Bishop  Humper –     How many children do you have?

Pte. Vandi Brima -     Four Sir

Bishop  Humper –    Do  they go to school?

Pte.Vandi Brima -     Yes Sir.

Bishop  Humper –     If nobody has ever commended you for anything I commend you for what you have just told us. We will compile all what you have given us and what we have heard from other people and appropriately incorporate them in our report. This country does not have the means to provide prisons for 79,000 ex-combatants.Beyond that ,this country is unique. Today you wrong your people and today they are ready to accept you back and we will be happy if this reconciliation process yields dividend even after we have finished our work. We do not want you who come from Rokupr to be living here because you are afraid to go back to your people. We have disarmed physically; but what is in the minds is what is yet to be disarmed. This is a small country we have no where to send our brothers and sisters; but they have to come forward and repent. We do not want them to go about boasting; we want them to apologize as we will be doing with some of you this morning. You and I should make this TRC job a success story, our traditional and religious leaders should help make this succeed. Let us pray that we do not have a repetition of this kind of war in this country again.


DAY ONE:     9 June 2003.

The session started with a Muslim prayer that was said by a Sheik and a Christian prayer that was said by a staff of the Commission. The Deputy Chairperson of the commission, Commissioner Laura Marcus-Jones, opened the session by welcoming the witnesses and the audience and explaining the rules governing the hearings. The Leadr of Evidence, Abdulai Charm, called on the first witness for the day.

FIRST WITNESS:  Madam Amie Dauda

The witness swore on the Koran. Commissioner Marcus-Jones administered the oath.


We were at Yoweima village when we saw people come from Magbenta and took over the town.  They arrested me and took me out of my house. They arrested and killed my brother. When those people captured me, they took me to the piazza where I met others that they had arrested. They ordered us to carry a large quantity of groundnut and remove the shells. They took us to a sitting room of another house along the street where they lined us up. One of the rebels - a very tall man - hit me several times on my head with a gun; I sustained a cut on my head. I currently have a scar on my head (shows scar). They asked me whether I had children. I told them that I did not have children because the children that were with me were not my biological children. I was also afraid that they could take the children away from me if I said that they were were my children. When they entered into my house, they carted away my belongings. I ran into the bush and followed the bush path until I came to Moyamba. When I arrived in Moyamba, I was half naked.  This is my testimony.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - Thank you, Madam Amie. We are sorry for the way you were treated.  Has the wound on your head healed now?

Amie Dauda - The wound has not properly healed up because I still experience pains every month.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - Have you been able to seek medical attention

Amie Dauda – No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - You have to go to the hospital and they will be able to help you.  You told us about the people that went to your village - what group did those people belong to?

Amie Dauda – They were not Mende.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones – Were they RUF, SLA, or Kamajors?

Amie Dauda - They were rebels.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - Thank you.

Comm. Torto - Thank you very much Madam Amie Dauda. I am asking you questions from both your written and verbal statements. On 7 April, you made a written statement to the Commission in which you said that your village was very close to the rebel camp and that the rebels attacked your village daily.  Can you remember how many times your village was attacked?

Amie Dauda – I can only remember the first incident, which I have already explained.

Comm. Torto - How far was the rebel camp to Magbenta?

Amie Dauda - I cannot tell.

Comm. Torto - Where were they actually settled?

Amie Dauda - I cannot tell.
Comm. Torto - What was the name of your brother that was killed?

Amie Dauda – James Alpha.

Comm. Torto - You said that you could not remember the group of attackers; can you tell us what language they spoke?

Amie Dauda - They spoke Temne.

Comm. Torto - Were there women among them?

Amie Dauda – No.

Comm. Torto - Do you remember the number of people that were killed in the course of the attack?

Amie Dauda – No.

Comm. Torto - Was your brother the only one killed?

Amie Dauda - A blind man in our house was killed. They also killed another man, Father. After the killing of those two people, we fled the village.

Comm. Torto – In your written statement, you said that you were in hiding and you watched the village set ablaze - is that true?

Amie Dauda - Yes, so many houses were burnt down; I cannot recall the number of houses that they burnt down.

Leader of Evidence - Apart from the burning and killing, did they capture other children in your village?

Amie Dauda - They moved around with children.

Leader of Evidence - Were they all captured from Yoweima?

Amie Dauda - The one that they captured from Yoweima has still not returned to our village.

Leader of Evidence - Can you tell us the composition of the children that they captured in other villages?  Were all of them boys or were there girls as well?

Amie Dauda - We heard that they captured children, but I cannot tell because I fled for my life.

Leader of Evidence - Can you tell whether the child that they captured from your village was a boy or a girl?

Amie Dauda – The child was a girl.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - How old was the girl that they captured?

Amie Dauda - She was approaching maturity and we were all staying in the same house.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - Was this child at school or married?

Amie Dauda - She was going to school by the time she was captured.

Comm. Torto - Do you remember those who actually captured you?

Amie Dauda - No.

Comm. Torto - Can you identify them if you saw them?

Amie Dauda - No, I cannot identify them.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones – Thank you for your testimony. We have been asking you questions; do you have any question for the Commission?

Amie Dauda - Yes, I have something to say. I am now an old woman and my husband is also very old, I am pleading that the government renders assistance to me.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - During your testimony, you said that when they asked whether you had children, you said you had none. However, from what you said it seems as if you have foster children at home - is that so?

Amie Dauda - I had children, but they are dead - I only have foster children.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - I am sorry that you lost your children, but sometimes the children you bring up could be of more help to you than your biological children could - I believe that they would assist you. What has happened to them - now that they should be helping you and your husband?

Amie Dauda - They are on their own - they are not staying with me.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - What you have said is a recommendation, and it will be included in our report. In Europe, the young people take care of the old by sending them to some family homes for old people, but in Africa, we have a reputation of taking care of the old people. I will recommend to the government to create such facilities for the old people in the different districts.  

Amie Dauda – We do not have shelter; the rebel burnt down our village.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones – Do you have any other recommendation?

Amie Dauda - No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - Thank you very much for coming and helping the TRC. Your story has been heard by everyone present here and will be heard by people when it is broadcast on the radio. I am sure they will begin to think of ways to help people like you who are victims, and will find out the root causes of the war that made people like you suffer.  Once again, I thank you for coming.


The witness swore on the Koran. Commissioner Justice Marcus-Jones administered the oath.


We were at Magbenka when the rebels struck the village; we fled into the bush. The rebels persuaded us to return to the village since, according to them, the war was over and there was no reason why we should run away from them. Eventually, when we came to the village, they captured my two children and I was left alone.  After some time, they came again and told us that we had a meeting that every one in the village should attend.  We were at the meeting for a long time. We were worried and confused and we asked ourselves questions as to what would be our fate. They told us to be patient and to wait for their overall commander.  When the overall commander finally arrived, he ordered us out of the house because it was not spacious –they took us to an old railway store. They asked the men to form a queue. I did not join the line because I could not comprehend Krio.  One of them, with a gun, ordered me to join the queue.  I took off my slippers and ran towards the stream where I met a man with a gun. I asked him whether he was the commander - it was dark so I hurried through another bush path and came to the swamp. While I was lying on my stomach, I saw flames and I concluded that our houses were on fire. I stayed there until the place was calm and I fled the village. I did not return to the village until my two grandchildren were taken to Godehun. The one that met me in the farm was stabbed and the other,. Mohamed Kargbo was killed. I could not identify the perpetrators. I overheard them speaking Krio and Mende.  This is my story.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - Thank you, Iye. You told us about your village, which village was it?

Iye Kanu – Magbenka.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - You said that two of your grandchildren were taken away - Mohamed Kargbo was killed and the other stabbed - what was the name of the one that was stabbed?

Iye Kanu - Foday Kamara.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones – Did they tell you who the Town Commander was?  Did you hear them call his name?

Iye Kanu - I cannot tell.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones -To which store did they take you?

Iye Kanu - The store in the village.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - Thank you.

Comm. Torto - Thank you Madam Iye Kanu, I just want you to make some clarifications based on your verbal and written statements.  You said that you escaped from your captors - do you know what happened to the people you left behind?

Iye Kanu - I cannot tell, but I heard gunshots. I ran away and I cannot tell what happened in my absence.

Comm. Torto – So you do not know how many people were killed.

Iye Kanu – No.

Comm. Torto - You said that you were unable to identify the perpetrators; can you remember their group affiliation?

Iye Kanu - I cannot tell.  I do not know where they came from.  We only saw them and we did not interact with them because they were very dreadful.

Comm. Torto - Were you the only one who was lucky to escape from them?

Iye Kanu - Some other people escaped from them, but I cannot tell now. I only knew of myself.  Owing to the gunshots, I did not stop to look back, but fled for my life.

Comm. Torto - In your written statement, you told us that the ones that were captured were all killed by the rebels - is that correct?

Iye Kanu - Is that what you saw on the paper?

Comm. Torto – Yes.

Iye Kanu – All right.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - Have you any questions you want to ask the Commission about our work or the processes?

Iye Kanu - Is that what you are writing down now?

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - You have not asked the questions yet; when you do, I will take it down.

Iye Kanu - I do not have questions.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - We will be making our report based on witnesses’ recommendations. Do you have any recommendations that you would like to make to the government?  Something you want to be done in your community.

Iye Kanu - There is no medical facility in our village; no market place; no shelter – the rebels had burnt down our houses.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - Do you have more questions?

Iye Kanu – No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - Thank you for coming to share your experiences with us.  We shall include your recommendations in our report.  Do not feel that your recommendations will not be looked at - a committee will be set up to monitor the implementations of the report by government.  

THIRD WITNESS:  Francis Gbonda

The witness swore on the Bible. Commissioner Justice Marcus-Jones administered the oath.


I am happy that the war is over through the help of God Almighty.  If the war were not over by now, I would have done something else.  

On June 16, 1995, we were at Magbenka when the rebels struck the village.  During the first attack, we fled from the village.  I was a staff at the Moyamba Hospital.  People here can attest to the fact that the NPRC Junta removed me from office.  I later embarked on small-scale business. The rebels attacked our village by 2p.m – after tha afternoon Muslim prayers - and we fled to the bush and spent the night there.  At daybreak, the brave ones went to the town to observe the situation, but there was no movement of vehicles as everybody had fled the town.  We spent about three to four nights in the bush.  By then I had eighteen of my relatives, including my children, with me. I sent some of them to Moyamba and others to Freetown. There was an old woman, Memuna, who could not walk, but insisted that she would follow me. It was raining, so she advised that we wait. We walked on foot until we came to Yoni and, finally, boarded a vehicle to Freetown. We say thanks to our Honorable Paramount Chief, PC Banya, who was a source of help to us while we were in Freetown. We were at a camp, MB Chanrai, in Freetown where things were very difficult for us - government was unable to take care of us.  We were sleeping on the floor and we were without food.  People from our village went and informed us that normalcy had returned to our village. At that time, I had two wives, three children and other dependants. I then decided to return to the village with my family. We returned to our village in December 1995.

On January 1, 1996, we heard explosions - it was another attack - we fled into the bush. They searched for us in the bush and eventually captured Pa Brima Taylor and Pa Pangay.  About one mile to my village, They met me at Mafuteh, which is about a mile to my village, and captured me. They tied my hands behind my back. Owing to the fact that I had a bushy hair then, they accused me of being up to something, but I denied the allegation.  A small boy called Maotu Bio, who had an RPG, asked me for marijuana. I told him that we did not have such drugs in the village.  They also requested for goats and rice, but I told them that I was a stranger in the village.  Among them were some Easterners that thought I was a Northerner because of my name. They took a machete from the blacksmith and used it to hit me on my side. The one who did that was called Masasay. They started to beat me and, later, tied a rope to our waist. The rope was tied to our waist until we reached a town where we spent the night. They were in large numbers, but eight of them met us in the bush.  They captured about one hundred and fifty of us, civilians. They gave us about two bushels of groundnut and asked us to remove the shells. We were on that assignment until daybreak; my fingers were swollen because of that.  

The following morning a bushel of rice was given to us to pound - it was imperative on us to do it. If anyone of them were in this auditorium, they would recognize me. I was pounding the rice while they were beating me with a cutlass. I was the only young man that they captured - all our relatives had fled by the time they captured me.  We were taken to Magbenka and we were there for seven days. They grouped us according to our religions - the Christians were separated from the Muslims - and they asked us to pray. The Commander, who was called RPG, asked us whether we knew them, but we said no, we only saw them in military attire. We thought they were soldiers from Moyamba. The Commando told us that they were RUF. They said that they came from a village called Kant Kant. They asked us to forgive them if they had hurt any one of us.  We were there for seven days.  Everybody in the surrounding villages had fled. We accompanied them to Kania - it was a bushy area. We carried their loads for them. When we arrived at Kania, we found no houses there. We met another group of people who wanted to shoot at us, but their colleagues restrained them because of the civilians present. We went there at night and they bade us farewell. They told us to inform our people that if they refused to come out of the bush, they would kill them.  However, when we came back to the village, it was deserted. The rebels assured us of our security and asked us not to be afraid. When we started sleeping in the burnt houses, the others were encouraged to come out of the bush.

In the second month of our stay in the village, they would forcefully enter into our houses at night, take our wives, slept with them and forced them to prepare food for them. There was one of them - Guinea Rebel - that began to burn houses and the FM Station. He usually went to our houses and threatened us. One day, he went to every house and ordered us to come out of our houses and assemble by 4p.m, as Foday Sankoh would be coming to address us. I told you earlier that I had two wives; the first one hailed from Gobehun.  While the rebels were in town, my wife left me and married to one of the rebels.  I heard that she is in Kenema with the rebel. When we were ordered out of the village, I went to collect my children at Gobehun village. One of my daughters, Mammy Iye, was given to me - she was eight years - but there was no vehicle plying the route. I wanted to take her with me to the village.  Tasso, my brother-in-Law, and one Pa Hassana met us at Magbenka with an armed man. They told me that they had come to collect the child from me, but I refused to let go of the child.  My Uncle, Thaim Sesay, advised that I let go the child because I had not married their daughter. I then left her and went to settle in Makoya.

 In 1997, I was informed that Magbenka had been burnt down. I tried to get to Mile 91, but it was difficult. I was informed that no one should enter Magbenka. In the process, I met a man who hailed from our village and he confirmed that to me.  My sister told me that she saw my wife, but that she was without the children.  She told me that she had no idea of the whereabouts of my children.  I decided to return to Mile 91 with the resolve that I was going in search of my children even if it meant that I had to lose my life in the process.  I made a second desperate attempt to go to Magbenka, but I was told that the Kamajors were there and I would be manhandled if I went there. In 1999, the war was declared over. I then decided to return to Koya. I met some of the perpetrators at Waterloo Camp - Ibrahim, Commando Massasay “RPG”,  “Muslim” and   Guinea Rebel. They enquired about me in the camp.

I went to Magbenka and settled with my two children.  My Uncle and his wife were killed.  I then met my brother and told him that I wanted to be initiated into the Kamajor movement. I had reasons to be initiated into the movement – I wanted to revenge what had happened to me. He, however, told me that the initiation period was over. I have a burning issue: how to take care of my children.  

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - Thank you, Francis Gbonda. We are sorry that you had so many problems. Did you say that you lost one of your wives?

Francis Gbonda - None of them was killed, only my uncle’s wife.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - How many children had you?

Francis Gbonda - I have four children.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - How many children had you during the attack?

Francis Gbonda – Two - Iye and Maada Gbonda.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones – Were they taken away?

Francis Gbonda – No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - Who were the children that they abducted?

Francis Gbonda - I left Magbenka to collect my children, but my wife’s relatives refused to let me have the children because I had not married their sister.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones – The one you did not marry, was she the one who went with the rebel?

Francis Gbonda – Augusta, who is presently in Kenema, was married to a rebel and his relatives came to collect the children from me.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - Do you know where these Commanders - RPG and others - are now?

Francis Gbonda - I cannot tell.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - What about Massasay?

Francis Gbonda - Massasay was later deployed in Kabala.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - Have you ever seen him since that incident?

Francis Gbonda – No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - What was life like when you were in Kania?

Francis Gbonda - I was sick, because of the beatings that I received from the perpetrators and, they gave me a bag of smoked chicken to carry.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - How long were you at Kania?

Francis Gbonda - We did not spend up to one month there.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - We have heard, in your statement, that the rebels ordered everyone in the village to attend a meeting in one railway store - is that correct?

Francis Gbonda - At the time they summoned the meeting, I was not there.

Comm. Torto - I join Commissioner Marcus-Jones to thank you for coming to testify before this Commission.  I want you to help me clarify few issues in your testimony. To start with, when you actually started your statement you said that if the war had not ended, you would have done something else.  Is that so?

Francis Gbonda – Yes.

Comm. Torto - Can you share with us what you would have done?

Francis Gbonda - At that time when I came and found my children dead, I would have joined the Kamajor society in order to revenge.

Comm. Torto – On whom would you have revenged?

Francis Gbonda - I would have revenged on the rebels.

Comm. Torto – How would you have done that?

Francis Gbonda - After they captured me and I became familiar with them, I would have found a way of getting at them.

Comm. Torto - Now that TRC has come, we encourage you not to revenge. What has happened to you is disheartening, but thank God, the war is over. You said that Augusta is in Kenema - she will be listening to what you are saying.

Francis Gbonda – Yes.

Comm. Torto -Did these rebels forcefully capture her or was she willing to marry one of them?

Francis Gbonda - I cannot tell because I am under oath and I do not want to tell lies.

Comm. Torto - Have you made any effort to get her back? What I mean is whether you have informed the Police and Chiefs that these rebels captured your wife. Now that the war is over, do you mind taking her back?

Francis Gbonda – After the separation, she married to this rebel and had three children with him, so it is not possible to get her back.

Comm. Torto - Do you know whether she is still willing to come back to you?

Francis Gbonda - She came at one time, I asked her whether she would want to come back, she said no, she was married.

Comm. Torto - When your captors met you at Waterloo and asked you what you were doing there, was it after the war or during the war?

Francis Gbonda - It was during the disarmament process.

Comm. Torto – I know it is very painful that the rebels had taken your wife and at the same time, your children were killed. If you met with your wife’s new husband, what would be your reaction?

Francis Gbonda - I will not do anything, because it is late. If she loved me, she would not have abandoned me.

Comm. Torto – Earlier, you told my colleague that one of the perpetrators was sent to Kabala. If you met him now, what would you do to him?

Francis Gbonda - I would not do anything - our Paramount Chief has sensitized us to reconcile with those who have done evil to us. We must forgive.

Comm. Torto - I want to thank you very much for this consideration.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - Was he the same Paramount Chief who took care of you while you were in Freetown.

Francis Gbonda –Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones – Do you want to tell us his name?

Francis Gbonda – He is Pa Alfred Banya, he is here, in this hall.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - You did say that you joined the society, even though you were not initiated - is that so?

Francis Gbonda - When I came from Koya, I met my brother and I asked him if he would initiate me, but he told me that initiation was over.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - So you did not join the movement.

Francis Gbonda – Yes.

Leader of Evidence - You said there was a time when the rebels captured about one hundred and fifty [152] civilians and you were the only man among them - is that correct?  

Francis Gbonda – I was the only man captured from Magbenka.

Leader of Evidence – How many of you did they capture from Magbenka?

Francis Gbonda – I cannot say exactly; I know of ten.

Leader of Evidence - Were there small girls within between ages of 14 and 15?

Francis Gbonda – Yes.

Leader of Evidence - Can you tell how long you spent with the rebels before your escape or release?

Francis Gbonda - We were there for seven days.

Leader of Evidence - Do you know if anything was done to the girls or women that they captured?

Francis Gbonda - I am under oath, I am saying the truth. Even if the rebels captured your wife, you would not go close to them.

Leader of Evidence - Were you not able to talk to any of the captives?

Francis Gbonda - No.

Leader of Evidence -You said your Uncle and his wife were killed; can you supply us with the names of people killed?

Francis Gbonda – My uncle was Pa Allie Sesay and his wife was Flora.  His first son was John Sesay and a suckling baby ABK or KDK – I cannot recall.

Leader of Evidence – When you were released, how many people were released along with you?

Francis Gbonda – All 152 of us were released and we came to Magbenka where they told us that Foday Sankoh had warned them not to kill civilians.

Leader of Evidence - Did you actually come with these people to Magbenka?

Francis Gbonda –Yes.

Leader of Evidence – On your return, did you share your experiences?

Francis Gbonda - When we were released, you would not talk to anyone because you could not tell who was who.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones – We have been asking you questions - do you have any question for the Commission?

Francis Gbonda - Why is it that the government has considered perpetrators and not victims?

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - victims have asked us these questions. We all wanted peace, and in order to get peace, we had to get the rebels reintegrated again into society.  in a bid to do that, you have to get them to be constructive instead of destructive. To teach them to be constructive, you have to teach them certain skills, so they had to pay for the skills and they had to be given small amounts for them to keep themselves while they are learning.  It does not mean that they will care for them for their lifetime.  It is only for a short while.  Therefore, if they are taught something and they came back to society, they will engage skillfully and they will have no reasons to fight.  This is the price we have to pay for peace so that your children will go about their education quietly - without running out of the country or running all over the place.  When we do have lasting peace, you are going to benefit as well, but we need peace for the country to progress.  All you have to do is to be patient, and to make recommendations for what you hope to see in your community for the development of your people.  Have you any other question?

Francis Gbonda - Yes, the perpetrators have been considered. Have you been able to ask them what brought the war?

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - That is why you are here - to give your testimony - and people are listening and we have to put together the opinions of all those who had suffered and the reasons for what went wrong.  One mandate of the TRC is to find out the antecedents of the war, it is a long word but all it means ‘what went on before the war and what caused the war’.  Do you have any other questions?  What are your recommendations that you want us to include in our report?

Francis Gbonda – Firstly, please when you get back, let the President be informed that the youths are suffering - they lack employment. The longer we remain idle, the greater the tendencies that something will happen. Some of us can think well because we are responsible – we have wives and children. We are appealing to the government to bring development in the Moyamba District since they are aware of the role we played in the district to achieve peace in this country.  We have no health centres - if somebody is sick, we have to travel ten miles to our headquarter town for medication. I have to take care of my two children. I am unemployed.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - Did you say you are unemployed?

Francis Gbonda - I am the Town Chief, but that is not a paid up job. Can the government help with incentives?

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - You start engaging yourself in doing something.  As a Town Chief, you seek assistance for your chiefdom. I am sure they can find something to do with the NGO’s and rebuild what has been destroyed. We will include your recommendations in our report.  I must say that the government will not be able to do everything at the same time.  As the saying goes in the Western World, “Rome was not built in a day”.  It is not easy to bring normalcy in Sierra Leone - it will take sometime.  To rebuild after 11 years of destruction will not be easy.  Therefore, we all must try to do the little we can and see how best the government can help.  When the decentralization is done, efforts are made to bring all the structures in place.  You say, as a Town Chief, you are not compensated, but when the decentralization process is finished, something good might come. Thank your for coming.


The witness swore on the Koran. Commissioner Justice Laura Marcus-Jones administered the oath.


Good afternoon all, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to give my testimony.  Rebels were chasing us at Magbenka.  We were tired of running so we went and stayed in the bush so that we did not come in contact with them again. At a point in time, they took us out of the bush and told us not to run away from them. They said it was not healthy to be in the bush. They told us to come to the town since, according to them, the war was over, and therefore we should have nothing to fear. They told us “the cat can not be tired of chasing the rat.”  They warned us to keep the town very clean.  After a week, they told us that they would be holding a meeting and the nature of the meeting was to inform us that the war was over and that we should all live as one. They gathered all of us regardless of age. Even if one was cooking, it was compulsory for all of us to be at the meeting.

While we were at the meeting, which lasted for a very long time, they went searching from door to door for those who had refused to attend the meeting. They took us to the store and lined us up according to sex. They were taking people in fives to enter the store and when it was my uncle’s turn, he resisted. He tried to escape and they shot at him. The people that were already in the store forced the store open and the rebels fired indiscriminately into the crowd.  A bullet hit my side and my daughter I were carrying – a bullet hit my daughter as well. Owing to the fact that she was severely wounded - her body was split into two - I dropped her and fled.  I fled into the bush and I was there for four days. Few days later, we went to a village where we met a group of Kamajors dancing. They threatened that if any one of us had affiliation with the soldiers, they would severely deal with us. They arrested me and they tied my hands behind my back and began to punish me. This treatment continued through out the night. I told them that I was looking for my sister, Moray Koroma’s Mother, and I asked why they were inflicting so much punishment on me when the rebels had already killed my baby. I told them that they should rather kill me than have me undergo such punishment. The following morning, they gave four men to escort me and ordered them to do whatever they wanted to do with me.  I looked back and saw them carrying machete and sticks. We were going too fast, so an old woman said that we should wait for her. They told us to wait for them and they asked why we were leaving them behind. We were ordered to dress up and wait for them, but the Kamajor that I was with, refused and said that he was going ahead of them.  I came across others and I joined them.  When I arrived in Moyamba, a woman took me to the hospital. I was there for the whole night and, at daybreak, she asked me to go back to my village.  The following day, Moray Koroma took me home and I continued to receive medical attention.

Comm. Marcus-Jones – Thank you for telling us your experiences. It must have been really terrible for you.  I want to ask you a few questions. We sympathize with you, but I just want you to make some clarifications of what you told us in your verbal presentation. The baby who was killed, was it a boy or a girl?

Amie Sesay - A male child.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - Did they tell you why they were beating you, were they Kamajors?

Amie Sesay - They told us that they were Kamajors and that, as long as we were coming from Magbenka, we were rebels.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - In the first instance, who ordered you to go into the stores?  What group did they belong to?

Amie Sesay – Rebels.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - We have so many stories about rebels asking many people to go into the stores and setting fire to the stores. From your experience, which group mostly sent people into stores to burn them?

Amie Sesay -The number was large because during the war, we were afraid of them - we ran away from them.  I cannot tell.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - Did you succeed to get the fragment removed from your body?

Amie Sesay - The fragment did not get into    my body, but I had a wound on my side.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - Has the wound completely healed up?

Amie Sesay - Moray Koroma paid for the treatment.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - In your written statement, this incident took place in 1997, is that correct?

Amie Sesay – Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - Since then, have you had any other baby?

Amie Sesay – Yes, I have had two babies.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - So you have some comfort now after your bereavement.

Amie Sesay – Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - I am sure you thank God for that.

Amie Sesay – Yes.

Comm. Torto - Thank you very much. I just want you to make a few clarifications.  What happened to your Uncle who ran away?

Amie Sesay - He did not enter the store, he escaped.

Comm. Torto - The big man who was supposed to address you, did they state who he was?

Amie Sesay - It was night - the place was dark - and they did not mention his name. They did not tell us who he was.

Comm. Torto - Do you remember your perpetrators, were they rebels, Kamajor or SLA’s.

Amie Sesay - The rebels shot my baby on the back.

Comm. Torto – I mean can you remember them if you saw them.

Amie Sesay - It was at night and it was dark.

Comm. Torto - What about the two armed Kamajors who escorted you to Moyamba?

Amie Sesay - I am not conversant with the village, I do not know them.

Comm. Torto - According to your verbal explanation, after the escape you met a group of Kamajors dancing and, instead of helping you, they started maltreating you. Afterwards, you were escorted by two Kamajors. Who were they?

Amie Sesay – There were four of them, and not two. I cannot identify them.

Comm. Torto - I am asking you about those people, can you recall their names?

Amie Sesay - I am not familiar with the Moyamba environs - I was searching for my sister.

Comm. Torto - Do you remember the names of people who were killed by the rebels apart from your baby?

Amie Sesay - when my baby was killed while I was trying to escape, I came across two people on the road; one was dead and the other was almost dead and was shouting “God help me”.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones – We sympathize with you on your loss. Have you questions you want to ask?

Amie Sesay - I have no questions.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - Have you recommendations to make to the government?

Amie Sesay - My husband is a farmer, we have no health centre, no medical facilities. I am asking for whatever assistance you can render to me.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - I appreciate your cooperation. As we have said before, the TRC does not have money to give to people. What the TRC does is to make recommendations so that your community will benefit from efforts that will be made to improve the lives of all Sierra Leoneans.

Amie Sesay - After the war, all my belongings had been destroyed, we are now left with nothing and our houses were all burnt down - what will you do for me?

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - After this session, I ask that you have a word with our counselor, who will refer you to some agency around that might be able to help you. You said that your husband is a farmer and from the way you said it you spoke as though your husband is a poor man.  A farmer is not necessarily a poor man; people say in Creole “gron nor de lay” and what that means is that you eventually reap benefit from what you plant.  Therefore, since there is peace, you should have hope that your husband will realize something from his farm. Do you have any other Recommendations?

Amie Sesay – No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - I thank you once again.

FIFTH WITNESS:  Gibrilla Dumbuya

The witness swore on the Koran. Commission Justice Laura Marcus-Jones administered the oath.


On June 16, 1996, the rebels attacked Magbenka and some of us fled to Mile 91 while others went to Moyamba. I was with fourteen of my family members until the war ended in 1996.  Some of our relatives, who went to the village in order to harvest their cassava for sales in Moyamba, informed us that the place was peaceful. Things were difficult for us in Mile 91 so we decided to return to our village in order to check on our plantations and get some items. When we were in the village, we spent the day in town and went to our bush camps at night. One day, the rebels captured one of our colleagues and they sent him to inform us that all was well as they had signed a Peace Accord. We were reluctant to go and, later, three others were captured and the same message was sent to us. The rebels told them that they were members of the RUF and their leader was Foday Sankoh. They told the captives that Foday Sankoh and Tejan Kabba had signed the peace accord. In addition to message of normalcy, the rebels sent the second batch of captives to tell us that that was the last time they were sending to tell us that normalcy had returned to the village and that if we failed to come out, they would go in search of us.  Later, eleven of us went to the village and spent the night there - we went back to the bush in the morning. That night, they reassured us that nothing would happen to us. Unfortunately, they assembled tha following morning and promised to tell us about the causes of the war. One of the rebels told us that Dennis Mingo was supposed to address us. When he finally came, I was afraid to look at his face, but I was able to realize that one of his fingers was missing. He told us that there was no more war and that we must stop going to the bush since their leader and the government had signed the Peace Accord. They said that we should live as one. Then, they were in large numbers. When they were about to return, they took away every good thing they found; all of our valuable items were carted away. One of them was talking to his colleagues and, when one of my colleagues enquired about his name, he told him that his name was “One day friend”.  My colleague then asked him, ‘’what about the next day?’’.  He did not answer.

When they gathered us together, they asked for our names, wrote them down and returned to their base. I then called my friend and told him that we should leave the place because it was not safe for us.  When they returned to the village, some of us were in the bush. They concluded that since most of us were not around, we would have gone to inform authorities so that they would send troops to mount an offensive against them. At that time, I had only one child with me - the others were with my wife. They called us to a meeting and ordered that everyone must attend.  There was no respect for the old people. No matter what you were doing, you were bound to attend the meeting. They did not allow us to move away from them.  Most of the people that came from the surrounding villages and people in our village assembled for the meeting.  They ordered us to assemble according to our age and sex - young men and women formed one line and old men and suckling mothers formed a different lines. After we had done that, the men had ten lines, the old people had three lines, suckling mothers and young women were gathered and put in a house.  Then, the rebels had surrounded the village – they manned the roads leading to the bush. Even if you wanted to ease yourself, you were to do it where you were - it was daytime. We were waiting for there commando to address us. When it started getting dark, people became apprehensive. They ordered us to form a single line towards the store.

On our way to the store, I told a friend, Dauda Kargbo, that I did not want to enter into the store and that we should try to escape. I told him to stay behind - we did, but one of the rebels forced us to join the line. Before then the people who were in front had broken the line and people started running helter-skelter. The rebels in turn started firing in the air. They told us that were at the back to keep calm as everything was under control.  As we tried to enter, a man, Mustapha, said that they wanted to kill us so all those who were behind started running.  A rebel came with a boy towards us and they ordered the old people to sit on the floor. They started counting in fives and taking them into the store. While the counting was going on, I beckoned to my friend that we should run. We ran away, but we did not go too far away from the scene - we hid behind a grass – so that we could see what was happening. Some people followed us to where we were hiding. The rebels went to call the women in order to put them into the store and as they were trying to remove the stick that was used to block the entrance, those that were inside ran outside and the rebels opened fire towards the main road. We then ran for fear of being killed. The rebels chased those who ran on main road, but those who went towards us were saved.  While we were in the bush, the flames of the burning houses brightened the path that we used. We spent the night in the bush. In the morning, we went to the main road and I met my wife on the way - she told me that my child was thrown into the flame. I wept when I heard the story.  We then left that area and did not return to it until we heard that there was perfect peace.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - Thank you, Gibrilla. It is a very sad testimony. I just want to ask you a few questions. Did you find out why they would want to wipe out civilians in that way and to burn down all the houses?

Gibrilla Dumbuya – When they were called out of the bush, they thought, according to what we understood that most of us were members of the CDF.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - Was that so?

Gibrilla Dumbuya – Yes.

Comm. Torto - Thank you, Mr. Dumbuya. It is a very sad experience. You said that others met you lying down - watching what was happening - was it that sixty people died as a result of the indiscriminate firing?

Gibrilla Dumbuya – From where we laid, we saw those that were at the back of the store flee. When it was all over, we found fifty-two skulls in the store, but I cannot tell the actual number of people that they killed.

Comm. Torto – You said that one of Superman’s fingers was missing. What did he tell you about the missing finger?

Gibrilla Dumbuya –I met with Dennis Mingo only when he went to inform us that the war was over. I found out that one of his fingers was missing when he was gesticulating while delivering his speech.

Comm. Torto - Do you know whether the people that were involved in the fight hailed from your village?

Gibrilla Dumbuya – None of them was with them.

Comm. Torto – How many of you escaped after the others met you lying down?

Gibrilla Dumbuya - We were six in number, although some fled into the bush.

Comm. Torto – If you saw them, would you identify them?

Gibrilla Dumbuya - I cannot because we were gripped by fear.

Comm. Torto - How many skulls did you count?

Gibrilla Dumbuya – We counted fifty-two, apart from the bones.

Comm. Torto - What did you do with the skulls?

Gibrilla Dumbuya - We buried the skulls in a mass grave - in a banana plantation behind the store in Magbenka.

Comm. Torto - How far is Magbenka from here?

Gibrilla Dumbuya - I cannot tell exactly; it could be about 14 miles.

Comm. Torto - Is there any sign at the spot to identify the mass grave?

Gibrilla Dumbuya – Yes.

Comm. Marcus-Jones - We have asked you all these questions. I want to thank you for your testimony and to sympathize with you for the loss of your child. Have you any question that you want to ask?

Gibrilla Dumbuya - Yes, I have something to say. What puzzles me is that the perpetrators are cared for while those of us who are victims are left out. What will happen to us in the future?

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - It is not quite accurate that victims are not cared for - some have been cared for. Some victims were helped to acquire skills training. Therefore, that is not quite clear. You may feel that the perpetrators are being trained in greater number and that they are given allowances. Nevertheless, as I say, we have to bring them back into society and, by doing so, you must do something for them so that they will earn their living.  Whatever is being done for them is not for eternity - it is just for a while - so that they will not have any grudge for society and that all of us can enjoy lasting peace in Sierra Leone.  That was the rationale behind it.  Do you have any other questions?

Gibrilla Dumbuya – No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - Do you have recommendations to make that we could pass on to government?

Gibrilla Dumbuya - I am asking that the government help me with job opportunity so that I can earn a living for the well-being of my family and me. I will also like the government to provide medical facilities for us; we have no hospitals. I recommend further that roads be constructed so that we can transport our products. We have our old women and girls, and we are appealing for micro-credit loans.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - Thank you. We will include all what you have said in the recommendations. Our briefer can direct you to some NGO’s around.  I thank you very much for coming and giving a detailed account of how the rebels operated in your village.

SIXTH WITNESS NAME:      Jonathan Brima {a.k.a Jay One}

The witness swore on the Koran. Commissioner Justice Laura Marcus-Jones administered the oath.


I was born at Senehun on 12 January 1969. My cousin, Bobor, and some friends - Hassan Adamu and Mohamed Conteh - were at Plantain Island.  They traveled from Plantain Island and came to Sembehun on a business trip. They were my business partners and we did business together. They brought plantain, made sales, and used the proceeds to buy garri. On January 12, 1999 they came, but I had gone to buy garri. They went to Kombomani and by 5 p.m that day, we heard that they had caught rebels at the checkpoint.  When I arrived at the checkpoint, a group of Kamajors had arrested Mohamed Conteh and Hassan. They were accused of being rebel collaborators, who bought food for the rebels. I told Mohamed Massaquoi, one of the Kamajors, that those men were not rebels. I told him they usually came to our village to buy goods and that that was not the first time. Sannoh and Sorba, Kamajors, asked me to get away from the checkpoint, but I refused.  My uncle, Mohamed, who was a photographer, had his camera taken from him. In his possession was one million leones. The other men – Mohamed Conteh and Hassan - had eight hundred thousand each in their possession. They Kamajors took that as well. We pleaded for their release and we even promised to give them some money, but they refused. We were there until 6.30p.m when they decided to take them to the Moyamba highway. I attempted to follow them, but I met a Kamajor by the bridge at Halcanas - he stopped me, interrogated me and brought me back to town. I went home. By 11p.m, my cousin, Bobor, came – he was almost naked - and said that he would not sleep in the house because he had seen them kill Mohamed.  He wanted to leave that night, but I encourage him to wait until 6a.m. I gave him food, but he refused to eat. I wanted to accompany him halfway, but he also refused.  I insisted on following him to Yakaje, which is very close to the main road. We used the road that leads to the Shenge Road - we passed through Limba Town and we arrived at a junction in Kagbom Chiefdom. He then asked me to return.  I used the same bye-pass route back to the village - it was 4a.m.  

In the morning, on a Friday, we went to the wharf to buy some garri.  As the tide was drifting, we saw a corpse floating. The corpse stocked to a boat.  We took a canoe and rode to identify the corpse - we found that that was the remain of the photographer. He was almost naked – he had only his briefs on. We were not able to buy anything that day - we returned to the village and informed the people that they had killed the boys who were arrested the day before. As the corpse was taken to the highway, people onboard a vehicle identified the corpse. They knew his mother - she lived at Plantain.  

We were at the spot when I saw a palm wine tapper, Lord Mo, who told me that while he was passing by a bush path, he heard my friend shouting his name. He said that the man was tied and he had gunshots and bayonet marks all over his body. When I heard the message, I attempted to go in search of my friend. I saw Tommy Sannoh, Abu and Sorba - “Jah Jah Man” went towards the area. I went towards the direction and I met a man, Jibao Soluku. I asked Jibao whether he knew the route that the men, who were running, took. He told me that the men were ferried across a bridge. I saw Abu Tawi with a cutlass and he held a man that was smeared with blood by his waist. Jah Jah said that I was stubborn - he told me to stay away from that place and threatened that, if I insisted, they would break my other leg. I left them - I was discouraged. The following morning, Saturday, I boarded a boat and went to the village where we used to buy products. As I was going, I turned around and looked towards where they were standing. When I went into the bush, I met the man dead. I identified the corpse and, when I went to the checkpoint, Sorba said that I had been stubborn – he threatened that I would be the next to die. Since then I stopped going to that village - I gave my money to people that helped me do my shopping.

I went to Tejan, the brother of the deceased, and informed him about what had happened. Since the police was dysfunctional and the Kamajors were strongly in charge, Tejan and I went and informed a Sheku Bomborwai who promised to find a way of arresting them. On the day of the arrest, they were having a party.  He went there with his boys and arrested Jah Jah Man, Dobokeh, Sorba, Abu Taliwe and Tommy Sannoh.  The following morning, they brought them to Moyamba. Since then, their movements were closely monitored.  Later, we heard that they were in Police custody in Bo.  After two months, we saw them back in Sembehun and they started making threatening remarks. I then left Sembehun together with my cousins.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - Thank you for coming and telling us about the death of your business partners. We sympathize with you and we think you are very brave to come and tell us what happened to you. Have you any idea where these Kamajors are now?

Jonathan Brima - I know where to find the three of them.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - Can you give us their names and addresses?

Jonathan Brima - Abu Tawi is a local Police in Shenghe; Jah Jah Man is presently in Freetown and Dobokeh is in his village - Musoko in Bangura Chiefdom.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - Has any one of them shown any remorse at all?

Jonathan Brima - No, when they heard that TRC would be coming to Moyamba, they all fled the area.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones – Do you think they would not come if we invite them?

Jonathan Brima – I do not know what is in their minds.

Comm. Torto - I want to thank you for coming and giving this revealing testimony.  It is very bold of you.  These are the kind of testimonies we would want hear. I just want to clarify some issues with you. What happened with the Le1.6 million taken away from your friends by the Kamajors?

Jonathan Brima -They threw a party and they spend the rest.

Comm. Torto – What happened to the two corpses - the one that was floating and the one in the bush?

Jonathan Brima -They were abandoned - the one that was floating drifted with the tide until the body decomposed - the one in the bush also decomposed.

Comm. Torto - Were their relatives informed about their death?

Jonathan Brima - The relatives were afraid because there was no police presence.

Comm. Torto – They arrested the culprits and took them to Bo - did you find out why they were released from Police custody?

Jonathan Brima - No, I had problems with my foot so I could not follow up.

Comm. Torto -Thank you.

Leader of Evidence - In your response to the Deputy Chair’s question, you said you would like to reconcile with these people. You also said that you have some of their addresses in Freetown. Will you give us their addresses now?

Jonathan Brima – He stays in a place that I know, but I do not know the address.

Leader of Evidence - You said that Mohamed Conteh and Hassan Sesay came to the town when you were not there, and they decided to go to the town chief.  Did they know the town chief before?

Jonathan Brima - Yes, they were often in the village.

Leader of Evidence - So this town chief took them to the Kamajors.

Jonathan Brima - Yes, he did it when they spoke to him.

Leader of Evidence - Do you know why these people were handed to the Kamajors? Before then, the town chief knew them or was it because you were not around that the town chief had to take these people to the Kamajors?

Jonathan Brima - It was a laid down rule for all strangers to be taken to the Kamajors for proper identification.

Leader of Evidence - We are only asking these questions to make your testimony quite clear.  Do you know whether the town chief was a Kamajor?

Jonathan Brima – No, he was a civilian.

Leader of Evidence - Thank you.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - Thank you very much Jonathan. Do you have question for the Commission?

Jonathan Brima - I do not have any question for the Commission.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Do you have recommendations   that we would include in our report?

Jonathan Brima: We are appealing to government to consider Moyamba town - and Moyamba district as a whole - for the construction of roads and development of the health sector. I am also appealing that government provides job opportunities for the youths of Moyamba district.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones – What skills training do you have?

Jonathan Brima: I was selling rice and garri.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Do people not eat rice and garri anymore - why have you not started on a small scale so that your business will grow?

Jonathan Brima: Owing to the inaccessibility of the roads, we cannot enter into the villages where I used to buy my items.

Comm. Torto - Jay One, I just want to contribute on the question of job opportunity in Moyamba town.  Definitely, it will be included in our report. I also want to remind you that Moyamba is one of the luckiest districts in the provinces, because there are mining companies like in my own district - Kono.  Employment is given to youths - you can find out from those organizations. What we will embark on now is skills training - I think Sierra Rutile will start operations very soon.  As soon as they start operations, seek employment with them.  I am not saying that your recommendations will not be included in our report.  Before you are employed, you must engage in skills training because you secure a job based on your qualification. We are encouraging all of you to engage in skills training.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones - I thank you Jonathan for coming. If the Kamajors will listen to the recording of the hearings in Moyamba, and have a feeling of remorse, they can contact the TRC  - if we have their addresses, we will be able to locate them to come.  At a time like this, all we want is reconciliation so that the past remains the past, and everyone is able to work towards progress and development.  Thank you for coming.

DAY TWO: 10 JUNE 2003

The session began with Muslim and Christian prayers. The presiding commissioner, Commissioner Torto, welcomed the audience, especially the witnesses. The commissioner read out the rules governing the hearings. The presiding commissioner asked the Leader of Evidence to invite the first witness.

FIRST WITNESS: Kallaytu Kamara

The witness swore on the Koran. Commissioner Torto administered the oath.


We were at Bradford village, where I was born, when the rebels attacked on Friday, March 17th 1995. The rebels captured me and asked me to tell them where the others were hiding. I told them that I did not know the whereabouts of the others, and they threatened to kill me. I pleaded with them, but they asked me to sit on the ground. They found the sum Le500, 000 in my purse and they took it.  They seated me on a bench and threatened that they were going to kill me. They carted away my properties - four bushels of benni, six bushels of rice, four drums of palm oil and some other things. I asked them to take away my property and spare my life, but they told me that that was not for me to decide because they were going to take away my property even if I did not say it. As they smoked their cigarettes, they puffed the smoke on my face so that I would get intoxicate before they killed me. They sat before me and defecated. They then took my wax cotton and covered their excreta.  They told me that the time to kill me was approaching. They held my hand and wanted to kill me, but I pleaded with them – I told them that they had taken all I had and that they should spare my life.  They took me to a junction and told me to lie down.  I pleaded with them, but they said that they did not want to waste their bullet.  As I lied down, they started hitting me - I was given a cut in my head and one of them broke my arm. My blood was pouring out profusely.  One said, “We’ve killed her because they’ve told us she’s the richest woman in the village. We’ve killed her.” They kicked me and said that they had killed me. I laid still, pretending that I was dead. They then left for Mabang in order to meet their enemies. However, they promised to come back. I laid down and blood was oozing from my head to my face and, since I could not use both hands, I only used one hand to wipe the blood. I attempted to get up after they had left, but I fell down again – I gave up all hopes since I was helpless.  I managed to sit up, but blood was still oozing out and I dragged myself to a bondo bush where I leaned on a big stick. I was there until nightfall when they came back, firing. They used my foodstuff to cook. They were there for three days and I neither had access to medical treatment nor did I have food to eat.  My only food was green leaves which I chew to wet my throat. On the fourth day, I went to the town and when my relatives and children saw me, they gave me up. However, one of them suggested that it would be best if I was taken to the hospital. This is the end of my testimony.

Comm. Torto:  We are very much sorry for your testimony. It is God’s blessing that you are here. We do not want to subject you to many questions after all what you have gone through. Where did all this happen?

Kallaytu Kamara: It all happened in Bradford, a village called Maposseh.

Comm. Torto:  I saw the scar on your head - what happened to your head afterward?

Kallaytu Kamara:  After spending two days in the bush, I was feeling cold and my head was filled with maggots. People decided to help me get the maggots from my head. They lit firewood to warm me up and they left me alone since they were afraid that the rebels would come back. The fire caught my lapper and, since no one was around, it burnt my skin.

Comm. Torto:  Was there any case of sexual abuse - like rape?

Kallaytu Kamara:  No.

Comm. Torto:  Do you the remember faces of those rebels?

Kallaytu Kamara:  I can not. All I can say is that they wore military fatigues and they were in large numbers.

Comm. Torto:  What fighting group did they belong to?

Kallaytu Kamara:  They were rebels.

Comm. Torto:  What does Hassan Sesay mean to you?

Kallaytu Kamara:  Nothing.

Comm. Torto:  In your written statement, you said that he was one of the perpetrators?

Kallaytu Kamara:  I cannot remember.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  Thank you Kallaytu for coming to tell us what happened to you. We are really touched and I am sure you are grateful to God for saving your life. Apart from burning your property, do you think they had any other reason for wanting to kill you?

Kallaytu Kamara:  Except for the fact that I was hard working, I do not know any other reason. I did agriculture and trading so that I could take care of my children. When people took your goods on credit, they were reluctant to pay. However, if one took the matter to the local chiefs, one became their enemy. Most of those to whom I gave money by way of helping them solve their problems did not pay back, and when I summoned them to the local chiefs, they held it against me.
Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Is it actually true that you did not recognize any one of them?

Kallaytu Kamara:  I was not brave to look at their faces. I even urinated on myself out of nervousness.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  Where were your other relatives?

Kallaytu Kamara:  Some had fled to Freetown and some others had fled into the bush.

Comm. Torto:  What happened to your foodstuff and money?

Kallaytu Kamara:  They said it was theirs. They burnt down my two houses as well.

Leader of Evidence:  Where you an influential person in Bradford before the time of the attack?

Kallaytu Kamara:  I was very popular - I was even the chair-lady for Emma Claye-Simbo, one time minister.

Comm. Torto:  Have you any questions for the Commission?

Kallaytu Kamara:  Yes. Would you be able to help me after all that has been done to me?
Comm. Torto:  Which specific help do you need?

Kallaytu Kamara:  My houses were destroyed; my children can no longer go to school because of my predicament.  I was a trader, but I no longer have the money to engage in trade.

Comm. Torto:  This is one of the most difficult aspects of the Commission - the area of honoring personal requests.  The mandate of the commission does not empower us to compensate people and the Commission does not even have the resources to make compensations to victims, individually. We are not able to do much other than to offer some advice. If we have the resources, you would have been a sure candidate for help.  

Comm. Torto:  Any other question?

Kallaytu Kamara:  I have no more questions.

Comm. Torto:  Have you any recommendations to make to the government?

Kallaytu Kamara:  Yes, government should provide accommodation for victims of the war.

Comm. Torto:  We would pass it on to the government.

Kallaytu Kamara:  I want government to help me with a small amount of money so that I can start my business again?

Comm. Torto:  I have explained to you about it before, but I will go over it again. There is a chiefdom speaker and other elderly people - they will tell you about the micro-credit programme.

Kallaytu Kamara:  Some of our colleagues have benefited from micro-credit, but I did not benefit from it because the money was not enough. The chief told me to wait until after nine months.

Comm. Torto:  I think that was the right thing the chief told you.  We thank you for coming.

SECOND WITNESS:    Adama Salfu Conteh

The witness swore on the Koran. Commissioner Sylvanus Torto administered the oath.


I was at Baoya village where they burnt my house, killed my grandchild and my brother. I fled to the bush and I had nothing to live on. I left the bush for the river so that I could get salt. I later met a Moses Sam at Mamboma. When I greeted him, he failed to reply – he accused me and my son of being rebels. He ordered me to sit on the ground - I did – and they tied me. They kicked me and I fell. They said that I must pay the sum of Le300, 000 before they could untie me. When I enquired why they were treating me like that, they replied that my son was an SLA. They brought a piece of zinc which they said they would use to slaughter me.  They asked who my closest relative in the chiefdom was and I said Pa Brima Bangura - they sent for him.  The Paramount Chief told them not to do anything to me lest they brought a curse on the village. His reason was that I had been there for a very long time. When the rebels heard this, they were restrained. They released me and I went down the river – my hands and feet were swollen. I did not have any money on me. I met a boat owner that said he knew my son and would take me for treatment. He took me to Tombo and a driver took me to a house although I had no money. I was then taken to the hospital where I was admitted. My son, who is a Prison Officer in Kabala, gave me some money which he said was meant to buy my shroud since, according to him, I would not leave the Mende Land. I went to get salt and Abu Bawotay and his men took away all my sheep. I had Palm Oil which I sold. Moses and his men took away everything. Moses shaved the head of my son who was with me because he had dreadlocks.  His hair was shaved with machete and when he resisted he was hit. I asked Moses why he was so cruel to me even though I had treated him like a son. He took away everything I had. My husband was very old. My son was the only one who assisted me. My eldest daughter is seated in the audience as I talk. They took away everything from me. When my son heard of this, he came and reminded me of what he had earlier said – that I liked to live in the Mende Land. I later took a loan of Le100, 000 which I am supposed to pay back within two years. I went to the river and used the money to buy salt.  PA Brima, who rescued me earlier, advised that I should have faith in God. I told him that I had done nothing bad, but he insisted and I stayed put. People came from Tamin-Mboka and Gunduma to buy my salt at cheaper rates.  The Paramount Chief was seeking my interest. One day I went to the Paramount Chief and he asked whether anything was wrong with me, but I said that I was alright. He advised that if did not take my time, I would have an early death.

Comm. Torto:  We thank you for giving your testimony. I want you to make a few clarifications. Why did they accuse you of being a rebel?

Adama Conteh:  Because my son was a Soldier.

Comm. Torto:  Did you have a son who was a Soldier?

Adama Conteh:  Yes.

Comm. Torto:  Where is he now?

Adama Conteh:  He is in Freetown, but he is no longer in the army - he went through the DDR.  

Comm. Torto: Is he still in the military?

Adama Conteh:  No.

Comm. Torto:  What is he doing now?

Adama Conteh:  He is now a trader.

Comm. Torto:  You were asked to give Le100, 000 - did you give the money that they asked for?

Adama Conteh:  Yes – I gave the money before I was released.

Comm. Torto: To whom did you give the money?

Adama Conteh:  Moses Sam.

Comm. Torto:  Who was Moses Sam?

Adama Conteh:  A Kamajor.

Comm. Torto:  Where is Moses Sam now?

Adama Conteh: He is in Baoma

Comm. Torto:  How far is Baoma from here?

Adama Conteh:  Baoma is eight miles from Baoya.

Comm. Torto:  Who was Sam Ngebeh?

Adama Conteh:  He was only sent to call me.

Comm. Torto:  What about Momodu Salia?

Adama Conteh:  He took away my salt - he was in Senehun.

Comm. Torto:  Where is he now?

Adama Conteh:  He is in Sawiya.

Comm. Torto:  When all this happened, did you complain or report to anybody in authority in your area?

Adama Conteh:  Yes, I reported to Pa Brima who pursued the matter.

Comm. Torto:  What did he do?

Adama Conteh:  He tried to mediate.

Comm. Torto:  Were you satisfied?

Adama Conteh:  They had disgrace me so I had nothing to do. Now, I have pain in my back.

Comm. Torto: Were you bayoneted on your back?

Adama Conteh:  Yes, and that gave me bump.

Comm. Torto:  Thank you.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Adama, we thank you for coming and we are sorry for what you went through. Your son that had the dreadlocks - was he the same son that was in the army?

Adama Conteh:  He is a trader.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  After shaving his dreadlocks, what did they do to him?

Adama Conteh:  They took his money from him.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  Where is he now?

Adama Conteh:  He is in Freetown.

Leader of Evidence:  This entire exercise is about reconciliation.  Owing to the distance, we can not bring him here and since the Paramount Chief knows you and Sam, we want to know if you will be ready to reconcile with Moses Sam?

Adama Conteh:  I will not deny the Paramount Chief because I respect him.

Comm. Torto:  We have asked you many questions. Have you any question to ask?

Adama Conteh:  Yes, I have something to say. I go to the bush in order find my living. My husband is old and my house was burnt down. That house was built by my son. My daughter, who used to take care of my every need, currently has nothing. We want help.

Comm. Torto: That could be taken for your recommendation.   What question do you have for the Commission?

Adama Conteh:  What will you do for me?

Comm. Torto: You mean personally?

Adama Conteh: Yes, you are the one sitting in front of me now.

Comm. Torto:  The question of personal compensation is not possible. The Act that creates us does not give us the mandate to do so - we wish we had the resources to do it on our own, but there is no way we can do that. We thank the daughter for taking care of you. All we can do is to pass on the recommendation to the government and they would know what to do.  Your recommendations have been recorded. After talking to us here, you will feel relief because you have spoken out your mind. Thank you for coming.

THIRD WITNESS: Samuel J. George

The witness swore on the Bible. Commissioner Sylvanus Torto administered the oath.


I was a teacher at the RC School Baoya. I started teaching at Baoya in 1986. In 1995, at the beginning of August, the war struck us at Baoya from the western area through Rabbi. In mid August, I took five of my dependants to Freetown. We stayed at Kissy Brook. I went to the Ministry and registered as a teacher. I was posted to St. Peter’s the Rock, Calaba town. We stayed in Freetown for some time - we exhausted the money I had.  My wife and I decided to come to Baoya for food - the rice we had planted.  We heard that government troops were there.  Indeed we found the troops; they reassured us that everything was alright; people could repair there houses.

We were in camps, in the bush. We prepared food and took it to Baoya.  On 28th August, we decided that my wife should return to Freetown. My brother-in-law’s wife accompanied us close to Sembehun. At that point, I saw people in military uniforms; they were moving toward us. I alerted my wife and my brother-in-law’s wife. I thought they were government troops. The first group – all of whom were dressed like civilians - passed us. Next was a group in military outfit – some of them approached me and demanded that I gave them my shoes - they said that they were rebels and that we were to follow them. We went to Sembehun and we were put in a house together with many others - they wanted to set the house on fire. After a while, a man came and took one of us - my brother-in-law – out. The same man later came for me. They gave me and many other people loads to carry. We passed through Kombona, Kambaya and we entered through Kobotu. The rebels guarded us closely. Even if one wanted to ease oneself, one was accompanied by a rebel who carried a gun. We went to as far as a village called Sembehun. It was dark and they ordered us to loot - a Commander ordered us to capture creatures. We took goats, fowls and other creatures - we were divided by houses. They asked to cook rice and to use the creatures we had caught to cook the sauce. After we had eaten, the rebels put us in one house and locked up. They accompanied us - under gunpoint - to attend to calls of nature. The following morning, we continued the journey - we returned to Mosewa. We crossed the river by boat. Since all of us could not cross the river that day, some people slept on the bank of the river and we continued the journey the following day. The rebels tied a man in the boat and the boat capsized while they were getting across; one of our Commanders drowned. We were under threat because the controller of the boat was a civilian – the rebels said that civilians were not good therefore, they gave us nothing to eat. They wanted to tie us and throw us into the river. Fortunately this did not happen – we chased and forced the others to corporate. CO Mohamed was leader of the group. We passed through Gbangbatoke. We arrived at a village where we lit and slept by a fire. We then moved on to Sierra Rutile. We were divided into houses. There were many people there. We stayed there for a week during which we ate rice, meat - good food. We were lined up as we chased the group at the river and entered Mattru Jong. Soldiers were soldiers there too. We continued the journey. We harvested cassava and banana to eat when needed. When we arrived at Kobotu in Bo District, we followed the Sewa River and we got to a village called Komende, where we stayed for a week. At Komende, we were given properties to take to Sankoh in Kenema district.  While we were going to Kenema district, we met another set of RUF rebels on the way - they took the things we were carrying Foday Sankoh. We went back to Sewa and passed through the main base where we were trained and brainwashed. During the training at the main base, they told us that they had come to liberate us. Included in their argument was the point that education – during the reign of the APC – was a privilege and not right. We were also given physical training. We stayed on for six months during which we were sent to search for food - banana and garri - from civilians. We did all those under duress. We were trained as bodyguards. We worked by night in shifts – when we went in search of food. We would open fire and the civilians would flee - we would take food to our base: we had food in abundance. When food was prepared, they made it as though it were a ball and placed it in our hands – that was what we ate. When we learnt that government troops were going to attack Komende, we left and went to another village in Bo district. CO Rashid Sandy took us to a base in Kenema. We were bodyguards - we could open fire on civilians in camps and take their food to our base. We would do the same in towns. Kangari Hills! We passed through Bandawa, across Kenema, through Bo Highway and across the Sewa River. We were in groups and we stopped in a village to pass the night. We continued our journey to Kangari Hills and to Tonkolili district. We carried out the same operations I Tonkolili district - they gave us drugs so that we would be able to move on.  They forced us to drink alcohol so that we would do things out of the way - they gave us drinks to make us agile. Then the Kamajors, Tamaboros, Gbethis organized themselves and started attacking us. We would climb and descend hills. We stayed at Masingbi for sometime, but I was tired and I regretted being a part of the rebels.  Before then, I only knew Taiama and Freetown - all those places we went through were strange. In May 1997 – after the coup - we heard the war was over.  AFRC soldiers went to collect us. We went through the Kono highway, near Masingbi.  Troops went to Kailahun, Kenema and Bo. My group went to Freetown and we were happy. We arrived in Freetown at night.  We were at Hastings for two days and on the third day we were attacked by ECOMOG forces - they pushed us towards the Peninsular. They AFRC soldiers guided us and we went to Benguema barracks where we stayed for a week. Our group was forced to loot - we were made guards in the day as well as in the night. Next, we went to Jui. After police had been taken there, ECOMOG attacked and pushed us into the creeks - we had bruises and cuts all over our bodies. We later went to Yams Farm. When I was healed, I put down everything and I went to my daughter at Wellington. I did not leave the movement earlier because if one was caught, one would be stripped. I waited until the combatants were less vigilant before I went to my daughter. She heartily welcomed me. She was staying with a Krio. I was at Wellington after some time and I left when RUF rebels were searching. I however returned to my daughter later. I had a wound on my right shoulder – I sustained it from shot by a Kamajor. I gave an x-ray film to the statement taker that interrogated me. I later went to Howe Street where I introduced myself to the Education Secretary. I was taken to the Ministry and, subsequently, posted to a displaced school at Model. I later returned to my old school, St. Peter’s the Rock. When president Kabba made a statement that everyone should return to his/her place of origin, I wrote to a letter to the Paramount Chief asking him for mercy. The chief granted my plea and my wife collected me and we returned to Baoya.  All what I did was not of my making 0- it was the will of God.  I ask that the Paramount Chief forgives me and accept me again in the community. I was not a bad man when I taught for twenty years years. I ask that the Commission forgives me.

Comm. Torto:  Thank you very much for coming. Before asking you any question, are you ready to beg for forgiveness before the audience?

Samuel George:  Yes.

Comm. Torto:  I just want you to clarify two things for me. You said that you have taught for twenty years and that you are a teacher that went to the university.

Samuel George:  Yes.

Comm. Torto:  which College did you attend?

Samuel George:   Makeni Teachers’ College.

Comm. Torto:  You said that you were traveling with your family, including your brother-in-law’s wife - what happened to them?

Samuel George:  When they took me out of the house in order to put me into the fire, I left my wife and my brother-in-law’s wife locked in the house. The soldiers and all the captives left for Sembehun. The people in the house were afraid and they stayed in the house.  Later, an old man that was sitting in a veranda told them that the rebels had gone. They all went out of the house. My wife was perturbed because I had been taken away. She wept and fell into the river; she almost drowned.

Comm. Torto: Is she with you now?

Samuel George:  Yes.

Comm. Torto:  You said that when you were going, they ordered you to loot - did they also order you to kill?

Samuel George:  No.

Comm. Torto:  Where doid you take those looted items from?

Samuel George:  We took them from civilians.

Comm. Torto: You said that they gave you loads to take to Foday Sankoh - what were the items?

Samuel George:  Solar Panel, vehicle batteries and food stuffs were they things that they gave us to take to Foday Sankoh.

Comm. Torto:  You said that you were a bodyguard. Who did you guard?

Samuel George: I guarded CO Rashid Sandy.

Comm. Torto:  You said that you would fire when you entered a village and the civilians would flee into the bush. How many civilians did you kill?

Samuel George:  When we entered a village or camp, we fired in the air so that the civilians could run away. However, I did not kill.

Comm. Torto:  How many years were you on this?

Samuel George:  I was in training for a year and for about one or two years I carried out raids.

Comm. Torto:  We congratulate you for coming. We are a Commission that speaks the truth and I am asking you again - did you ever kill anybody?

Samuel George:  I killed.

Comm. Torto:  What were you doing in Kangari Hills?

Samuel George:  When we were in Kangari Hills, I had no promotion - we were night guards.

Comm. Torto: Were you one of the people that attacked the villages on the hillside?

Samuel George:  Yes, we were commanded to go to highways and lay ambushes for people traveling with food. During such ambushes, people were killed.

Comm. Torto:  Where exactly was your area of operation?

Samuel George:  At first we were at Tongbeh Goloma and, later, we settled at Masingbi.

Comm. Torto:  What happened to CO Monica?

Samuel George:  As I said earlier, that was a long time ago - CO Monica was a commander at the River Sewa. I cannot tell where she is now.

Comm. Torto:  Thank you.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Thank you for coming and giving your testimony. We are here for reconciliation and we are pleased to have someone like you who has come out and spoken about the past. We are also pleased about your resolve to come and be accepted in the community. In the base where you were residing, were there women?

Samuel George:  Yes.  

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  What about children?

Samuel George:  They were there too.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  As a trained teacher, were you only doing bodyguard work?

Samuel George:  No, I was also the clerk at the base. I was in charge of a Church. I also acted as adjutant since there were many bases.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  Can you describe for us what the church was doing at the base?

Samuel George:  We prayed and made use of the bible. We knew that was the only way we could be saved.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  Did the commanders pray in the church?

Samuel George:  The commanders did not pray; only we who were captured prayed.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Can you tell us what happened to the women at the base?

Samuel George:  They were all married to the combatants.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  what about you – did you not have a wife in the bush?

Samuel George:  No, my primary concern was my life.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  What did the women do at the base?

Samuel George:  They cooked and laundered; some were fighters.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  Did they go out to attack?

Samuel George:  Yes.

Comm. Torto:  What happened to the children in the bush?

Samuel George:  They had bad habits - they did not respect elders; they did not go to school - they were free.

Comm. Torto: That brings me back to my first question. As a teacher, did you not have any urge to teach them?

Samuel George: I had intentions to teach them, but if one wanted to teach, one needed to have a syllabus, stationery, accommodation, an environment that was conducive and a clear mind. We were always on the edge, expecting attacks.

Comm. Torto:  Why were they so disrespectful?

Samuel George: Some of them had handled guns so they were uncontrollable. The others copied from their peers. If you said, “A”, they would laugh.

Comm. Torto:  Were they given drugs too?

Samuel George:  Yes, that was why they were disrespectful and they were fearless to carry guns.

Comm. Torto:  How old was the youngest?

Samuel George:  We had babies as young as two months. The one that took my shoes was a secondary school pupil and there were others that were eight, twelve years and above.

Comm. Torto:  At what age did they start training them to carry guns?

Samuel George:  From eight years, and some excelled in the training.

Comm. Torto:  Were they promoted?

Samuel George:  Promotion was strictly for adults.

Comm. Torto:  Did you, at anytime, come in contact with Foday Sankoh?

Samuel George:  No, I never met him. In fact, I only saw photographs of him.

Comm. Torto:  With reference to your daughter, how did you get the wealth and how wealthy were you when you were there?

Samuel George:  My daughter thought of having free musical instruments, clothes, food and other things.

Comm. Torto:  When you were there, was it possible for you to have money?

Samuel George:  I was fortunate to set eyes on money because we attacked remote areas. I set eyes on new notes when I escaped at Hasting.

Comm. Torto:  Were you ever wounded during an attack apart from the wound on your shoulder?

Samuel George:  Yes, I have a bullet scar on my hand. (Witness showed the scar).

Comm. Torto:  Are you bothered now by any physical problems because of the lifestyle you followed?

Samuel George:  Certain things do happen. I want the Commission to help detraumatise me. There are times when I get sleepless nights because of the drugs and heavy drinks I took when I was with the rebels; it has become part of me. I sometimes try to restrain myself, but it is difficult.  However, I am still trying.

Comm. Torto: I hope that now that you have come here and testified, you will feel relieved and try to get some sleep. With regards to the physical aspect of your problem, talk to our briefer - she would give you some pieces of advice. If you can recall, how many people did you kill? Did you know them?

Samuel George:   I cannot recall because we did not record the statistics of them.

Comm. Torto:  Why did you kill them?

Samuel George:  When we attacked for food….

Comm. Torto:  How many did you rape – can you remember?

Samuel George:  I did not rape.

Leader of Evidence: You said that you were an adjutant and you had men under your control and you had power; was that not so?

Samuel George:  Yes.

Leader of Evidence:  Apart from the attack for food, the rebels also attacked major towns; was that not so?

Samuel George: Yes.

Leader of Evidence:  You took part in those attacks, didn’t you?

Samuel George: I did not take part in all of them.

Leader of Evidence:  Prior to those attacks, you were under the influence of drugs.

Samuel George: Yes.

Leader of Evidence:  So that you would notl know the people you kill.

Samuel George:  Yes.

Leader of Evidence:  The position of adjutant was a promotion and you must have proved yourself in some way, isn’t it?

Samuel George:  I was there to take records of things in the camp because I am educated.
Leader of Evidence:  You said that they forced you to attack in order to get food. If you refused, what would they do?

Samuel George:  They would insult and punish you seriously.

Leader of Evidence:  Did you witness the attack of January 6th?

Samuel George:  By then I was with my child – I was not with them.

Leader of Evidence:  When did you join them - was it after or before January 6th?

Samuel George: I joined them before January 6th.

Leader of Evidence: Can you share your experience during January 6th with the Commission.  What did you do?

Samuel George:  I did not take part in combat. I was always in-doors with my daughter and guardians because of security risk. I saw people shooting.

Leader of Evidence:  Did you join them when they retreated?

Samuel George:  No, I did not; I was new teaching.

Comm. Torto:  Thank you Leader of Evidence. Since we have the paramount chief, CPO and other dignitaries here, he can ask for forgiveness. Samuel George, are you ready to apologize to the people of Sierra Leone? We have the Paramount Chief, D.O and CPO here. I hope there are also religious leaders who would relate this to everyone. Samuel J. George was abducted by the RUF.  He later joined the movement and they attacked some towns and made ambushes on the highways. He willingly testified - he wants to apologize. We have one of your children, an ex-combatant of the RUF, who has confessed is asking that you forgive him for the atrocities he committed. He wants to ask for forgiveness and asks that we do it publicly.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  He is an educated man, a teacher. He tried to be reintegrated. He is traumatised and he needs people to accept him back so that he would be useful in the community. We appreciate it that you have been here. Let us accept him again in the society.  

Comm. Torto:  This is your son and he is here to beg.

Reverend:  Your sins were agonizing to God - do  you know that?
Samuel George:  Yes.

Reverend:  And if you failed to repent you would perish. Do you know Jesus?

Samuel George:  Yes.

Reverend:  However, your heart does not know him. Christ died on the cross.  If you sincerely turn away from your past and go to God, you will not murder, rape or commit arson any more. You will be the one that will remind others that God is good.  Pray!

Paramount Chief:  Thank you for what you have done. This is a big thing.  We have heard you. This is my first experience. It has come to light and we will tell our people about it.  Nobody in his right senses would commit such atrocities. It was a matter of life and death - he went through many things. God says that we should forgive one another. For peace to reign, we need things like this.  People wanted to fight, but this is a great initiative.

Chief Police Officer:  You have been blessed and we empathise with you. Owing to the nature of our job, this is not strange to us. It would be nice if you stood by your repentance. Henceforth, your conscience is free. I advise that you continue to be clean and if we accept you and you repeat what you did, we would not tolerate it.  The law will take its course.  Henceforth, I ask that you do not repeat what you did.

Principal of Harford Girls School: I thank you for this opportunity. I will talk to you as a teacher and as a woman. We suffered a lot.  Some of you gang raped our sisters and daughters.   We, women, give birth to you, but, when you did that, you did not think of it. The day of reckoning has come. I am happy that you confessed of rape and that you do not know the number of women you raped. I hope that you will not do it again. You are man and you have children. I pray that you do not do it again. This is a noble profession, but, because of the war, teachers are not coming to teach in the provinces. I pray that with what has happened, the Sierra Leone community will know that the war is over.  On behalf of the teachers of Moyamba, I accept you again into this community and we pray that you will join us.   

Samuel George:  Paramount Chief, Religious leaders, my people, School children, I did the wrong things against my wish - I burnt houses, I killed people, I did so many bad things to this country under duress.  I did not want to do what I did - I raped, unwillingly. I am begging you for forgiveness; accept me in the community as your son.

Comm. Torto:  Do you have any questions for the Commission?

Samuel George:  I have no questions. Today, my conscience is free. I am overwhelmed because I have been accepted again into the community.  I have no questions - I am satisfied.

Comm. Torto:  Do you have any recommendations to make?

Samuel George: Yes, I have a recommendation – it pertains to education. I have lagged behind and deteriorated; I want to upgrade myself so that I can be fit again in the society. Prior I was capture I had plans to study further. As a result of the war, my first daughter is a dropout.  I need micro-credit facility for my wife – this would enable her to engage in some trade. I am asking for assistance. We lack roads in this community – education is also a problem. I ask for assistance in these areas. My chiefdom needs these facilities – a district headquarter and micro-credit for everyone. The government needs to assist us in these areas. At the same time, I want my chiefdom headquarters to benefit from free education. The conditions of service of the teachers and police should be improved. I am also asking that farmers be considered. These and all other unmentioned recommendations are to be looked into.

Comm. Torto:  People who have come here to give testimonies all ask for the same assistance - we shall consider them when we write our report - shelter, roads etc.
When you burnt the houses of others, they also burnt your house. We shall include them recommendations in our report and your recommendations have been noted.

FOURTH WITNESS:    Albert Brima Charlie

The witness swore on the Bible. Commissioner Sylvanus Torto administered the oath.


I am a born of Ribbi, Maburah Section.  On the 1st of January 1998, I went to my elder brother, Charles Rufus Charlie who had invited me from Freetown.  There is a village called Mafakoi where we slept.  On the 1st day of January, I saw Papa Kamara who met us drinking palm wine and he passed us holding a gun.  He was from Mabureh.  I could not understand why he was passing up and down. We left Sunmeh for Moyamba at 4p.m.  My brother’s wife brought food for us – she had her husband’s radio in her hand. We later saw a cousin’s wife who reported that she saw many people with guns. She said, “They’re all here and I want to inform you.”  When I turned around, I saw them. I immediately identified Papa Kamara - Obai Kamara was the leader of the CDF group. They greeted us.  I told Adama to turn the food so that we could eat.  Obai then abused my brother; he called him a bastard. He even ordered that they should kill him. I beckoned to indicate that we should go to the back.  We stood by the pig pen where Papa shot at my brother. A guy, Bobor Kanu (a.k.a Bob Marley), also shot at my brother; an officer shot at him again and he shook his body. He asked what had happened. If they shot at him three times, he would not die. He stood up and said, “This is rubbish”. I want to advise that people do not take alcohol in excess.  He was really drunk; otherwise, he would have been alive still. He stood up; he wanted to go inside a house because he was in a different mood. Obai said, “If you allow that bastard to enter the house he’ll disappear”.  As he attempted to enter into the house, they grabbed him and stripped him. They hit him on his head with a gun. When I regained consciousness, BM asked whether I was also there - they tied him. They were from Bumpeh and they went to Bomtomboh. A brother met them and when he asked what was amiss, they threatened to kill him. They took him to Gbenkeh; Gbenkeh was known for the fact that when people were taken there they did not return. I left for Freetown. In addition to taking him to Gbenkeh, they burnt down our three houses together with nineteen other houses. After I had spent five days in Freetown, I saw Sorie Kamara (a.k.a. Digba) from Rotifunk. He informed that a group had come from the village and they were resident at 5 Fetter Lane. I had some money which I used to buy alcohol for them so that I could get information from them. I asked them about my brother and one of them asked, “Charles who said his skin was a bullet proof?” Bawotay said, “I have a chain and it has two fingers - the second is to loot”. He told me that my brother was butchered. Then, the Kamajors were very powerful. I ran to tell my cousin, Eke Halloway, the Attorney General, about this. He told me that he gave him the fare to pay his way. He asked if the matter had been reported to the CID; we went there, but nothing was done. This is my testimony.

Comm. Torto: Mr. Charlie, we are very sorry to hear your testimony. We know that what you went through was not easy.  Which fighting group killed your brother?

Albert Brima Charlie: They were a combined force of Kamajors, Gbethis and people called volunteers – the CDF.

Comm. Torto:  What was the reason that they gave for killing your brother?

Albert Brima Charlie: If I say I know why they killed him, I would be telling a lie. I only heard Obai call him “a bastard.”

Comm. Torto:  After they shot him three times and the bullet did not pierce through his body, what did he do?

Albert Brima Charlie:  Obai, one of the fighters, said, “If you allow him to get in, it will be problem for us.”

Comm. Torto:  You said that you reported the matter to Eke Halloway - what did he do?

Albert Brima Charlie:  He said that we should report the matter to the CID.

Comm. Torto:  What happened when you reported the matter to the CID?

Albert Brima Charlie:  Nothing was done – and nothing had been done since we made the report.

Comm. Torto:  Where are these people?

Albert Brima Charlie:  Papa is in Mabureh; Obai is in Sembehun; Bobor is in Makimba; Bawotay was in Guinea. We see them everyday.

Comm. Torto:  Was your brother a Kamajor?

Albert Brima Charlie:  No, my brother was not a Kamajor.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  We are sorry, Albert, for what happened to your brother. I want to ask what power your brother had that made his body a bullet proof.

Albert Brima Charlie:  He told us that he was, at one time, a fighter; he was a military man that climbed to the rank of Captain. In 1978, he retired and started working at the Bank of Sierra Leone. He always told us that he was from Banjul. I sometime saw him bring something out of his stomach which he would clean and swallow. There were times when he would just disappear into the air.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  Thank you.

Leader of Evidence:  Mr. Charlie, you said Papa was a cousin of yours - was your relationship matrimonial?

Albert Brima Charlie:  Yes.

Leader of Evidence: Do you know whether there was any dispute between the two of them that caused that thing to happen?

Albert Brima Charlie:  No.

Leader of Evidence:  I thank you.

Comm. Torto:  If we are able to get them, will you be ready to reconcile with them?

Albert Brima Charlie:  I thought I was going to meet them here. If you get them, I am ready to meet and reconcile with them.

Comm. Torto: Is the Paramount Chief here?

Albert Brima Charlie:  He is here.

Comm. Torto:  Does he know about this?

Albert Brima Charlie:  Yes.

Comm. Torto:  Our staff will talk to you and the Paramount Chief afterward.

Albert Brima Charlie:  No, I want to meet with these people.

Comm. Torto:  We will try to bring you together. Do you want to meet them in a bid to revenge the death of your brother or to reconcile?

Albert Brima Charlie: I want them to come forward and plead for forgiveness as the man did earlier today.

Comm. Torto:  Do have any recommendations to make?

Albert Brima Charlie: Camp Fall-Fall was in our chiefdom. Our Chiefdom, Ribbi, suffered the worst destruction in March. The rebels burnt down the entire section - they burnt well over one hundred and thirty houses in Sunmeh. They destroyed the road linking Sunmeh and Bradford. We lack medical facilities. We ask that the Commission makes recommendations along these lines.

Comm. Torto:   Thank you very much. Whenever we ask for recommendations, people come up with such recommendations. We will add your recommendations to our list of recommendations.  Thank you for coming and sharing your testimony with us.


FIFTH WITNESS: Gbassay Orgbah Koroma

The witness swore on the Bible. Commissioner Sylvanus Torto administered the oath.


We left the farm when it was almost time for harvest. However, we later returned to harvest.  When the rebels asked us to get out of the bush, they told us that if we heard gun shots, we  should run into our houses. When we did what they had told us, they fired at our houses and they caught fire. I ran out and left my daughter and grandchildren in the house; both of them were killed. I went into the bush and continued to use by-pass routes until I got to Waterloo. I was in the camp from where my husband took me to the hospital at Lumpa. We then stayed at the camp until we were told to return to our village. When Kamajors got to our village, they asked us to return home. I still have wounds that I sustained from bullets. This is what I went through.

Comm. Torto:  We are sorry for what happened to you. Was it when you returned that you sustained the wounds?

Gbassay Orgbah Koroma:  When the house was fired, some children’s heads were chopped off and I passed through the window.

Comm. Torto:  Did they shoot at the house?

Gbassay Orgbah Koroma:  They shot the window in the house.

Comm. Torto:  You showed us where the bullet wounded you - would you just do that again for us to film you?

Gbassay Orgbah Koroma:  Yes.

Comm. Torto:  You said your grandchild and child were killed - when did this happen?

Gbassay Orgbah Koroma:  It happened when the house was set on fire.

Comm. Torto:  Have you sought medical treatment?

Gbassay Orgbah Koroma:  Yes, but I refused to allow the doctor to remove the bullet from my body.

Comm. Torto:  Why did you refuse?

Gbassay Orgbah Koroma:  It was painful and I could not withstand it.

Comm. Torto:  Do you know your attackers?

Gbassay Orgbah Koroma:  I do not know them because I was always in the bush.

Comm. Torto:  Do you know whether they were RUF, SLA, or Kamajors?

Gbassay Orgbah Koroma: There were no Kamajors by then; it was the group that was at Camp Fall-Fall.

Comm. Torto:  I want to encourage you to allow the removal of that bullet from your body because there is a serious problem behind that.  Our staff will talk to you after here so that you could see a doctor to remove the bullet from your body.

Leader of Evidence:  Can you give me the names of those who were killed?

Gbassay Orgbah Koroma: Sento Kargbo - my mate, Marie Koroma - my daughter and Fatu Kamara - grandchild.

Comm. Torto:  Have you any questions to ask the commission?

Gbassay Orgbah Koroma:  Everything is left with you - I have no home and my only daughter had been killed.

Comm. Torto:  We wish we had the opportunity, at this moment, but the only thing we can do now is for you to go and see the doctor to remove the bullet from your body. Do you have any recommendations that we could pass on to the government?

Gbassay Orgbah Koroma:  I ask that the government helps to up-keep me since I am now an old woman. I am asking the government to render some kind of assistance to me.

Comm. Torto:  I thank you and we would put it in our report.  Does she have any other recommendations?

Gbassay Orgbah Koroma:  I have no more recommendation.

Comm. Torto:  I want you to be assured that your recommendation will be in our report.  I thank you very much

SIXTH WITNESS:    Chernor Jalloh {a.k.a.  Maeiyata}

The witness swore on the Koran. Commissioner Sylvanus Torto r administered the oath.


On the 9th of February, 1995, we saw people moving up and down and when we asked what had happened, they told us that rebels had entered into the town. I told my wife and sister, Isatu Jalloh, to pack there belongings and move to Magbemoh in the Yoni Section. One day, we saw a large number of Soldiers who said they were personnel of the Sierra Leone Army {SLA}. On a Saturday, March 16, we saw soldiers in a white pick-up van. They told us that Tom Nyuma had come with his group. I told my people that those who referred to themselves as soldiers of SLA had taken our two sheep. Those people walked up and down. My father and I were in the house and he closed his room while I sat in the sitting room. An ex-soldier, a neighbour, who was looking out for her sister’s place, was sitting with me in the veranda and the soldiers went, broke a house and took out a big pot that they took to another house.  I told Ngegbah that he should not accompany me; I asked him to take care of my wife’s house. When I returned, I met Emma Sally whom I asked to give me a coconut that he had. As I was coming, I heard gunshots everywhere and I fled into the bush; leaving my father in the house. I was worried about my father’s security. The following day, Sorie Bumpeh said that he was going to check in the village to see what had happened. When he returned, he told me that the town was quiet. I then used a by-pass route into our compound. I first met Charles Charlie’s mother who had carried a stick on her head. I then saw the remains of Amadu Malayka. I did not know that the rebels were hiding under a mango tree at the back of the house. Zincs were all over the floor. As I was approaching the bathroom, I saw a gun pointed at me – I presently went toward the rebel that was carrying the gun; he laughed. I explained to him that I was a resident of that village. He held my trousers and took me to a veranda where they stripped me naked and gave me a sound beating. They accused me of being a soldier. My face was swollen because of the beating; I was beaten with a gun. A group of seventeen men tied me with my hands behind my back. They beat me and asked me to confess. In about five minutes, they asked me to get up - it was not easy for me to get up. They took me to their colleagues and said that I was a spy. A bulky man that had Liberian accent asked them not to beat me.  About 7 p.m., I started pleading with them to have the ropes off me; they had wounded my arms. They untied my hands and tied my feet. The following morning, we were sent to fetch water. There were lots of Tobacco leaves and one of them asked whether I smoked - he gave me the leaves. We returned with the water; it was on a Sunday. I heard gun shots - that was a signal for food. We left for the village where we met many of them lying down with bandages on their heads. The big, bulky man took a big bag that they had given to me and asked eight of us to carry rebels. I had problems with my arms. A man called Bonkeh and I were chased to Koya Chiefdom.  We took the wounded rebels into the bush. They gave us little food so that we would not have enough energy to run away. They brought other captives including our Imam in Bradford. I later saw the Section Chief among the captives. We then continued to carry the loads, but the three of us carried a rebel. We were taken to a house where we gave our names. We were taken to remove foodstuffs from the houses in Makali; others were getting goats. We had to pound rice. After I was released I had to be treated for a long time; I had lumps in my hands. One evening, Kallon called us to eat. Thirty of us were asked to sit and we were served in groups of seven. I had put on my shoes in readiness to go mining when I heard rapid gun shots.  Rebels ran to the right and we ran too; no attempt was made to recapture us.  Six of us were left in our group – four were Mendes and two of us were Themnes. We slept in the bush. We walked until we found cassava, which we ate.  We went to Mobonkeh where we were captured by civilians. We were taken to Masiaka police station. When I called my name, a man from the cell called out to me – he is the last witness here, today.  We were released, but the last witness, Charlie, was called back. I went to Bradford. We were told that Kamajors were preparing to attack and remove the rebels. A little later, I saw twenty Kamajors in the veranda; they arrested all of us.  One Marie Sankoh was killed. Junior was also shot in the arm.  Kamajors then went away.  Junior and I went to the hospital. Junior advised that we went to Pa Mahoi, his uncle. My sister told me that the there was continuous shooting that began since dawn. While we were going with Junior, I learnt that my father was burnt in the house when we arrived at Clay Factory. This is my testimony.

Comm. Torto:  Thank you. The question I want to ask is based on the statement that you gave at Bradford.  When the Kamajor came to Bradford, they also looted - would you explain about those items that were looted?

Chernor Jalloh:  When the Kamajors came and resided at Bradford, they had a leader called Abdulai Kakpata - they did many bad things.

Comm. Torto:  Was your father killed in the house?

Chernor Jalloh:  Yes, together with Alpha, Alusine Kargbo and mammy Boi. – they rebels killed them.

Comm. Torto:  Do you know any of them – facially? Were they Kamajors or RUF?

Chernor Jalloh:  I do not know who specifically did.

Comm. Torto:  Who buried your father?

Chernor Jalloh:  Some boys in the village buried my father.

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

Chernor Jalloh:   Momodu Alpha Jalloh.

Comm. Torto:  Do you have questions to ask the Commission?

Chernor Jalloh:  No.

Comm. Torto:  Do you have any recommendations?

Chernor Jalloh:  I am appealing to government to help us with shelter and health facilities.

Comm. Torto:  There are NGO’s that assist with shelter and they have done so for some people in the Masiaka area; the briefer  will talk to you after here and she will mention some  names of those NGO’s that can give those kinds of help. All we can do as a Commission is to take down your recommendations and pass them on to the government.  For the road net work, we would know how to put it in our report.

Comm. Torto:  Do you have any more recommendations?

Chernor Jalloh:  My next recommendation pertains to the fact that when the sea dries, some people survive on palm trees, but not all of us have the opportunity to do so.

Comm. Torto:  While you are waiting for the government to give assistance in these areas, if you would link up with World Vision, you may receive assistance – they are also helping people.


SEVENTH WITNESS:     Junior Bampia Mahoi

The witness swore on the Bible. Commissioner Sylvanus Torto administered the oath.


I have two burning issues – the first one was in 1995, when rebels attacked Bradford. My wife went to her relatives and, since that time, I have learnt how to harvest palm kennel to sell.  I bought goods like rice and kerosene to sell to my people. I boarded a boat to Freetown. In the course of the journey, an officer asked whether I was Junior, but I told him that Pa Saidu – who lived at Mataho village – was the owner of boat and he knew me. The soldiers said that they would not allow me to proceed further because I had a problem. When I made an attempt to sit on a bench, I was kicked. They accused me of buying goods for rebels. One of the soldiers brought a lady who claimed that I bought and sold goods for rebels. I was advised not to be angry. A soldier wanted to cut off my ear, but I resisted and he stabbed me on my left arm. The soldiers came with one Captain Daram and they told him that I was a rebel. He asked me whether there were other rebels around. I was taken to Foday, the headman at Tombo. I was then tied up by a Guinean soldier. The Sierra Leonean soldiers joined the Guineans to beat me. They threatened to kill me if I refused to speak. Sullay, a driver of one doctor, saw me. Sullay had contact with Captain Daram. He asked whether it was I that, according to what Captain Daram said, they had threatened to kill. Sullay then offered to take them to Benguema, and promised speak to the Chief of Defense Staff, Major Gottor. Guineans locked me up in a guard room where Tom Nyuma later came and asked for suspected rebels. When I wanted to enter into the vehicle, Daram said that I should stay and that they would handle the matter. After seventeen days, when they could not prove that I was a rebel - Daram had gone to look for my goods and he had found nothing; journalist had taken note of what happened - I was then given a paper to go away. I tried to tidy up, but I could not use my hand.  After a year, when I came to Bradford, Captain Kolajor was in charge. One Obai told ECOMOG soldiers that I was a rebel suspect and that Captain Kolajor should not accommodate me.  The Captain kept an eye on me. I used to sell goods to them. Captain Kolajor later went to Tombo and found that the allegation against me was false. I became his friend. Obai, the man who had accused me of being a rebel suspect was the one that informed Spencer that Kamajors were preparing to remove rebels from Mabang Bridge. Kelly advised me to wait - I was living with my aunt, Marie Sankoh {a.k.a. Yarie Bumbuna}.  I did not know that they had assembled at the market place. When I was going across the road, I saw groups of Kamajors and I went to inform Charlie. The previous witness at today’s hearings knows what I am talking about. Kamajors ordered us queue up and a small Kamajor boy cocked his gun. Obai and other Mende Kamajors gave us there back so that they could not be identified. I showed them my mother’s house and told them that Marie Sankoh was my aunt. The young boy said that if Marie moved, he would gun her down. One of them that knew my aunt, Marie Sankoh, said “Tayaji” {meaning “this is not she} - she was immediately shot down. I shivered and realised that I was shouting. I heard Charlie, the boss, order them to stop shooting, but the firing went on. A man, who told them to stop shooting, advised us to move backward. I heard a voice called out to me so that I could go and have bullet removed from my body – that voice was Obai’s. I traveled by Makite and went to Freetown. Soldiers accused me of being a rebel, but I explained to them that I was sent to go for treatment at the hospital. I left to see my uncle, Dr. Mahoi, and I later returned to Bradford. My house was burnt down. Kabata was living in the next town. There were piles of bones of those that were killed by Kabata, Obai and the CDF.

Comm. Torto:  Thank you very much. In your written statement, you said that the Kamajors burnt down the whole village - were you there? And it was on the 19th   March  1999 - were  you there?

Junior Bampia Mahoi:  They were there and they attacked the village.

Comm. Torto:  You said your aunt was fired - do you know why they shot her?

Junior Bampia Mahoi:  A Kamajor called Kuwagoi stole my aunt’s properties. Another Kamajor, Minkailu, got the complaint – he was friendly. He directed us to the Kamajor base at Rogbenke where their leaders were. When my aunt arrived at the Kamajor headquarters at Rogbenke, she saw her lapper on the wife of a Kamajor.

Comm. Torto:  Is camp Fall-Fall still in existence?

Junior Bampia Mahoi:  I do not think so.

Comm. Torto:  Was it a town?

Junior Bampia Mahoi:  They set it up.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  We are sorry for all the problems you suffered. Was there any reason why Obai wanted you to be destroyed?

Junior Bampia Mahoi:  I did not do anything to him, excepting that I was hard working.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  Where is Obai now?

Junior Bampia Mahoi:  He is at Seikuma.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  How far is it from here?

Junior Bampia Mahoi: It is about twenty-four miles from here.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  Where are the bones you are talking about?

Junior Bampia Mahoi:  They are at the back of my house at Bradford.
Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  Thank you.

Comm. Torto: Do you have any questions to ask the Commission?

Junior Bampia Mahoi:  No.

Comm. Torto:  Do you have any recommendations to make to the commission?

Junior Bampia Mahoi:  Yes, I have something to say. We have no job facilities.  Things are difficult. I can operate a power sow, but there is no job – the rebels took away all my work tools during the war. I want the government to help me.

Comm. Torto:  We would take your recommendations into consideration. In case you do not have any more recommendations, you may stand down. We thank you for coming.            

11th June 2003


The witness swore on the Koran. Commissioner Justice Laura Marcus-Jones administered the oath.


When the rebels attacked us, I had a daughter who was seven months pregnant. A friend asked us to go to Bo. On our way to Bo, the rebels captured my daughter and I left her – she was calling out to me, “My mother! My mother! I’m dead”. Since that day, I have neither heard about nor seen her. On my way back, we arrived here and left for Yoweima. It was in this place that I was captured and raped. We later left Yoweima and went to Rotifunk. I had my sister’s children with me - one of them was a suckling mother. Her baby was taken from her and thrown away; she was slashed all over her body with a machete. The other child was killed. We then went and entered into the bush. It was in that bush that we left the wounded woman. Since then, we have not seen her - we cannot tell what happened to her thereafter. There was another five month’s old baby whose whereabouts we also know nothing about. When we arrived at Boweya, we decided to go to a farm hut for shelter. Late that evening, we heard voices and I thought it was some villagers that were returning to the village – little did we know that the voices were those of the rebels. When I began to move towards them, I realised that they were rebels - I had a baby on my back - and one of them pointed a gun at my throat, but another rebel told him to stop. The rebels that stopped his colleague told them not to kill me – he suggested that they should abduct me. After the other rebels had given in to the suggestion that i should abducted, the rebel that had made the suggestion told me that the baby would not survive, therefore I should throw it away. I threw the baby away. I followed the rebel to his colleagues. After I was introduced to the group, the commando asked me to tell him where we had kept our belongings. I told that I was a stranger in that place and that I did not know where the people’s properties were kept. Having said that, the commando hit me with his gun on my head and I bled heavily through my nose. Since I had told them that I was a stranger and that I knew nobody in that village, they asked me to cook for them. I then put water in a pan and placed on the fire. As the water in the pan was boiling, it spilled on my hand and feet. There were many of us and they raped us all night. In the morning, they took us to a deserted village and abandoned us there. It was in that village that I started experiencing lower abdominal pains which gradually came down to my vagina. Since I could not walk, they others left me in that village – I had nothing. From time to time, I went to the farms in search of cassava and palm kernel. Whenever I heard a gunshot, I would go into hiding for fear that the rebels would take me away again.

Later, the Kamajors came and started shooting - the soldiers returned fire. I was terrified and I left the village. I traveled to Moyamba using bush paths. All of my children got scattered during the attack. When I came to Moyamba, I found out that some of my children were with my friend. Not too long after I arrived in Moyamba, the friend told me that she was traveling by sea to Freetown - I was left with the children. The abdominal pain became severe - the color of the fluid was black. I then started bleeding through my nose and water was coming out of my vagina. Whenever I have sex, I feel severe pains. My house and properties were burnt down and everything was taken away from me. We have nothing - my surviving children and I find it difficult to sustain ourselves. I can not tell the location of my father’s children. The two main things that continue to affect me are the way I was raped and the killing of my daughter. Even as I sit here, I feel pain in the head – I experience severe headache everyday. I can not walk a long distance or carry heavy loads on my head.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  Thank you, Mamie. You have given a long narration of hardship and pain. We realise how you feel and we feel for you, but we think you should still look to the future for a better life. The fact that you should be courageous to accept is that what has happened could not change, and do not blame yourself for what happened - realise that God has a purpose for you and that is why you did not die. Now I am asking you questions so that we can understand what you have told us. Where were you coming from when you left Bo?

Mamie Nallo: I was coming from Baoya to Bo.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Were you the only one captured on the way to Yoweima?

Mamie Nallo: I was with my children – we were separated.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Were you the only female?

Mamie Nallo: There were other women.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Were they captured at the same time?

Mamie Nallo: I found the others with the rebels.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  You had so many encounters - you met the rebels when you were on your way from Bo; you left for Yoweima, you met them again; you arrived in Baoya, rebels went and met you again. So those were three separate occasions.

Mamie Nallo: Yes

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: can you tell us what group did they belong to?

Mamie Nallo: I cannot tell because they were many and they disguised themselves.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Can you say whether those who captured you on any of the occasions were rebels, Kamajors or SLA?

Mamie Nallo:  I can not tell because they were all dressed in military fatigue?

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: They asked you for your properties and then they were going to kill you and you spoke to them - what language were they speaking?

Mamie Nallo: They were speaking Mende, but they spoke the eastern Mende dialect.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: How did you get to spill the boil water on your feet and hand?

Mamie Nallo: I was cooking - then I was nervous.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: what type of food were you cooking and where did they get it?

Mamie Nallo: we were about to prepare chicken, but I cannot say where they got it.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Who had the baby that was thrown away?

Mamie Nallo: It was my baby.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: How old was the baby?

Mamie Nallo:  It was a year and five months old.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: For how long did all these sufferings last?

Mamie Nallo: I cannot tell, but we stayed there for sometime - we spent years there.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: You were taken to a deserted village - can you tell the name of the village?

Mamie Nallo: I do not know the name of that village. I did not usually stay in the village - I spent the rest of my lime in the farm hut.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: How did you know they that the Kamajord and the soldiers were the ones that were fighting?

Mamie Nallo: when I was in my hiding place and heard the gunshots, I had to leave the place and go further into hiding. That was when I met the Kamajor. I was terrified by the way he was dressed. I wanted to run away, but he said that if I attempted to run, he would kill me. I then told him that I was going to Moyamba and he asked, “Are you a rebel?” I replied that I was not a rebel and he said, “Let’s go”. He walked closely behind me - he accompanied me to village called Mokowo. Before he released me, he told me that the soldiers and Kamajors were fighting. “If you are lucky”, he said, “You will survive.”

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Now that you say you are bothered by the death and disappearance of your daughter, have you had counseling?

Mamie Nallo: No, this is the first time I have explained my ordeal.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Now, about your physical pains, have you seen a doctor?

Mamie Nallo: Yes, I went to a hospital at Baoya and the dispenser told me that the pain in my head was a sore and he was treating me.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What about the vaginal discharge?

Mamie Nallo: I use native herbs and it is much better now - the flow has subsided, but my menstrual flow has not yet changed.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Do you have many children that you currently care for?

Mamie Nallo: I have seven children: Mummy, Madie, Brima, Memunatu, Mohamed, Musa and Rebecca.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Are they all your children?

Mamie Nallo: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: I mean your natural children.

Mamie Nallo: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: When you leave here, our Briefer will give you some referees so that you can see a doctor to see how you can get help for children - food and education for the children. Do you currently have a man?

Mamie Nallo: Owing to the abdominal pains, I am reluctant I to have lovers on and off.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: We are sorry to have heard all these from you. We sympathize with you and we hope that you seek medical attention and try to forget all that has happened. We want you to give us the names of all those who died - the ones you lost personally.

Mamie Nallo: Isata Nallo, Lucy Nallo, Magbindi Nallo and Nyagbwah Nallo,

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Now, you have been talking to us and we have been asking you - have you any questions for the Commission?

Mamie Nallo: The only question I have is that now that all these things have happened to us and we can not divert anything, can you help with the welfare of my children? I have no husband; nobody to help me.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: The TRC does not have money to give to people, but, when we make recommendations, your community will benefit and you will also benefit. Now, we refer witnesses for medical attention and other help and something good may come out of this. Do you have any other question?

Mamie Nallo: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Do you have recommendations to make to the Commission?

Mamie Nallo: Yes, shelter and food are our main problems. All the children I have are school going children.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What do you do for a living?

Mamie Nallo: Since I have this pain, I can no longer do hard work or carry heavy loads; all I do is petty trading.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: We thank you for coming and now that you have spoken out, we hope you feel better. The place to which we refer you will be of help to you. Thank you once again for coming.

SECOND WITNESS: Assanatu Koroma

The witness swore on the Koran. Commissioner Justice Laura Marcus-Jones administered the oath.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: How old are you?

Assanatu: I am sixteen years.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: In what year were you born?

Assanatu: I was born on 9th October 1988.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Do you go to school?

Assanatu: Yes, I attend MDEC School, Rotifunk.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What class are you?

Assanatu: I am in class five.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: So you will be sitting for the NPSE next year.

Assanatu: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Now that you are sixteen, you have to work very hard so that you will have a double promotion to take your exams next year.


My foot was amputated. We were in Freetown when we heard that the rebels were coming. I ran into the house and then I heard gunshots all over the place. Suddenly, I felt something piercing me on my foot. When the situation calmed down, I was taken to the hospital for medical treatment.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Since you do not want to talk, I am going to ask you questions. What were you doing in Freetown?  

Assanatu Koroma: I was taken to Freetown in order to assist my aunt who was pregnant.
Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Where were your parents at that time?

Assanatu Koroma: They were in Kono.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Where are you staying now?

Assanatu Koroma: I am staying at Rotifunk.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: So you are not with your parent.

Assanatu Koroma: I am not with my parents.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: So they leave without you.

Assanatu Koroma: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What do they do for a living?

Assanatu Koroma: They are farmers.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: How many of you do your parents have as children ?

Assanatu Koroma: There are nine of us.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: How old is the eldest?

Assanatu Koroma: I can not tell.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Are you the eldest or what order are you?

Assanatu Koroma: I am the fifth.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: So you must have some brothers or sisters who are older than you.

Assanatu Koroma: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: For how long were you at Wellington?

Assanatu Koroma: I cannot tell.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Can you tell the date when this firing took place at Wellington?

Assanatu Koroma: Yes, it was on January 6th 1999.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Now, when did you go to the hospital for treatment?

Assanatu Koroma: I was taken to the hospital on 7th January 1999.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Nonetheless, your wound went so bad that your leg had to be amputated?

Assanatu Koroma: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Were there doctors in the hospital?

Assanatu Koroma: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Why have you not been given artificial limbs?

Assanatu Koroma: My foot had not healed up properly.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Has it healed up now?

Assanatu Koroma: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Since it has healed up now, have you tried to get one?

Assanatu Koroma: A white man bought the limb for me, but there was an attack on Makeni on the day it was to be fixed.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: And you later heard nothing about it.

Assanatu Koroma: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: I will ask our Briefer to see if she can make any referral so that you can be considered again. Apart from the foot, are you in good health?

Assanatu Koroma: I feel pain in my elbow.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Is that as a result of the attack?

Assanatu Koroma: No, it is the strain of handling the crutch.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Have you told them in the hospital about it so that they can teach you how to use the crutch.

Assanatu Koroma: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: I have been asking you a lot of questions; have you any questions for the Commission.

Assanatu Koroma: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Now you are fifteen years, you are quite a big girl and you go to school; have you any recommendations that we could include in our report about all what has happened?
Assanatu Koroma:  Yes, I am asking the government to help me with my education. We all live in a single room. I am recommending that government helps us with shelter.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Thank you for coming. We are sorry about your accident and we hope that you will do well in school and your public exams. We wish you well.

THIRD WITNESS:  Jenneh Beahaie

The witness swore on the Bible. Commissioner Justice Laura Marcus-Jones administered the oath.


When the rebels attacked Gbalahun, they captured me. They gave us the task of preparing their food; if you refused, you would be dealt with severely. We laundered their clothes, cooked their food and did so many other hard works for them. When they attacked Kailahun, they stayed there. We were told that whatever we needed, we should go to Kailahun and get it. People made took the risk and went to Kailahun. When everything got finished in Kailahun, the rebels began to attack people who went to Kailahun – the rebels attacked people for food. When they went to the houses, if they found a woman in a house, they would rape her. If they found a man in a house, they would tie him. They did this for a long time and they later launched what they referred to as “Top 20” which meant that the captives were to be killed - they killed so many people. They later launched “Top 40”; they then added rape and sexual violence to the list of atrocities - they would insert a pestle in a woman’s virgina. This happened for a long time. Afterwards, Foday Sankoh passed an order that the junior commandos should go to Liberia. They stayed there for quite a long time and then Foday Sankoh came from Pendembu and told them that they should come and fight in Sierra Leone. They also launched “Top Final”. When the junior commandos came from Liberia, they drove away the Special Forces that came from Liberia. They later got another order from Foday Sankoh to attack Kono, which they did. They stayed there for two days. We later learnt that they had left Kono. However, not too long after that, they tried to return to Kono, but it was difficult. They returned to Pendembu. Later, the forces loyal to the government drove them from Pendembu and they were pushed to Kailahun. The soldiers were based in Kailahun. One day, we heard gunshots and we left for Buedu. We passed the night at Buedu and we were again driven during another attack. The soldiers continued to attack the positions of the rebels until Foday Sankoh decided that they should begin jungle warfare. When the soldiers finally drove us into the bush, we were there for a long time without medicines and food. Many people went with the rebels into the jungle. We were in a village called Magbah until my husband sent for me – that was after the death of our child. We then went into a bush at Tadu. We were in that bush when thel the ULIMO soldiers attacked us. We went further into the bush and they left. When we later returned to the village, we learnt that Colonel Issa Sesay had ordered his men to go and fight in Liberia. They captured many civilians and brought them to Sierra Leone. Those captives had children among them - one of them was my child. A good number of the adult captives ran away to Liberia. The ones that did not return to Liberia were, on the orders of Issa Sesay, taken to RUF held territories. People were sent from the camps in order to go and collect those captives. The RUF killed all of the ones that were taken away to the camps – including the children that were with them. At one time there was an attack on Buedu and it was during that attack that I lost my husband. After his death, his relatives came to take me along with them to Moyamba - then I was four months pregnant and we stayed in the village until I delivered a baby boy. The baby was three months old when we heard that men with the single-barrel had come. Those men who carried single-barrel guns captured Ngama - a rebel base. However, the rebels recaptured the base after two days. We were there until we heard that there was peace and people were moving to and from Daru. We were there when the Kamajors went there. The Kamajors were there for a long time. One day, there was a meeting for all those who had went there from Daru. It was during that meeting that they took down names - they had a list of all the captives. While the Kamajors were imprisoned, all the civilians were released. Later, the Kamajors were killed. Owing to the killing of the Kamajors, another set of Kamajors attacked the rebels and engaged them in combat. The battle continued until the United Nations Peacekeepers went to Kailahun. From time to time the UN brought out the rebels to clean the roads and sent them to the farm. Time there was when we heard that one of the UN personnel had died and that they had taken body away - I can not tell where the body was taken to. The UN Peacekeepers that were based in Kailahun were evacuated at night. When the last batch of UN Peacekeepers was about to move, the rebels followed them and fought with them. I was on my way to Mendegebuma when I came across two commandos who raped me. Then, I had just delivered my baby. The rebels raped me on a number of occasions. At the time they raped me on my way to Mendegebuma, it had been announced that the war was over and that whoever wanted to go to his or her home town was free to do so. In the year 2001, I came to my aunt in Bo and 2002 I finally came back to my place of birth at Banta Mokele where I am currently staying.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Thank you Jenneh. We are sorry that you fell among those people and spent so long a time with them. We sympathize with you. Now I am going to ask you a few questions because I want you to explain to me further. When you were captured, you said you used to prepare food, launder, etc - how many of you were there?

Jenneh Beahaie: I cannot tell.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Were there men and women?

Jenneh Beahaie: Both men and women were there.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Who captured them?

Jenneh Beahaie: The people who captured us were many.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What group did they belong to?

Jenneh Beahaie: I only knew one of them – Rambo; they were rebels.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: I want to know if they were RUF, SLA, Kamajors, etc?

Jenneh Beahaie: They were RUF.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: When you were in Kailahun, the rebels used to attack people - did you join them in any of the attacks?

Jenneh Beahaie: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What did you do whilst they attacked?

Jenneh Beahaie: I was not with them by then; I was pregnant.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: So you stayed behind in the bush.

Jenneh Beahaie: We were in the village.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: You had already been given a husband.

Jenneh Beahaie: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Was the man one of the rebels?

Jenneh Beahaie: When he was initially captured, he did not join them; nine months later, he decided to join them.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: However, you were pregnant for this man who was with the rebels.

Jenneh Beahaie: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What happened to him?

Jenneh Beahaie: He was killed.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: When and at what point?

Jenneh Beahaie: Buedu.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What did they mean by “Top 20”, “Top 40” and “Top Final”? How did the figures come in?

Jenneh Beahaie: “Top 20” meant that when Special Forces came, they captured junior commandos and killed them - whoever was found in the bush was killed.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What was the rank of the rebel husband?

Jenneh Beahaie: He was later promoted to Lieutenant.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Was he among those who went to Liberia?

Jenneh Beahaie: They ordered them to go, but he did not go with them.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Who were the people in his own group?

Jenneh Beahaie: One C. O. Bazooka.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Was he a Sierra Leonean?

Jenneh Beahaie: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Do you remember any other names?

Jenneh Beahaie: There were many of them.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Did C. O. Bazooka come back to fight in Sierra Leone.

Jenneh Beahaie: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Were you initiated into the RUF?

Jenneh Beahaie: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: You said you were pregnant for the RUF - did you give birth? Where is the child?

Jenneh Beahaie: I delivered, but the baby died in the bush.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: You told us that your bush husband died at Buedu – did he die during a fight? How did he die?

Jenneh Beahaie:  He was killed when they went to attack.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Did you ever see Foday Sankoh?

Jenneh Beahaie: It was very difficult for civilianS to see Foday Sankoh.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: How was the jungle prepared?

Jenneh Beahaie:  I cannot tell exactly because we stayed in the village; I heard the names of several jungles.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Did you stay in the village with civilians?

Jenneh Beahaie: I was living with the civilians together with the rebels.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Did all the people know that you were living with rebels?

Jenneh Beahaie: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Where was your original husband?

Jenneh Beahaie: He was with me in the village, but he later went to Dodo.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: How many husbands had you?

Jenneh Beahaie: I had my first husband who sent for me after I had delivered and I lost the baby after the death of that husband; I got another and he was the one that was killed at Buedu.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Did you ever meet Colonel Issa Sesay?

Jenneh Beahaie: Yes, but we were never acquaintances.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Did you all live together?

Jenneh Beahaie: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What was your opinion with regards to the life of the rebels?

Jenneh Beahaie: It was a very difficult life – I did all types of odd jobs, yet I was raped.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: How many times were you raped?

Jenneh Beahaie: Several times.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: At this meeting, they took down the names of people - were you present at the meeting?

Jenneh Beahaie: I was not at the meeting because it was for rebels.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Were you present when Kamajors were killed?

Jenneh Beahaie: This happened in Kailahun, while we were at Gbalahun.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Do you know how many of them were killed.

Jenneh Beahaie: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Why did they kill the Kamajors?

Jenneh Beahaie: I cannot tell.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Why did the UN move from Kailahun?

Jenneh Beahaie: The UN troops moved due to the way they were treated.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: By whom?

Jenneh Beahaie: By the rebels

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Did the rebels kill the UN who lost his life?

Jenneh Beahaie: No, they were working in a swamp. Later, we heard that one of them had died as a result of cold.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: You said they were working in the farm - what were they doing?

Jenneh Beahaie: They ploughed the swamp and brushed the roads.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: So you never saw any fighting?

Jenneh Beahaie: No, I always ran away when I heard gunshots.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: You told us that you were raped often - what is your health condition now?

Jenneh Beahaie: Previously, I had lower abdominal pains, but it has subsided. However, I still suffer from body pains and loss of weight.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Have you sought medical attention?

Jenneh Beahaie: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What are you doing now? Do you have a husband?

Jenneh Beahaie: I have no body that is ready to marry me, but I have a lover.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: How many children have you?

Jenneh Beahaie: I have three children and one adopted child.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: How do you have your earning?

Jenneh Beahaie: Things are very difficult for me. It is my brother who assists me.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What work does he do?

Jenneh Beahaie: He is a nurse.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Have you been trained in any skills?

Jenneh Beahaie: I am undergoing skills training.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Where?

Jenneh Beahaie: At Banta Mokele.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What type of training?

Jenneh Beahaie: Tailoring.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Have you any questions for the Commission?

Jenneh Beahaie: No, but I am appealing to you to help us. There is no road network; the river in our village needs a bridge so that the route would be shorter. Secondly I want you to help my children and I to continue my course in tailoring. There is nobody that I depend on for assistance.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: These are not questions, but recommendations. The recommendations for bridge and roads to be maintained and help for the children and yourself will be put in our report. We are sorry that you fell into there crutches. Do you have any other recommendation?

Jenneh Beahaie:  No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Thank you once more for coming and helping the Commission.


The witness swore on the Koran. Commissioner Justice Laura Marcus-Jones administered the oath.


We were in the bush when two Kamajors went and met us there. The Kamajors took away all my belongings and money, and they killed my niece, brothers and sisters. They accused my parents of being rebels and added that the all the members of our family were rebels. We were brought to the village. The little boy who brought food for my father was killed by a small rebel. Another woman was stabbed on the nose and she died.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Now that you have said very little, we will ask you questions so that you can explain. What were you doing in the bush?

Ramatu Kallah: We were in hiding.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: How many of you were in the bush?

Ramatu Kallah: There were twenty of us in the bush.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Who were the other people?
Ramatu Kallah: My father, mother, ten girls and ten boys.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: How many sisters and brothers were there?

Ramatu Kallah: Ten sisters and ten brothers.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: For how long were you in the bush before the Kamajors went there?

Ramatu Kallah: They went there the same day we went there.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: How did the Kamajors know that you were in the bush?

Ramatu Kallah: A neighbour of ours told them.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Were you rebels, as they alleged?

Ramatu Kallah: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What did the Kamajors do when they met you in the bush?

Ramatu Kallah: They killed.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Tell me the people they killed.

Ramatu Kallah: Iye Bangura.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Who was Iye Bangura to you?

Ramatu Kallah: She was my neighbour. The also killed Alusine Dauda, my nephew; Alusine Kamara, my neighbour; Memuna Sesay of Koya - she was pregnant and was about to deliver when she was killed.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Why did the Kamajors kill these particular people?

Ramatu Kallah: They were accused of being rebels.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: So they selected them and killed them.

Ramatu Kallah: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: The others, what happened to them?

Ramatu Kallah: They begged for mercy.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: After pleading, did the Kamajors take them away or release them?
Ramatu Kallah: They left them.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: So they remained in the bush.

Ramatu Kallah: They went to town.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: So they did not harass you.

Ramatu Kallah: Yes, they did not.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: In what year did this happen?

Ramatu Kallah: I cannot tell.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Where did this happen?

Ramatu Kallah: At Bradford.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: How old were you then?

Ramatu Kallah: I was eighteen years.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: How old are you now?

Ramatu Kallah: I am nineteen.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: So this happened last year.

Ramatu Kallah: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: At the time they attacked, were you married?

Ramatu Kallah: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Are you married now?

Ramatu Kallah: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: How long have you been married?

Ramatu Kallah: I have been married for five years now.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: This baby, is she yours?

Ramatu Kallah: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: How old is the baby?

Ramatu Kallah: One year.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Is she your first child?

Ramatu Kallah: No, the first child is dead.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: So this is your second child.

Ramatu Kallah: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Is there anything more you want to tell us? Did they do anything to your father?

Ramatu Kallah: Yes, he was captured.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Was he captured when he was in the town?

Ramatu Kallah: He came out of the bush and he was captured in the village.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What did they do to him?

Ramatu Kallah: He spent a night with them and, later, he was released.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What about your mother?

Ramatu Kallah: She was also captured.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Did they do any thing to her?

Ramatu Kallah: She came out of the bush and she was about to go back to Malamu when they captured her; she was released later.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: You told us that your brothers and sisters were killed, but you did not mention there names. Were they your brothers and sisters, when did they kill them?
Ramatu Kallah: I cannot remember.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Was it the time when the Kamajors met you in the bush.

Ramatu Kallah: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Was it before or after the Kamajors met you in the bush?

Ramatu Kallah: Iye Bangura was killed on a Saturday.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Was she your sister?

Ramatu Kallah: No, she was my mother’s friend.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Any other?

Ramatu Kallah: Alusine Kamara was killed and eaten in the bush.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: How do you know that - were you told?

Ramatu Kallah: My dad and others told me that.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Was any other person killed?

Ramatu Kallah: My younger brother was shot by a Kamajor.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Where did they shot him?

Ramatu Kallah: In his head.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Was it the same time the two Kamajors met you in the bush?

Ramatu Kallah: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Have you already given their names?

Ramatu Kallah: Ibrahim Kallah, my brother and the son of Alpha Jalloh.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What about your sister, have you given us her name?

Ramatu Kallah: She was Fatmata Sesay.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Have you always been so slow in responding.

Ramatu Kallah: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Are you particularly worried about something?

Ramatu Kallah: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What does your husband do?

Ramatu Kallah: He works with GTZ.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Do you work yourself?

Ramatu Kallah: No, I am a gardner.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: For how long did the Kamajors stay around with you?

Ramatu Kallah: I cannot tell.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: However, they did not hail from your area.

Ramatu Kallah: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Have you any questions to ask the Commission?

Ramatu Kallah: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Have you nay recommendations?

Ramatu Kallah: (No response.)

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Even if you do not have any recommendation, is there anything that you want to tell us?

Ramatu Kallah: No

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Alright, thank you for coming. We wish you luck in your gardening.

Ramatu Kallah: I want medical facilities, schools, hospital, court barray, market place, Mosque, Church.

FIFTH WITNESS:     Abie Lasayo

The witness swore on the Koran. Commissioner Justice Laura Marcus-Jones administered the oath.


We were in the bush and the rebels met us in the bush camp. I was captured by one of them who raped me and left me. Since he raped me, I have been experiencing abdominal pains. My husband bought medicines which he administered to me. On the day I was captured, I was stripped naked and all my properties were taken from me. We then went to Bo where we stayed until the war ended. When the war ended, we returned to the village. This was the problem I encountered during the war and this is the testimony that I gave to the statement takers.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Thank you for coming and sharing your experience with us. Why were you in the bush?

Abie Lasayo: We were driven by the rebels who kept attacking our village.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Which village was that?

Abie Lasayo: Jayahun.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What year was that?

Abie Lasayo: I cannot remember.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What group did they belong to?

Abie Lasayo: The one that captured me was dressed as a civilian.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: So you are not able to tell the group that attacked you.

Abie Lasayo: I cannot tell which group attacked us.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What language were they speaking?

Abie Lasayo: They one that captured me spoke Mende.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Where was your husband when you were captured?

Abie Lasayo: We were in the bush while he went to the town to collect our belongings.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What did the rebels take from you.

Abie Lasayo: My clothes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: So the rebels left you naked and took your clothes away.

Abie Lasayo: They took the ones in the bag and left the one I was wearing.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: After they had gone, did any one come to your rescue?

Abie Lasayo: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: How did you get back to where you were?

Abie Lasayo: When he left me, I got up and ran away to my previous hiding place.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: How soon after did your husband return?

Abie Lasayo: It was a day after the incident that my husband went to our hideout.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Did you report to him what happened?

Abie Lasayo: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Was he supportive?

Abie Lasayo: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What did he say?

Abie Lasayo: He did not say anything; he bought medicines, gave them to me and asked me to go to Bo.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Did he sympathize with you?

Abie Lasayo: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What year did this happen?

Abie Lasayo: I clearly said earlier on that I could not remember.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Have you children?

Abie Lasayo: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: How many?

Abie Lasayo: Two.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Were they born after this incident or before?

Abie Lasayo: One was born before the incident and one was born after the incident.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Are you in good health now?

Abie Lasayo: I say thanks to God.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Are you continuing to take medical treatment?

Abie Lasayo: I do not go to the hospital; my husband buys medicines for me.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Why did you not go to the hospital – yourself - so that the doctor would diagnose and give you prescriptions that you could use to buy medicines? I know your husband may be helpful to you.

Abie Lasayo:  The abdominal pains come at intervals.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: You have to go to the hospital. Have you been bothered by these experiences?

Abie Lasayo: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Have you had any counseling?

Abie Lasayo: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Did the Briefer here speak to you?

Abie Lasayo: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: The Briefer will talk to you when you leave here so that you can get it off your mind. It happened to you because of the war and you are lucky to have good health and an understanding husband that is helping you. I have been talking to you; have you any questions to ask?

Abie Lasayo: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Have you any recommendations to make?

Abie Lasayo: The only help I need is for you to make a way for us to have money in order to keep my children and me going.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: unfortunately, the TRC does not have money to give to witnesses. However, your recommendation will be included in our report. Thank you very much for coming. Do you have anything more to say?

Abie Lasayo: No

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Thank you once again.

SIXTH WITNESS:     Mohamed Momoh

The witness swore on the Bible. Commissioner Justice Laura Marcus-Jones administered the oath.


I was a student of the St. Francis Primary School in Bo and I was dependent on my uncle for support in education. I was there until 1995 when I heard that my uncle had been killed. I decided to go and confirm whether the story was correct. I went there and found out that it was true - my other uncle was amputated.

Not too long after my arrival, I was captured by the rebels who took me to Mokanji. In Mokanji, they shot me in left thumb – that was intended to serve as a mark that would prevent me from escaping. When we left Mokanji, we went to Jendema. When we left Jendema, they took me to Bagbo where I fell sick. They decided to kill me because I was sick, but the commando told them not to kill me. His argument was that I may recover from my illness. When I recovered from my illness, they began to give me drugs which made me abnormal. They started training me and they told me that in a long run, I will benefit from it. At first, I refused - I told them that I was a small boy and I could not undertake that venture. However, they continued to give me the drugs that made me abnormal.

When they took us to Gerehun, the loyal forces attacked us; they killed people and burnt down houses. Thereafter, they asked us to travel to Yamandu and, later, to Tongo. During a battle in Tongo, I fell into a pit and I sustained bullet wounds. I was there for three days without food and water. One morning, they came and removed me from the pit and they gave me medicines. They asked me to continue the fight and they told me that Tongo was under our control. We were there and we later went to Jembeh. At Jembeh, I decided that the war was not good for me and I escaped from them. I said to myself, “I am going back to my home.” I came back to my village and the news went round the village that I had been with the rebels and that I was back in town. I went back to meet my colleagues so that I could not be killed. Later, they went to Bo and they met me thee. They attacked Bo, but they did not succeed. I then joined them again and we moved to Koyeima where we stayed for some time before they told us to proceed to Yele. I took up arms in the year 200, but it was not my wish to take up arms. When I returned to my home at Dambala Kaikobia, the Kamajors arrested me – they tied me and placed me in the sun for the rest of the day. I did not say anything until the battalion commander told them to release me. I was released and I stayed in the town for a week before I went to my village. When I went home, my people said that since I had been a rebel, they were going to kill me. I pleaded for mercy and told them that I did not join the rebels advertently. I was in the village until the war was declared ended.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Thank you for telling us about your experiences. It is a good thing that you are back home and I hope you will stay there and be of help. We have some questions to ask you so that everything would be clear to us. How old were you at the time you were captured

Mohamed Momoh: I was fifteen years old.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: How did your uncle get killed.

Mohamed Momoh: He was stabbed all over his body.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: By whom?

Mohamed Momoh:  By the RUF.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Did the RUF also amputate your uncle?

Mohamed Momoh: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: When you were taken away, what was you training like?

Mohamed Momoh: I was thought how to use gun, how to shot, crawl and run in the bush and how to roll.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Who were the people that taught you all these things?

Mohamed Momoh:  The RUF.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  Are you going to give us the names?

Mohamed Momoh: Manawa, Subuhanalai and Junior Sam.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What was the position of Manawa?

Mohamed Momoh: He was the battalion commander.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What was the rank of Junior Sam?

Mohamed Momoh: He was a Sergeant.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What types of drugs were given you?

Mohamed Momoh: They gave me cocaine, gun powder, 9 9, etc.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: When you took the drugs, how did you feel?

Mohamed Momoh: At first I got drunk and it seemed as though there was a pit before me.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: You said you returned to your village, Jembeh, and you moved to Koyeima - how did this happen?

Mohamed Momoh: When I was told that they were going to kill me in my village, I left the village and, on my way, I met them at Towama. They captured me and tied up. They said, “This is our colleague and he had left us”. They asked, “Where have you been?”

Comm. Torto:  During your captivity with the rebels, did you take part in cannibalism?

Mohamed Momoh: No.

Comm. Torto: Did you see people being killed and eaten by others?

Mohamed Momoh: Yes.

Comm. Torto: Where was that?

Mohamed Momoh: That was when we were at Gbagow.

Comm. Torto: Then, that time you were forced to eat.

Mohamed Momoh: When they were preparing the food, I moved out of the area.

Comm. Torto: You were captured at Dambala Kaikobia - did you fight with the Kamajors?

Mohamed Momoh: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: How did you escape?

Mohamed Momoh: I was braced for the rest of the day and I stayed with them. They later discovered that I was not a rebel. I was released and, after one week, I escaped from them.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: You ran again and joined the rebels?

Mohamed Momoh: Since then, I did not join the rebels again; I went home and asked for forgiveness from my parents.

Comm. Torto: When they were cooking the human flesh, did you see them kill anybody.

Mohamed Momoh: I cannot tell.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Now you said you are twenty, how old were you when you were first captured?

Mohamed Momoh: I was fifteen years.

Leader of Evidence: Most of the attacks took place in the night - how many times did you attack towns or villages while you were with the rebels?

Mohamed Momoh:  I cannot tell precisely, but it happened many times. There were times when theyl woke us up to fight.

Leader of Evidence: Can you now tell us how many people you killed?

Mohamed Momoh: I cannot tell the number.

Leader of Evidence: Did you not also abduct children?

Mohamed Momoh: I did not capture children, but I saw my colleagues abduct children.

Leader of Evidence: Can you tell us about the rape of children and women?

Mohamed Momoh: The number of rape cases were many; I cannot tell exactly how many.

Leader of Evidence: Did you take part?

Mohamed Momoh:  No.

Leader of Evidence: Did you have a bush wife?

Mohamed Momoh: No.

Leader of Evidence: In your statement, you talked about pistols and L M G - did you use these weapons?

Mohamed Momoh: Yes.

Leader of Evidence: Were did they eat the human flesh as you told the commissioner?

Mohamed Momoh: It was in the camp; we used to cook it as our daily meal.

Leader of Evidence: Which camp was that?

Mohamed Momoh: Camp Charlie, Mogow and Camp Zogoda.

Leader of Evidence: So it was a continuous event.

Mohamed Momoh: We were at Jendema when it happened.

Leader of Evidence: Did you have Liberians with you by then?

Mohamed Momoh: Yes.

Leader of Evidence: You talked about arms, where were you getting those arms from?

Mohamed Momoh: At times the arms were brought by helicopters and from Liberia to our camp.

Leader of Evidence: Did you see any inscription on those helicopters?

Mohamed Momoh: Yes, they had Red Cross logo and they supplied us with medicines.

Leader of Evidence: You were a pupil when you were captured; what are you doing now?

Mohamed Momoh: As at now, I am not doing anything. I was a school going child when I was captured and the one that was paying my fees is no more.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Why did you not go back to your village of origin?

Mohamed Momoh: Our house was burnt down.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: But they have accepted you.

Mohamed Momoh: They have accepted me, but they said that if any other war breaks out, we would be the first people to be killed.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Have you asked your religious leader to help you?

Mohamed Momoh: That is why I go to church.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: But you are not a Christian.

Mohamed Momoh:  I am a Christian

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Have you any questions to ask the Commission?

Mohamed Momoh: Yes, I have something to say. When I was coming here to testify, my people thought that I would not return. I came here to let you know that it was not our wish to join the rebels. I want to know if you have anything to do to me.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What did they think will happen to you when you come here?

Mohamed Momoh: They said they have a special court that is coming up in this country and that the statement takers had taken statements from. They said that once one was taken to the TRC, one would not come back.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Tell them that TRC has nothing to do with the Special Court. You will talk to our briefer so that she can direct you to an NGO where they will help you.

SEVENTH WITNESS: Mohamed Mansaray

The witness swore on the Koran. Commissioner Justice Laura Marcus-Jones administered the oath.


The rebels were running after us in the bush until the time when we left for Four Mile. They chased us in the bush and I was captured and taken to Benguema from where we came to look for food at Four Mile. Wherever we meet food, clothes and creatures, we took them. We were at Benguema for two weeks. We later went to Mile 38 and we also went in search of food and clothes to wear. At Mile 38, a man was captured and killed. We were there until ECOMOG drove us from Mile 38 and, in the process, another woman was killed. We then went to a village called Mogbeni where we slept. Then, many people had been killed in the village and some were thrown into the river and some into the toilet. They gave me a gun to use, but Mr. Idrissa did not permit me to go to the front. We went out on patrol one day when we met so many cows that had been killed; we then brought them to our base. From that point, they did not allow me to go any- where; I was kept me alone in the house. Not too long, Brigadier Papay called the UN on the phone in order to come and collect the children - they went and collected us; they took us to Freetown, Lungi and Lunsar. They later interrogated us in order to know the whereabouts of our parents. After a while, we were taken to our villages.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: How old were you when you were captured?

Mohamed Mansaray: Eight years.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: In what year were you released?

Mohamed Mansaray: In 2000.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: How many years did you spend with the rebels?

Mohamed Mansaray: I cannot tell because I was with them for a long time.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What group did you belong to?

Mohamed Mansaray: The West Side Boys group.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: And you stayed with them at Okra Hills.

Mohamed Mansaray: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Were did the UN take you?

Mohamed Mansaray: They took me to Robonka.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Where is Robonka?

Mohamed Mansaray: Between Rotifunk and Bradford.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Do you go to school?

Mohamed Mansaray: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What class have you attained?

Mohamed Mansaray: Class four.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: You have wasted all these years with the rebels and you have to work hard. Are you doing well?

Mohamed Mansaray: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: You should try hard and have double promotions so that you will take your NPSE in the next academic year. Why was the man killed at Mile 38?

Mohamed Mansaray: He was killed at the time that ECOMOG wanted to drive us from Mile 38.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Was he an ECOMOG soldier?

Mohamed Mansaray: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Why was he killed then?

Mohamed Mansaray: He was killed just because they wanted to kill him.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Did you see him killed?

Mohamed Mansaray: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: How was he killed?

Mohamed Mansaray: He was butchered with an axe.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What was he doing when he was killed?

Mohamed Mansaray: He was captured and killed.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Why did they kill all the people at Mogbeni?

Mohamed Mansaray: When they met them in the town, they just opened fire on them and killed them.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: How did you feel when you were with them?

Mohamed Mansaray: I felt good.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Did you enjoy staying with them?

Mohamed Mansaray: No.

Comm. Torto:  During you captivity, did you kill?

Mohamed Mansaray: No.

Comm. Torto: Do you know how to use a gun.

Mohamed Mansaray: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Did they give you drugs?

Mohamed Mansaray: No.

Mr. Leader of Evidence: When you were sent to go in search of food at that time, did you take a gun along with you?

Mohamed Mansaray: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: How were you going in search for food?

Mohamed Mansaray: While we were moving, we would threaten people with the gun and they would run away - then we would take their food.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Did they go with you or did they go all by themselves?

Mohamed Mansaray: I was moving along with them?

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Now is time for you to ask us questions. However, before you ask your question, let me ask you how you are doing in the community - did your parents welcome you?

Mohamed Mansaray: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What about your school - do the other children know what happened to you?

Mohamed Mansaray: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Have you not told them about it?

Mohamed Mansaray: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: So they treat you well.

Mohamed Mansaray: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Have you any questions to ask the Commission?

Mohamed Mansaray: Yes, I have a question. What do you have to give to me so that you can help with my education?

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: You are at the stage now when you have free education and your parents will pay the other charges. By the time you are ready to go to secondary school, free education will be on, and we will put that in our report. Do you have any other questions?

Mohamed Mansaray: Our village had been burnt down; I want the government to help in rehabilitating our village.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: That is recommendation. You want government to help rebuild your village. We are going to include that in our report so that government would help in rehabilitating those devastated places. Do you have any other recommendation?

Mohamed Mansaray: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Thank you for coming.

EIGHTH WITNESS:     Alie Kamara

The witness swore on the Koran. Commissioner Laura Marcus-Jones administered the oath.


I was at Mordavies with my father and we left for another village called Mogoba. We went to collect rice from where we kept our belongings. After that, we came back. I was sitting on the veranda of our house and my father was inside the house, when I saw many people coming towards our house. The group was led by my father’s brother, Mr. Usman Kamara. When they came, I notified my father that his brother was the leader of the group. They arrested me and my father. We were forced to sit on the ground. When I asked them what we had done, they said that if I asked them again, they would shoot me. We were then ordered to move into the ferry. They tied me and my father together - they chopped off the fingers of my father one after the other. Some took of the fingers and used them as neck laces. They took a stone and hit the face of my father. They killed him, removed his blood, put it in a cup and they asked me to drink the blood otherwise they would kill me. I drank the blood. Afterwards, they released me. They killed my father on a Tuesday. That night, they told me that I was going to be killed the following morning – Wednesday. They braced me until night fell. When I woke later that night and realised that the rope had slackened, I got up, passed through the back of the house and ran into the bush. I laid there till dawn when I went to a big river and crossed over to the other side. I went to my relatives.
Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Thank you very much, Alie. Your account is gruesome. Did you say that the group was led by your brother?

Alie Kamara: He was my uncle.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Why did your uncle want to kill your father?

Alie Kamara: I do not know.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What group did they belong to?

Alie Kamara: Kamajors.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Did your father belong to any group?

Alie Kamara: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  How did the rope get slackened?

Alie Kamara: It was the work of God.

Comm. Torto:  Do you know the people who killed your father?

Alie Kamara: Yes.

Comm. Torto: Who were they?

Alie Kamara: Usman Kamara, Foday Sankoh, Usman Sesay, Ibrahim Sesay and Sallu Mondeh,

Comm. Torto: Were are they now?

Alie Kamara: Two of them are at Mogoba.

Comm. Torto: When they killed your father, did you report the mater to any chief or those in authority?

Alie Kamara: No.  

Comm. Torto: Why did you not report the matter?

Alie Kamara: I was small boy by then.

Comm. Torto: Did you discuss it with you mother?

Alie Kamara: Yes, but she did not take any action.

Comm. Torto: Did you discuss it with any other relative?

Alie Kamara: Yes, they only said we should cope and bury the past.

Leader of Evidence: The one who led the group was your uncle; do you know if there was any dispute between them?

Alie Kamara: No.

Leader of Evidence: You said that your dad had much acreage of land; do you know whether he was killed because of that?

Alie Kamara: He was killed because of his land.

Leader of Evidence: Who is controlling those acres of land now?

Alie Kamara: They pieces of land are controlled by my uncle that killed my father.

Leader of Evidence: Is he of the same father and mother as your father or were they cousins?

Alie Kamara: They are of the same mother, but not of the same father.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: We have asked you questions, have you any questions that you want to ask the Commission?

Alie Kamara: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Do you have any recommendations to make?

Alie Kamara: Yes, I want the government to help me rebuild the house that was burnt down. I have my brothers and sisters and there is nobody to support us - even to have food to eat is a problem.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What do you do now?

Alie Kamara: I am a farmer.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  Are you farming on your own?

Alie Kamara: I am farming for my mother.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Is she a young, middle aged or an old woman?

Alie Kamara: She is a young woman.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Does she work?

Alie Kamara: Yes, she is also a farmer.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: We will include your recommendations on employment and opportunities for the youths in our report. The TRC does not have money to give to people; we only hope and pray that government implements the recommendations we shall make and consider the needs of people who suffered during the war. Do you have any other recommendation?

Alie Kamara: No

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Thank you once more for coming.


The witness swore on the Koran. Commissioner Justice Laura Marcus-Jones administered the oath.


I was in Gbangbatoke when the rebels attacked us. We fled into the bush. They chased us in the bush and they captured me. They took me to Moyamba where we spent a week and then proceeded to Kailahun. When we were in Kailahun, we captured people and killed them; this was what we were doing. While that was happening, I was raped before we went to another town. I was given a knife, a gun and military fatigue. The knife and the gun were the instruments that I used to kill people. When we killed them, we took the food that they had. They raped me persistently - morning, afternoon and evening. We always went to other towns in order to kill people; after that, we returned to Kailahun where we were based and did similar things. We burnt down the houses of people. One day, my uncle, who was a Kamajor, came and collected me and we had to return to Gbangbatoke.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Thank you. How old were you when you were captured?

Isatu Sesay: I cannot tell because my mother has my birth certificate.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Can you remember the year you were captured?

Isatu Sesay: I cannot remember. I had told Hajarah when I was captured.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Had you started seeing your menses at the time you were captured?

Isatu Sesay:  No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: When did you see your Period?

Isatu Sesay: I have never seen my menses. The only thing is that my urine is red and I experience discharges.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: For how long were you with the rebels?

Isatu Sesay:  I was with them for over ten years.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: For how long were you with them before the started raping you?

Isatu Sesay: It was when we went to Kailahun that they started raping me.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: At that time, were you much older than the time you were captured?

Isatu Sesay: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Were you given any bush husband?

Isatu Sesay: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Did you have a special man or were you raped by different men?

Isatu Sesay:  Whenever my husband went to the battle front, the others would come in and rape me.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: How many of them?

Isatu Sesay:  At times five, ten; as the case may be.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Were you ever ill when you were with them?

Isatu Sesay: No, they were giving me cocaine.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Can you tell us what life was like at camp Zogoda?

Isatu Sesay: We had to fight and kill people before we could have anything to eat.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Did they train you?

Isatu Sesay:  Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Do you know how to use gun?

Isatu Sesay: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What did you use to kill; the gun or the knife?

Isatu Sesay: I used the knife to kill.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: You are small in stature - how were you able to kill them with the knife?

Isatu Sesay: My colleagues helped me with that.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Since you came back, have you seen any of the people you were with in any of the camps?

Isatu Sesay: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Did you have anybody in the camp to care for you when you were first captured?

Isatu Sesay: Yes, but that was after we came out of the bush.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What was the name of the person that took care of you?

Isatu Sesay: She was Sallay, but she died.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Why did she die?

Isatu Sesay:  She fell sick and died.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Who were the top people in the camp?

Isatu Sesay:  There were two of them - Morie and Amara.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: They were all commanders.

Isatu Sesay:  Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Did you fight everyday in the week?

Isatu Sesay: No, we did not fight on Thursdays and Fridays.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Why did you not fight on those days?

Isatu Sesay: We went for prayers.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: When you went to fight, what was your position at the front – were you in the middle or at the back?

Isatu Sesay: I was in the middle because I was small.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Did you ever get hurt?

Isatu Sesay: Nothing ever happened to me because I laid down flat on the ground when we were engaged in combat.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What did you eat when you were in the camp?

Isatu Sesay: We lived on animals such as cows, goats, etc.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Who did the cooking?

Isatu Sesay:  Sallay.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Did you cook.

Isatu Sesay:  No, but I was sent to fetch water and to do other work.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Was there any time you were ready to cook and you did not have anything to cook.

Isatu Sesay: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  So you always had food.

Isatu Sesay: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: If there was no food, what did you eat?

Isatu Sesay: I ate mud.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: You ate mud.

Isatu Sesay: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What else did you eat apart from mud?

Isatu Sesay: Cocaine; I either drank it or, sometimes, they injected me with it.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Did you eat human flesh at any time?

Isatu Sesay: We drank blood.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  Did that affect your stomach?

Isatu Sesay: Yes, after some time I had a swollen stomach and I felt pain in my bones.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Now that you have come back, what is your health like?

Isatu Sesay: I still feel the pains in my bones.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  Has your face always been like this?

Isatu Sesay: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Have you been able to see a doctor?

Isatu Sesay: I have never gone for medical treatment, but I have been using native herbs.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  Do you not think that you should see a doctor in the hospital?

Isatu Sesay: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Why have you not been to the hospital?

Isatu Sesay: I do not have money to pay the bills.

Isatu Sesay: Who came with you today to this hearing - your father?

Isatu Sesay: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What work does he do?

Isatu Sesay: He is a farmer, but he does not sell his products; they are meant for consumption – he is a subsistence farmer.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Have you been taking drugs since you came back?

Isatu Sesay: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Would like to be referred to a hospital?

Isatu Sesay: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  Have you a boyfriend now?

Isatu Sesay: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Do you have any questions to ask the Commission?

Isatu Sesay: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Do you have any recommendations that you want to make?

Isatu Sesay: Yes, I have recommendations to make. There are no stand pipes and we walk long distance to fetch water. We do not have electricity; the streets are not good - the roads leading to Gbangbatoke are not good; we have no proper shelter. We usually go down to the jetty to help people sell their goods – we have nothing to do.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: TRC does not have money to give to people or to compensate people. However, we can make recommendations to the government for electricity, pipe borne water, good roads and shelter. Do you not think that your father could sell some of the things that he harvests - rather than eating all - so that you can have money?

Isatu Sesay: He usually sells the pepper from the farm, but he does not sell the rice because that is what we eat.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: How do you feel about the time you spent with them and about all the things you did?

Isatu Sesay: I think of those things, but there is nothing I can do about it.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  Does it worry your mind?

Isatu Sesay: No, I talk to my mother about it.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  Now that you have come to share your testimony with us at the TRC, do you feel relieved?

Isatu Sesay: Yes, I feel relieved.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Do you not think that you should tell your Imam about it so that you can pray together over it?

Isatu Sesay: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: When you leave here, we will give you referees so that you can be well taken care of. Thank you once more for coming.

12th June, 2003.

FIRST WITNESS:    Mamie Ngaujah

The witness swore on the Koran. Commissioner Sylvanus Torto administered the oath.


I was at Yoweima when it was attacked. I was at Yoweima together with my relatives. Kamajors guarded the village while we were there. On a Sunday, we saw a group of people come to the village. They held my brother. I, together with my brother, was asked to stand out. The attackers killed my brother and another person in my presence. They asked me to stand still. They cut off my brother’s penis. They took all my belongings. After all these, they left. I fled into the bush as soon as they left. We suffered a lot in the bush. This is my testimony.

Comm. Torto:  Thank you, Mamie. We are sorry for what happened to you. We thank God that you are alive to tell the story. Who actually attacked the village at that time?

Mamie Ngaujah: They were soldiers.

Comm. Torto:  Where they soldiers or RUF?

Mamie Ngaujah: I cannot distinguish them, but they wore military fatigue.

Comm. Torto:  Did some of them wear other clothes other than military fatigues?

Mamie Ngaujah:  They all wore military fatigues.

Comm. Torto: What language were they speaking?

Mamie Ngaujah:  When they ordered us to stand out, they did not say anything.

Comm. Torto:  Do you know any of the people that attacked the village?

Mamie Ngaujah:   They were strange people.

Comm. Torto:  If you saw any of the attackers, would you identify them?

Mamie Ngaujah:  No.

Comm. Torto:  When did all these happen to you?

Mamie Ngaujah:  It was at sunrise.

Comm. Torto: What I mean is whether it happened at Yoweima?

Mamie Ngaujah:  Yes, it all happened at Yoweima.

Comm. Torto:  Can you tell us the names of the people that they killed?

Mamie Ngaujah: I know the name of my brother - Gogba Musa; Yamba Golema was also killed. Other people were killed as well.
Comm. Torto:  Is that all?

Mamie Ngaujah:  Those were my relatives. However, many people were killed during that attack.
Comm. Torto:  Does Yamba Songu remind you of anything?

Mamie Ngaujah:  No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  Thank you for coming. We sympathize with you for the loss of your brother and for Yamba as well. I have a few questions to ask you. The soldiers you saw on that Sunday - were they fighting amongst themselves?

Mamie Ngaujah:  As far as I could tell, there was no fighting. They merely attacked and killed people.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  Can you think of any reason why they killed your brother?

Mamie Ngaujah:  I cannot tell.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  Looking at your statement here, it is not clear which body was mutilated – whether it was your brother’s or the other man’s?

Mamie Ngaujah:  I clearly stated it in my testimony.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Whose body was mutilated - your brother’s or the soldier’s?

Mamie Ngaujah:  I clearly stated it.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: How did you manage to escape from the soldiers and go into the bush?

Mamie Ngaujah:  After they had killed my brother and the other people, I went into the bush.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Did they not go after you?

Mamie Ngaujah:  So many people were running; I did not look back to see if I was pursued.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  Thank you.

Leader of Evidence:  Do you know what was done to the body of Yamba Golema?

Mamie Ngaujah:  After he was mutilated, I left.

Leader of Evidence:  Do you know whether the people that the attackers killed were buried?

Mamie Ngaujah:  I was in the bush; I cannot tell.

Comm. Torto:  Mamie we have been asking you questions and you have answered. Do you have any questions to ask the Commission?

Mamie Ngaujah:  I do not have any question.

Comm. Torto:  Do you have any recommendations?

Mamie Ngaujah:  Yes. My main concern is shelter and the drive to upgrade my village.

Comm. Torto:  Do you have any more recommendations?

Mamie Ngaujah:  That is all.

Comm. Torto:  We thank you for all what you have said. We must be frank with you as you have been truthful to us. The Commission does not have the mandate to provide personal assistance for people. What we can do is to refer you to NGO’s that are responsible for war victims. We encourage you to go to World Vision. Our Briefer might be able to tell the few NGO’S that operate in Moyamba District to render assistance to you. As regards the construction of roads that you mentioned, the Roads Authority has a programme to address issues concerning the roads that were damaged during the war. I believe that Rotifunk is among the places that have benefited from the roads construction drive. Thank you very much. You may step down.

WITNESS NAME: Marie Kamara

The witness swore n the Koran. Commissioner Sylvanus Torto r administered the oath.


All I have to say is that my brother was killed in my absence. We were in the bush when I heard the sound of a gun. Upon hearing that sound, I, together with other people, fled to another village. On our way, our mother died in one of the villages that we passed through. I still cannot identify our mother’s grave. I have no body to help me. This is my testimony. I had made a statement to the statement taker in the village.

Comm. Torto:  Thank you for this short testimony. Do you know the fighting group that attacked your village?

Marie Kamara: When we were in the bush, we heard that they were rebels.

Comm. Torto:  Where did the incident happen?

Marie Kamara:  It happened at Robonka.

Comm. Torto:  You said you were there when your brother was killed - did you not see the person that shot him?

Marie Kamara:  I was not present.

Comm. Torto:  We know that you ran away. However, did you later learn how many people were killed in the attack?

Marie Kamara:  Two people were abducted - according to what I heard.

Comm. Torto:  We thank you again for coming to the Commission.  Have you any questions for the Commission/

Marie Kamara:  No, I have no question.

Comm. Torto:  Do you have any recommendations?

Marie Kamara: I need help – shelter - help in general.

Comm. Torto:  What kind of help do you need?

Marie Kamara:  I do not have shelter - I have nothing.

Comm. Torto:  We thank you very much.  I know that you were here when I was talking to the first witness. We are really sorry that the TRC does not have the mandate to build shelters for people.  What we can do is to refer you to NGO’S like World Vision and IOM, which will assist you in these areas. I will encourage you to ask your Chief to tell you where these NGO’S are; do not be afraid to meet them - they will help. Do you have any more recommendations?

Marie Kamara: No, I do have any more recommendation.

Comm. Torto:  Thank you for coming. You may step down.


The witness swore on the Bible. Commissioner Sylvanus Torto administered the oath.


I was in my house one day when I saw a lot of people who – according to them - were soldiers of the Sierra Leone Army. Some wore T-Shirts and the Sierra Leone national colours on their shoulders. They entered into our houses and took everything away. They were there for a week. They told us that those who were going after them were wicked. On the day following their departure, they returned to the village - we heard gunshots. I heard knocking on my door and one of them asked, “Junior, why are you firing and causing the civilians to panic?”  I went out and they ordered me to sit on the ground - they accused me of hosting soldiers. I told them that the soldiers had left for Moyamba. They threatened to kill me. They went into my room and took my radio. They eventually left the village; they did not burn houses. However, they burnt down four houses in the other village. Those who could make it fled and left us – the disabled - in the village. The attackers patrolled day in and day out. In 1996, I saw a group that identified themselves as Kamajors. They arrested George Mende and asked him to show them the road that led to Levuma. They captured Augustine Thomas and Samuel who accompanied them. One night – by 22 hours - Augustine started shouting that the Kamajors had dislodged the initial attackers that were trying to make a comeback. He advised me to go into hiding in the house and advised those that were not deformed to flee tha village. Everybody, excepting those of us who were cripples, fled the village. On a Sunday, they attacked Mokele and abducted those that were trying to flee to Moyamba. On the Tuesday following the attack, they set fire to our houses; I saw flames in the other houses when I woke up. I crept out of the house and went into hiding under a palm tree by the Secondary School. They later – that same night – broke the school door and burnt down the school; everyone fled to Baoya.  Three of us - Mama Joufue, Pa Kamara and I – remained in the village. On Monday, November 11, I saw many Kamajors. They wanted to enter into the house where we were, but their leader advised against that. He ordered them to check for people at Moyamba Road; they went half way. Three of them had guns and one had a cutlass – they told us to line up. They accused us of informing an enemy group on them. They chopped off the arm of an old woman. They stabbed Pa Kamara and me all over our bodies and on they stabbed me on the head.  They chopped off my fingers and I lied down for five minutes. I had wanted to creep into hiding, but I could not go - I crawled on my stomach to the back of the house. When I managed to get into the house, I bound my wounds with a piece of cloth. By the grace of God, I managed to stand up and, when the sun was up, I went into the bush. By 19 hours, I arrived at Mokele. On the day following my arrival at Mokele, I arrived in Moyamba. When I arrived at a checkpoint, on my way to Moyamba, the soldiers asked me to explain my ordeal - I did.  They then told me to go to the hospital. As I was approaching the former Railway Station, I fagged out and my child brought a wheelbarrow in which I was ridden to Moyamba. I was in Moyamba for twenty-three days.  I was taken to Bo government hospital where I spent two months. I was later brought to Moyamba. This is the end of my testimony.

Comm. Torto:  Salifu, we are sorry for what happened to you. You went through an agonizing experience. It is pathetic to hear that you were tortured. Which part of your hand did they chop?

Salifu Kanu:  They chopped off the first two fingers on the right hand.

Comm. Torto:  Do you remember the people that did that to you?

Salifu Kanu:  If I saw them, I would identify them.  

Comm. Torto:  Do you know where they are?

Salifu Kanu:  No.

Comm. Torto:  What are their names?

Salifu Kanu:  They were Kamajors.

Comm. Torto:  Do you know their names?

Salifu Kanu:  No.

Comm. Torto:  When you explained your ordeal to the soldiers, what did they do?

Salifu Kanu:  Nothing.

Comm. Torto:  what happened to the two corpses?

Salifu Kanu:  I think they were buried – I cannot really tell because I did not wait to see what happened afterward.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: I sympathize with you for the inhuman treatment you suffered.  You were disabled and they cut off your fingers. You were courageous as you crawled to safety. We thank you for coming to share your experience with the TRC.

Comm. Torto:  Do you have questions for us?

Salifu Kanu:  No.

Comm. Torto:  Have you any recommendations for the Commission?

Salifu Kanu:  Yes, Sir.

Comm. Torto:  May we hear them?

Salifu Kanu:  I am happy to be here today. I have nothing and my father left me in a burnt house. I am sick and I cannot work.  I ask that the government helps in order to alleviate my sufferings.  I went through so many things during the war.

Comm. Torto:  What kind of help do you need?

Salifu Kanu: I need assistance in the area of shelter. I am currently without a permanent abode – I am always being thrown out by people.

Comm. Torto:  At Baoya?

Salifu Kanu:  Yes.

Comm. Torto:  Every witness that has testified this day has asked for shelter. It is unfortunate - as I said earlier – that we have to repeat this point again and again. The TRC does not have the power to give anything to people individually and it does not even have money on its own to undertake such venture. If we had money for that, we would have assisted you because you are qualified for it. We will only recommend you to NGO’S which will render such assistance to you. Our staff will talk to you on that note and our Leader of Evidence will give you a letter that you will take to the relevant NGO’S and they would determine how they could help you.   

Comm. Torto:  Do you have any other recommendation?  

Salifu Kanu:  No, Sir.

Comm. Torto:  Thank you. Everything you have been saying has been taken down.

SECOND WITNESS:    John P. Bullie

The witness swore on the Bible. Commissioner Sylvanus Torto administered the oath.


In January 1995, we were in Moyamba when we saw a big man - Tom Nyuma. He came along with four or five vehicles and they were going to Mokanji. Some of the men that were with him had combats. Some of the vehicles were tinted. After a while, we heard of an attack on Mokanji; the residents of Moyamba were panic stricken. When we saw people that came from Mokanji and the surrounding towns and villages, we escaped. There were soldiers of the Sierra Leone Army in Moyamba. After a while, on 13 March, we saw rebels in large numbers – they were coming to Moyamba. They said that they were going to Freetown. They captured people along Sembehun road. Some of us were in hiding. Whether they went to Freetown or not, I do not know. All that we heard of were attacks on surrounding villages. We opened a school for displaced persons in the township.  After a while, Captain Musa came - he had a cordial relationship with the civilians. When we were attacked on August 10, Captain Musa and his group fought hard to defend the township.  There is a bridge called “Hold the Bridge.” Captain was later transferred and Gottor was sent as head of the military contingent in Moyamba - his group was unruly. There were times when the soldiers, under the leadership of Gottor, would leave the town in groups and we would later hear of an attack and looting in a village.  Indeed, when such group returned, we saw them carry loads of looted items. Owing to the fact that the soldiers harassed traders that plied the routes to Moyamba, residents were annoyed and we asked that the soldiers be transferred. They were transferred to Camp Charlie. Whilst they were here, they had established some cordiality with certain people and these most times leaked our plans to them so the soldiers decided to revenge.  They began sending threats and Moyamba people were not free to travel through Camp Charlie. The people then resolved to defend their township. In 1997, the rebels and the soldiers formed a coalition. We later learnt that they made a base at Camp Fall-Fall which they used as a spring board to harm people. On June 21, 1997, we had a meeting on how to defend the town when we heard that rebels were at a school called FMSS. I was on the vanguard in the defending the town. We divided ourselves into two groups and we attempted to attack them. When they took note of our movement, they shot at us. Although some people fled the scene, some others thought that the situation was not serious. Although the fired live bullets and launched RPG, none of us was hurt. However, some of our colleagues had been frightened and had fled the scene. Only six of us did not flee – we engaged the rebels and soldiers in battle. That it was a combat, I killed some rebel soldiers. They took away any of their colleagues that was killed. We then decided to retreat so that we could not be caught by surprise from the back. A bullet hit and killed Mr. Sheku Kabbah, an elder. Shortly after that, I was hit by a bullet on my foot and my bones scattered; I gathered the bones (Witness showed the bones to the Commission).  Although I can walk, yet my foot bones are not properly fixed. Shortly after I had jumped over, the rebel soldiers entered in their numbers. I saw some of them in combat and I saw a woman - she is not here, but her mother is here. A CARE vehicle was commandeered and they used it to come to the town. They went around Mr. Kabbah’s corpse and pierced it. Owing to that incident, I am not in good terms with that lady’s relatives.  I was fortunate to see a Sheik who called other people and ensured that I was taken out of my hiding place to the town. The following day, my friends took me to the bush and my brother took me for treatment. On 4th July, the lady came with the rebels and she was with them for eight days.  They threatened to kill me because I was a Kamajor. When they came they burnt down the house in which I was living. I am a teacher and I have decided to engage in further studies. Recently, I was able to engage in a teacher training programme. Even now, I cannot stand for a long time before a class. This is what I have to say.

Comm. Torto:  Thank you for sharing your experience with us.  For how long did they stay and which part did they occupy?

John Bullie:  The battle lasted for forty-five minutes and some went back to Camp Charlie.  

Comm. Torto:  How many people died or were wounded during the attack?

John Bullie:  I know of Kabbah and me. I heard that a Gbonda was killed in the river.

Comm. Torto:  This lady you mentioned - whom you said you saw with the rebels - If we should talk to her family, will you be willing to reconcile with them?

John Bullie:  Yes, I am willing to do so.

Comm. Torto:  I will get in touch with you later and the Regional Coordinator will help to locate them. During the fight, do you know how many people were killed on the other side?

John Bullie:  I cannot tell, but I dropped a good number of them.

Comm. Torto:  Did you ever abduct civilians?

John Bullie:  No, people can attest to that here.

Comm. Torto:  Do you have a wife?

John Bullie:  Yes, she is in Moyamba.

Comm. Torto:  During this fight, did you have any wife with you?

John Bullie:  No, I did not need women; they were not on my agenda.

Comm. Torto:  How is your health condition now?

John Bullie:  I am always sick. I always feel pain in my foot.

Comm. Torto:  Did you receive any other medical treatment apart from the herbs?

John Bullie:  Yes, I went to Brookfield’s Hotel. I was X-rayed and given some medicines, but the bones were not properly fixed.

Comm. Torto:  What did the doctor say about that?  

John Bullie:  He said the bones were not properly placed. Now, I treat myself from the little I get.

Comm. Torto: Which of the fighting group did you fight against – AFRC or RUF?

John Bullie: They were AFRC/RUF.

Comm. Torto:  The rebel woman that you saw - is she in town?

John Bullie:  She is not here, but her relatives are here.

Comm. Torto:  Is there anyway we can contact her?

John Bullie:  Her relatives are here.

Comm. Torto:  Thank you for coming to tell us of your experiences.  How many of you joined the Kamajors at the same time?

John Bullie:  Within the township, we were over fifty.

Comm. Torto:  Can you say whether all of them were like you - not abducting, attacking or committing rape?

John Bullie:  That I cannot tell - what I can say is that I did not do it. I cannot say that Kamajors did not do it.

Comm. Torto:  Are you still a member of the Kamajors?

John Bullie:  I am an ex-combatant.

Comm. Torto: when the boss was killed, who took over his position?

John Bullie:  The remaining fled.

Comm. Torto:  Were you the only one left?

John Bullie:  I was the only one left, but I went into hiding.

Comm. Torto:  What happened to the other group since you had two groups?

John Bullie:  The other group was overwhelmed.

Comm. Torto:  Did you ever regroup after that attack?

John Bullie:  Not at all.

Comm. Torto:  After that attack you carried out, did you not work again as a Kamajor?

John Bullie:  After I had been healed, I was no longer active in combat.

Comm. Torto:  Did you know whether there were still Kamajors moving as a force?

John Bullie:  Yes.

Comm. Torto:  Who was the leader then?

John Bullie: The Battalion Commander was Kenny Toma.

Comm. Torto:  Have they all been disarmed?

John Bullie:  In our district, all of us have disarmed.

Comm. Torto:  How are you regarded in your district?

John Bullie:  Some people speak well of me, while some others speak badly of me.

Comm. Torto:  Do you mean that people say more good than bad things about you?

John Bullie:  Yes, the majority of people say good things about me because we defended the town.

Comm. Torto:  what grade do you teach?

John Bullie:  I am a Primary School teacher – I teach at  the D.E.C.

Comm. Torto:  Do they know the part you played?

John Bullie:  Yes.

Comm. Torto:  Do they regard you as a hero?

John Bullie:  Some are in sympathy with me and the others have respect for me.

Mr. Leader of Evidence:  How many attacks were  women involved in as a Kamajor?

John Bullie:  Only one.

Leader of Evidence:  You had a position in the society,  didn’t you?

John Bullie:  Yes, I was an intelligence officer and I investigated and recommended punishment for crimes committed by Kamajors.

Leader of Evidence:  Did the Kamajors only defend or did they – some times – go on the offensive in order to forestall attacks?

John Bullie:  We were here to defend the town, but then our men went on attacks especially at Camp Fall-Fall.

Comm. Torto: Was there any beating or any punishment for disobedient Kamajors?

John Bullie:  Yes.

Comm. Torto: There are testimonies that there were situations when Kamajors dug holes with thorns and kamajors were put in it as a form of punishment?

John Bullie:  We were really disciplined.

Comm. Torto:  Did the disciplinary measures involve leopard?

John Bullie:  Yes, the wicked ones.

Comm. Torto: Do you know of a site in this town where this leopard was?

John Bullie:  It was even at Gendema.

Comm. Torto:  Have you any question for the Commission?

John Bullie:  No.

Comm. Torto:  Would we be allowed to go to the site?

John Bullie:  If you can take me out of the town, I will go.

Comm. Torto: Is it out of the town or within the township? Think very well.

John Bullie:  I remember well, it is out of the town.

Comm. Torto:  Do you have any recommendations to make?

John Bullie:  My recommendation is what I have already said. Since I am partially disabled, I do not have shelter and medical assistance. Even if the TRC does not assist, I would appreciate assistance from other organizations. I want to study further and I want to educate my children as well.

Comm. Torto:  How long have you been teaching?

John Bullie:  I have been teaching fr fifteen years.

Comm. Torto:  Have you ever undergone teacher training?

John Bullie:  I am now on it at the Freetown Teachers’ College.

Comm. Torto:  Do you have any other recommendation?

John Bullie:  I recommend general assistance to the community; an improved road net work. DDR still owes us money that was not given to us and I want the Commission to report this matter to the Anti-Corruption so that we can have our monies.

Comm. Torto:  Thank you very much.  All your recommendations will be put down in our report. We would not say your recommendation will be the only one to put in the report - we will, together with others, include them in the report. I thank you. You may step down.

THIRD WITNESS: Mary Kainessie

The witness swore on the Koran. Commissioner Sylvanus Torto administered the oath.


We were from Church on a Sunday when we saw soldiers in Moyolo.  They gathered us in the barray and kept us there until it was dark.  They took us one after the other in a round hut, naked. They introduced themselves as rebels and they took people away in order to kill them - my twin brothers were taken away as well.  The rebels placed a rubber in the flame and, when the rubber was hot, used it on them. They killed my grandfather, Blango, and my uncle. My mother, Lucy, and Foday Musa’s uncle were also killed.  The rebels killed many other people.

Comm. Torto: Thank you. We are sorry to hear all that you suffered. We thank God that you are still alive to tell the story.  When they gathered you in the barray, you said that they stripped people naked. Who were those people?

Mary Kainessie:  They were all adults.

Comm. Torto:  What happened to them?

Mary Kainessie:  Some were killed and some were amputated.

Comm. Torto: Did you say that more than hundred people were killed in that village?

Mary Kainessie:  Yes, they were slaughtered at different spots.

Comm. Torto:  How many ladies were sexually abused?

Mary Kainessie:  I cannot tell.

Comm. Torto:  Can you rememberthe number of ladies into whose virginas the rebels inserted sticks?

Mary Kainessie:  I cannot tell.

Comm. Torto:  Thank you very much.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  Thank you for coming.  We are sorry that you had such great loss. How did you manage to escape that slaughter?

Mary Kainessie:  We were with them for the whole night.  In the morning, they woke us up and told us that they were satisfied and that they would not do anything any more.

Comm. Marcus:  Are you bothered by that terrible experience?

Mary Kainessie:  Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  Do you find it difficult to sleep at night?

Mary Kainessie:  Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  Have you had any counseling?

Mary Kainessie:  No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: May be, now that you have come here to talk  and people all over have heard of your experience and we have all recognized your suffering, we sympathize with you.  I hope you will feel better now after here. Are you married now?

Mary Kainessie:  Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  How many children do you have?

Mary Kainessie:  I had three children, but two died – I am left with only one.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  Sum up courage. I thank you very much.

Leader of Evidence:  How many of the women who had sticks inserted in them survived?

Mary Kainessie:  Only one died - the rest survived.

Comm. Torto:  Do you have you questions for the Commission.

Mary Kainessie:  Yes. Why is it that so many people made statements and others have far more revealing testimonies than I, but I am the only one who has come to testify?

Comm. Torto:  You are here because the Commission cares for you and wants to hear your recommendations on the things that you want to see happen.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  I just want to add that we had a lot of statements, but we cannot listen to everyone. Therefore, we had to select from different places and select statements representative of different violations.  Thank you.

Comm. Torto:    Do not be surprised if you see anybody come to you and say something to you concerning the Commission.

Comm. Torto:  Do you have any other question.

Mary Kainessie:  I recommend that a bridge be constructed in our area and good roads be constructed between Levuma and Moyamba. Accommodation and health facilities should also be improved.

Comm. Torto:  What about shelter?

Mary Kainessie:  They are much better.

Comm. Torto:  Do you have any other recommendation?

Mary Kainessie:  No.

Comm. Torto:  Thank you. I like your recommendations; especially what you have said about shelter. That does not, however, mean that assistance cannot be rendered to your village in the area of shelter. We thank you very much for coming.


The witness swore on the Koran. Commissioner Sylvanus Torto administered the oath.


In the year 1994, I was the Town Chief of Levuma Nyamewe when I saw strangers come to our village with news of a rebel attack. I left for Baoya. While I was at Baoya, I attempted to get out of the house by 6 a.m in order to ease myself, but someone ordered me to return into the house. That morning, I was told that we had a meeting with the soldiers on the boundary. That was the first time I saw Tom Nyuma. He told us that they had come to check for the rebels because they had learnt that rebels were approaching our place.  They asked that people lead them to the boundary of Tonkolili District - I asked men to take them there. In the evening, I returned to Baoya. On my way back to Baoya, I met Tom Nyuma who told me that there were two groups and that they would come and sleep in Baoya. I talked with the troops that I saw. There were people who directed us in every village that we arrived. The other group told us that they came from Rotifunk. I was told by those that were with that the war started in the East. One of them said, “If you see a soldier walking on foot to any place, the result is war.”  After three months, we heard that they had attacked Moyamba in broad daylight. People were running helter-skelter - we fled into the bush. We saw people partly dressed in military fatigue. On Easter Sunday in April 1995, the rebels attacked my town - they broke doors and looted properties. I advised my relatives that we should take care of the children. By 4 a.m. we fled to the bush. While we were in the bush, we heard gunshots. The rebels captured some people. I then left for Baoya, but I was worried about my family.  That evening, I heard gunshots - I later learnt that Pa Mattia was shot. I met people who told me that the rebels were demanding my head. I said that if they wanted all that I owned, they could take it. The person who hosted me, Foday, was killed. A little boy advised that I should leave the area. I later left for Yelisa, boarded a boat to Tombo and then went to Freetown. While I was in Freetown, I reported to a man that had taken a project to Levuma.  He led me to Cockeril. We were taken to a room where they interrogated us. I told them about the frequency of attacks on Levuma. They asked whether we had reported the matter to the police and soldiers. I told them that we had. I was then taken to a big hall where I also made the report. They told me that soldiers would be sent there. After few days, I heard that the whole of Levuma was burnt down because somebody intimated me that the rebels crossed them at Levuma. I then went to Levuma to see for myself. I was in Freetown for sometime; I went through a lot of struggles. I returned in 1997; I went to a village where I started farming. I then went to collect my wife and since I had no money, I took a tape recorder with me. A small boy, Abu Kargbo, asked where I came from and accused me of playing the recorder for the rebels and that I had supported them. He then ordered me to stand apart so that he would shot at me. He further said that if the bullet did not pierce through me, then I was innocent – otherwise, I was guilty of supporting the rebels. I left the tape recorder with him and went to Freetown. I later sold our belongings in order to pay our way to our village.  When I met Abu, he told me that his bosses had taken the tape recorder from him. I came home. As a result of my depression due to the things that I lost, I cannot stay in Levuma. My son was also killed in Tongo.

Comm. Torto:  Thank you for what your testimony. Who do you think your perpetrators were?

Daniel Kowa:  They were uniformed men.

Comm. Torto:  You kept mentioning Tom Nyuma of NPRC and you went to Cockeril – why did you go to Cockeril?

Daniel Kowa:  I went to Cockeril in order to report about the activities of rebels.

Comm. Torto: Would I be right to say you underwent these harassments in the hands of the NPRC?

Daniel Kowa:  Yes.

Comm. Torto:  what can you say about the air raids of the chopper?

Daniel Kowa:  I heard that the kamajors brought the Chopper.

Comm. Torto: We shall continue to pray for you and we are thankful that nobody died except your son.  Have you any questions for the Commission?

Daniel Kowa:  No.

Comm. Torto:  Do you have any recommendations that you would want us to pass on to the government?

Daniel Kowa: I want to tell the government that they need to improve on medical facilities. The road networks are very poor. Since teachers are not paid by the government, we – the parents - have to pay extra charges. We need a community centre, proper drinking water and accommodation facilities.

Comm. Torto: Thank you very much for coming. We have taken down all what you said. We would include it in our report very shortly - the roads authority will look in to it. I thank you.

FIFTH WITNESS: Claude Bangalie

The witness swore on the Koran. Commissioner Torto administered the oath.


We were at Njala, Mokonde - I was a civilian and I had no idea about the war. When the rebels attacked, we fled. We also fled during the second attack. Our houses were burnt down – somebody was in my house when it was set ablaze. We were then selected to be initiated into the Kamajor society. We were 14 who were youths but only two of us volunteered. After the initiation, we went to Taiama and, later, to Mokonde. We were there together with some soldiers. At first, all was well. However, we later caught a youth who was with the soldiers when they robbed a house. After that incident, we took the youth to the barray, but since our leaders were not in town, we collected our colleagues in the other towns. The Chief, John Borne, advised that the people should be taken to the soldiers. In reply, we said that we would take them to our leader. When the soldiers heard of it, they surrounded us. Our chief spoke and advised them to go back. We - the CDF and the thief - returned to the soldiers. At the base of the soldiers, we - the Kamajors - were put in a container and our weapons - machetes, swords and single barrel guns - were taken from us. When the chief left, the soldiers beat us and stabbed us. Later, the chief pleaded on our behalf and we were released. Our colleagues heard of this and they went and asked us to explain.  They suggested that we went to the soldiers, but we told them that we should wait for the chiefs’ decision. When we were going to the soldiers to get our guns, the Kamajors started singing and as we turned our backs and one of us - out of excitement - fired into the air, the soldiers responded by shooting at us – the civilians fled.  The soldiers killed a Kamajor and wounded some others. When we turned over the body of our colleague to a Kamajor who comfirmed that he was dead, we were angry.  We asked our commander to allow us engage the soldiers in a fight, but he said that he would rather report the matter. We took them to the hospital. The brothers of the deceased Kamajor - who were also Kamajors – went to us and said that they wanted revenge the death of their brother by engaging the soldiers in combat. We had only four guns. Early one morning, we divided ourselves into two groups and attacked them from different directions. As we approached their base, their women went out, removed their wrappers, turned their backsides toward us and bowed. We took cover behind a vehicle and those that had guns shot at the women; we saw them in gutters. We were the first group that arrived at their base and the clouds were clearing. They launched an RPG bomb and the shrapnel caught MP Blood. I was also hit by a bullet on my foot. They overpowered. I ran and, when I got exhausted, I crawled into the bush - my colleagues went to their village. My two colleagues from Njala joined the others and went to the latter’s village.  I was in the bush for two days and my colleagues went in search of me. The soldiers moved all around in search of Kamajors, but all of us went into hiding. I was taken to a town in order to be treated by a dispenser. MP Blood was with the soldiers. The Kamajors, who were in Taiama, got wind of MP Blood’s death.  The wounded Kamajors were taken to Taiama for treated. Our dispenser searched for bullets in my body. I was hospitalised and the doctor suggested that I be amputated - I refused. I met Nallo and Daramy Rogers who took me to the hospital. I then returned, but they did a surgical operation. They tried to do the operation, but it was difficult.  

Comm. Torto:  Thank you. Where were those soldiers? Did the incident happen in Mokonde?

Claude Bangalie:  It happened on Njala University Campus.

Comm. Torto:  You said you had an exchange - was that during the NPRC or AFRC days?

Claude Bangalie:  It was when NPRC was in power.

Comm. Torto:  How many soldiers died?

Claude Bangalie:  I cannot tell.

Comm. Torto:  How was everything settled?

Claude Bangalie:  It was never settled.

Comm. Torto: Did you volunteer or you were forced to join the Kamajor society?

Claude Bangalie:  The inhabitants of the town subscribed for our initiation, but I volunteered.

Comm. Torto:  were you paid?

Claude Bangalie:  No.

Comm. Torto:  Were you given any DSA?

Claude Bangalie:  No.

Comm. Torto:  How then did you survive?

Claude Bangalie:  All of our houses were burnt down - we volunteered to forestall further destruction.

Comm. Torto:  Were promises made to you?

Claude Bangalie:  No.

Comm. Torto:  Do you have you questions for the Commission?

Claude Bangalie:  No.

Comm. Torto: Do you have any recommendations for the Commission?

Claude Bangalie:  I ask that you help me with medical treatment. I need shelter because I am staying with my relatives. I was advised by the doctor not to bath with cold water.  

Comm. Torto:  Let me start with the medical request - what did the doctor say when you went to the hospital?

Claude Bangalie:  He wanted to amputate my foot.

Comm. Torto:  Is that all?

Claude Bangalie:  He told me that if I refused to have my foot amputated, he would discharge me from the hospital.

Comm. Torto:  We are very sorry that we cannot offer you anything now. I thank you very much for coming. We shall give you letters that you would take to MSF. They will help you. Thank you for coming.


FIRST WITNESS:     Pa Babah Kelfala

The witness swore on the Koran. Commissioner Justice Laura Marcus-Jones administered the oath.


We were at Senehun when the rebels attack us. We left the town and went into the bush where we built hurts. We made farms while we were in the bush camp. One day, we were in the farm when people that were dressed in military fatigues went there. We ran helter-skelter and were in hiding for the rest of that day – we remained in hiding until their number decreased.

I was in the village when I got news that my bother, Sanpha, had been severely beaten at Mogoma. Then, the rebels had left and we went to take Sanpha at Mogoma. He was severely beaten and he was taken to Freetown in a canoe. One day, I told Foday to buy some pepper and, on his way, he was captured and taken to the same village where my brother was beaten. He was also beaten and stabbed. People that were in hiding heard him screaming, but they could not do anything - he died and his corpse remained there until it decomposed. We then left and went to another place where we stayed until the war ended. We then returned to our village. This is my story.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Thank you for coming. We have listened to your testimony and we are sorry that you lost your relative during the war. You told us about soldiers who went to your village - can you tell us who the soldiers were? What group did they belong to?

Baba Kelfala: They had red pieces of cloth on their shoulders and they tied red bands on their heads.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Do you know whether they were RUF, Kamajors or SLA?

Baba Kelfala: I concluded that they were rebels because of their manner of attack on the villages.

Leader of Evidence: I want some clarifications on your testimony. Can you tell me the names of those who were killed?

Baba Kelfala: Sanpha Kelfala, Foday Sillah - my nephew, Hinga Ndoinje: those were the people I knew. The destruction was too much - they burnt down so many houses including the houses of Pagema and Hinga Ndoinje.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Thank you. Do you have questions that you want to ask us; the Commission?

Baba Kelfala: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Do you have any recommendations?

Baba Kelfala: Yes. I want the government to help us with Medical facilities, Schools - because the children are not going to school - shelter and roads.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones:  We have heard so many requests about shelter. When writing our report, we shall recommend to government that this should be the first priority. They should help with low-cost housing in the areas that were destroyed during the war. Once more, I want to thank you for coming.

SECOND WITNESS:     Joseph Smart

The witness swore on the Koran. Commissioner Justice Laura Marcus-Jones administered the oath.


The pain that is persistent in my heart is that the rebels hurt my hand in which I still feel pain. I can not work with this hand unless I got help from my brothers. When the rebels attacked, we went into the bush and constructed huts in which we lived for over six months. Prior to the attack, I was with my Grand Mother. One day, while I was going to purchase rice, I saw two people walking behind me. One of them said to me, “if you run we will kill you”. When I enquired about what I had done to deserve death, they did not respond. I left my grand mother, who could not run, and began to run. I was shot in my arm and I bled profusely. Later, I fell into a deep sleep and, in the evening, I heard somebody calling my name. I was unable to move my hands the man helped me to move along. However, he shortly disappeared and I was left alone. My brother later took me to the place where we stayed. I was given food and native herbs – I remained unconscious for quite sometime. The next morning, I was taken to Moya in a canoe. They assisted in healing my arm. We were in that when a group of armed men arrived there and said that they were there to “clear” the village. They gave my father stone to chew – they said that he had not eaten rice for quite a while. In the process, he lost four of his teeth and they asked him to wash his mouth. My uncle was there and they asked him to chew a stick. They did not beat them. I also learnt that my brothers were amputated and a stick was inserted in my sister’s virgina. I was there until I recovered. After the war, I went to Baoya. However, I cannot do anything with my injured arm.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Thank you, Joe. As we come here, everyday we hear new types of atrocities that were committed. It is difficult to understand and it is difficult for the human mind to comprehend. We thought that we have heard about all the types of atrocities that were committed, but we hear more and more everyday. Where did all these take place - in what village?

Joseph Smart: All these took place in the hiding place.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: They happened in the bush - near which village?

Joseph Smart: Close to Baoya old town.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Who were those perpetrators?

Joseph Smart: I cannot tell.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Were they the RUF, CDF or SLA?

Joseph Smart: I saw them in military fatigues and they had red bands tied on their heads.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Was it after you had been shot that you saw your father and uncle treated the way you told us.

Joseph Smart: Yes, I was at Moya.

Comm. Torto: Thank you for coming to talk to the Commission. In your written statement, you spoke of babies being kicked - could you explain further?

Joseph Smart: I left out that part of the story. When the rebels overran the village, we fled to the other side of the village and we heard babies crying - we saw them throwing the babies around. When we went back, we met the corpses of the babies.

Comm. Torto: You also said that the town chief was forced to put bomb in his mouth which could have been grenade. Did he chew it? What happen?

Joseph Smart:  He did not chew it because they told him that if he did, his brain would blow off - spittle was running down his mouth.

Comm. Torto: Did the bomb explode?

Joseph Smart: No.

Comm. Torto: Did he live?

Joseph Smart:  Yes.

Comm. Torto: You also said that women were abused - how many of them died and how many survived?

Joseph Smart: I was at Moya when we got message from people that they were doing such things to women.

Comm. Torto: Do you remember the group that committed those atrocities? Which of the fighting groups did you suspect? Who were those fighters?

Joseph Smart: I could not identify them; they were in large numbers.

 Leader of Evidence: Can you tell us the number of people that were killed in your village, if any?

Joseph Smart: I only know of my grand mother.

Leader of Evidence: What was her name?

Joseph Smart: Fatu.

Leader of Evidence: The people whom you said were amputated -did some of them survive?

Joseph Smart: I cannot tell; I was at Moya.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Apart from using native herbs, have you seen any medical doctor or have you been to the hospital?

Joseph Smart: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Have you any questions you would like to ask the Commission?

Joseph Smart: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Well, I think you should continue to seek medical attention. Do you have any recommendations you would like us to include in our report?

Joseph Smart: Yes. I cannot help myself and I am asking that you give me whatever help you have for me.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: The TRC has no resources to give out money for medical treatments or compensations, but we will make recommendations for disabled people. We want to thank you for coming. You are fortunate to have survived the war.

THIRD WITNESS: Foday Patrick Kanimeh

The witness swore on the Koran. Commissioner Justice Laura Marcus-Jones administered the oath.


We had been hearing about the rebel war and rebel attacks in villages, districts and headquarters, but I experienced it when Jawa was attacked. The elders in our village met and, together, we agreed that since there was trouble around us – in neighbouring territories – the youths should form a group that would keep watch on the town. Not too long, we heard that Jawa had been attacked. However, it was not initially clear whether the attackers were rebels or soldiers. The commander of the attackers, Lieutenant Sorie, asked all of us to assemble at the chief’s place. While we were at the chief’s place, we saw two truck-loads of men in military fatigues. Then, SIEROMCO had not stopped operations. After a while, we heard gun shots. The gun shots later subsided and we did not see or hear about the combatants for quite sometime. The people of Mano decided to move all their properties to Madina. After one day, we heard that Njala had been attacked. The rebels passed through Mokanji and went to Sierra Rutile. We were in our village when we heard that the rebels had attacked Magbemoh. They captured Senessi and laid him on the floor. They cooked and ate the quantity of food they wanted – they threw away the remaining food. After sometime, we decided to go to the town. We cannot, however, say what happened there afterwards because the rebels attacked at intervals. We decided to go to the camp at the Teya River. While we were at the cam, we saw men in uniform crossing the river and coming towards the camp. At that sight, everybody fled. My nephew was by the riverside and he fell into the river and drowned when he saw the men in uniform. Junior Bundu, Karimu Amara and Tommy Harding were trying to get across the river when two of them drowned. I was told that Pa Karimu’s corpse and my nephew’s were not seen.

Thereafter, we saw men in uniform come to our village. That was why we left the village. We suffered a lot of molestations and humiliations during the war. After all, I went to a village called Mokuba. On my way to the village, I saw six men in uniform coming toward me and I entered into the bush. Before I reached Mokuba, I saw smoke coming in a village called Moyahun. I managed to get to the place where we were hiding. They burnt down eight houses in our village.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Thank you very much for coming. We sympathise with you for the loss of your nephew and the other man.

Comm. Torto: Thank you for that very short testimony. I want you to make brief comments about “Sobels”, RUF and CDF. What do you know about them?

Foday Kanimeh: We identified them as rebels.

Comm. Torto: Which ones?

Foday Kanimeh: Those we came across with – those that wore boots and uniforms.

Comm. Torto: What about the others who did not have uniforms.

Foday Kanimeh: Kamajors and soldiers dressed differently.

Comm. Torto: What do you know about “Operation no living thing”.

Foday Kanimeh: We heard that if there was any attack, nothing was to be spared.

Comm. Torto: Amputation - what do you know about that?

Foday Kanimeh: When they went to Mano, there was a battle during which people were injured.
Comm. Torto: So they went with amputated arms and showed them to you.

Foday Kanimeh: No.

Comm. Torto: What was the relationship between you and Alias Kailondo?

Foday Kanimeh: He was a Kamajor leader.

Comm. Torto: So you were one of Kamajors.

Foday Kanimeh: I later joined the Kamajors. Then, we had the Civil Defence Unit (CDU).

Comm. Torto: In 1996, you became Kamajor. Can you tell us about your exploits?

Foday Kanimeh: When I joined the Kamajors, I was adviser and organizer. There are witnesses to attest that I did not go to war.

Comm. Torto: So you organized operations.

Foday Kanimeh: We had people responsible for organizing operations. I was there to take care of logistics.

Comm. Torto: Did you have rules in the Kamajor society – did you tell them what to do and what not to do?
Foday Kanimeh: No, the only advice I gave was that if you were a warrior, you should be alert.

Comm. Torto: What was the need or purpose of “Kulie”?

Foday Kanimeh: It was used to punish Kamajors and Violators.
Comm. Torto: What about rebel suspects - were civilians put there and did you punish your opponents?

Foday Kanimeh: It was meant for those who violated the rules. I was called Jesus because I joined in saving people. Thus, I did not do anything wrong. “Kulie” was merely meant for wrong doers.

Comm. Torto: I am not accusing you; I just want to put things in perspective and to get the truth since we are a Truth Commission.  I want to know whether “Kulie” was for prisoners or civilians and whether it was also used to punish opponents. I can ask a soldier of the SLA or any fighter – no matter his/her factional association. Just briefly describe to me how the “Kulie” was – how it was built.

Foday Kanimeh: It was very bad. A stick was built in it and when you were placed into it, you neither sat nor stood.
Comm. Torto: But you could lie down.

Foday Kanimeh: It was not spacious for any human being to lie in it.

Comm. Torto: What was inside it that one could sit on?

Foday Kanimeh: Thorns and sticks.

Comm. Torto: Was that meant to torture people?

Foday Kanimeh: The thorns were put in it so that one would not be comfortable - that is what I understand.

Comm. Torto: When you were working as the head of the Kamajors were you paid or it was a voluntary service?

Foday Kanimeh: No.

Comm. Torto: Were you getting any DSA?

Foday Kanimeh: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Apart from organizing, did you not lead any attack on Taiama?

Foday Kanimeh: I have never been to the war front.

Leader of Evidence: During the attack on Taiama, when Kamajors killed soldiers, they cut off their arms and brought the arms to show them to you. Was it a policy of the Kamajors that whoever they killed, they brought a part of of the body to show that they had killed him/her?
Foday Kanimeh: It was not a rule.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Thank you for your testimony. Do you have any questions that you would like to ask the Commission?

Foday Kanimeh: No.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Do you have any recommendations to make?

Foday Kanimeh: I am pleading with the government to help improve educational and medical facilities. There are no proper road net works; there is no maintenance of bridges.


The witness swore on the Koran. Commissioner Laura Marcus-Jones administered the oath.


The war that we experienced in Moyamba was serious. However, the most burning issue on my mind is that my son, who was leading the Kamajors, was killed – here. He was shot, but he did not die - he crawled to a nearby house and was waiting for his colleagues. If you were a participant in such fight, the stakeholders would have regard for you. My son knew that they were searching for people like them. He never knew that a woman called Mamie M’balu would team up with them. When my son had been shot, he was in the room and he saw Mamie M’balu – she was coming from Salina. She promised him that she would inform his colleagues about his predicament. She did not do what she had promised, but, in stead, came to Harford School, where the rebels where camped, and told them that Kamajors had laid an ambush for them. She then led them to my son’s hideout and the rebels took him out in the street and killed him. For about seven days - later – my other son looked out for his brother, but could not see him. They came to the river area and M’balu’s son, Thomas, came across to them and, after explaining their mission, he told them that their brother was killed as a result of what he said. He showed them the corpse of my son. They nearly fought with the people there; he was buried at the spot. I walked from my hiding place and, when I came, I went up to Salina; I met them on the veranda. I then went to Kebbie Town and returned to my hiding place. Mamie M’balu went to another Kamajor, Nat, and asked him to call me. Nat came to stop me from shouting and asked that I should sit in the veranda. I sat there and Nat sent for Mamie M’balu, her husband, Pa Sawaneh and other people. I then asked why she had sent to call to me and I stated that I was not well. Mamie M’balu said she was called to Njavahun where she was beaten – she showed us the scar. In the veranda, I told them that I would not call any Kamajor to do anything to anybody. I told M’balu that the burning issue was the death of my son and I put it to her that my other son had informed me that she – M’balu - led the rebels to kill my son. She attempted to deny, but her husband told her not to. They wanted to bring money to beg me. I told them I did not want money and that I was not the only parent of the deceased. From there, I went to my hiding place. Meanwhile, the Kamajors had heard of Mamie M’balu’s presence in town. When they went, they met her at Gendema and they brought her to Moyamba. Bombowai took her to Gojema and then she left for Bo. After a long time, I was informed that she had returned and I reported the matter to the Kamajor boss who told me to go home. When I did not get a second call from him, I came back. I met Kini Torma at the Paramount Chief’s place where I also met M’balu. I then lodged a complaint with the Paramount Chief who said that she was not there to settle Kamajor cases – she advised that the matter be taken to the Kamajor office. This is my testimony.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Is this Mamie M’balu our next witness? I want you to call her for identification (She was brought in and identified). We may not ask you questions, but what we want to know is whether you are willing to reconcile - all of you who have this unpleasant experience.

Alpha Mohamed:  Yes.

Comm. Torto: How much money was offered to you as kola?

Alpha Mohamed: One hundred and forty thousand leones {Le 140,000}.

Comm. Torto: Did you accept it?

Alpha Mohamed: No.

Comm. Torto: When the matter was taken to the Paramount Chief, she referred the matter to the Kamajor office - what happen when you went there?

Alpha Mohamed:  We went to the Kamajor office and witnesses were called to testify. They gave evidence of what happened, but the matter was never revisited.

Leader of Evidence: I want to ask if you are willing to reconcile with the witness that is about to come up and give her testimony.

Alpha Mohamed: I cannot say I will not agree because the Lord said that if you do not forgive, He - the Lord - will not forgive your deeds. If she gives me money, it would not be equivalent to my son’s live. Therefore, I have no alternative but to accept reconciliation.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: During the war, so many unforeseen things happened; people took up different courses and they believed in what they were doing. The Kamajors had one opinion and the other parties had different opinions. That is war. In the course of all these, innocent people, like you, suffered. However, I am happy that you believe in God and, for the progress of the country, you are ready to reconcile. We will not say much now until we come to the reconciliation and peace ceremony. We want you to wait; we would like to hear from M’balu.

FIFTH WITNESS: M’balu Boryawah

The witness swore on the Bible. Commissioner Justice Laura Marcus-Jones administered the oath.


I have heard that there are two cases - which one do I treat first? We were here in Moyamba when the rebels came. Then, I was the section chief. When they came, they burnt down so many houses. I had to flee into hiding – I went to the village. The house that was built for me was also burnt down. The house of my mother-in-law was burnt down as well. I was chased in the village where I went into hiding, and I went to another village from where I finally left for Freetown; I went to the Paramount Chief, my sister. By then, I had nothing - all my properties had been looted. A lady gave me some clothes which I used. My mother was shot in the leg. I was in Freetown until the elections were concluded. The war had subsided by then. The Kamajor gave assistance then, but they were not as popular as they were before that period. I decided to come back to Moyamba. My sister advised that whenever she sent food for the Kamajors, I should collect it. We provided food for the Kamajors and when their number multiplied, the war started again. We stayed here with John Bullie who proposed love to me, but I told him that I was older than his wife and reminded him that I was married. At one time, he threatened to hurt me some day. I told him he could hurt me only because he was a Kamajor and that he would make an allegation against me. When the rebels came, I fled to my hiding place together with my mother and children. My husband was a clerk. I learnt that John Bullie had circulated letters about me to the Kamajors. I was in the bush, but I sometimes came to town to purchase food. He was the A.G and his word carried weight. I did not know that Kamajors were planning to capture me. One night, I was awake while my mother and children were sleeping; I did not know that the Kamajors had surrounded the place. My mother asked why I was not sleeping and I told her that I was restless. As I went to lie down, all the Kamajors entered and they were talking. There dialect resembled that of Easterners. They were disguised and I did not see their faces. However, I recognised some of them. They took me to a village. Their numbers were large, but only two of them escorted me at Jagbahun, while the others looted my properties. When we arrived at Faluba, they ordered me to sit on the ground. The grand commander was surprised to see me because he was my son-in-law. He, however, said that since he did not order my arrest, he could not do anything. The other Kamajor said that they were trying to save my life, but requested that I gave them ten thousand leones {Le 10,000}. I told them that I did not have money, but I reminded them that whenever they passed through my place, I gave them water to drink. One of the Kamajors who was going to the village took us along. One of them gave me a torch as we walked that night. I was hurt by sticks and I still have the scars. A man told me that another group was coming and he advised that I fled from them. I entered into the bush where I slept and stayed until the next evening when my younger brother met me there. He said that we should trust God and return to town. I had some ground nut which I had harvested. I was then informed about the reinforcement of the Kamajors. I locked my house and escaped through the window early one morning. They went to the town for me, but I was in my hiding place. Somebody was beaten and my relatives were captured and taken to Kebbie town. The tied my brothers with an F.M rope. The village, from where John Bullie married his wife, is my village. Somebody brought food for me and she saw a Kamajor who asked whether the food was for me; she denied. They told my relatives that my life was under threat. I was taken to a village in rain. When he saw me, he wrote a letter to the Kamajors so that they would go to the village; he did not allow me to pass the night in the village. My relatives hid me. In the morning, the others were sent to town. The next day, he came and I was introduced to them. I was with him until one day when he asked me to accompany him to Moyamba, here, because he was afraid to leave me with the others. They gave me five gallons of palm wine to drink. They asked whether I was the Paramount Chief of Moyamba, and I told them that I had never said so. They said that if I would not drink the palm wine, then I should dance. I told them to me the palm wine in stead. I said that if it was the wish of God, I would die after drinking the palm, otherwise I would live. Their leader, Bombowai, took me to the Market and gave me fish to eat. They beat me with the branches of a flower tree that had thorns. They beat until I defecated. They also beat me with a hammer and blood settled in my eye. Bombowai had me screening and then he went to the scene and asked me why I was crying. I then explained to him what had happened. He then asked them why they did not have love for one another. He told them that there were some of their relatives who had done worst things than I, and yet they went unpunished. He told them that he was there to fight and not to find money and, therefore, he was not going to order my killing – that, according to him, was not why he was there. He then took me home and gave me soap so that I could wash up. After sometime, Bullie wrote a letter asking why they had not done anything to me after so long a time with them. I was taken to Bombowai’s father at Bo # 2 - he asked whether I knew where my relatives were so that he could trace them. I was given a Kamajor to accompany me. Bullie then followed me and wrote a letter in which he alleged that I was a rebel and that I should not be released. They took me to the office and, whenever Bullie went there, they tied me and humiliated me. I then demanded his presence and I was asked whether I had witnesses. I gave the names of three witnesses. They sent for him through a radio, but he did not come. They sent a Kamajor to call him; he did not come. I then decided that if he did not come, I was going to my village. However, I was advised not to go, but I insisted that I was going. They then decided to give me a letter. I told them that in spite of all their guns, I was going back to Moyamba. I was there and I had no reply. I used to go to my sister in the mornings. I was there one morning when I saw Alpha approaching. Toma and other Kamajors came and when Kini Moiwo saw me, he took off his cap and began to cry. When the Paramount Chief asked why he was crying, he explained that he killed her son. She then asked him why he was revealing that only then. I was invited to the office of the Kamajors. Both of them went and reported me to the other Kamajors. Kini Toma, the chief, was asked to preside over the matter. She said that she had been having many reports, so she had to send for elderly people to preside over the matter. When they were asked whether they had copies of the letter, they said they had. When they admitted that they had copies of the letter, nothing more was said.
My husband was at Temide; he came when he heard the news. I was with the Kamajors for three years. I learnt from someone that they had killed my husband, shove his head, placed it on a stick and danced with it. When my brother was coming from Koligbutami, they arrested him, killed him and put a cigarette in his mouth. if anyone saw him and attempted to cry, they would kill that person. A lady went to the scene and wanted to cry, but when they asked what she was doing, she feigned laughter.  I went to the District Officer and explained about the death of my husband with the request that his benefit be worked out and given to me.  I did not come here to testify – initially – because I would have been asked if I was present at the death of my husband.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Thank you, Mamie Boryawah. The commission regrets that you went through such suffering; your testimony is one of continuous suffering and hardship. We have few questions to ask you. Why did they blame you for their problem and want you to be punished? Why did they subsequently kill your husband?

M’balu Boryawah:  I do not know; God alone knows.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Have you been told about the affiliation of your daughter; sometimes one has children that have different opinions. Did you have any daughter who had a different affiliation?

M’balu Boryawah: I have children and I have a daughter.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What were their affiliations at that time? I am not saying I am accusing of being responsible for the sufferings that you went through; I just want the fact.

M’balu Boryawah: That is what I have said; there is nothing more I can say.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: I am asking if any of your children belonged to any of those groups.

M’balu Boryawah: She was in Freetown; I stayed here with the younger children.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Who are you referring to - that was in Freetown?

M’balu Boryawah:  Baby and Mamu.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Baby is your daughter.

M’balu Boryawah: Yes.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: And who is Mamu?

M’balu Boryawah: She is also my daughter.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What were they doing in Freetown?

M’balu Boryawah: One was in school – Baby - and Mamu was married.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Was Baby in sympathy with the rebels? This is a Commission of truth. If there is going to be any recommendation, there must be the truth.

M’balu Boryawah: I did not see her even though she is my daughter. If I had seen her supporting them, I would have said it.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: You did not see her, but you heard the rumour around - from the Kamajors or any other group that Baby supported?

M’balu Boryawah: John Bullie was the one who said that he saw my daughter with the rebels.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: You talked about three good years - what do you mean – were they moving around with them?

M’balu Boryawah: When I was arrested, I could not return to my home town.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: What is A. G. and who is A.G?

M’balu Boryawah: It is one of the positions in the hierarchy of the Kamajor.

Comm. Torto: Thank you for your testimony; it is very informative. I want you to clarify a few issues for me - you would have to be as truthful as possible because this is a Truth Commission. John Bullie said that you met his son and he asked that you help him, but, instead, you went and called the rebels - is that true?

M’balu Boryawah: I know nothing about that; I was in hiding. This is the first time I am hearing about this.

Comm. Torto:  Why did you offer one hundred and forty thousand leones {Le 70,000} as an apology?

M’balu Boryawah: I do not know about it.

Comm. Torto: Were you taken to the paramount chief for any reason?

M’Balu: No I went there to say hello to her.

Comm. Torto: Why were you referred to the Kamajors?

M’balu Boryawah: It was when Pa Alpha made a report and the matter was referred to the Kamajor office.

Comm. Torto: Why did they kill your husband?

M’balu Boryawah: I do not know why he was killed. All I know is that he came he came because he was told that I had been arrested by the Kamajors - that was why he came.

Leader of Evidence: I thank you for coming to the Commission. As you can see, the audience wants to hear you - would you like to reconcile with the people and the community at large/ We are listening top you.

M’balu Boryawah: Since we have now come before the Commission, we are here to adhere to what you say.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: Each of you suffered during the war. There must have been some misunderstanding somewhere.  The two witnesses that testified immediately before you are blaming you for their misfortunes. We have heard all your stories and one thing that is clear is that you all suffered. You lost close relatives; you are carrying scars on your body because of what you went through. The Commission is not ordering or commanding you, but having heard your testimonies, the Commission is saying that you - for the good of the country - reconcile and put the past behind you. The two other witnesses we listened to - Mohamed and Bullie - are ready to reconcile. We have to go through time and years. We want to know whether you are ready to reconcile

M’balu Boryawah: I agree that the Commission facilitates reconciliation between and among us.

Comm. Justice Marcus-Jones: The Commission will want to thank you once more for coming. We are going to organize the ceremony now and other officer of the Commission will talk to you if you wish to come to the ceremony. You can stand down.




23RD TO 27TH JUNE 2004

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:          On behalf of the Commission and staff, I will seize this opportunity to welcome you to this first hearing session.  You are most welcome here today, together with our guests who will be testifying at the Commission.  But before we proceed, we would want to share with you some basic principles and procedures governing our hearings so that as you all participate together, we know exactly what we are expected to do.  Commissioners, staff and audience, I am expecting the observers to follow the procedure closely.  Let them just listen because that will enable them to share what they get here with the rest of the public in an orderly way.  This hearing session would not be possible without your presence and for you to participate actively as listeners, by and large, yes as listeners and as press men and women; we need to be aware of what the expectations are.  But let us first explain the goals of the TRC and the objectives of the hearing.  The act establishing the TRC states that its mandate is to create an impartial historical record of the violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law that occurred in the conflict, to address impunity, to respond to the needs of victims, to promote healing and reconciliation and to prevent a repetition of the abuses and violations suffered by our people.  By organising hearings, the Commission wants to fulfil this mandate in different ways.  Some of these I will now want to share with you.  First of all, we want to give all our people involved in the war of Sierra Leone an occasion to come to tell their stories to the Commission and to the public.  We hope that those who are willing to tell us what happened to them will find some kind of relief for their grief and suffering.  We also hope that those who wronged others during the war will come and talk about it so that their victims and they themselves can get even with the past.  We think that you the public and everyone who is listening to us may get a better understanding of what happened during the war in terms of human suffering and of the responsibility of different actors both local and international for the war.  We hope that this better understanding will encourage our people in Sierra Leone to engage in a dialogue about what went wrong and what needs to change.  And lastly, we pray that this process will contribute to reconciliation, not only between individual victims and perpetrators but also between communities and at the national level.  The Commission hopes that these hearings will help us to achieve sustainable peace and development, positive development in Sierra Leone.  We will want to know how the witnesses have been selected.  The witnesses who will give testimony today and during the rest of the week have been selected by the Commission from among those who gave their statements during the statement taking phase of the Commission.  The Commission has selected witnesses of all ages; men and women, people of all religious backgrounds, who can talk about the different kinds of acts that happened during the war in Sierra Leone at different times and places, which were committed by different perpetrators.  The Commission has encouraged witnesses to give testimony on a voluntary basis and we want to express our appreciation to those who will do so in the next few days.  However, the Commission has the right to use subpoena in order to have someone come to the hearing and give their testimony.  The Commission will only use this power as a last resort.

The hearings procedure is as follows:  every hearing will begin with a prayer or with religious songs.  Witnesses will be heard by the Commission one by one and each witness is entitled to have a relative or a friend sitting next to him or her.  He can also sit with a counsellor of the Commission.  Every witness can speak in his or her own language.  The Commission will provide an interpreter who will translate the testimony in English.  All witnesses will be treated equally and with respect by the Commission.  Every witness has the right to give his or her account of the event in his or her own way and to give his or her own view.  The public is asked to respect all witnesses, everyone in the public has to remain silent during the testimonies.  No one in the public is allowed to speak, to shout, to laugh, to boo, or to clap.  Any person who will do so might be ordered out of the hall. No picture taking will be allowed during the testimony, except before or after the testimony of the witness.  No member of the public is allowed to take any pictures, only accredited journalists can.  I repeat no member of the public is allowed to take any pictures, only accredited journalists can do so.  A counsellor and a medical nurse as well as first aid providers will be available for any of the public who is in need of such intervention.

If a witness names a person who has allegedly committed a violation or abuse, the Commission will do everything possible to invite this person to come and give his or her own view of the event.  At no time will a victim be confronted with the alleged perpetrator during the hearing.  If both victim and perpetrator wish to meet with each other, the Commission will create a separate occasion for them to do so after the hearing either in public or behind closed doors as they wish.
Most of these hearings will be public, but some of them will be behind closed doors.  Closed hearings are necessary to protect vulnerable witnesses such as children or victims of sexual violence.  

We made it a responsibility, a prime one at that, to ensure that persons appointed to assist the Commission were very much familiar with the locality; who would not be looked upon as strangers in the exercise of their duties.  That is why you are going to find out that all the people we had selected as statement takers for Kono District belong to this District.  One is Mr. Joseph T. Gandi, our District Coordinator for Kono District for the TRC.  He was responsible for the statement takers and still continues to be responsible for them.  The next person we have is Mr. Sahr Kondeh, one of our statement takers.  So those of you who made statements may have come across those names.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. Once again I welcome you to the TRC.  Before we start I will like to explain to you a little about our hearings.    We looked through the statement and selected some of the statements to be used in our Public Hearings.  Some of the statement givers did not want to come to the public, so we have not selected their statements.  But in our selection we have seen to it that the statements selected are representative of the whole, which means we have statements from men, women and children as well as statements from different villages around.  Our commission is divided into two kinds for these hearings.   We spent one week in Freetown and the other week we spent in the provinces. Right now team B is here in Kono while Team A which is headed by the chairman is in Pujehun and that is how we have been working.  Team B my team has been in Port Loko and Koinadugu, Kenema, Moyamba and now we are in Kono. From here we shall move on to Bonthe.  

What is our procedure?  We generally start our hearings with prayers but we have already had prayers for our opening today, and so we shall skip the prayers and go straight for the hearings.  The Leader of Evidence shall call each witness and bring them up for the taking of the oath to say that the testimony will be the truth and nothing but the truth.  Then the witness will give the testimony.  After that the Commissioners here will ask questions if necessary just to enlighten us and to throw light on what has been said.  Then the Leader of Evidence too will ask questions if he has any and those will be followed by questions from the witness.  The witness will then be asked to give recommendations, which may be included in our report.  That is the procedure.  The Commission is reminding you that this is a solemn occasion; it is not an occasion for clapping or laughing.   We don’t want any clapping or laughing.   If you don’t like a particular statement it will be better for you to keep quiet and listen rather than boo at the witness.  We would not like to ask anyone to leave the Hall and please turn off all your mobile phones.  Thank you very much.  

LEADER OF EVIDENCE:    Yes chairperson, the witnesses are all here.

COMMISSIONER MARCUS JONES:    Could we have the first witness please?

    Chairman: our First witness for today is Hawa.

COMMISSIONER MARCUS JONES:   Would the witness give her name in full please?

Hawa:    I am Called Hawa Momoh.


Hawa:      Yes I am a Muslim.


Hawa:    We were sitting together as a family one night when we heard a gun shot.  We all fled and were scattered about in the bush.  I did not see my sister but later got to learn that she had been captured by the rebels and taken away.  With her in the hands of the rebels I was with two men who got killed.  They raped my sister in their number.  After raping her they left her.  She followed us and was able to locate us but she bled profusely.  I was having no medicine on me.  I treated her with herbs but eventually she died from the bleeding right there in the bush.  We buried her there.  I witnessed the killing of my brothers and sisters and that stayed with me and became my trauma.  We lost all our properties but for me that did not bother me so much the loss of my relatives.  The loss of my relatives still troubles me.  I have nothing to do now.  So that is all.

COMMISSIONER MARCUS JONES:       Thank you Hawa for coming to us and giving your testimony.  We are sorry that you were so distressed as a result of the loss of your close relatives.  I only have a few questions for you.  The Commissioner here will ask you questions if he has any and then the Leader of Evidence will ask you questions as well.  How old was your sister?

Hawa:    She was fifteen years old.

COMMISSIONER MARCUS JONES:       And did she tell you how many men raped her?  How many men raped her?

Hawa:    Yes.


Hawa:    Twelve men.  The first one was called Musa and the second one was called Yayah.

COMMISSIONER MARCUS JONES:       Were they of any relationship to her?

Hawa:    Yes they are my relatives they use to feed me.

COMMISSIONER MARCUS JONES:   And did you actually see them killed?

Hawa:    I saw them and I even saw their bodies.

COMMISSIONER MARCUS JONES:       They were running when the rebels shot them down.   But who were these rebels?  Can you tell us more about the rebels?   What group did they belong to?

Hawa:    They were rebels it was during the night.  They were all from the bush and I could not tell one person from the other.


Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Thank you very much Hawa for coming before the Commission.  We don’t want to subject you to intensive questioning because of what happened to you.  We just want you to clarify issues.  Where did this thing happen to you?

Hawa:    Masambendi.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Masabendu town?

Hawa:    Yes.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    It just coincides that you did not get to see the faces of the people your perpetrators.  By chance while you were in hiding did you see the face of any of them?

Hawa:    I can’t tell.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:   When your sister returned what did she say the people who raped her wore?

Hawa:    She said that they were so many but they were all youths, child combatants.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:   What languages were they speaking?

Hawa:    Some were speaking Kono, Mende, and Fulla and so on.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:   There were a lot of armed groups during the war years.  I don’t know whether your sister said to you which of the fighting groups raped her.   Was it ECOMOG CDF, RUF, AFRC or any other fighting group by chance?

Hawa:    I don’t know the difference.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:   What does the name Bai Bureh remind you of?

Hawa:    I do hear the name Bai Bureh all the time but I don’t know what it means.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Was Bai Bureh not a leader, the leader of the attackers?   This is from your written statements.

Hawa:    Yes, Bai Bureh was the leader.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    So that gives the indication that they belonged to the RUF group.

Hawa:    I don’t know the difference.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Okay thank you very much. The last question on investigation is this; you said that those who attacked the people were speaking Mende, Kono and Themn?, the attackers of your sister.  As a Kono by your statement here you did not seem to remember anybody’s face or otherwise.

Hawa:    I cannot remember anyone because they killed my family and I was in hiding.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    We are actually trying to find out the information you might have got from your sister.  We know you were not present but we need to have on record what could actually be done to trace the perpetrators.

Hawa:    They raped my sister, which caused her to die.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    We are asking you all these questions because we want to know exactly what happened so that we can gather help out of your own words.  Leader of Evidence, have you any question?

Charm:    I don’t have any questions for the witness.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    You have been answering questions from us, have you any questions you want to ask us?

Hawa:     I have no questions.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Please tell her that the recommendations we are going to make may be based on the recommendations we have from witnesses about what they would like want they the government to do for their communities and so on.

Hawa:    I want you to help me.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    In what way?

Hawa:    They killed all my relatives and I have no shelter or food to eat.  Those who used to help me were also killed so I am crying to the government for help.  In my town we have a hospital but it lacks in medical supply.  The road network has been developed tremendously.  We are happy about it but as an individual my condition is really bad.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    I explained in my welcome address that the TRC unfortunately has no resources to give out money to victims who come here to tell their stories.  The Commission will make referrals to NGOs who may in turn render assistance to you with Micro-credit or skills training or something else to empower you.  The other recommendations about housing and roads shall be included in our report.   I am sure that NGOs that operate around Kono or NGO officials listening to the radio would have heard what you are asking for and might even help before we send our report to the government so that our community would be able to benefit from what you have done today.  Has you any other recommendations.

Hawa:    We want you people to help us by training us or giving us micro credit assistance.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    I have said that you will be referred to the NGOs around Kono for assistance.  We normally give letters of reference to the relevant NGOs that are nearby and if you qualify they will help you.   You may stand down.


Sahr:    At one time we were in Njiama Sowafe with ECOMOG and the Kamajors.  My village is called Manja and  it got to a time when I decided to pay my people there a visit.  But then I heard that our Paramount Chief PC M Torto II had been taken from there to a village.  So I said I was going to Yomanja instead.  At that time all our people were in the bush.  When I reached Yomanja people heard that I was around there so they started coming to me.  The chief was also taken to me.  We slept in the morning, I sent a message to my wife to come and she came and met me.  Immediately she went to sleep and we were sleeping not knowing that the rebels were around.  They crossed the river and came to us at Fonba Forbi and at that time ECOMOG were at Sandeyah.  They did not fire any gun.  They came quietly and knocked on people’s doors and started amputating hands.  So they went to us at Yamanja.  They just break into people’s homes and took them outside.  I was in my house when I heard people wailing.  At that time my mother-in-law was staying in the veranda room but I was inside the house.  So I stood up.  I opened the door went to the parlour and the cry of people got louder.  So I tried to peep outside to understand what was happening.  I then saw my mother-in-law in the hands of people who were beating her seriously.  So I closed the door quietly for them not to see me.  Then I went inside and woke up my wife who was pregnant at the time.  I told her that the rebels were around and then took my gun and went outside.  She also wanted to run outside so I pushed her inside again.  I tried to open the main door carefully and pointed my gun at them but then if I had shot at them my mother-in-law would have been killed.  So I fired the gun in the air as a warning shot.  They went in all directions.  I also went outside.  When I got outside I met one of them who hit me on my foot.  I pushed him off.  He fell down and I ran away and they started chasing me.  I fell in an old pit that was covered with banana leaves.  It was not too deep and there were lots of leaves in the pit.  So I fell in side the pit there lot of leaves in there.  I was covered by the leaves. I lay in down there under the leaves.  They started flashing their torch lights in search of me.  They called to one another.  When they returned I stood up and went by the edge of the town to sneak out.  I saw a lot of people assembled there but they could not see me.  I did not know that my wife, my grandmother and my mother-in-law were all with them as captives and they were about to split the belly of my wife.  So I pointed the gun outside in the air.  I fired again and they ran in all directions thereby leaving my relations unharmed.  On our way I was able to locate the chief with his son called Borbo Torto.  So we took the chief into the bush, in the coffee farm.  We were there for four days.  My wife and others went their different ways.  There was nobody around.  So I left them there and went in search of my wife.  I met a boy who told me that my wife was around.  I found her and informed her that the chief was in the bush.  I told her that I was trying to get people to help me take him out.  I went back to the chief.  Later I found four people who helped me take the chief out.  I met some people in a village called Komborundu who further assisted us to carry the chief away.  They took the chief to Sandeyah where the ECOMOG were stationed.  I then went back to my wife to take them away.  In the village I was met by the Tamaboro.  They told me that they saw people who stole rice.  We trailed them but we could not catch up with them.  We only caught one person who said, “You are the one that sent us to steal the rice”.  So I asked them where the person was that had authorised them to steal the rice.  I did not finish my question when someone snatched my gun off me and I was tied up.  I lay there and saw the rebels stab my younger sister on her back.  She was crying together with my wife and mother-in-law.  They pleaded with them to free me but Sanna Turay, Alpha Brima and some others but they said they were going to kill me.  I cried aloud and my people were also crying.  Then a man came and said to them, “You should not kill that man who saved us.  He succeeded in letting them loose me.  He talked to them and later on I was released.  But then it took me a long time to even do anything with my hand.  I managed to take my people to Sowafeh.    As it was the tradition I reported myself to the elders.  They allowed me to stay there but for a long time I could not use my hand because of the way they braced me with the ropes.  So at that time I came to Sowafeh with my family and stayed there.  That is all I have to say.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Thank you very much for coming and telling us your experiences and how you suffered during the war.  I would like to get some more information from you that is why I now ask you these questions.  When did you join the Kamajors?  Why did you join the Kamajors?

Sahr:    When the ECOMOG came I was with them.  They did not know our bush so we were around them to show them our pathways.   That was how I joined the Kamajors.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    So you joined to help the ECOMOG to guide them as they moved about in the bush?

Sahr:    That is correct.   They came here as strangers and they needed an indigene of the place to help him.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Did you take part in any fighting at all?

Sahr:    I said I was with the ECOMOG?

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    That was not my question!   Let me repeat myself, did you or did you not fight against any of the fighting groups?   Did you take part in any fighting at all?

Sahr:    Yes I did fight.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Against whom did you fight?

Sahr:    Against the RUF.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Where did this engagement take place?  Where did this fighting take place?

Sahr:    They met us at Sowafeh

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    What did you use to fight?  What were the weapons you used?

Sahr:    Guns.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Gun!   How did you get the guns?

Sahr:    I was having a single barrel gun.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    And how did you get that one?   What were you using it for before fighting with the RUF?

Sahr:    I used to own it before the war.   Everybody knows that before the war it was legal to own those single barrels guns.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    And now you said that you were able to rescue a Paramount chief.  What is the name of the Paramount chief?

Sahr:    PC  M. Torto II of Sewafeh.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    And you said you took him to the ECOMOG. Where were ECOMOG then?

Sahr:    They were at Sandeyah.  They then took him to Sewafeh.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Now he was captured according to your statement here by the Tamaboros who accused you of stealing rice is that so?

Sahr:    They met me and said I told people to steal the rice.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    And the group was the Kamajors, the Tamaboros?

Sahr:    The Tamaboros.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    But were the Tamaboros and the Kamajors the same people?   Were they not the same in different parts of the country?

Sahr:    Well the name changed according to the locality because they were traditional hunters/fighters.  The Korankos call them Tamaboros.  The Mendes call them Kamajors and the Kono’s call them Donsos.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Well it is not strange that Tamaboros should be capturing Kamajors

Sahr:    They were Themn?s.  Even up to date they are there I know them all.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Can you give us the names of those people who captured you.

Sahr;    Yes I can.  The two leaders are all here.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Will you be quiet please?

Sahr:    I am sorry about that please but I am saying that the two leaders are all there now.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    The two leaders are all there and I am asking for their names.

Sahr:    The one is called Sonna Turay and the other is Alpha Amadu.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Anymore?

Sahr:    They were the leaders of the group.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Where are those leaders now?

Sahr:    The one is at Yonwaja and the other is at Domakah.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Have you made up with them?

Sahr:    On every Sunday we used to meet at Gold town.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    And when you meet there are you friendly again?

Sahr:    Not when we had become enemies that fought to kill.  No we cannot be friends again.  We just do not trust one another.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    How far away are Yomanta and Komaka?

Sahr:    They are after Gold town.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    I am thinking about the mileage, how many miles from there?

Sahr:    I cannot tell because one has to go beyond Sewafeh before arriving there.  

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    To Romanja or to Domaka?

Sahr:    There are two miles between the two towns and they are nearer.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Would you like to meet those two?

Sahr:    Well that was what I said earlier that if they are prepared to show some sign of remorse it would be good for all of us.  The matter would not have come this far.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Say that again I don’t understand.

Sahr:    That is what I was thinking about: if the people had met me before I would not have come here to testify.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    So what is he saying, is he afraid of them?

Sahr:    No what I am saying is that if the people had met him before I would not have given this testimony incriminating them.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    My question is, is he ready to reconcile with them if it is possible for us to get them to come here?  Is he ready to reconcile with them?

Sahr:    I am ready to reconcile with them if it is possible.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    We will try, the Leader of Evidence will try and we will let you know.  Thank you.  The Commission will ask you some more questions.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Mr. Nyakah I have to thank you for your courage to come to this Commission with this story.  Again I want you to remember that questions are not meant to implicate you.  We are not in court.  I am not a lawyer.  So my question will be just investigative to clear certain points for our report.  I sympathise with the fact that you were tortured, you were harassed by rebels which is really something that anybody will think about.  So let us come to the area where you had to join the Kamajors.   In fact did you have to join the Kamajors or did you volunteer yourself to be with them?

Sahr:    I joined the Kamajors willingly for the sake of my people.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Are the Kamajors a fighting force or a secret society?

Sahr;    It is a secret society and that is why all the time I have lived nearer to my people.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    It is a secret society?

Sahr:    Yes.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    How did you get initiated?  Forget about that.  You can forget about that.  

I am not going to tell you when to join the Soko.  I am not going to tell you that.  So it is interesting that you found yourself in the Kamajor society.  Did you harm any person that was not really an enemy during your campaign with the Kamajor society?

Sahr:    I did not harm anybody because I was all the time with my people.  You may even ask my people.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Because you are now a member of the fighting force of the Kamajor group in that area did you have to settle scores with anybody over civilian matters?

Sahr:    I did that many times.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Why did you have to actually treat people with military treatment knowing them to be civilians?

Sahr:    I was always with the civilians.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    I don’t know if my question was passed over correctly.  I am saying, why did he have to actually use military punishment on civilians?  I mean people who were not members of the fighting forces, people whom you were supposed to be protecting.

Sahr:    To my own knowledge I don’t think I did it personally.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    You only use force against people.  Let’s come to one area that the Commission is interested in and that is torture.

Sahr:    Let me tell you this that the civilians never did anything to the Kamajors.  In fact there were many times when I used to talk on behalf of the civilians.  Even people among us here can testify to that.  

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    There have been testimonies before this Commission that the Kamajors were using a chamber called kpuli to punish or torture rebel suspects or civilians over civil matters.  Did you at any time use the kpuli to punish anybody?

Sahr:    No, never!   The civilians were under our protection.   I know of cases where my friends wanted us to hold up civilians and punish them but I have never done that before.  As I used to talk in favour of civilians my companions grew to hate me.  So that made me to run away from them.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Alright you said they were chasing or running after PC M. Torto II.  Who were chasing him?

Sahr:    The RUF group.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    The RUF group were chasing him and when you actually rescued him and sent him to Sandeyah what happened to him later from Sandeyah onwards.

Sahr:    The ECOMOG took him to Sewafeh and I came back to Fonba Forbi.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    I am going to have to come back to one question that Commissioner Jones asked which we are very interested in.  If we should make it possible for you and those perpetrators of yours to meet, would you be happy to meet and reconcile with them?

Sahr:    Yes I will be happy if that happened.  This is why at times I am afraid to go to the place where they are but if that can happen I will be happy.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Are they still terrorising the place and torturing people?

Sahr:    No, they are not but personally I am afraid.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Where are Sonna Turay and Alpha Brima now?

Sahr:    They are at Yamanjah.  Yamanjah is part of Kono but the Themn?s are there in a greater number than the Konos and that is why I am afraid to go there.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    The place is a section under Niemiayama chiefdom, in Niemiayama.  Have you reported this matter to either the Paramount chief or the chiefdom speaker or the chiefdom authorities that this group of people are still terrorising civilians and in fact personally terrorising you that is why you are not going there.  Did you do that?

Sahr:    I never did.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Did you report the matter to the police?

Sahr:    No, I didn’t.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Thank you very much I have no question for this witness.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:     If you think of any other points for sharing with us you should try to keep in touch with the Leader of Evidence and if possible I will have all of you here.  We hear the story of the people you named.  We will give them an opportunity to tell their own story and then if both parties want to come together we will bring you together so that you no longer blame yourself.   You should be able to meet in the future.  Now do you have questions for us?

Sahr:    I have no questions.  All I want is a settlement of the scores between those people and me.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Good, and what about recommendations?

Sahr:    Our place is not in any good condition for now.   Even our barray is not in good order.  We need training facilities as well as then micro credit facilities for our area.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Anymore?

Sahr:    Also our market is not in good order.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Anymore?

Sahr:    Our roads are not good either.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Alright these are all things we would include in our report for the government to look into.  Now are you still receiving medical attention for your hands?

Sahr:    No, I am not.   In fact my younger sister too is suffering badly from the stab she received on her back.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Why did you not go to a nearby hospital?

Sahr:    I took her to the hospital and had some operations but now the shoulder is patched up.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    I was talking about you because she has not come before the Commission yet.

Sahr:    I am talking of my hand.

Marcus Jones:    My question is why did you not go to the hospital nearby?

Sahr:    I used to go there and they advised me to be rubbing some ointment.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Thank you for coming.  I have said before that you please keep in touch with the Leader of Evidence.  You may step down now.


Commissioner Marcus Jones:    We got here from the summary.   You had quite unpleasant experiences during the war and I will like you to share those with us now.   You can now begin.

Sia:    It was during this war when the South Africans were here.  We were in Njiama Nimikoro because I was born there and I got married there.  We were there when the rebels cut us off from the rest of the country.  We were in the bush when we heard that the South Africans had arrived in Koidu town.  So we came out of the bush.  We were in Nimikoro with the Sierra Leone soldiers.  We were in Njiama Nimikoro when we heard that N’jala Nimikoro was attacked.  We were told by the soldiers that the people would not reach Njiama Nimikoro.  We slept but very early in the morning they attacked Njiama Nimikoro.  There were some gun shots in the air till daybreak.  In the morning they knocked at our door and broke into the house and took us out of our houses.  They took us to a place where the Muslims used to pray.   There was a hut there.  They told us that they were going to kill all of us.  All of us were crying and lamenting.  They told us that they were waiting for their commando, who was at Herema Kono.  If he passed the order that they should not kill us they would not kill us.  We were sitting there waiting for the commando.  The commando came with a lot of other rebels.  Right there the commando gave us the shocker.  He asked his colleague, “Why did you keep all these animals here?”  Here in Nimikoro I will not save any soul.  If I see anyone I will kill them.  I came here purposely to kill.  When they came they started firing.  We were lying in the veranda in threes on the veranda.  I was in the back line.  When they started firing those who were in front of me heard a gun shot.  I lay there flat on the ground.   The shooting was so much but I was fortunate I was not shot.  The commando told the people that all the people are now dead.  They were shot at.  The other rebel remarked to the commando that the people were so numerous that most of them had not yet died.  They took their guns and started beating us.  Those who were on top of me were beaten well before they were shifted and I was hit with a gun on my back and head.  I was stabbed ain my side.  The scar is there.  After that they told the people that we were dead.  They just stood there waiting.  I was having my younger sister staying with me and my husband.  We were all together.  They asked those of us who were half dead to get up so that they would save us.  By then I was so weak but I heard them.  I assisted my sister to get up, she was shot in her head.  He then said to the commando that these people are not dead.  They started firing again but I was so fortunate that I was saved.  I was not caught in the fire.  It was only the beat that they gave me that made me weak.  They went away and left me behind.  They went away.  I lay there for sometime.  I was then touched by my instinct that I should get up.  With the help of God I got up and stood somewhere.   I went some distance but I was very dizzy and I fell down.  My ears started palpitating.  I wanted to get up but I was unable I crawled on my belly and went to a nearby swamp.  There were some potato leaves and some dirty water there.  I took some of the dirty water and drank.  I started bleeding the dirty water started oozing from my side.  It was then that I took notice of the wound.  I started crying because I was alone.  I was in the bush for twelve days.  It was on the thirteenth day that I went and met some people.   I stay with those people and we were told to leave the place for safety.  I walked on foot through the bush to Bumpeh.  I later travel to Masembendu where my mother was staying.  That was my experience during this war.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    The Commissioners sympathise with you for your experiences.  What you told us is very sad indeed.  You should be grateful to God in your life for the fact that you stayed wounded in the bush for twelve days and you did not die was a real miracle.  So God must have made you survive and to make something of life and still contribute to your community.  Have you still any other effects from those wounds you sustained?

Sia:    Yes.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    How are you feeling now?

Sia:    I sometimes feel pain from my womb.  At times because of the death of my younger sister I feel so lonely.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Are you attending hospital and receiving treatments.

Sia:    When it first started I usually went to the hospital.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    How old was your sister who stood up and was shot.

Sia:    She was twelve years old.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Thank you.  I have heard your stories with a lot of tribulation, a lot of sad feelings.  But there is an area in your written statement where you said you were forced to dance to a piece of music which sounded like ”how you came into the world so you will go”.  What kind of music was that? Was it played on a cassette or were they just singing on their own?

Sia:    It was just sung by them.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Was it a Christian song? A Church song?

Sia:            It was a Christian song.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Thank you.  I have many questions for you.   In your statement you said that it was about 500 (five hundred) people who were killed in that massacre and how did you know that they were five hundred?

Sia:    We were so many, I didn’t say it is the number but we were so many because I could not count them all.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Now all those people killed were they buried together or were they buried singly?

Sia:    I was not there but I was told by people that all those who were buried were all buried together in a garage.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Do you know whether there is any sign there, where one can go and see that mass grave?

Sia:    I know the place, but I was only told. I was not present.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    And where is that place?

Sia:    Njiama Nimikoro.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Have you ever seen the spot?

Sia:    I don’t even attempt to go there because at anytime I go there; I just remember the whole thing.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Alright, thank you.

Leader of Evidence:    Madam Mattia, you said your sister was killed.  Will you please tell us the name of your sister that was killed?

Sia:    she is called sugar Lahai, her Kono name was Dundu Lahai.  She is my paternal Aunt’s daughter.  

Leader of Evidence:  Those people that were killed, about five-hundred (500) or so, they were buried in a mass grave.   Was your sister buried among them?

Sia:    I was told that my sister was buried with them because those who came told me so.

Leader of Evidence:    You said when the rebels came to the town, just as Commissioner Torto asked, they asked you to dance and sing.  Do you know whether during that time they captured any people from the town?

Sia:    No, in fact they told us that they came to kill all of us and not to spare anyone.

Leader of Evidence:    Were you the only one who survived of those who were there when the shooting started? Or did others survive as well?

Sia:    My mate and I were saved from the atrocity, but recently I heard that she is now dead.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    If you still need medical attention then the briefer will give you a reference letter.  Now Sia, have you any questions you want to ask us about our work or process?

Sia:    I have no questions.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Any recommendations for us to include in our report?

Sia:    I want them to help our people in Sasabendu where I am presently residing.  We have a very poor market; our court barray is not good.  We want skills training and we want micro credit facilities because presently I am unable to work.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    And you said presently you are unable to work.   Is there anything to do now?

Sia:    I used to be involved in agriculture but presently I am sick so I don’t do anything at the moment.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Maybe after your medical treatment, you will be able to carryout with your agricultural work.  We would include your recommendations.  Thank you for coming and you may step down.

This witness brings us to the end of our morning session; we will be here again at 3:15 p.m. to continue.  Thank you and we hope to see you.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, we are here to see all of you again and we are ready to start.  Leader of Evidence?

Charm:    Madam Commissioner, our first witness for the afternoon session is Kumba Sandi.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Kumba, you are welcome.  You are most welcome and we are all waiting to hear you.  Carry on.

Kumba:    We were attacked and we ran to Makambo village.  When we were there, they attacked us there again.  A lot of people were captured and I was among them.  They brought us to Tombodu and asked us to line-up.  They said if there are many men, they will kill the men first before the women.  If the women are so many, they will kill the women first.  After lining us up they saw that there were more men than women.  The men were twelve in number and my younger brother was among them.  They were all killed.  They lined up us the women again.  A certain man among them told the group that the women were few and that the rest had been killed.     They resolved not to kill any more women. again.  Their commander called Savage told them that they should free the women.  They took us to Njagbema.  Since then, I didn’t see anything.  Afterwards my husband came and took me away.  That was all.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    When you say that is all, it means there is more.  Kumba, there is no need to be worried.  You know the experiences women had during the war here in Sierra Leone. In war torn areas around the world, we know that people don’t like to say their experiences, especially women.  So you don’t have to feel ashamed or worried.

Kumba:    But that was all I saw.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    I asked you other questions about your particulars here, probably you want to go for a closed door  hearing.  If that is so, I ask her to stand down and wait until Wednesday.  Because I cant ask her questions on what we have here.

Kumba:    There is no secret about it, all that happened is what I have told you.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    So I take it, that it is not true that you were raped?

Kumba:    I was with a man that was not my husband.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    There was a man who was not your husband?

Kumba:    He was staying with me.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Where?

Kumba:    In Njagbema.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Was that when you were captured?

Kumba:    Yes, it was the time.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    What was the name of the man?

Kumba:    He was called Amara
b Amara what was he?

Kumba:    That was the only name I knew.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    How long did you stay with Amara?

Kumba:    Nearly two years.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Where did you stay with him, in the bush?

Kumba:    Yes, I was staying with Amara in the bush.
Commissioner Marcus Jones:   Now, how did you manage to escape or how did you manage to leave Amara?

Kumba:    My husband came for me.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:   I want you to help us, it sounds a bit easy, too easy, and you were with this man who abducted you, took you away, captured you and your husband just came and took you away, and let you go willingly?

Kumba:    No it was not easy.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Then tell us how you managed to go away.

Kumba:    It was after the general announcement that whosoever had someone else’ child or wife was to be released that my husband came for me.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:   How were you treated when you were with Amara?

Kumba:    He treated me badly.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    How, what did he do?

Kumba:    He told me that if I refused to go with him to his home, he would beat me.  And whatever mistake I made, he just beat me.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Did he rape you or you went away with him willingly?

Kumba:    I was not happy to go with him.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    To what group did this Amara belong?

Kumba:    He was an RUF member.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Did they have a leader with them while you stayed with him?

Kumba:    Yes, they had a leader.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Do you know the name of the particular leader of the group?

Kumba:    I know two.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Now can you give us the names of the two that you know?

Kumba:    One was called DD and the other Gasama.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Among the RUF who attacked you, were there women?

Kumba:    There was only one woman.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Was she too in any position of command?

Kumba:    No.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Thank you.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Kumba Sandi, you are a Kono I believe?

Kumba:    Yes.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Please come forward and tell us what happened to you?  We don’t have any hold on you, it is in your own interest.  You had forgotten that you had made a statement to us; and what you are saying now and what we are reading do not seem to correlate.  It is to save you, it is to help you that we are here.  I am going to ask you, there were twelve (12) people killed one night when you were arrested.  Twelve (12) people killed at Makambo.  Who killed those people?

Kumba:    It was at Tombudu that they were killed and not Makambo.  They were killed by Savage.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Then Savage killed 12 people at Tombodu?  Was it on the night of your arrival in Tombodu or days after?  Or the killings were done one after the other, subsequently?

Kumba:             It was the day we arrived.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Kumba, who was C.O. Mosquito?

Kumba:    I heard about him but I don’t know him.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    But you know Amara Kamara?

Kumba:    Yes.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Were they not in the same company with C.O Mosquito?  Col. Brigadier C.O. Mosquito, something like that?

Kumba:    They were not staying in the same town; you can hear someone’s name knowing them.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    When you were arrested, and taken because you were young, one of the rebel commanders or senior people asked you to become his wife?

Kumba:    It was only Amara.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Did you agree or were you forced?

Kumba:    I didn’t agree.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Where is Amara now?

Kumba:  Right now, I don’t know his whereabouts.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    When did you separate from him?

Kumba:    It has taken a long time.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Kumba, you see you are refusing to tell us what actually happened to you that is why commissioner was asking you if you wanted to come for a closed door hearing?  What you told the statement takers and what you explained here do not agree.  Possibly for some reason you are scared of the crowd or something.  But what we are saying is that what you are telling us is in your own interest.   Don’t be scared at anybody to come after you just for telling us the truth.

Kumba:    I have taken oath from the Koran.  I will not tell a lie to you people.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    They wrote the statement for you?

Kumba:    I was saying it and they were writing.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Thank you; I don’t have any further questions.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Kumba, what happened to your brothers and sisters after they were all captured and taken to Makombo?  What happened to them?

Kumba:    It was only my brother that was killed.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    The other brother and sisters, what happened to them, were they able to escape?

Kumba:    The other sister was with me, they did nothing to her.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Alright, thank you.  Leader of Evidence?

Charm:    Madam Kumba, you said after you were asked to queue up, it was discovered that the females were very few and because of that, they spared your life.  How many women were there?

Kumba:    We were two in number with two female children.

Charm:    Were these people captured in the same village?  Were they living in the same village before this attack?

Kumba:    No, they were captured from different points.

Charm:    Do you know you talked about this other lady who was older than the other two ladies; do you know what happened to this lady?

Kumba:    Nothing happened to her.

Charm:    While you were with this rebel group, do you know whether they attacked other villages?

Kumba:    They attacked Ngiema and Yamandu.

Charm:    And did they abduct people like they did to women like you?

Kumba:    Yes.

Charm:    And do you know what happened to these women and children in particular?

Kumba:    I didn’t see anything happen to them.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    I have a few more questions for you Kumba.  You said you stayed with Amara for two years; did you have any child for him?

Kumba:    No.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    When your husband went to take you, was he glad to see you?  What has been his treatment of you?

Kumba:    My husband was happy to receive me and he said that it was an accident.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Well that is a very sensible husband and I hope there are more like him ready to accept their women back who were captured and to make them comfortable.  Now have you any questions for us Kumba?

Kumba:    I have no questions for you.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Now have you any recommendations you will like to make?

Kumba:    Yes, we want better things in our communities.  We want you to assist us with Micro credit facilities and train us with our younger sisters.  I want you to build a house for me.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Now you show us groups of NGOs and I will refer you to those who can help with micro credit.  And with skills training.  For accommodation, I don’t think you will have accommodation built particularly for you but then I will see whether there is any NGO around building houses and you may benefit then when they will build houses for your community.  Thank you very much for coming.   You may step down.

 Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Mind you audience, it is our policy to treat all our witnesses with dignity and we’re not supposed to laugh or boo at them.

Charm:    Madam Commissioner, our next witness is Tamba Ngegba.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Mr. Tamba Ngegba.  You must see how it is difficult to come but we thank you for coming.  And are you a Christian or a Muslim?

Tamba:    I am a Muslim.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Please take the Koran and repeat after me.

The oath is taken on the Koran.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Now Tamba we are waiting to hear you to tell us your experiences.

Tamba:    At one time in 1991, very early in the morning on a Friday Koidu was attacked.  All of us ran away into the bush.  In the afternoon at about 3:00 p.m., we heard shooting from the Njaiama Sewafe end and somebody asked us to come out of the bush as it was the government troops that had arrived. We came back from the bush and were in town for three days.  On the fourth day this place was attacked again.  By then the soldiers told us that everybody should go because they were unable to fight back.  Everybody ran in different directions.  I was the only person who stayed behind.  There I met with Mosquito and Kposowa who subsequently captured me.  I was with them together with Jonathan Kposowa.  They took us to Njaiama Nimikoro.  I was there with them for up to a month, up to the time they took over the whole of Kono.  There was my friend called Sahr Gbona of Njaiama Nimikoro whom they killed.  One Brima killed him.  We were there when the then Speaker came with government troops.  But then many extra people were captured in fact I was slapped with a knife on my cheek.  Then Borbor Ishaka took us from the bush and carried us to Goal town.  So he searched for the people and asked them to come out of the bush.   He took them to Goal town and some to Njaiama Sewafe.  It was the running away of everybody from this place that prompted the coming of the South Africans.  The South Africans were here for quite a long time, after which we suffered another attacked.   Then it was time for the presidential elections.  After the elections we were here again.  I heard of the overthrow of President Tejan Kabba in a coup. So we were all here because there was no way to go.  As long as you are caught moving out you should expect to be killed.  That was during Paul Koroma’s time.  The rebels used to come.  But when Paul Koroma’s soldiers came, they started burning our houses.  The man that was actually in charge of doing that was Paul Keleto.  At one time, our children were arrested and charged with stealing a diamond.  Form that time on there was no way for me to go.  After that other elections were held and Tejan Kabba continued in power.  Then the Kamajors came and drove them from this land.  That is all I have to say.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    You told us a number of things and we will try to address them one at a time.  What group captured you to start with?

Tamba:    They used to call them Freedom fighters.

Comm. Jones:    Was that the group headed by Maskita?

Tamba:    Yes.  He was within that group.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    So they were called Freedom fighters.  What were they called later on?  Did they change their names or were they always Freedom Fighters?

Tamba:    yes.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    They changed their names to what?

Tamba:    To RUF.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    So later they became the RUF?

Tamba:    Yes.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Were you blind when they captured you?

Tamba:    It was when captured me that I became blind.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    How long did you spend with them before you became blind?

Tamba:    Only a month then Bobor Yusu came to my aid, I was in the bush when I became blind.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Why do you think you became blind?

Tamba:    In the bush, something passed over my face then I became blind.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Now before you became blind, what did you do for this RUF?  Did they give you any work to do?

Tamba:    No, they didn’t give me any work to do because I was an old man.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Did they give you any help; medical help when they found out that you were blind?

Tamba:    There was no medicine.  They didn’t have drugs.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Now this Mohamed Turay, who was he?

Tamba:    Mohamed Turay was from Guinea but Colonel Issa Kagbusu recruited people to fight.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Where is this Mohamed Turay now?

Tamba:    I heard he went to Guinea…..

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Was he a Guinean or a Sierra Leonean?

Tamba:    He was a Guinean.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Well, he came from Guinea but now you said he was a Guinean as well.  Yes he could have been a Sierra Leonean from Guinea.  Now where is Issa?

Tamba:    When the war came here, I heard he went to Makeni.  I don’t know where he is now.   I heard the government arrested him for what he did.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Now can you tell us about the Kamajors?  You said that you went to Kangama Golahun and at that time there were many Kamajors.

Tamba:    I was there when the place was attacked by one Samuel and others.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Are you a Kamajor then?

Tamba:    They were not Kamajors.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Listen to my question and put it to him.  My question is, is he the witness, a Kamajor? Or was he at that time a Kamajor, himself the witness there?

Tamba:    I was just an ordinary civilian.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Now does the name Tamba Sandi mean anything to you?   Or Foray Momoh?

Tamba:    Yes, Foray yes, the RUF Chief of Staff.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Can you tell us anything about his exploits?

Tamba:    He was there calling meetings.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    What were the meetings about?

Tamba:    About the RUF.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    What about the RUF?

Tamba:    I heard they were trying to launch the RUF Party, so they were calling meetings to sensitise people about that.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Do you know anything about mining in connection with any of the fighting groups?

Tamba:    Yes

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Can you tell us?

Tamba:    Issa was in fact engaged in diamond mining.  Well at one time, he captured 4 men and killed them because they were alleged to have stolen diamonds.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    What about the Children.  Were children killed too because they were alleged to have stolen diamonds?

Tamba:    I didn’t see them kill children.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Was there any occasion where people were spread in front of vehicles to be run over?

Tamba:    Yes, Issa himself did that.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Why?

Tamba:    It was alleged that they stole diamonds.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    So they lined them up on the ground and the vehicle ran over them?

Tamba:    Yes.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    How many people, as far as you know, were involved?

Tamba:    I didn’t see, I cannot see but we were standing and I heard people say it.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Thank you.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Tamba Ngegba, thank you very much for this testimony, which is very revealing and informative.  I am going to ask questions more or less as a follow-up to what has been asked already by Commissioner Jones.  Who do you think mined in Koidu town?

Tamba:    Well all the rebels.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Which?  At that time there were fighting forces but after some time all of them became known as rebels.   AFRC, SLA, which group do you think was really involved in the mining of Koidu town?

Tamba:    Non but RUF.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Thank you.   Which diamond dealers did you hear of that were here mining diamonds, whether they were national or internationals?  Which names?

Tamba:    I know of the Marakas.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    They were the agents buying diamonds.  Did you know of other nationalities that were involved in the buying of these diamonds?

Tamba:    Some other people used to come.  At one time, one white man came; he was with Mr. Issa here for quite a long tome and went back.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    I know you would not be able to tell who was white or black but from what you heard can you tell us the nationalities of those who came here to buy diamonds during the war?   You do recall that during the war this place was vacated and everybody was away and people were coming here to buy diamonds.   Some of them may have been black or white or from elsewhere, just help us either with the names or nationalities of those persons.

Tamba:    While people used to come, some of them used to come from the Liberia end.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:   Would you actually be able to remember the names of the people who came?

Tamba:    Well at that time, they didn’t mention names only that during their meetings they used to say, these are the people.  At one time there were white people we were told at a meeting that these people were here to buy diamonds.  They were white people.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    We have to come to reality again.   Mohamed Turay came here to recruit people.   What were they recruited for, what were they to do?   Was it for fighting who or where?

Tamba:    He came inside to assist, to recruit people, train them so that they can go to Guinea to fight.  The people were meant to go to Guinea to fight.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    So the exercise was really aiming at recruiting people to cross over the borders to Guinea and fight.  Was there any kind of payment involved?  Was there any form of remuneration and what the purpose of the fighting for which they were trained?

Tamba:    I cannot say because the boys I used to hear went to their boss to have things done.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    I am very much like Tamba Ngegba to know that I know his problems.   He is handicapped, not able to see, but I know he has a sharp sense of hearing, and we want to have needs from those perceptions.   That is why we ask all these questions.

Tamba:    Well I heard the man brought much money.  In fact they told us that he came with plenty of dollars to recruit people to go and fight in Guinea.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Okay, Tamba L. Sani and S. Foray Momoh were very prominent during the exercise, what positions did they actually occupy?

Tamba:    Well I learnt that they were the party chairmen for this country.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    We need to make things clear, there was an RUF party and there was an RUF movement.  Were they party chairmen or 100 percent for the fighting force of RUF as a movement?

Tamba:    They were RUF party chairmen.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Party chairmen not movement chairmen?

Tamba:    He was an RUF man; he was responsible to arrange everything for the RUF.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Including the movement of troops?

Tamba:    I cannot say that, but he was the middleman for the civilians and the RUF officers.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Here in your written statement there is a very strong mention of some men, Mohamed Turay and Maskita.  Where do you think Maskita is right now?

Tamba:    I heard he was killed.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:   When he was living here, what did they tell you?  Where did he tell you that he was going?

Tamba:    I heard they said he went to Liberia.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Did you know him personally or did you ever chat with him?

Tamba:    Well Maskita, even before the war, he was here going to school while he was a schoolboy. And he was here with us working as a security.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Was that the time when you knew him and got used to one another?

Tamba:    It was the time I came to know him.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    So since that time the friendship had grown?

Tamba:    He went away for a very long time except when he came here as a member the RUF movement.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:   Okay, thank you very much for these answers.  I want you to know that we are not trying to subject or harass you.  Rather we are after the truth.  Until the truth comes out, we would not be able to do anything for you and your people.    Any person who has done any wrong or has been wronged in any way whatsoever has to come up and answer for it.  So my final statement to you is, I want you to say yes or no that:

1. Mohamed Turay came here and recruited people to go and fight across the borders and they were succeeded in that exercise by Issa Sesay. True or False?

Tamba:        True.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Thank you.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Leader of Evidence, have you any questions?

Charm:    I have one or two questions for the witness.  Mr. Ngegba, during your testimony, you mentioned one (correct me if I’m wrong) Keleto or Kaneto who was responsible for burning houses in Koidu town, not so?

Tamba:        Even now, that is why I said yes.

Charm:    Is Keleto still alive, and if he is alive, do you know where he is at the moment?

Tamba:    Well, I cannot tell, I heard that he went to Kailahun; I don’t know now whether he is dead or alive.

Charm:    Is Keleto a native of Kono District or is from any other District in the country?

Tamba:    He was a Mende.

Charm:    Do you know for how long he stayed in Kono?

Tamba:    I cannot tell because he came here as a Commando.

Charm:    So his troops were responsible for burning the houses in Koidu town?

Tamba:    Yes.

Charm:    Thank you very much.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Tamba, we asked you a lot of questions.  Thank you so much for answering our questions.  It is your turn now to ask the Commission any questions you may have.

Tamba:    I have no question.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Have you any recommendations for the attention of the commission?

Tamba:    Yes.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Yes, go ahead.

Tamba:    I’m appealing to the Commission to make the recommendation that my home needs roads, there is no road leading to my home.  The road is so rough that, there is no way to go there, at Kaisay.  It was under the town chief but the town chief seems to ignore the place.  I’m also making an appeal for housing facilities there is no good house in our area.  I want to add again that I am sick; I am blind and in need of people to help me recover my sight.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Have you ever made any attempt to get medical examination for your eye?

Tamba:    Yes, I came to UNAMSIL.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    And did you get any help at all?

Tamba:    They gave me some help, they gave me some medicines and a pair of glasses but I use to forget it at home.  Even today when I was coming I forgot it because it is too heavy to carry.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Are the glasses useful?

Tamba:    They are useful except that when they went for me very early this morning I forgot to bring them along.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Well, it is good you are with UNAMSIL. Please continue with them for the time being.  The other recommendations we will include in our report but isn’t there a town chief?

Tamba:    There is.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Well maybe you could urge your town chief to do something about your roads, to make representation for your roads to be repaired and to look for NGOs as well who are offering housing facilities but at the same time, we will note it in our report.  Thank you.  And you may step down now.

We have come to the end of our first day seating and we will be back here tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. to continue, and I hope we will see as many of you as we have today.

Shall we stand up for the Commissioners?


Adekera:    Good morning.  Yes ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you on behalf of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to the second day of public hearings here in the Kono District.  We want to start and we ask all those who are outside who want to be a part of this hearing to please come in so that we can start.  Today’s meeting is going to be presided over by Commissioner Sylvanus Torto so I hand you over to him.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Good morning all of you especially our chiefs.  We also greet those who are listening to us on the radio.  I must actually introduce myself as Sylvanus Torto one of the national commissioners chairing today’s hearings here at the Fatima Hall in Koidu Town, Kono District.  I must actually remind those in the audience of the usual rules and regulations of listening and attendance of these hearings that, well I don’t know whether I am supposed to mention mobiles because the facilities are not yet here but those who may have the international tie please switch them off and we do not actually clap, we do not hiss we do not boo, we do not laugh at any witness or testimony no matter how strongly you may feel about a particular witness.  The rationale behind this is plain, simple and straight forward that if such a thing should occur, the entire exercise will be reduced to a laughing matter.  So we don’t take kindly to that, we don’t feel happy at all when people begin to laugh at people’s testimonies because of how funny it may appear to them and at times even want to show signs of insinuation.  So I want to encourage my brothers and sisters to please remember not to do any of those violations.  May we please rise for the usual protocols of Muslim and Christian prayers?  
…….    Mr. Commissioner, our first witness this morning is Sia Lebbie.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Can the witness identify herself by name please?  Are you a Muslim or Christian?

Sia:     I am a Christian.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Please hold on to the Bible.  The oath is taken by Sia Lebbie.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Sia, we know that during the 9 years of war you may have gone through a whole lot of harassments and all forms of torture and sufferings but we want you to relate your experience to us; on one particular incident where you suffered most.  So please go ahead.

Sia:    good morning everyone.  I am your daughter and sister Sia Lebbie.  I am sitting before the TRC.  All those 10 years of war, what I have gone through is what I am going to explain to you people.  We suffered a lot but the greatest suffering was in 1988.  It was when the SLA arrived from Freetown that we fled into the bush.  We were in the bush when we heard that the ECOMOG were based in Motema.  We went to Motema for protection.  It was during that time that the rebels attacked us at night 3 O’clock Thursday early in the morning on Friday June 12, they brought us out.  The boy that brought me out I don’t know him but I knew he was an SLA soldier.  They were around the bush of Koidu Town and we were heard firings and it was that very night that they came to Motema.  That night they attacked us we were unable to come out, and the house where we were there was no place to run to at MP.  When they killed so many people behind us, early in the morning they took us out, me and my children.  Early in the morning they took us out, me and my children, my husband ran away from us.  My husband was hidden in the room with one of my sons.  When they took us outside with my 5 children the boy told us that you said that you didn’t like us you say it is Tejan Kabba that you like, so we are going to kill you like a fowl.  I was stood there looking at him. He told us to go down.  While we were going down, they started shooting at us.  My son who was 17 years old was killed.  The second child was there who was a girl child and she too was killed.  By then I had my little children twins.  The one was strapped to my back while I carried the other in my hands.  I was shot in my left leg and it was amputated.  Among all my children it was only one that was free from gunshots.  All the 4 children were shot.  The other child was shot and his intestines came out.  The other girl child was shot in her mouth and as she was struggling for her life, they shot her again and she died.  We were many in the house including old and young people and children, and most of them died but those of us who were wounded were taken by the ECOMOG to Freetown.  There we were hospitalised.  Now I have children, my husband too is frustrated.  I was once a petty trader and my husband was a farmer.  Now we are doing nothing.  The two elder children who used to help us are now dead.  Now we have nothing to do and we are getting help from nowhere.  Now I see my children who were war wounded crying and saying to me mum, we want to learn but we have no means.  Dad is not helping us.  What are we going to do now?  When I asked the Dad, he says Sia I am weak, I have nothing and I am jobless.  What am I to do?  Our brothers have brought distress to our lives in this country.  Even my children had to be helped by people but they have no house to sleep in.  They are staying in the camp.  What are we to do in this country now?  I have nobody to assist me in this country with my children.  I know my children will be my future helper now they have no means to learn.  That is what our brothers did to us in this country but we are praying for peace and we are praying to forgive them but still they are discouraging us.  The government is helping them but for them to show a sign of remorse they are not showing it.  They are always boasting of what they have done to us and now we don’t know what to do next.  Those of us who suffered in this war are still suffering and our children are also suffering with us.  That is all I came to share with you today.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Sia Lebbia, thank you very much for this testimony.  We are very sorry to hear what happened to you.  Anybody going through that kind of ordeal must have undergone a very painful experience but we want you to clarify a few issues to us from your explanation and your written statement.  It is not intended to harass you or to subject you to intensive questioning after all that happened to you.  What are the names of the 4 children who died?

Sia:    Two Children.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    two of them okay, names?

Sia:    Sahr Lebbie, and Kadiatu Lebbie

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:   Ages?

Sia:    Sahr Lebbie was 17 years and Kadiatu was 12 years old.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Where did this incident take place?

Sia:    It was in Motema MP

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    You mentioned in your written or verbal explanation that it was the SLA.  There in your written statement you say RUF, AFRC, SLA, people’s army.  So which one do we really go by?

Sia:    They were all in the bush.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Which particular faction did you suspect that really did the havoc to you?

Sia:    I don’t know the difference; they were all in one group.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    I know that during times like these, one would not be so careful as to take a closer look at the perpetrators but do you remember the name, or the face of the person who actually cut off your leg?

Sia:    No.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    But do you know his name?

Sia:    No.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Sia, we want to thank you for coming to the Commission, we are sorry that you lost your children and that you had such severe injury.  From the way you have given your testimony we can tell that you are a courageous woman and a strong woman.  It is a pity that some of the people who wrong are still not remorseful and they can afford to laugh at you.  We hope that after this week and after all the experiences here they will be more considerate and sensitive to the injuries that they caused the people of this nation.  Is your leg still giving you trouble?

Sia:    Yes.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    are you able to use it or are you able to use artificial limb?

Sia:    The one that was given to me in Freetown, I am unable to talk with it.

Commissioner Marcus Jones: Is there any hope that after sometime when the leg is properly healed you will be able to use it?

Sia:    It is only through the help of God that I will walk with it but I am having pains

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    We will give you a letter of reference and you may be able to have some advice, to help ease your pain.   In connection with the help for your family I will ask you to talk to the briefer at the end of this session and she will be able to give you letters of reference to enable you to get help in acquiring skills training so that you can earn some money.  Is your husband very old man?

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    What is wrong with him?

Sia:    He suffers from hypertension and has pain all over his body.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Is he receiving medical treatment?

Sia:    No.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Well I will advise him to go to the doctor and get some treatment and if he has proper medical attention, he should be able to do some work.  There are a number of hypertensive patients around who manage to earn their living.  Thank you for your testimony.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Leader of evidence you have questions for the witness?

Leader of Evidence:    Yes, Mr. Commissioner.  Sia I join the Commissioners to thank you for coming to the Commission.  I have very few questions for you.  First besides your two children Sahr and Kadiatu who were killed, do you know whether other people were killed in the village during that attack?

Sia:    Yes I know they killed a lot of people.

Leader of Evidence:     Can you say how many people were killed??

Sia:    I don’t know the number.  After the incident, they took us away, but I know of one lady whose husband and children were killed.

Leader of Evidence:    These armed men who attacked the village, did they stay after the attack or they leave immediately after the attack?

Sia:    They ran away.

Leader of Evidence:     Were you able to burry your children or give them proper burial?

Sia:    We left their bodies behind but we heard that they were all buried in one grave.

Leader of Evidence:   When you came later on were you able to see the mass grave?

Sia:    I didn’t ask because asking always made me cry.

Leader of Evidence:    Thank you Commissioner.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Thank you very much, Sia, we have asked you questions for the Commission?

Sia:    Yes, after all what happened to me and my children, what help are you are going to offer us?

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Sia, it is unfortunate.  That is one handicap we have as a Commission.  We do not have the mandate or resources to make individual compensation to witnesses or victims.  This is the sad thing for us that we don’t even have the mandate to do so.  The law does not allow us to do it, nor does the Commission have any resources on its own to do it out of its own volition.  So all we can do is to incorporate whatever recommendations you may be giving us eventually in our report.  It is those recommendations that we are going to analyse and pass on to government along with our own recommendations with respect to what ought to be done for people like you.  The act also says that government should pass the report onto the Security Council.  They will look at it and only God knows what will come of it.  So I don’t want you to think that your appearance before the Commission is a waste of time at all.  So let me talk a little bit about the children.  I don’t want you to deprive the children of school because there is now a government programme in place.  There are teachers here who will prove me right that education up to a certain class is free now.  I know that there are things they call school charges but nobody is supposed to drive any child out of school only because they have not paid their school charges.  So I will encourage you to please send those children to school because you are not going to pay for them in terms of fees.  Do you have another question?

Sia:    I have no question but I have a talk for the government.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Thank you very much.  That was what I was going to come up to.  Do you have any recommendations for us to pass on to the government?

Sia:    I am making an appeal to the government on behalf of all of us who are handicapped that government kindly helps our children.  We are unable to revenge the things that were done to us.   We are unable to do anything and we are appealing to those who wronged us to show some sign of remorse so that we would be able to forgive them and live with them as one family in the future.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Yes any other recommendation?

Sia:    We are still crying for our children because they are our future leaders.  I am crying to the government to assist us because the pain is so much.  We are unable to undergo the pain.  So let the government assist us with medical care.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Okay, all your recommendations have been taken down already.  They have been taken down word for word and Iam assuring you that we will incorporate them into our report and pass them on to the government.  Like I said earlier we will pass on the appropriate recommendations but I am enquiring further, are you a member of the Amputee Association, the Sierra Leone Amputees Association?   There was a housing project in place for amputees and the War wounded.  Did you benefit from that?

Sia:    Yes we got it.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    So you now have a house?

Sia:    I have got a house of my own but we are still suffering because we are unable to work even to find food for ourselves.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    This is a very sad situation Sia, very very sad indeed.  The problem you have is the same problem all of us in this world have, all of us.  The only consolation for me is that that you have been provided with a house for which I thank God for.  The other areas as we said earlier, are God will provide but please make an effort to send those children to school.  Do you have any other recommendation?

Sia:    I have also planned that and I am doing it but in the morning when the children are going to school sometimes the teachers ask for money and I haven’t got money and also the children ask for breakfast in the morning and that too I haven’t got.  It is something very discouraging to me.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    I agree with you perfectly Sia.  This is always the problem but I want to follow up on Commissioner Jones’ advice to you.  At this point in time at the stage you are I will suggest our briefer to talk to you about skills training of some sort such as tailoring, gara tie dying or something you can do while sitting down and making some money out of it.  So I definitely want to encourage you to please explore that possibility.  There is a training school in town called PROWA I think they also offer skills of that nature.  If you meet and talk to them believe you me there will be some form of assistance.  If they cannot, they will help direct you somewhere.  If you don’t have other recommendations or questions, we thank you very much for your appearance.   You may stand down.




Our next witness is Abdul Mbawa


Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Abdulai again we have to remind you that you are not in a court so please feel free to share your testimony with the Commission.  We want you to share your experience of a particular event or situation during this war from which you suffered most.

Abdulai:    Throughout the war I was in Guinea.  We were in Guinea as refugees but we were not getting supplies in 1998.  I was there with my two children and my wife.  We used to go and work on contract without getting anything so I decided to come over to get some food for my children as we suffered a great deal from lack of food.  So I crossed the river back into Sierra Leone to this place.  That was on 22nd November 1998.   I was guiding the people I came with.  Throughout the night I did not sleep.  In the morning we were preparing to leave because, usually it is during the evening they use to cross over.  So I decided to have some rest by sleeping a bit.  So when I was sleeping the boys I took along with me were up in a mango tree.  As some strange people were coming they jumped down from the mango tree and ran away without even waking me up.  I felt like I was in a dream with somebody telling me not to run.  I was captured and a question was posed: do you know the rebels?   I said no, so they said they were the rebels.  I was captured and the rebels asked me to show them where the people had gone and where food was kept.  I told them that I was a stranger around and that I didn’t know anything about people and food around here.  I had an only garden in Sowa at Gbongbo, a village in Kono at the border.  So they went around and found a shell, a shell of a single barrel gun.  So the commander asked if I was a Kamajor.  The name of the commander was Eagle so he asked if I was a Kamajor.  I said no.  I told him that I had never been a Kamajor.  He said I was lying so he took a wire and tied my hand behind me. He asked if I had any food around there to eat.  By then we had some food around so I said yes.  I went and took the food, brought it to him before he released me.  They cooked, and we ate together.   We were there together with the rest of the civilians they had captured.  We were all packed in one place.  They told us to move with the loads they had asked us to carry.  We went along and at one point they cut a banana and gave me to carry.  They said as long as I said there was no food in the area I should carry the banana.  We were taken to Bama Tanyamiu.  That was my first time in Gandorhun.  The commander then was Akim.  He said they should not keep any civilian around the border area but that they should all be brought here.  We reported there in the morning.  By then I was stripped naked they took all my things: my watch, my clothes they gave me a pair of torn trousers.  When we arrived at Gandorhun, the battalion commander said that the civilians had some work for us to do.   We met a man called paymaster.  He said he did not want to see any civilian and gave the order that they should kill all of us.  He said the Kono people were deceitful.  He said they used to deceive people all the time and that was why they were not going to be spared.  But then Akim said no.  They said in the morning we should go for screening.  When we went for that screening they asked for my name.  We were called one after the other.  They said, “as you see us, you should know that we have been the rebels fighting since 1991 up to this date”.  So they took my clothes and printed RUF on my chest.   They said if I run away and got to the Kamajor zone I would be killed there.  Again I was not sure of what lay ahead in Guinea so I decided against going to Guinea.  So I stayed with them.  We were there when they said they needed some civilians to go for ammunition in Burkina Faso.  I was one of the people chosen to go.  They gave us some other things like tyres, etc. to carry.  We took those loads and went away.  When we arrived at a point I had wanted to hide but I did not know the place.  It was within Sandahun.  We went as far as Senyema.  They don’t allow you to even eat an orange.  We crossed river and entered Baoma.  There we got the ammunition.   There was a vehicle there that was spoilt.  They said we should take the ammunition from there and return.  Each person was made to carry a box.  Then we took them and started coming.  There was sick person among us who complained of being tired.   So he said, “I am now tired, I can no longer carry this load.”   But by then if anyone complained that they were tired they were asked to sit down and have a rest. A little further down the road so we were ahead when we heard a loud report.  By then Issa was the commander charged to come with the ammunition and clear this place of the enemy.   He was then the leader of the troops.  He was then from Liberia.  We came and arrived at Gandorhun.  I did not know anything about what was going on so some of those that they chose to come with the loads discarded their loads and ran away.  We arrived at Meiyor, in the Guinea highway.  There we stopped with our loads.  The following day we were told to go back, we went back.  When I went all my feet were aching.  They said I should consider leaving this civilian life.  One of my sisters called Kumba and her mother (a nurse by profession) from Kuwadu were also captured.  I told her sister I wished to be her husband.  Sister said no, she said that is what I used to do.  But then when I did that people used to run away then that brought trouble to my husband.  A certain case occurred there when a man was put in a place called “the dungeon”.  The man that I had wanted to be with was the one that they put there.  So he was taken out of it.  So he said he was never going to agree.  I said look I am not going to run please they have marked me already and I have no place to run to with the mark on my body.  So he agreed.   I started cutting some palm kernels for him.  We became friends.  So he asked me if I could write.  I said yes I can read a bit.  I started writing for him as an adjutant to him as G5.   When ECOMOG was driven out of Kono that battalion was to go to Gandorhun.  It was then the battalion to go to Tongo as well.  For us now, they said all the civilians that want to go to Kono should stay.  I was asked to take down the names of those that were going.  We came with them.  We were now working all the time; we used to register those civilians we met.  One day they asked if I am ready to work as G5 in another assignment area.  I said yes.  So they said I should go to Nimikoro to serve my people.  There the brigade G5 was Captain Amidu.  He gave me an assignment paper as civilian.  I was staff sergeant.  They were using us.  I went there and was giving passes.  I was given resettlement paper.  Even when I used to talk on behalf of the civilians they used to molest me.  There we had our Commander, one Sylvester Ken.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Please excuse me, I want ladies and gentlemen in the hall and chiefs to acknowledge the presence of one of us commissioners who has just arrived.  He was to join us this morning but he is just coming now.  He is Commissioner Professor William Schabas.  He is the international Commissioner on the team so please acknowledge his presence.

Abdulai:    So when I reported he said I should sum up courage.  He said we should pray to God for the end of the war.  We were at Bumpeh when they said that all the G5 candidates were to go for training.  I have never witnessed such training in my life.  So they collected us and brought us to the base.  A woman called Monica was then the training commander.  We met some people there, some G5 that had already completed their training.  We entered into the society bush.   No person can ever mistake an ordinary bush for a society one.  From then on I knew that we were for something.  So everything was started.   We met some three (3) people there that escaped from the training but they were later caught and brought back.  They put them in a wire.  When we were taken for the training in the bush with some rigorous exercises, we lost a man.  Even for me going through the ordeals meant real suffering.  I survived the exercises with much pain.  Even now I am feeling the pain I sustained at that time.  The people we met there lost all hope of survival.  They said whosoever got there should not attempt to hide.  Night and morning there was no sleep.  We lived on one banana per day, a banana to a person per day.  There was no salt to go with it.  The day I was punished before the G5 all the G5 trainers were told to lie down on the ground and crawl.  They said if those people are there, they plead on behalf of the civilians so we should remove them from there.  So we moved from there.  We had our passing out so I went to my assignment area.  The told us that we were running a revolution.  So whosoever worked with us (as cook, messenger, etc.) was considered a fighter and should therefore go for the disarmament programme when the time came.  Even we the G5 were seen as fighting the war.  So we were asked to help in the building of the party RUFP.   They said it was the right party for this country and as such we should promote it.  So the time for disarmament came.  Before the time, I went to my village to visit my father that I did good to at one time at Kamagbonkorya.  On my way back I met Rambo at Ganehday junction.  He caught me, he said look right now we are on Guinea Mission.  He said C.O. Issa had given us an operation to run.  I told him I had no gun why should I go on such a mission.  He said that as G5 we were supposed to go along with them so that wherever civilians were caught we would be there to write their names and take care of them.  There I asked God saying God, please save me I am just a Guinean boy, son of Guinea because my parents are all coming from Guinea.  If my parents saw me in such a movement with or without a gun I would be implicated as a rebel, one of those who took the war there.  So as soon as I finished praying I got up and made good my escape. When I escaped I go back to Sagbeh instead I went to the bush at Kandaya.  I was there doing farm work until I heard about the disarmament.  So somebody was sent to me.  So they said all the G5 should go for disarmament for them to have some benefit.  But all this was a sort of trick to increase the number of RUF Party members.  We were given some weapons.  So we went for disarmament at Njaiama NimiKoro.  This is the end of my story to the Commission.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    We thank you very much Abdul Mbawa for your explanation.  Anybody listening to you will know that you went through a very painful ordeal.  You will have to clarify a few areas me and the other Commissioners.  In your explanation you spoke of all the problems, pains and hassles that you went through, but you left out your own exploits you made in the process of discharging your duties one as a G5, and second as a member of the RUF.  So I want you to recount this including one time when you reported a soldier for five hundred dollars ($500) when some transaction happened between you and a soldier for $500 explain the circumstances surrounding that kind of involvement.

Abdulai:    There was a man passing by with $500 on him.  When he arrived at the Bumpeh checkpoint I was there.  I was supposed to be there because I was for giving passes in the morning.  No civilian was allowed to go out if they were not issued a pass.  So I was in my office when a vehicle was stopped and the passengers searched.  A boy was found to have money on him.   So I told them to give the money back to the man.  The mining commander was Junior including the other RUF members; they told me to get out of there that was why they slapped me on my ears.  They said I spoke too much on behalf of civilians.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Who was Colonel Monica?

Abdulai:    She was the camp lion training commander in Yengema

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    During your stay with the RUF either as G5 or as a fighter how many battles did you engage in?

Abdulai:    I never went to fight, I was just writing.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    What were your functions basically as G5

Abdulai:    I functioned as a mediator between the soldiers and the civilians.  I was in charge of resolving any matter that arose between the civilians and the RUF.  There were cases of rape and harassment and I was supposed to record the names of those concerned and pass them on to the operational G5.  I was in charge of issuing passes as well as issuing resettlement papers.  Those were my functions.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Was raping an offence in the RUF government?

Abdulai:    During my own time of operation it was a crime.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    That was the latter part of the movement?

Abdulai:    Yes that was between 1998 and 1999.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    What about killing?

Abdulai:    Within that time those who killed innocent persons were to be killed as well.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    So killing was not a serious offence at all but raping was, was that the situation?

Abdulai:    Both of them were crimes.   Persons were killed for either of the two offences.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    But you just used the expression innocent killing.  It means murder was punishable but ordered killings were not.

Abdulai:    During my own time it was then the time when people started to come back to resettle so when you killed somebody you were killed in return.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Commissioners, do you have questions for Abdulai?

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Thank you Abdulai for your testimony.  You told us about somebody being punished.  In fact you actually gave us information about two incidents of punishment, in one I think the offender was put in a dungeon and on another occasion you said the offender was put in a wire.  I want you to describe for us what the dungeon was and what you mean by the wire, putting someone in a wire.

Abdulai:    It was like a pot, they put him there and poured water on him.  When a person was in he had no way to lie down and no way to sit down either.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    How far did the water go, the water that was poured in the hole, how far did the water go?

Abdulai:    It got one’s feet wet so that he felt cold extremely.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    What was the wire?  (Naked)

Abdulai:    It was a like a cage.  They put the person in a cage.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    It was like a cage?

Abdulai:    The culprit was stripped naked and put in the cage.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Thank you.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    When you say stripped naked what were those, the cage and the dungeon what were they meant for, what type of offences?  Was it just for RUF members or civilians?

Abdulai:    The cage was at the training base.  It was meant for those that attempted to escape the training and the dungeon was meant for the RUF themselves.  Whosoever committed any crime was put in there.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    There were testimonies before this Commission that the dungeon was used for the RUF rebels which you have rightly described to be a small hole, and inside that hole you had snakes and other reptiles and people were put in there.  Did it happen here under you whilst you were a G5?  Did your dungeon contain snakes and other reptiles?

Abdulai:    I was not there when it was prepared.  I was just there when people were being drawn out of the hole and I did not in fact look into it to see what was there.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    It’s sad you did not but you should have as G5 since no one can sentence somebody to be punished by some means when they are not aware of what the form of punishment is.  The dungeon was really a punishment chamber, a kind of torture chamber used by the RUF at that time according to the testimony.  In it you had snakes poisonous snakes; you had cobra as well as puff adder, you had all types of snakes and people were placed in there.  Say yes that was what happened.

Abdulai:    I just saw it in Kailahun and I was a civilian by then, we were not expected to go near the place.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Thank you very much.  Leader of Evidence do you have any questions for Mr. Abdul Mbawa.

Leader of Evidence:    Yes just some clarification.  Mr. Mbawa, where do you stay presently?

Abdulai:    I am staying at Sagbeh.

Leader of Evidence:    Is that your home?

Abdulai:    I am coming from Kamayandor chiefdom.

Leader of Evidence:    I am made to understand that you are afraid to go back to your village because of the RUF mark on your chest.

Abdulai:    Exactly so.  I am afraid to go there because when we go there our means of finding money is to cross over to Guinea and if I go and if the Guineans discover that I have such a mark on my chest they would not investigate properly.

Leader of Evidence:    We have asked this question because the Commission is interested in moving those marks from you so that you can feel a free Sierra Leonean and go anywhere you want to, without being harassed or molested.  So that is why I have asked that question.  Thank you Mr. Commissioner.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Thank you.  We have asked you questions, you have answered them.  Do you have questions for the Commission?

Abdulai:    Yes I do.  I am asking the Commission because I went to school but I did not go far enough.  So I am now asking the Commission if they will make arrangements for us to have schools here.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Is that all?

Abdulai:    I am asking in addition that you kindly give me a document to cover me in my travels so that I will be safe whenever I go to my people in Guinea or elsewhere.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Thank you very much.  Let me attempt to answer some of your questions.  With respect to educational facilities, did you demobilise, did you go through the demobilisation programme as a G5?

Abdulai:    I made an attempt and even went as far as Freetown.  I went to FTC they said I should spend some money so I did not have the chance.  I went to meet one uncle of mine.  He was sent to Jayru as that was his assignment area.  As there was no other person to help me I had to come back.  I decided to go to the village so that I can engage in farming.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    I am sorry if I did not make myself clear.  I am saying, did you go through the demobilisation programme as an ex-combatant.

Abdulai:    Yes.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Did you ask them for facilities of this nature, educational facilities.

Abdulai:    I did.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    What did they say?

Abdulai:    They ask me where I am intending to do it, I said Freetown.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Go ahead.

Abdulai:    When I went to Freetown they told me that my name could be taken down unless I saw them.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    What do you mean, see them?

Abdulai:    Except I give them something.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Who? Who said you needed to see them before they did what.  DDR programme officers told you, you needed to see them and the word ‘see them’ here meaning bribe them before they helped you?  Is that the question?

Abdulai:    Yes.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Are you sure?

Abdulai:    I am sure sir.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Where did that happen?

Abdulai:    At the Freetown Teachers College.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Freetown Teachers College?

Abdulai:    Technical Freetown Technical Institute.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Freetown Technical institute and the demobilisation programme are separate they are different bodies.

Abdulai:    But I went there with my document.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Now you were seeking admission not so in FTC the Freetown Technical college or what not.

Abdulai:    Freetown Technical institute.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    You want Admission and was it they who told you they needed money from you or the DDR officers.  That is the clarification I want.

Abdulai:    It is the institute.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    The institute.  The institute were asking you to bribe them.  Do you have the requisite qualification?  What is your level?

Abdulai:    yes.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    And what are they?  You wanted to go to technical but you don’t have the required papers.  You did not have the requirement to be admitted.  That is clear.   When you went through the DDR programme about your educational system what was the reaction?  You know the DDR office is even here.  There is a branch of it here.  What was their reaction to your request that you wanted to further yourself?  Alright thank you let me come to the next question.  Meanwhile after here there is a DDR office here maybe we will make enquiries.  The briefer here will talk to you.  We will give you a letter to go there to talk to them about facilities.  They do have facilities of this type.  Most ex-combatants were asked what they wanted to do.  Those who wanted to go to institutions went.  I know of a few in college and a few in other training institutions.  Now I don’t understand, it’s not clear to me why you were rejected by DDR like you said.  And what is clear to me is that you did not have or do not have the qualifications to enter that Technical Institute.  That is why they rejected you not money.  This is what this Commission is for.  We are not interested in things; we don’t want to hear of things like bribery.  That is why I was asking if it was really true that they asked you for money before admission.  But what I seem to gather from you now is that you do not have the required qualification for admission that is the truth.  Now that does not still make you an odd person in society you still have a chance.  I will suggest to you to please contact the DDR programme again through there branch office here.  There is a programme actually for people like you.  We will give you a letter to the DDR.  Your request for permit to travel to Guinea and back, about that request the second question you made the commission is not in a position to give anybody any specific letter of recommendation to travel abroad.  The standard procedure fro travelling is to go through immigration and obtain your permit, your travelling certificate, you are free.  For everybody it is open.    Your conscience is clear with yourself if you know that you are, you are now at peace, and nobody will hunt you.  You are free.  So the only thing I can suggest to you is that you try to get your travel document, either the travelling certificate or a passport that should enable you to travel freely.

Yes we will come to that very soon but the Commission does not have the permission to issue travel documents.  About the mark on the chest our briefer will talk to you and give you the directives for organisations that are really taking care of these kinds of scars that have been forcibly put on people.  There is an NGO that is doing that.  They remove tattoos and scars of that nature.  Our briefer will talk to you about that very shortly after you leave here.  Do you have any other questions?

Abdulai:    No questions thank you sir.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Do you have any recommendations you can tell us about the war or what you went through that we can pass on to the government.

Abdulai:    I am appealing to the Commission to tell the government to assist our people concerning housing facilities.  Our place has been totally destroyed.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Yes go ahead.

Abdulai:    That is all.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Your request will be taken into good parts.  We will analyse it and include it in our recommendations.  I thank you very much. If you don’t have other questions or recommendations you may step down now.  May we have one more witness before we go for lunch?


Leader of Evidence:    Madam Commissioner our next witness is Sahr Bindi.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    What’s his full name?

Sahr:    My name is Sahr Bindi.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Sahr Bindi, are you a Christian or a Muslim?

Sahr:    I am a Christian.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Please take the Bible or repeat after me.
    The oath taken by Sahr Bindi.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Sahr Bindi, we welcome you.

Sahr:    Thanks to all of you may the Lord God bless all of you for giving me the opportunity to come and talk to you.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    So we are waiting to hear your testimony.

Sahr:    In 1998, I was resident in Koidu Town.  I was a business man when Pa Kabba was overthrown.  While we were here, renegade soldiers who had overthrown the President came here to Kono.  They were killing and harassing people so we went straight into the bush.  We first ran to Tombudu.  There too we stayed in the bush because they were visiting that town.  We built a hut in the bush.  I had few things with me that I was doing business with.  I had a friend called Komba who came from that area.  He took us to that bush.  One morning, while we were in the hut, we saw a few people dressed in combat fatigue.  They went and arrested us.  And they demanded money and diamonds form us.  We told them we didn’t have diamonds.  They started beating us.  They asked us who was a business man among the group.  There was a fellow among us who could not withstand the beating anymore so he pointed me out.  So they took me to the main road.  They continued to beat me demanding that I produce my wares.  They beat me so mercilessly that I started bleeding.  By then I was having one cartoon and half of the cigarette that I was selling so I told them where the cigarette was hidden.  They went and retrieved it.  When they came back because they found one and half cartoons of cigarette, they told me that I had already sold the other half and therefore I should produce the money for the half cartoon.  Well, I really wanted to keep that money back for future use and it was with my wife.  But because of the heavy beating, I had to call for the money.  I told them to go to my wife to get the money from her.  They went and brought my wife as well.  She too was beaten and kicked.  Then the woman pointed out where she had hidden the money.  They went and recovered the money.  I had a bicycle which they took away as well.  They took everything form me.  Even this friend that I was living in that bush with who came from that area knew one of them.  An SLA boy called Musa led the group.  He was living at Myma at the Checkpoint there.  From there, since we had nothing there anymore, we moved here to Sandia where we were living in the bush.  While in the bush we heard an announcement on the radio (as somebody among us had a radio) that ECOMOG had arrived in the town.  Well, there was an old man among us who advised us because we were there with no dress, no medical facilities, so many people were ill.  I was not feeling well either because of the heavy beating I had received and blood was oozing out of my ears, so we decided to come.  We came as far as Baima just close to Tombudu.  We arrived there at night.  We slept there, and in the morning people told us that if we wanted to come over, we should come first and look at the road.  So a young man called Safieya accompanied him, both of us went to watch the road.  Little did we know that the rebels were already resident in Tombodu.  They had already formed an ambush along the road, we didn’t know that.  So we were captured by them.  They took us to a guy called Staff Alhaji at the Myma Checkpoint.  When we were taken to them, we were ordered that we should be bound.  We were bound to a mango tree that was there.   And they started flogging us.   Soon after that, they brought a woman too, a nursing mother.  I knew the lady before, she was called Sia Gbakoya.  Where we were tied to the tree, they told the woman to place her child there.  When the child was placed their, they ordered the woman to stripped herself naked.  Having stripped herself naked, they raped her. And they continued to beat us.  Well, by then a jet was flying over.  So they were there when the jet arrived.  There was a guy there who wore combat trousers and a civilian shirt.  He saluted staff Alhaji, so he pleaded their course, he said these happen to be children of other people and I’m appealing that you don’t bind them, please release them.  When the jet came, fortunately it didn’t reach there.  Staff Alhaji ordered that we should be taken to the Tombudo part and be killed.  When we went there, we met a man there by a burnt house with zinc leaning on an orange tree.  They had piles of ammunition there and they had a public address system too.  So they told the man that staff Alhaji had ordered that they should be killed.  So the man said no.  We are not going to kill them immediately; we will kill them tomorrow, so we will just lock them in a cell.  So we were locked up in a cell.  There were seven (7) people there already.  While we were there we heard a strange sound like a dropping object in water.  And people were shouting in agony.  After that, we didn’t hear any more sounds, no sounds anymore.  While we were there, well naturally, we were praying to God.   In the evening, they came and collected 6 (six) of us we thought that we were going to be killed and when we went to the park, we found three (3) corpses on the ground.  They told us, to take the corpses and throw them into the river.  We took the corpses and dumped them in the river, very close to the park.  And we were taken back to the cell.  And they told us that the following day we too would follow suit.  We were there till night, and at about 1 O’clock in the night they started burning Tombodu town.  We continued to pray.  When we touched the door of the cell it opened so we took advantage of that and escaped.  My friend and I agreed to return to where my wife and family were. We didn’t arrive that evening; we slept in the bush just when we came close to the town.  Well, because they had discovered our escape, they came and attacked this place.  After they had attacked the place we entered the town, and found that they had killed two (2) people.  A man was there called Samuel Komba, whose hand was amputated but was not totally detached.  He asked me for water.  I was afraid because having seen two corpses and this man with amputated hand, I told my wife to bring a piece of cloth and I bandaged the man’s hand.  So he departed away.  He said, he was going to meet his own people.  We headed for another area.  When we went out, we were scared.  We decided to return here to Koidu believing that ECOMOG were resident in Koidu.  When it was dark, all of us who had come initially from Koronko land decided to travel in that road, but because I had been bound before, my hands were swollen.  When we came back, there is a place here called Koiduwoi where we arrived in the morning.  We found another group of rebels there who arrested us and asked us to tell them where we are heading for.   They asked if we were heading for the ECOMOG camp.  So there was an old man among us, he said that by saying what he said he would save us.  He said, “No!   We are going to staff Alhaji at Tombudu”.  They said you are lying, and so we are going to kill all of you. Then the old man started naming people who initially were together with staff Alhaji.  So the people seemed to believe and they took a few people from among us.  So they asked for seven people from among us to carry loads.  And they said we should go to Yadu because they said Yadu was where their commander stayed.  So we went there, when we want there, there is a part of Yadu where the Europeans resided before, and that is where their commander was.  So they went and called him, they told him that they had brought certain people.  They said that, these people told us that they were going to Staff Alhaji.  The man said, “Good, but you know that our men came from Sandor yesterday and Staff Alhaji killed them not so?  So you have caught people who claim to be Staff Alhaji’s friends.  We too are going to retaliate, we are going to kill them because he is there, and his main occupation is to kill”.  So we started begging, so he gave the order that we should be killed. They made us sit on the ground and they told us that, those among us who are going to live for long would only be amputated.  Those, whose lives were short, would die.  So they said they were going to do some balloting.  They went and took some stones, seven stones.  The man who was actually doing the amputation had the stones.  He stood far off and flicked the stones off his fingers like this.  So if the stone hits you, you would be amputated.  So he started throwing the stones, I was the last person in the queue; the stone hit me, so they all shouted and the man with the cutlass told me to stand up.  So they said they are going to repeat the ballot, again the stone hit me.  They ordered me to get up and go and be amputated, well when I got up they told me to stretch my hands.  I begged for mercy, but they refused.  I said please forgive me for God’s sake! So he asked me where God lived.  He refused, when I placed my hand and he was about to strike me with the cutlass when I removed it.  He looked angrily at me and said, “Look! I will count one and if you remove your hand again when I get to number 2, I will just kill you”.  So I placed my hand again, then while he tried to cut it off, I removed my hand again.  He turned to the others and said, “that this man has been stubborn because we have not killed the others so let us go ahead and kill them!  That will convince him that I mean business”.  So they shot my colleagues.  So where we were, people were pounding rice so there were lots of pestles lying about.  They took the sticks and started beating people on their heads.  So I was scared and stretched my hand out and the man cut it off.  So the hand was hacked just at the knuckles, it was not totally removed.  So he told me to go.  The others said to him, “look man; this man’s hand is not properly amputated call him back and do it again”.  So he said no! Let him just go.  They said if that man goes, we would kill you in this place.  So I came back and stretched my hand and he cut it off completely.  So I was ordered to go.  They wrote a little note, which they ordered me to give to Pa Kabba.  They said Pa Kabba has brought many hands so I should go there and he will give me hands.  So they put the letter in my pocket.  I went along the very road where I was brought along.  When I arrived at the cross-roads, the rebels that were manning the check-point had bodies lying around them that had just been killed.  When I went and passed them, they chased and said that if ECOMOG soldiers saw me with my amputated hand; it would be a bad name for them.  So they said I should be killed.  I took to my heels.  On my way, I came across two men that were carrying guns. When they saw me coming, they gave way.  Those that were chasing me were still after me.  So thy asked them saying man, why did you do this?  This man is a young man, he could have been recruited rather than been amputated.  So they gave me a way to go.  My pursuers also came and they stopped there.  When I knew that I went far away from them but fell on the ground because I was bleeding.  I fainted. I was there for quite sometime and in the evening, I gained consciousness. Then I took off again.  I crept through the bush until I arrived at Koikuima where the ECOMOG soldiers were.  I went straight to them.  In fact I was happy to find my wife there.  I was asked to narrate my story and I did.  So they told us to wait a while.  Fortunately, there was a young man who was a dispenser.  Because the ECOMOG soldiers didn’t have many amputee victims to conveyed to Freetown for treatment I was given a sort of first aid treatment by that young man and asked to wait.  He is called Elijah, he is a Kono.  From there transportation was sent for us and we travelled to Freetown after three days.  We were taken to the Connaught Hospital.  That was where we were treated before we were sent to Waterloo.  There again we were attacked so we returned to Freetown only for Freetown to come under another attacked.  From Freetown, we were repatriated back to Kono. Well we are grateful to the people of Freetown, praise be to the government and the NGOs and to religious organisations that took care of us.  The Muslims and the Christians were all very generous to us.   They gave us rice while the WFP supplied us with bulgur.  MSF gave us medical treatment.  Indeed we do have assistant from many NGOs.  The Norwegian Refugee Council too has been helpful to us.  They actually built shelter for us here.  So I’m happy because I’m one of the beneficiaries to their shelter project here.  I’m grateful that at least I have a place to live with my family.  And to all those who have been very much helpful, may the Lord bless them.  And to our people here, and those people who offered their lands for this Norwegian Refugee Council to build these houses, I want to thank them too.  May the Lord bless them all.   That is my story.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Sahr, even to listen to the narration of your experiences has been very painful.  We understand all what you went through.  But I suppose that in a miraculous way, your life was saved.  You actually got near death so many times.  And we are very heartened to hear you give thanks to parties who helped you.  Sometimes it is encouraging to others who want to give help when the recipients are grateful.  And we only have a few questions for you.  Have you any idea what happened to Alhaji and to Musa?

Sahr:    Since I went through this ordeal I have not seen Musa.  As for Alhaji we were made to understand while in Freetown that Alhaji was conscripted into the Army.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Among the people who attacked you were there any women?

Sahr:    Yes, there were women at the location where I was actually amputated.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    And what did those women say?

Sahr:    The woman didn’t say anything.  However, among them, a certain woman gave us water to drink when we said we were thirsty.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Thank you.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:      Thank your Mr. Sahr Bindi for your testimony.  I have very few questions for you.  What happened to Samuel, the severely wounded man whom you met?

Sahr:    I believe Samuel Komba is here he did meet me in Freetown.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:   Is he in this hall?

Sahr:    Yes.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Can you just stand up and point to the man?

Sahr:    That is Samuel Komba.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    That is the man?

Sahr:    Yes.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Thank you. Do you know under what circumstances they wounded him?

Sahr:    Actually, what I know is that, I found him where I came looking for my wife.  And there I found two corpses and Samuel Komba with his hand already amputated.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    What happened to the woman who was raped?   What happened to her after that?

Sahr:    I hear the lady still exists somewhere.   I’ve never seen her after that but I hear she is still alive.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    To which of the fighting forces did staff Alhaji and your perpetrators belong?

Sahr:    Staff Alhaji in actual fact was a soldier a serving soldier.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Thank you.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Sahr Bindi have you any questions you would like to ask the Commission?

Sahr:    No, I have no questions for the Commission.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Any recommendations?

Sahr:    Yes indeed.  Well first and foremost, since we have been handicapped by this amputation, we are appealing to government to do something to make some provision for our children’s education.  Secondly, I am appealing to Government on behalf of my colleagues and myself to kindly provide medical facilities for us.  Thirdly, we need some form of employment or otherwise micro credit that will facilitate us to go into some business.  Fourthly, I would like to advice the government to be security conscious as we believe it was the lapse in the security set up that brought  about this terrible experience.  Like in Kono here, the real reason for our demise is because there was little or no security arrangement in place.  That’s my message to the government.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Thank you very much and thank you for coming here to share your experiences.  We’ll include all of your recommendations including the security concern in our Report.  You may step down now.

    End of Sahr Bindi’s Testimony.

Ladies and gentlemen thank you for listening so carefully and patiently.  We are going to adjourn for five minutes then we come in again and listen to our last witness.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Ladies and gentlemen, this is going to be our last witness.  I‘m sorry we have to disappoint some people.  Now we can’t take all the people who want to give testimonies here.  We can only take a sample which we have done.   The last witness will not speak to us in person.   We are not going to see the person at all; rather we will hear the voice give the testimony.  We are doing this for security reasons and I would ask you to listen carefully and quietly.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Are you a Christian or Muslim?

Sia:    I am a Christian.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Don’t call your name just say I swear before this Commission that the testimony I shall give shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  So help me God.  Thank you.  You can start.

Sia:    We were living at Tombudu when one day news reached us that the soldiers had come and they were in Koidu town and that made us all to panic.  Their presence just reminded us that we were in a war situation.  Whilst we were there we heard news that the youths and the soldiers had clashed and that the youths had burnt two soldiers alive.  Well naturally, we were all frightened.  But we stayed at Tombudo till after two days.  Then one day we saw a red vehicle that entered Tombudo town itself.  As the vehicle entered the town and right at the entrance they shot a Maraka (Gambian) man and then they drove along the mosque and killed a woman.  Then they went to my own area of the town and shot another woman and so you can imagine there was panic in the whole town and everybody took to the bush.  We left all our properties and took to the bush.  I was in the bush with my family for three days.  We had no food to eat.  So I decided to come to visit my house and collect a few things; food and any other essentials I could lay hands on just to let us survive in the bush.  As soon as I came out of the bush I was captured by one Savage.  I immediately started weeping and pleading with him to release me.  Well he assured me he was not going to hurt me, he didn’t mean any harm for me.  They the soldiers, according to him, had come into the town and they needed some women to do the cooking for them.  I still continued pleading and weeping but he didn’t release me at all.  He brought me to Tombodu town.  I was taken to the Paramount Chief’s house and we were ordered to cook for the soldiers and we started the cooking.  One day they informed us that the RUF and the soldiers that had taken over Koidu town had a dispute. So they said that the senior soldiers that were resident at Tombodu should come to Koidu and try to settle the matter and so they came to Koidu.  When they went back, they took with them a mercenary and he introduced himself to us as Papay Jango.  He said he had come from Liberia sent here by Charles Taylor to come and help the RUF, the AFRC and the soldiers to fight and so they were supposed to be united.  He was going to be the 2nd in command at Tombodu, according to him.  So one day, I attempted to escape.  There were three of us by the time I was ready to take off my colleagues had already left.  One person was killed immediately and brought to us.  That was going to be a warning to all of us that anyone who attempted to escape would be killed.  So we were there all the time cooking for them, pounding husk rice and all of that.  So one day, one of the ladies approached us and told us that whilst they were there, they needed to have a leader among them and so a meeting was called among them.  They went to the meeting and when they came back we were informed that Savage was the Force Commander.  Staff Alhaji Bayoh was the 2nd in command.  The overall bosses were ‘Superman’ and the others who would come around from time to time to visit the area.  I want to be brief because I do not want to prolong my testimony.  Whilst we were doing this they informed us that thee civilians had escaped.  So anyone they caught escaping would be brought and killed in town.  They started going to the bush in search of food according to them.  They said that where the civilians were living in the bush that’s where all the food had been taken.  So they went in search of this food.  Indeed some people were caught and brought back with food on their heads.  It was Victor Tieh who led the group that went for the civilians with food on their heads from the bush.   When these people were brought to town, it coincided with the visit of ‘Superman’ and his own men who had gone to Tombodu to visit the area.  Superman then told them that he had warned them not to allow too many civilians into the town.  Superman then told the people to put their load down and ordered them to enter a house that was just next to the mosque.  When they all entered the house I counted them and they were sixty-four in number.  Superman order that the sixty-four people who had been locked into the house should be burnt by placing mattresses against the door of the house and putting fire to the mattresses and the soldiers were posted as securities against the doors to prevent anyone from escaping from the house and they set fire to the house whiles the people were in there.  They were all burnt to ashes.  This actually scared us to our wits.  At night many of us attempted to escape.  Those who were bold enough to make the venture, many of them were killed and they were all women.  Now these dead women we were told would be dragged to a pit, I believe this was a diamond pit that was somewhere in Tombodu there.  Since that day, Staff Alhaji passed orders that we the women who used to sleep together in the house should no longer be allowed to sleep on our own but soldiers were supposed to take each one of us every evening to their houses and rape us.  So we became sex machines for them everyday.  After a while, Johnny Paul Koroma arrived.  On the day Johnny Paul was brought to Tombodu they hid all of us from him and they said no civilians should set eyes on Johnny Paul Koroma.  It was the wife of one of the soldiers that actually informed us that it was Johnny Paul Koroma, that had come and they were arranging lodging for him.  They tried to provide a convenient lodging for him but unfortunately they couldn’t get one.  On that day, so many civilians were killed then Johnny Paul Koroma was brought back to Koidu.  One day they went out to Peyima and soldiers were sent to Peyima to go and search the bushes because they said civilians were hiding there who didn’t want to give them any assistance.  When they went, they brought back nine civilians.  My own cousin was among them.  When they were brought, I went to staff Alhaji and said please; among these people who have been brought is a teacher who happens to be my cousin.  Then Staff Alhaji retorted that there was no brother in the army.  He said if I was going to plead for my cousin then I should sign that I should be killed.  So Savage was called and at that time Savage was the executioner.  They had a mortar, which they brought outside.  Whenever they brought people they tied their hands together and their hands were placed on that mortar and that’s where they were chopped off.  My cousin was the first person they killed.  He was decapitated and was dragged to a pit where his body was thrown.  They killed all the others with the exception of one Limba man who came from Bondu who was amputated and told to take a message back to the civilians and tell them that if they caught any civilian, they will bring the civilian to Tombodu and kill him or her.  That day, they passed a law that every Thursday was going to be a day of sacrifice.  So every other day the soldiers went out on patrol when they caught civilians and brought them.  When they brought these civilians, they kept them.  One particular Thursday morning Papay Jango’s wife was there she was the one who did the pointing of fingers to who should be amputated. So if fifty people had been captured, for that Thursday morning twenty-five would be picked from among the fifty for amputation.  After the amputation they would be released to go.  Some people would cry and say they were not leaving, that they should kill them because the world was meaningless to them.  Some of them had their wishes granted: they were killed but others were left to go with their amputated arms.  The remaining twenty-five would have their hands tied behind their backs and their heads would be placed on that mortar and decapitated.  When they were decapitated, the heads were all kept in a bag.  Even the amputated hands were all kept in a bag.  Their explanation was that their bosses visited them every Thursday.  So when they came around, they were shown these dismembered parts as a sign of the fact that they were doing their job effectively.  When these hands and heads were presented to the bosses on their visits the headless bodies were then collected and thrown into a pit.  Savage who was the Executioner had a sword, which he called ‘kasablanka’.  So whenever people were brought for execution he would sing and praise the sword and say oh ‘kasablanka’ has got food for today.  The bodies of the people who were killed were thrown into a pit called Savage pit.  It was Savage who named the pit as Savage pit.  After all these events, one day we heard that ECOMOG was about to enter Koidu.  The soldiers and the rebels were all panicking and so they ordered all of us to move to Kayimah.  Fortunately it was during that time that I escaped.  When I escaped, I went behind Yadu Sandor where I had built a jut and left my children.  Fortunately I still found them there.  Fortunately too some hunters (Kamajors) came down from Guinea and by then ECOMOG had succeeded in expelling the rebels out of Koidu and the Kamajors were looking for bush paths; by-pass roads to escape with civilians who could be brought over to the ECOMOG soldiers so they could be helped.  The hunters formed two troops, which joined the ECOMOG.  We were among the third troop that was brought to ECOMOG.  When we were brought, it was just after a week that the rebels made a counter attack and drove ECOMOG troops out of Koidu.  The rebels that dislodged the ECOMOG soldiers stayed at Lebanon and the house in which these rebels lodged was the same house in which we were kept.  Again we were captives.  I was captured and they shot my right leg.  The man who shot me, I really didn’t know his name but if I should see him today I can identify him and that soldiers’ boss; his commander was called Major Amara.  So it was this Major Amara who came later and captured us in the house after his boys had shot my right leg.  When he came, he found me in tears, weeping and bleeding together with the children that I had with me.  There was also a woman that I had found in the bush and brought along with me.  She was a polio victim so I used to carry her on my back whenever we were escaping.  When this major came in, the woman kept shouting and saying if you kill this man, kill me too because he is the one that is taking care of me.  if you kill her and leave me I would just suffer.  So Major Amara started consoling us saying that we shouldn’t loose hope, as it was a war situation.  He however offered to take care of us and assured us that no harm will befall those of us who had remained.  He brought a bench and sat in front of the house where we were.  But then around Lebanon over one thousand people were killed. Major Amara then had a call and so he left this house where we were and went to answer the called.  In that same house there was a lady who was not really a blood relation but who had come along with me from Small Sefadu – a breed form Small Sefadu as I was.  She was called Kumba Kai.  A rebel that happened to enter the house where we saw this lady who was fair in complexion and, therefore, invited her and said she was an ECOMOG woman.  That woman was laid on the ground in front of that house and her throat was slit and we all started weeping inside the house.  This fellow came in and introduced himself to us as ‘kill man no blood’. He came in to collect somebody else to go and slaughter.  Fortunately Major Amara came in and drove him out, claiming that we were his captives.  After two days, he took me and my family over to Jagbwema.  We were there for a while when he told us that he had been transferred and another commander was going to come called Alpha to take over from him.  Papay Jango who was at Tombodu was again transferred to Jagbwema. He had some of his boys who were experts in slaughtering women they went on tour to a place around the Guinea border called Bandafili where they captured a lot of people that they brought over to us.  There was a soldier among Papay Jango’s group who was called ‘Takitaki’.  He said that he was an expert in killing women.  So they gave him five old women to be killed saying they were useless.  He took those five old women and tied their legs to a tree and then put two sticks and tied the hands to the sticks.  He then took a mortar pestle, which he plunged into their virginas and pulled back.  Whenever a pestle was pulled out the intestines followed and blood also oozed out.  Then that person was untied and dumped somewhere.  While she is there, struggling to give up life they would brig another one to go through the same ordeal.  That was his method of killing those five old women.  When Papay Jango came and saw him, his deeds were enough to promote him to the rank of captain.  Whilst we were at Jagbwema, a lot of killing took place there too.  After a little while we heard that a peace treaty was about to be signed.  By then the January 6 invasion of Freetown had already taken place.  So most of the rebels abandoned Jagwema and went down to Freetown and that gave us some breathing space.  Alpha was then transferred to Gandorhun because they said the Kamajors were causing problems there.  Then Alpha before he left brought my family and I to Kokuema.  At Kokuema, we were finally freed.  That, my dear Commissioners and people, is my story.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Thank you witness for that detailed testimony about the horrors of the war.  We’re sorry about your injury.  We’re now going to ask a few questions

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Witness I thank you very much for this revealing testimony. I don’t know whether I am to make this announcement because we are visiting Tombodu this afternoon.  The Commission is going to Tombodu to take a look at those sites as well as take the pictures of those sites especially the houses being referred to.  But I just want you to clarify one or two issues for our record purposes.  Where do you think Alhaji Bayoh, Savage Bayoh, is that the name?

Interpreter:    Yes.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:     Where do you think Alhaji Savage Bayoh would be now?

Sia:    Staff Alhaji I hear is back in the army and is in Freetown.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:      Back in the army did you say?   You mean he has been reinstated in the army?

Sia:    Yes.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:        What about Savage?

Sia:    I do not know about Savage’s whereabouts

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:        But do you think he is alive?

Sia:    I had never heard of his death so I believe he is alive.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:        Who was he?  Was he a civilian or also a soldier?

Sia:    He was always in military attire so I assumed him to be a soldier.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:        Yes at that time a lot of people, all of them were wearing soldier uniform at times assorted but which of the fighting forces would you think he belonged to?

Sia:    I really didn’t have time to find out about Savage because as a civilian we were not allowed to have a keen look at them; we were immediately scolded for doing the wrong thing.  We were not allowed to observe them.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    So there could have been no way whereby anybody could even suspect as to the actual fighting group each of them or anyone of them belonged to.

Sia:    Actually our status was that of slaves.  The only thing I knew about Savage was that he was called by some people as Sahr Gbonda.  Some people said that was his real name.  Some people said he was a Kono man called Sahr Gbonda, while others said he was a Mende man that’s why he had the Gbonda name.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:        What about Savage Bayoh, Alhaji Bayoh where do you think his identity could be?

Sia:    Alhaji Bayoh is a Mende and an SLA. Soldier.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:        Was it the same Alhaji Bayoh who was living at Maima?

Sia:    Yes.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:        You also made mention of Superman in your written statement.  Can you briefly tell me the part superman played, very briefly?

Sia:    Superman was the one who gave the final orders.  Whenever they brought civilians he was the one that ordered their death; their execution and whenever he gave that, it was done.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Did you hear Superman actually order the killing of the sixty-four people you counted?

Sia:    Yes of course I heard him. He gave the order to Savage and it was right in our presence that they were dragged into the house.  It was in our presence that they were taken into this house and locked up and fire was put to it and we could hear their cries and wailing when they were being burnt.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:        What about this Mr. ‘Takitaki’ who was so notorious in killing women, do you know anything about him?

Sia:    He was an SLA soldier and he told us that he hailed from Kailahun.  He also told us that before involving himself in the war, he started off by killing his own father and mother.  He said because he had been posted to Kailahun where he was when the war broke out.  So when the rebels came, he was so impressed by their performance that in admiration he volunteered to join them and that was during Foday Sankoh’s hay day. That’s how he introduced himself to us.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:        When Johnny Paul arrived at Tombodu how long did he stay there?

Sia:    When Johnny Paul arrived in Tombodu, he didn’t stay there for long; not even up to an hour, he was riding a tinted car.  They drove him over to Yikuma and from there he was brought back to Koidu because they couldn’t find a suitable place to lodge him.  That’s what I know about him.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:        Did they tell you where they were taking him to or did he say or did you hear where he was heading for?

Sia:    No, we were informed that they were looking for a safer place where he could be lodged.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:        Where is Victor Tieh now?

Sia:    He is dead.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:        How do you feel about that?

Sia:    Well he is a human being and I am a Christian so it doesn’t give me any special pleasure.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:        Or otherwise did he die naturally or he was killed?

Sia:    We were informed that they were on an attacking speed when they were confronted; attacked by a gunship and they were killed.  We were also informed that the rebels went to the scene and recovered his body and brought it back to Makeni where he was buried.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:        Sex slavery is one of the human right violations so the Commission is interested in it for that purpose.  As I want you to briefly explain how the process went on at Tombodu during that period.

Sia:    We the women were camped at a place they named G5. I do not know what G5 really means but that’s where we were camped.  There they made love to us.   We were raped and used as often as they wanted. Soon many of us were sick with no medicine to cure us.   We were forced to become their wives.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Any more questions Madam Commissioner?

Commissioner Marcus Jones:      No.

 Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    We want to thank you for coming and do sympathise with you for the agony you suffered.  Do you have any questions or recommendations for the attention of Government?

Sia:                    I’m still in pains receiving no proper medical treatment.   Let the government assist us to have good medical attention and assist us financially as well as organise skills training, etc. for us and for our dependants.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Your recommendation has been noted and we thank you.  You may step down now.   We have cone to our final session for today.   We hope to see you all tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.



Leader of Evidence:     Commissioner our first witness this morning is Abu Gbana.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Welcome, you know this is the TRC, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and we just want to find out what happened to young people like you during the war.  Now, you don’t have to worry about anything.  We’re all interested and listening to you and we are friendly.  So you will just relax, and have you talk to us.  What is your name in full?

Abu: Abu Gbana.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Now you are sixteen, a very big boy so we’re going to ask you to take the oath and what are you?  Are you a Christian or a Muslim?

Abu:    Christian.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Christian.  So take the Bible and say after me.  
    I Abu Gbana hereby swear before the Commission that the testimony I shall give shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So help me God.
    Now Abu you may begin.

Abu:    We were in Yengema Sondoh when we heard that the rebels had attacked Koidu town.  We ran away and went into the bush.  We were in the bush when they attacked the town where we were.  They followed us into the bush.  We were in the bush when they captured my dad.  He was locked in a house and the house burnt.  They also captured my mother and raped here.  They captured me too and said we should go to Kabala.  It was Saj Musa’s troop.  But when we went, I didn’t know how to shoot.  We were not trained but taught how to fire a gun.  We were there and during the night we attacked a town.  I can’t deny whether I killed or not because it was during the night.  We attacked the town.  And they asked us to retreat to Kono.  On our way, we were with them doing child labour because we were children by then.  On our way back to Kono, they were telling people to come out of the bush.  When we came, we were with them and they were forcing us to work.  We came to Bagbema where I am staying now.  We were there working for them and they were threatening us and they gave us food that was not good for us to eat.  We were smoking Marijuana by force.  They were also forcing us to do manual work.  I then escaped from them and went into the bush.  I was in the bush whilst they were in the town.  I stayed in the bush till sanity started coming back into the country.  I was in the bush till they started disarmament in Kono here and then we came out of the bush.  We were now free to walk about in the town but we were still being forced to do manual labour.  While we were with them they engaged in the digging of diamonds for them.  We were not given food and so were always very hungry.  We were there when the disarmament started in Kono and the situation calmed down as we have it now.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Thank you Abu, we’ve heard your testimony and we’re going to ask you questions just to be able to understand better.  We are the Commissioners and we will ask you questions and the Leader of Evidence too will ask you questions.    How old are you now?

Abu:    I am sixteen years old.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    How old were you when you were captured?

Abu:    I was so small that I could not remember my age.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    How many years ago?

Abu:    I can’t remember the exact time, or years.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    How many years did you spend with the rebels?

Abu:    It is about two years six months.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Were you the only child of your parents?

Abu:    Yes.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Were you going to school when you were captured?

Abu:    Yes.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Can you remember the class you were in?

Abu:    Yes.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    What class?

Abu:    Class one.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Are you going to school now?

Abu:    Yes.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    In what class are you now?

Abu:    In class two.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    With whom are you staying in this town?

Abu:    I’m staying with my grandmother?

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Your father’s mother or your mother’s mother?

Abu:    My mother’s mother.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    How many children are there in that house?

Abu:    I’m the eldest and I have two younger ones.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    In the school you attend do the children know what happened to you, that you were captured during the war?

Abu:    They don’t know because we were not staying together.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Did you tell them that they seduced you, or they raped you?

Abu:    Yes, I did tell them.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    So they know that you were captured, you told them.

Abu:    Whilst we are playing I tell them

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    What has been their reaction?

Abu:    They normally say that I’m a rebel.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Do they say that jokingly or do they go out to make you feel uncomfortable?

Abu:    They do offend me at times but sometimes as friends they are only joking with me.   However, I do get angry with them sometimes.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Now how do you feel with yourself?  Do you worry sometimes say at night when you think about all what happened, do you worry at all?

Abu:    Yes I become worried.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Have you ever had any counselling?

Abu:    No.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Are you being well taken care of, you are looking well?

Abu:    No, she is not treating me nicely.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Your grandmother?

Abu:    Yes.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    What does she do?

Abu:    Well, all what I want she does not do for me that is all.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Well maybe she is not in the position financially to do all that you want.

Abu:    No, because she does not have enough money.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Well so you should be able to understand her position.

Abu:    Yes, I do.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Alright, now the other Commissioners will ask you questions.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Abu, what did you say were your names?  All of your names, please?

Abu:    Abu Gbana and Abu Kamara

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    So which one is the right name?  How do we really address you?  Is it Abu Kamara Gbana?  Is that your full name, Abu Kamara Gbana?

Abu:    Yes.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Okay.  You said you were captured.   Do you know the people who killed your father and then raped the woman?  Was she your mother or…?

Abu:    I know the person but I heard that the person is now dead.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    So he was killed?

Abu:    Yes.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    You said they were giving you types of food that you did not want to eat at all.  What kinds of food were they forcing you to eat?

Abu:    Marijuana, lizards.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    They were roasting lizards for you to eat?

Abu:    Yes.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    When you were captured and held in captivity and forcibly taken to Koinadugu Kabala, did you engage in any fights?

Abu:    It was the only place we went so I didn’t know about fighting.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    But you said they taught you to fire guns.

Abu:    Yes they taught me.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    How many people did you remember killing?

Abu:    It was during the night, I cannot tell the number of people.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    What types of people were you asked to shoot at?

Abu:    There were ECOMOG soldiers there because the ECOMOG were their enemies.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    But you were not exchanging fires with ECOMOG soldiers in your journey from here to Kabala in the Northern parts.  ECOMOG hadn’t actually reached those areas and you said you were actually forced to be attacking villages, firing gun shots.  I just want to know the type of people you killed whether they were civilians, women, and children?

Abu:    It was during the night so I could not tell the types of people I killed.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    So you attacked at night and fired shots at civilians under duress?

Abu:    Yes.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    So you say you won’t remember how many people you killed?

Abu:    No, I don’t remember how many people I killed.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    How do you feel about the whole exercise right now, the people that were killed, etc?

Abu:    I know that I killed people but I do not know their number.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Thank you very much.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:    How did you know that you killed, did you see the dead bodies?

Abu:    Yes, we did know because they told us that we killed people in that particular town.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:    You killed them with guns?

Abu:    Yes, it was with guns.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:    So you fired the guns at people and then you were told people were killed?

Abu:    Yes.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:    Did you like being with the rebels?

Abu:    No.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:    Did you try to escape?

Abu:    Yes.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:    And what happened?

Abu:    I escaped from them.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:    Did the rebels tell you why they were fighting?

Abu:    No.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:    Why do you think that ECOMOG were your enemies?

Abu:    They told us that the ECOMOG were their enemies.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:    What do you want to do in your life, when you get bigger?

Abu:    I want to go to school; I want to go “over sea”.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:    Where?

Abu:    America.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:    And what would you do there?

Abu:    I want to go and be a lawyer there.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:    Okay, very well, I myself I’m a lawyer.  You like going to school?

Abu:    Yes.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:    What’s your favourite class, what’s your favourite subject?

Abu:    I love English.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:    Is the English teacher nice?

Abu:    We only have one teacher.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:    Thank you.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Abu, tell us a little bit about the mining you did.  How did you do it?

Abu:    We did the diamond work with shovels.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Did you succeed in finding lots of diamonds?

Abu:    When the diamond process is going on they don’t allow the children to go nearer.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    I see, so you were only doing the digging?

Abu:    Yes.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Thank you.  Leader of Evidence?

Leader of Evidence:     Commissioner I have no question.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Alright thank you Abu.  Now we’ve been asking you questions. Have you questions you want to ask the Commission about our work, how we do the work, any questions?

Abu:    No.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Now you’re sixteen so you are a fairly big boy and you’ve had a lot of experience with the rebels and then you’ve come back to town, into the community after peace.  Have you any recommendations that you would like to make to the government?  Anything you would like done to improve life, now that you’ve come back into the community so that we can write it, put it down in our report.  Have you any recommendations?

Abu:    Where we are staying, there is a big river there and there is no bridge on top of the river so we are begging the government to assist us.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    And what’s the name of that place?

Abu:    Bagbema.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Yes, any other?

Abu:    We don’t have proper school there if the government can help us.  We only have one teacher in the town.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Now how big is this school, how many of you?

Abu:    Up to fifteen in number.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    and the one teacher teaches all of you?

Abu:    Yes.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Any other recommendation?

Abu:    We have so many sick people there and we have no clinic, no hospital.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Any more?

Abu:    I don’t have any other one.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Alright, thank you very much Abu.  Try and be helpful to your grandmother and try and do well in school and you can never tell your dreams may come true, you will go to America and be a lawyer.  Alright thank you.





Commissioner Prof. Schabas:     Good morning everybody.  Welcome to the fourth day of hearings here in Kono District.   Yesterday as you know The Truth and Reconciliation Commission met in a closed session.   We did that because we had to hear from child witnesses and from victims of sexual assault and from victims that require a more private setting for their testimony.  Today we resume with our public hearings as we have a full day of hearings ahead of us.  I will ask at the outset that as it is the custom of the Truth Commission we pray.  I would ask that people pray silently according to their own faith for half a minute.  Before calling upon the Leader of Evidence to indicate the first witness for the morning, let me just announce that we will wait at the close of this morning’s session for the press briefing and members of the process are invited to remain when we adjourn at the end of the morning session for the press briefing.  I would now ask the Leader of Evidence if he would please call the first witness for the morning.

Leader of Evidence:    Mr. Commissioner our first witness this morning is Abdul Razak Kamara.  Razak Kamara.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:     Witness would you please identify yourself? Please give us your name?

Witness:    I am Abdul Razak Kamara.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:    Would you please take the Koran in your hands.  The oath taking is administered.

Thank you Mr. Kamara, you may have witnessed a previous hearing of the TRC or know how we proceed but let me just remind you how we will take your testimony this morning.  First we will ask you if you will make a statement and tell the Truth Commission and tell the public who are here to hear your testimony, what do you have to say about the things that happened to you during the conflict? Then, the commissioners would ask you some questions and we would ask also the Leader of Evidence Mr. Charm if he has questions for you and at the conclusion we would invite you to ask questions of the Commission and to make any suggestions with respect to recommendations that the Commission might make.    Would you like to proceed?  Please tell us what you will have to say about the conflict and your involvement in it?

RazaK:    I want to take this opportunity to stand up and ask the paramount chief to allow me to testify before this Commission?

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:     I think you may proceed.

Razak:    I would like to sit down and testify before this Commission.  Thank you.  The war that started in Sierra Leone in 1991 was championed by Saybana Foday Sankoh who was a victim of Brigadier Bangura’s coup in 1971.  During the war of the last decade, there was a deliberate effort on the part of the RUF to make sure that the youths were used as instruments of destruction through the means of wing drugs like cocaine, muffin, metagon, brown brown and cannabis sativa.  Some of those youths according to our affiliation with the RUF when we did our research, were killed in the presence of their parents.  Some of the girls were raped and they were supposed to be in schools by then, regrettably some of those children are now in the dilemma of being dropouts, drug addicts, commercial sex workers and pregnant teenagers or child mothers.  I came in contact with the RUF when they attacked my home.  When the AFRC coup took place in Freetown I left Freetown for Yoni.   By then the ECOMOG, the SLA, the CDF were based there.   When the RUF attacked, I was the chairman of the Yoni youth council which was engaged in many development activities.   When the RUF attacked they drove the ECOMOG troops but Yoni was surrounded by the Kamajors and other forces.  At that time, as a young man anywhere we went, we were either branded as part of the RUF or as a supporter of the government.  Four days after the town was taken by the RUF, we hadn’t anywhere to go there was a lot of harassment within the community, so Colonel Bai Bureh decided to call a meeting of everybody in Yoni.  The authorities in the town met me and explained the situation to me.  I told them that I’m with them because I had no where to go.  And if we had refused to attend this meeting they would have taken us to be against them so the people decided to go and listen to what was going to be said at the meeting.   When we went to the meeting, Colonel Bai Bureh told us that it was time for peace.  He said he was ready for us to establish a peaceful settlement in mile 91.  We listened to his stories and we then told him that we had no alternative since to have peace is what we have been praying for.  But then I told him that there is one thing I’ll want to ask for and that is for them to establish an immediate cease fire, in order to bring an end to the harassment of our people and the entire community.  And the child combatants who were captured in Yoni should be given to them so that they could be returned to their parents.   Now you are telling us to form a peace council so we will, therefore, go to hang heads with our people.  We called the chief, the religious council and the youths.  I was then made chairman of that committee.  By then I was 21/2 miles away from mile 91 where they were.  I came one morning and my people complained of some people raping, even though they have decided on peace so I met Colonel Bai Bureh and asked him on what principles the RUF were operating?  And he told me than in the RUF the punishment for raping is death.  If you harass any liberated civilian you would also be killed.  If you loot or burn a house you will be killed too so I told him that my people have been grumbling about such activities of the RUF so he said that from hence forth, anybody identified of committing any of the above crimes should be brought to him.  I then went and told my people.  When I returned to Yoni in the evening I went back in the afternoon hours of the next day, only to be told of a boy by the name of “I like it” who was shot.  His father’s name was Moses, and he was a member of the mile 91 drivers union.  They said that he was fired by Major Milton so I went back to the elders in mile 91.  I ask them for the reason why “I like it” was killed and why did they also refuse to have his body buried.  They said “I like it” was their child and he was shot only because he broke the law by raping a suckling woman.  I then ask them if they investigated the matter and they told me that it was the woman herself who went and reported the matter before they caught “I like it”.  And the men said he should not be buried so that it could be an example for others to stop.  I said no, I said the men killed “I like it” because he raped but they should not refuse him the right of burial.  I said the act had already be done so I pleaded with them to kindly allow me to hand the body over to the parents for burial.  They said they were not going to bury him.  They said the people were complaining of rape but now it was our brother who committed the act.   So he became annoyed and his boys started to push me and they ordered me to leave the scene.  So I returned to Yoni to sleep.  In that morning I went back and met Major Milton who did the execution.  I told him that the peace process was that of give and take.  I asked him to give me the corpse so that the people can do the burial. He then granted me the permission so I called the boy’s parents together with the youths who took his body away and buried him.  I also told him that in our culture, when somebody dies, we perform some funeral rites for him. I wanted him to allow me to perform the ceremony.  The permission was granted and I did it.  That made the harassment to stop for a while but there was one Major Foday who was also known as Major Property in the area where the Kamajors were in our chiefdom which was known as a liberated area.  There he usually went to find food.  The Kamajors sent a representative to come and report the matter to me.  It was their commander who was called Orshay.  I then asked Bai Bureh to warn his boys to stop offending the Kamajors who were also gun men.   And you have told them not to fight you so you should not go in their area to find food.  One day he went there again with his boys and the Kamajors took revenge and attacked them.  After he was attacked, he came to mile 91.  He said it was Abdul Razak who incited the Kamajors to attack and remove them from mile 91 so I came in the morning and Colonel Bai Bureh ordered us and the elders to be arrested.  He said we should be stripped naked.  So I beg him and told him that I was a prince from a ruling house in this area and that was why I was loved and respected by the people.  He asked them to strip me naked and do whatever they wanted to do with me instead of stripping the elders naked. So I was stripped naked of my clothes but they did not do it to the elders.  I was beaten because they said our brothers have attacked them.  I was locked up for three days and one day I was taken out of the cell and an investigation was conducted and they found that Major Foday was still harassing the Kamajors.  So they called all of us together with the youths.   They said they were going to give us ideologies.  They took so many sticks, whips and other things they lined us up and we were made to pass between their lines with every one of them beating us as we crawled on the ground.  They told me from, henceforth, to start sleeping in mile 91 and that my movements should be monitored.  My people pleaded with them they said if I leave them they will be afraid so I was in Yonibana and I used to leave by 6:00 a.m. every morning to report to them.   One day they brought one Captain Bakarr whom they said was to head the Peace Committee.  We were working with the Peace Committee when the ECOMOG troops removed us from mile 91.  We came to Magbass.  We travelled with so many civilians who were over 5,000 in number.  When we arrived in Magbass I asked them to allow me to conduct a census.   We did that and registered our people.  I met with the chiefs in Magbass and I asked them to host my people since they were from the same Tonkolili District.  They were then at Magbass for up to a month.   In Magbass, we were attacked by the Kamajors.  We were removing from there  and were already three miles off when Colonel Bai Bureh gave orders that I should be fired at on sight.  I also met one Major Milton who warned me not to go to Magburuka.   He said I should stay where I was and make sure that my Kamajor brothers left the place before attempting to go anywhere.   Otherwise I would be playing into the hands of Bai Bureh who had planned to kill me.   We had to sleep there.  In the morning, they sent one lieutenant Jango to go with us on a mission to see whether the Kamajors were still at Magbass.  When we went there, we found no Kamajor.   So we returned and reported the on situation on the ground accordingly.   Before our arrival an order had already been passed that I should be arrested and taken to Magburuka.  I was taken to Magburuka and before we even got there I had already been tripped naked and my people saw me being brought by them so the township gathered and went to Colonel Bai Bureh’s house.  On arrival there I was locked up in the house where the goats slept.  They told me that I was going to be executed publicly the following morning.   So I prayed to God asking that he helps me to walk out of jail free since I was fighting a genuine course in the interest of peace in this country.  After two days, I was taken out of jail and a court martial was set up to investigate my case.  At the conclusion of the investigation I was proven to be innocent so they decided to start monitoring my movements in order for me not to run away.  So I went and settled in Lamina Street in Margburaka.  One evening they sent for me and asked me to join the administration in Margburaka town but I refused.   Then one “Captain self beating” told me that in the RUF people do not turn down the positions that are offered them.   The punishment for refusing to take the offer was death; I was to be put to death, as my refusal showed that I had a bad motive for them.   I was taken to him that morning by Brigadier Moris Kallon.  But then one woman went and cried to him on my behalf.  She told them that I in particular should not be killed or else they would lose everything to the civilians.  He asked me for my name, I told him I was Abdul Razak.  He told me that from that day onward I should start working in the Margburaka administration in order to make sure that peace is maintained in Margburaka.  I told him that the first thing they should do was to call a general meeting for me to address my people.  I went and addressed my people I telling them that I wanted them to stay and be courageous.  And I said, “For you the soldiers you are to ensure that from today onward nobody carries a gun on him in this town.   Also you should allow the market to open without any harassment and that the Mosques and Churches should be opened”.   They agreed.  I called the trade union movement and spoke with them.  They too agreed to open the market again.  I called the Imam and ask him to open the Mosque because religion was one thing that could change the minds of people.  I called a Pastor and I also spoke with him and they all agreed to do what I proposed.  But at that time the business people were harassed greatly each time they attempted to travel between Magburaka and mile 91.  One day the traders met me and said Mr. Razak you will have to open the route for us from Magburuka to mile 91.  I wrote a letter to the ECOMOG commander that was there Lt. Colonel Peter Omua.  He saw my letter and my name so he said he was happy to receive me.   So one morning I bade them farewell I told them I was going to mile 91.  Some of the traders joined me. The ECOMOG and civilians went two miles after mile 91 to receive me.    We went and I spoke with the commander and he agreed to open the road.  The ECOMOG commander decided to visit mile 91.   He came with food when he returned.   General Issa sent a message saying I had a different motive.  He queried my relationship with the ECOMOG commander.   He did not understand why ECOMOG should listen to me instead of them.   So I was arrested and locked up.  They pleaded for my release and later they changed my assignment to leave Magburaka for mile 91.  I then went to Makeni.   When I arrived in Makeni, they asked me to be with the administration in Makeni, Brigadier Kallon was in charge.  Three days later I was accused of saying that I didn’t have any respect for authority and these authorities were the Liberians and the senior people that started the war.  I was called and I answered that I said it; I said it was because they were not Sierra Leoneans.  I told them that they were responsible for all that was happening because they were not Sierra Leoneans they should return to their country and leave us alone.  They became annoyed and removed me from their administration.  I ask Brigadier Kallon for permission to go and meet my people so that we would start gold mining and agriculture.   I went there and later UNAMSIL too went to deploy their troops there.   One day after the deployment of the UNAMSIL troops a conflict arose among them.   By then I was in Moroba.  Then Colonel Jungle went and met me.  He told me there was a problem in Magburuka and that UNAMSIL had been arrested by Pa Gboro, Kailondo and Kallon.  So I told them that since Pa Sankoh was in Freetown he could give an order for their arrest but when he went, he said in Magburaka that I said it was Pa Sankoh  who was responsible for their arrest.  He said I told him that Pa Sankoh was responsible for the arrest of UNAMSIL because he did not give an order for the arrest of Gbow, Kailondo and Moris Kallon.  So they sent people to go and arrest.  On my arrest, the people that arrested me went and fought in Malangba for properties and one of them was shot in his foot.  I was taken to Magburaka and Colonel Bia Bureh gave orders for my execution.  He pointed the pistol at me twice but I was not shot so I ran away.  I hid myself and I went to Makeni and stayed there for three days.  I was there when Issa sent for me to go to Kono Moris Kallon also sent for me so I went to meet him and I asked him how I was going to travel to Kono since I didn’t know the way.  I didn’t even have the means for getting there.   So they gave me a vehicle to take me to Kono.   Issa also arrived in Kono at night following my arrival.   The following morning they said they had a meeting that was scheduled to take place in Liberia.   Our own meeting in Kono preceded the one in Liberia where they decided to change Pa Sankoh as leader of the RUF because they said he was no longer trusted by the people of Sierra Leone and the ECOWAS Heads of Sate since he was a liar.   So they chose Issa as the interim leader.  They were now to select people to go as foreign delegates to Liberia.  Gibril Massaquoi, Kenneth Macauley and I were also chosen to be part of the delegation supposed to leave for Monrovia the following day.  They said the Heads of State were to come in the morning but they did not come so President Taylor then facilitated a trip to Alpha Kunare in Mali.  We then went to meet President Alpha Kunare and we tendered our letter of the suggesting the change in the leadership of the RUF and he promised to pass it over to the other Presidents.  We left him and returned to Monrovia.  In Monrovia, I was introduced to General Ibrahim Bah.  General Ibrahim said he never knew me as part of the RUF so he did not see how I got to be part of the delegation.   When he finished talking, I asked him who he was.  I asked whether he was a Sierra Leonean and he said no.  So I told him it was not his business, I said he was one of the causes of instability in Sierra Leone.  I said as I’m here, I will make sure that peace returns to Sierra Leone, I told him that I was not going to die in Liberia but that I would return to Sierra Leone.  The Heads of State went to Liberia two days after.  They said they had met with Pa Sankoh in prison.  They said they had spoken to him about the change and he agreed, so they too accepted.  When Issa went, General Ibrahim told him that he was not satisfied with me because I was passing on information to the American Embassy.  By then  we had signed the cease fire document.  I was molested and was asked to return.  I stayed for some time and they asked me to return to Sierra Leone so they said I should travel together with Issa.  I refused to travel with them because I was afraid. I travelled with a Liberian boy by the name of Lahai Koroma to Sierra Leone.  When I came back to Sierra Leone the UN asked the RUF to give them some people to work with them as a contact group.   They gave that position to Pa Bainda but he did not work properly.  He was changed and the position was given to me.  When I occupied the position, I observed that there was provision in the agreement for the installation of all government machineries and a free flow of persons and vehicles.  I told them that all these things should happen and Issa said that he had given me the power to do whatever I thought to be good.  Doctor Kai kai and others went to Lunsar and invited us to a meeting for the disarmament so I spoke with my Lunsar brothers to disarm.   They ask for the deployment of the police and I said they should deploy because it was in the agreement.  So it was done and after the deployment of the police, I went back to Makeni and was told that there was a problem with the Kamajors.  They were attacking the border so I met General Alie Hassan suggested to him that we should ensure that the UNAMSIL troops were deployed in Kono.  He promised to try.  I went with General Martin Algoi to a meeting in which they were annoyed with me.  They alleged that I had wanted to disturb the mining in Kono that was why I asked that the UN be invited to deploy.  As I returned in the morning I went with 75 trucks of the Bangladesh battalion.   They came and deployed and Issa accepted the deployment because there was a problem with the Kamajors. They went and held a meeting and they decided to change me from that position.    When they changed me they made the comment that the dangerous leader had left.  I was now in Makeni with my movement being monitored.  One day Pa Gbow called me and said I had accused him of arresting the UN.  I said but I was not here.  He also accused me of taking bribe from Pa Kabba in order to let the UN deploy after a week.   They held another meeting at which a fund raising committee was appointed and I made the chairman.  They said I should report in Kono.  I came and reported myself in Kono.  They said Lion was the chairman of that meeting i.e. the committee so I called him up, I told them that as I am the chairman of the fund raising committee and he was the chairman prior to that time, I wanted him to give me a report on the amount of money and diamonds he had collected.  He warned the others immediately that trouble was on the way since they had involved an educated person in that committee.   I called Osman Bangura who was working with him.  I asked him to tell me how they were operating.  He said the traders were asked to pay for any goods they brought into Kono.  I asked them if they had any debt to pay and they said yes.  I asked whether they had saved some of the money.  They said no.  I told them that from that day onward all the debts owed to the civilians should be first of all paid and that he should not take instruction from anybody to collect money from civilians until they had finished paying their debts.  The civilians started coming and there are still some in Kono as I’m talking who have to pay me five million, six million, three million, etc.    So they started paying these debts.  Lion always came to ask me for a loan of fuel to the miners. I told him that I was not in position to do that since I did not find any money but debts.  The vanguards met again and said I had my eyes on them so they went against me.  At one time I was in Kono when the Bangladeshi went and took the Kamajors so I decided to go and welcome them.   I shopped for them.  I bought clothes, shoes and other things and because of that my people went against me again.  That same night, I saw two trucks loaded with steel windows I halted the vehicle and asked where they were going with the windows.  I went and met the MP Commander and told him that they had burnt the town and if they were now taking the steel windows from Kono to Freetown to sell them what would the people of Kono who lived in Freetown say.  And Eddie was one of the people that were involved in the stealing.  They decided to ambush me on my way home.  They started firing at my vehicle but I was able to survive their ambush I then ran away and told Issa.  When I told Issa, he came with me so they were called and asked about the steel windows but they could not produce them.  Issa then told them that they depended on me for any political activity because of the love the people had for me.  But then he was just playing the hypocrite.   After three days, I was travelling through Massingbi to go to Makeni not knowing that a radio message had been sent ordering my arrest.  I was arrested in Massingbi and taken to Makallie. Issa then sent 50 people headed by Colonel Lion to meet me in the jail. They came and met me in the jail.  They then removed me from the jail and I was stripped naked and beaten.  They said I was thinking that I was in an educated world but now I have been handled.   I was stabbed on my hand and Lion kicked me in my penis.  He did this together with Yellow Man and I pretended to be dead.  So they said they should leave me because I was now dead.  They broke my hands and my feet and they again took me to the jail.  There was a boy named Kissi Boy who gave me peak milk and water to drink.  I drank it and I was able to survive.   There was a commander at Makallie known as Colonel Izick who told them not to give me medical treatment.   But he was a Liberian who accused me of inciting the men to disarm and he also said that I was condemning the Liberians who started the war.  I was abandoned there for a week and he told them not to give treatment to me because I was telling people to disarm and condemning the Liberians who started the war and that I was saying that they were not good people.  I was in the jail when my people came to ask Issa what I had done.  Before I was beaten, the people were told that I had two bags of dollars and diamonds and that I was also going to surrender to Pa Kabba in Freetown.  When my people asked Issa, he said he ordered me to be beaten because I had married his girl friend.  He also said that I had incited too many people to disarm and refuse to take orders.  I was in Makallie again when Issa instructed people to go and beat me.  But when he came and saw my condition, one Talik pleaded for him to be allowed to treat me.   Issa agreed for him to treat me on the condition that no UN personnel should see me.  They said I should not be taken to Makeni or Kono but that I should stay in Makallie.   So Lt. Colonel Oladepo got informed about the way I had been treated.  But Issa denied and he told them that I was doing some job in Kono.  The UN troops that I worked with when I was in the contact group were eager to see me because the process was getting slower.  When they came to Kono, they were told that I was in Makeni and when they went to Makeni they told them I was in Kono.  Tarik then took me away and by then I was impotent.  Lion and others used to pour petrol into my eyes so I was not seeing any more.   Talik sent for a dispenser in Masingbi and by then my wife was with Talik and she also sent some crutches for me but they told Talik that on no account should I go out and I was unable to see or walk.  He treated me for up to a year when I then started learning to walk.  They also called a medicine man called Pa Lamin to treat my impotency but he was unable to cure me so my brothers came.  They said I should leave my wife Haja because it was for her sake that I was treated that way by Issa.  I ask them how they expected me to leave her when I had been stripped of all I had and was now impotent.   I said to them that there was no other woman in the world that could readily accept me in that condition.  So I called her and told her what people were saying about our relationship.  PA Lamin tried to cure me again.  At 2:00 a.m. one morning, Issa and Brigadier Mike Lamin and Brigadier Kallon arrived in some vehicles with armed men and they asked for me.  They were discussing for an hour before Talik handed me over to them.  By then I had started walking and I was seeing a bit it was only my manhood that I had problem with.  I was loaded in a vehicle and taken to Kono.   I was handed over to Brigadier Kallon for him to ensure that I didn’t escape.  At night I was loaded in a vehicle but before going I told Tarik that he had treated me but then I was being taken away and I was not sure of my return.   I told him not to forget my mother and my wife and if I returned I would never forget him.  So they took me to Liberia to a place called Gbow.   There I saw many Sierra Leonean boys who were with the RUF.   Brigadier Kallon and others started to take a drink called Bitter Root.  I then ask them the reason why they had brought me there when they knew that I was not in good health.  They told me to just follow them and that they were going to see President Taylor.  But by then there was fighting going on, the rebels had attacked the government forces of Liberia. They started taking me to the battle field anytime they went.  One day a conflict ensued between Benjamin 18 and Brigadier Moris Kallon.  They said President Taylor was supposed to give them some money and that they had come for it.  I told them that if we were to continue to stay there Benjamin 18 was telling us to use the chopper for me not to be killed.  So I started inciting the boys that were there to run away from Liberia to Sierra Leone.  I told them that those boys that had disarmed had been paid and had now started schooling again.  During one night, I was again loaded in a vehicle to return to Sierra Leone because President Taylor was not happy with them.   We argued in Kono on 17th December, 2001 and there I heard them saying that the Kono chief had come.  In the morning the Kono chief went to greet Issa.   As soon as the chief came Kailondo went there and started telling them that this time they were going to split their stomachs (in the Liberian accent) so I said look Kailondo as the people of Kono have now returned we will not allow any Liberian to molest our people this time round.  Why didn’t you molest your own Liberian chief?  I told him that it was their duty to respect the people who governed the land.  By then they had agreed to stop the town digging.  On 18th December, a fighting ensued in the town dubbed the “cutlass fight” and Issa ran away.  Kailondo remained in the town and sent for some of the boys in Tongor who had not yet disarmed to re-enforce their ranks.  He told them that they were going to spoil the town and start afresh.   So I called Sylvester and told him that we were not going to allow any foreigner to disturb the peace we were now having in Sierra Leone.  I told them that we should see the chief in order for us to stop the fighting but Kailondo refused.  So I told them if they could not listen to us we would find a way to get rid of them.   We went and we met with chief Kongorba and chief Nyandebu and other chiefs.  I fell on my knees and begged them to explain their grievances to me since I was not in Kono.   For the time that I was there I was going to stand firm to see that their wishes were met.  They said RUF were liars and unserious.   We had told them to stop digging the town but they called Alhaji Kamara who told them that Issa Kamara was the only person who had the right to stop them.   So we had to involve the Pakistani contingent and Commissioner Val Bangura came over to get the people to move from Kono to Massingbi and he tried to turn it into a tribal war.  They stated that the Kono’s were killing the Themn?s and Mendes in Kono.  We met with the chief together with the youths.  The NGO’s told us they were leaving because their properties had been taken away including motor cycles, etc.   They arrested a police truck and a land rover of one chief and these things were taken away.  There I promised the chief that I was going to Massingbi where the Themn?s had regrouped for the tribal war to stop them.   I was going to bring them to Kono in order to bring stability.  So they gave me Fomba and some Pakistanis to go with me to Makeni.  When we arrived, we saw so many cutlasses, machetes, single barrel guns, knives and sticks.  I was with some policemen who they had wanted to attack so I came down and stopped everybody and asked them what was wrong.  They told me that the Konos had killed so many Themn?s and Mendes and that they were not going to accept it, so I showed them a Kono guy whom I had travelled with who was called Fomba.  I told Fomba there and then to disarm all the Themn?s and to put all the single barrels and knives together for we were going to open the route to Makeni.  I told Fomba that I was a son of the Themn?s and Mendes and he was a Kono but he should disarm them all of their guns and knives.  I told them all to lay down their sticks.  I asked them to call the Kono’s for me.  We went to Makeni and I called all the chiefs.  I told them that if anybody informed them that there was a tribal war they should not believe it. I said it was only a disagreement since some people had not wanted to respect the owners of the land.  I then invited them to go to Kono and meet with the chiefs.  The chiefs agreed and the UN sent a helicopter for them.  We got to Kono and signed a communiqué to open the road.  I opened the road and they were told to return the properties of the NGO’s that they had stolen.   As they were to leave the town I signed for the return of the properties and I left for Makeni with the help of the police.  I was able to retrieve the trucks from them.  I handed them over to Pa Val Bangura.  We arrived in Makeni town. I told them to arrest any new Honda Bike they saw.  They then arrested three new bikes and I took them to Kono.  I called the World Vision staff to come and identify the bikes as theirs.   They identified the bikes as theirs so I turned the bikes over to them.  But during this crisis, that was one thing that I wanted to do that I was unable to do that is to get back chief Saffias vehicle that was taken from him and dismantled by Lion, Issa’s brother and taken to Makeni.  When I got back to Kono there was a rumour that I had joined the Kono Paramount Chief and that I had been converted to the SLPP and that was why I behaved thus.  But I was respected by the Kono people because of what was happening so I stayed in Kono.  Any RUF member who came to Kono reported to me and Sylvester and I told the chief about them.  I was not to go to Makeni, but when it was time for politics I sent a message to Issa.  I told him that I was going to damage the reputation of the RUF party and ensure that they did not have a single seat in parliament.  So I started sending messages to the elders who respected me.  I told the elders that the RUF had dug a lot of diamond which they could not account for so if they voted for such a party they should expect the worst to happen.  I sent a warning to Issa telling him that he should only do his campaigning in Makeni, and he should never attempt to go to Kono where I was with my Kono people. My brothers supported me and we were in Kono up to a time when they decided to call up a meeting at the park.   I then met with the Kono people and fell on my knees.   I begged them and told them that even though I was not in Kono when all the crises took place I was begging them to forgive us in order for us to maintain the peace.  I said as I had regained my sight I was saying thanks to the Kono chiefs and the people of Kono for their regards and for helping me maintain the peace.  I am now asking the Commissioner to allow me to bow to the Kono chiefs to beg for forgiveness, that they kindly forgive me for all that had happened.  If there is anybody that I offended during the conflict, I am asking that person to please come forward before the Commission so that I apologise to such a person.  I beg the Commissioner to please allow me to bow before the people of Kono to ask for forgiveness for anything I could have done to hurt them.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:    Thank you Mr. Kamara.  I think while you were testifying the photographer and the camera man wanted to take a picture of your wounds and I asked them to stop and wait for you to finish your testimony but I’ll let them do that now.  Can you finish now please so that we can resume the testimony?   Mr. you made a public plea for forgiveness and I just want to assure you that tomorrow the Truth Commission will be holding a special public ceremony where witnesses like yourself will have an opportunity to do it in a formal setting and you can speak to the briefer after your testimony about the terms that would be appropriate for you participate in that activity.  When you began your testimony you asked the chiefs present here for permission but I want to make it clear that nobody needs permission to speak before the Truth Commission.  People speak before the Truth Commission as part of their duty as Sierra Leoneans, they require nobody’s permission to speak to the Truth Commission.

Razak:    Well as a tradition I asked the chiefs to sit down and I thank them for that.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:     I understand the tradition but I’m saying that the Truth Commission is created by the parliament of Sierra Leone and all Sierra Leoneans have a duty to speak before the Commission and they require the permission of nobody to do so.  I understand the courtesy and the gesture of course.  Mr. Kamara could you tell the Commission what you do now, what is your job now what do you do in your life?

Razak:    Well as I said earlier that the young men who were fighting were given drugs to do most of the things they did, I started an organization called Global Youths Foundation Against Drug Abuse.  We have an expert from England who is giving us his service voluntarily to habilitate youths and their associates who are taking drugs and I am the executive director of that programme.  We have a centre at Korkoima with some young men taken from the Kissy Mental Home who are now being rehabilitated.  I am at present the executive director of Global Youths Foundation Against Drug Abuse situated at Korkoima.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:    You said in your testimony if I heard you correctly, you said you were detained and imprisoned for three days.  Did I understand you properly? You said in your testimony you had been held in a cell for three days?

Razak:    No, not so.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:     I understood you.  Were you detained there at one point?

Razak:    Yes, but more than once.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:     Is it clear to understand from your testimony that you were part of the RUF for a considerable period of time?

Razak:    Well, it was not for a very long time. It was probably about four years when I was with them at the time Mile 91 was under attack.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:     You mentioned that you were taken to Liberia to meet President Charles Taylor.   Did you actually meet him?

Razak:    Yes, we met him with the other Presidents from Nigeria and Mali i.e. President Omar Kunare and President Obasanjo.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:     Would it be actually correct to describe you as part of the leadership of the RUF?

Razak:    No, I was just part of the delegation that was appointed to assist in the peace process and to work with UNAMSIL.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:    How long was the delegation? How big was the delegation?   How many people where in the delegation?

Razak:    Well, I had the contact group’s secretary general and the members who were working with the UN.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:     When you went to Liberia and you met Charles Taylor and the other leaders how many people were there from the RUF?

Razak:    Only three went but Gbow and Issa joined us later in Liberia because the Presidents said they wanted to see them in person.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:     So you were part of the delegation a relatively small group of leaders from the RUF who met with the Presidents?

Razak:    I was part of the delegation that went to establish the peace process which we are now enjoying.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:     What was the relationship between Charles Taylor and the RUF?

Razak:    The relationship that existed between Charles Taylor and the RUF by then is very difficult for somebody to say because there were some people known as the Vanguards who used to talk in secret to him.  But I actually knew that there was a relationship between Charles Taylor and the RUF since the RUF members were travelling to Liberia and I even met some of the boys that were here and who were subsequently taken to Liberia and they are still there.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:     The person you were naming frequently in your testimony as Issa is Issa Sesay, is that right?

Razak:    Yes, I mentioned his name.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:     Is It the man who is currently detained and has been indicted by the Special Court for war crimes?

Razak:    Yes.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:     Do you think he committed war crimes?

Razak:    Well in my own view, most of the instructions that were given were given under his command and he loved the leadership.  He was the commander and the interim leader so if he is accused of war crimes against humanity then it’s up to the Special Court to investigate and if there are evidences to prove it then he committed them.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:     Well you were working with him so closely for a period of time.   To your knowledge, did he ever give orders to commit war crimes or crimes against humanity?

Razak:    Well in my own case, I was not a front line commander who was giving orders to go and attack or to kill somebody.  I was not a commander so it’s only the special court that can investigate with evidence to find him guilty.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:     So the answer is, you don’t know whether he committed crimes against humanity or war crimes?

Razak:    Well it is only the court that has the justification to find somebody guilty for any crime because I have never witnessed or given any order to commit any crime other than my participation in the peace process.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:     Do you believe he did?

Razak:    Issa, if I believe that he committed war crimes?

Schabas:    Yes do you believe if he did.  Do you believe that Issa committed crimes against humanity and war crimes?

Razak:    Well the court is investigating when they bring out their findings then I will actually believe but I don’t want to do it as an individual.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:     You’ve not answered my question would you answer my question please?

Razak:    Yes sir.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:     You are required by law to answer my question.  Do you believe he committed war crimes and crimes against humanity?

Razak:    Well the order he gave for me to be beaten and I became impotent is a crime against humanity.  I was also wounded.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:     He is also accused of being responsible for raping women do you believe that?

Razak:    Well, when the rape case was coming, they said he executed people but by then he was in Makeni while I was in Mile 91.  The only person that I heard executed for raping was Major Milton and that was what I said earlier on.  And yesterday, somebody testified that Issa killed somebody in the mining area.  So automatically he has killed through the testimony I heard yesterday because I was not in Makeni when these killings were happening.  I did not go to Makeni.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:     Was Issa responsible for people having their hands being chopped off?

Razak:    I only saw amputees when I was moving after the peace process then I saw Gibril whose hands were chopped off but I was not there when Issa gave orders for them to cut hands.   So I don’t know.

Commissioner Prof. Schabas:     Thank you may step down.

Leader of Evidence:    Mr Commissioner our next witness is Mustapha Bangura.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Name Please.

Mustapha:    My name is Mustapha Bangura.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Muslim or Christian?

Mustapha:    I am ready to give you the information.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Go ahead.

Mustapha:    I am Mustapha Bangura I came from my home; I joined the army and was then taken to Koribondo.  I was taken again to Newton where we stayed until the NPRC government came to power.  We were then taken from there to Kailahun and from Kailahun I was transferred to the Lungi garrison.  I continued at Lungi for the rest of my life.  I was there when the NPRC and AFRC governments took power.  We were the first batch to surrender ourselves to the police in Port Loko.  After overthrowing the AFRC government from power, my friends and colleagues returned to their stations.  The ECOMOG troops moved from Lungi to Kono.  We were the second batch to come and enforce the ECOMOG in Kono.  By then I was in Njabema.  The RUF troops attacked us in Njabeme.  We went back to Freetown and then from Freetown I was taken to Kabala.  I was in Kabala when the Kamajors visited our home.  Because I was a soldier they started harassing our relatives.  One of my uncles was killed by one of my brothers because he was a Kamajor in our village.  

Commissioner Marcus Jones:     The last thing he mentioned was about was uncle.

Mustapha:    The CO in our village was one of my uncles.  My brother was one of the Commanders in the Kamajor ranks in our village but because they knew that we were from there and we were from the army, Sierra Leone army one of my uncles was there supposed to look after us.   But his affiliation to us cost him his life. He was killed by a soldier.  From that they arrested one of my uncles whose name is Sahr Momoh Foray.  He was beaten by them.  Even my mother and father were harassed by them to the extent that my parents ran into the bush.  From the bush they went to Bo.  By then we were under the British soldiers.  After the training I was given a five-day pass.  I went to my village.  My people explained everything to me.  I told them that I have no power to do anything to that man, but I will find a way for bringing us together at least for the sake of my uncle who was killed by them.  I did not really mind much the beating of the others but it was most painful for me to hear of the way my uncle died.  He looked after me when there was no one else to do so.  He was called Muniru Moi Foray.  That is all that brought me to TRC today.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:     Thank you Mr. Bangura for coming to the Commission and sharing your experience with the nation.

Mustapha:    Okay.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    So essentially you are before the Commission because they killed your uncle?

Mustapha:    Yes sir.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Do you know who killed him?

Mustapha:    Yes sir.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Do you know where they are now?

Mustapha:    Yes sir.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Where is that?

Mustapha:    They are all staying in our village, Bagbor in the Bo district.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    That is around Jimmy Bagbor?

Mustapha:    Seven miles to Jimmy Bagbor sir.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    We are very much sorry to hear that.  It is a pity that it happened.  Looking closely at the situation one takes pity on you given the fact that you were in the force probably fighting for and defending innocent lives of this country.   It is heart rending for people to take revenge on you for doing that.  It is indeed quite a sorrowful situation.   When did you join the army?

Mustapha:    1991.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    At the beginning of the war?

Mustapha:    Yes sir.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Did you take part in any fighting?

Mustapha:    I was a nurse by then.  I was working in the medical field.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Where?

Mustapha:    I was first sent to Koribondo after my pass out.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    You never took part in any of the fights against the enemy?

Mustapha:    No I did not take part because I was station at the headquarter to take care of the causalities or the wounded.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    What about during the NPRC and the AFRC times?

Mustapha:    Still I was a medical man.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Even during the AFRC?

Mustapha:    Yes when they came to power I only served them for a week and my brother told me to go and surrender and we went and surrendered.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    During your campaigns as a medical man what types of victims, what types of patients were you really treating?

Mustapha:    those with gun shot wounds were sent to us.  If the cases were beyond our capacity to treat then we referred them to the headquarter or to Thirty Four.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Why did you abandon the AFRC?

Mustapha:    Because we were hearing announcements on the radio from Pa Kabba saying that the AFRC were an illegal government, they were not a genuine government.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Since they existed illegally, how were you not able to think through their actions and react against them?

Mustapha:    That is why we surrendered ourselves and joined the ECOMOG to fight against them.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Thank you.  Commissioner do you have any questions for Mustapha?

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    thank you Mustapha for giving your testimony.  We are sorry you lost your uncle and that your other close relatives were harassed because of you.  Now were you able to give your uncle a fitting funeral?

Mustapha:    It was only after the burial of my uncle that I got to know of his death.  It is only now.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    How recently did you do it?

Mustapha:    It was in December.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Can you give us the names of those people who killed your uncle and happen to be alive maybe in Bagbor.

Mustapha:    I can give you the commander’s name.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Yes?

Mustapha:    His name is Mohamed Coker.  His nick name was Mejo.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    That is the only name you can give?

Mustapha:    Yes.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    How far is Bagbor from here?

Mustapha:    It is about 100 miles.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    That is quite a distance.  Are you still in the army?

Mustapha:    Yes Madam.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    And you are now a loyal soldier?

Mustapha:    Yes Madam.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Thank you for coming.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Just one last question from me.  When did you actually start being a loyal soldier?

Mustapha:    After the AFRC overthrew the government.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Ok Leader of Evidence do you have any questions for Mr. Mohamed Bangura?

Leader of Evidence:     No Mr. Commissioner I don’t have any questions for him.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Mr Mohamed Bangura we thank you for your testimony.  It is unfortunate that we cannot get Miagbohun Bagbor.  But Team One of this Commission was in the Bo District while we were at Koinadugu.  It may be they did not know but it would have been the most appropriate thing for them to do.   I know they would have done something about that.  But now look at where we are some one or two hundred miles away.  It will not be easy for us to effect reconciliation from here.  However, we encourage you; we are going to have programmes set in motion that will follow up some of these cases.  I am sure you would be contacted later by the follow-up committee and that is going to be set up for reconciliation purposes of this nature.  Do you have questions for the Commission?

Mustapha:    Yes sir.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    Go ahead.

Mustapha:    My concern here is not so much for me again but for my relatives at home.  My uncle was a chief and some of my brothers are chiefs too.  I want you people to call them together and reconcile with them together so that they can come together because in case of anything they will fall short, they will harass them again.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    That is a very reasonable concern.  I appreciate that concern of yours and we would have loved to do that very much but as you would know now we are not sitting in Bo.   In fact the sittings have been completed in Bo District by another team. That is why I am encouraging you that there would be a committee after us.  It  is through that Committee that we hope to follow up on long distant cases.  Meanwhile what I will suggest to you, now that law and order are in place you should take time off your duty and pay us visits and try to see that that is arranged in a traditional way.  I know you will be doing this service to this nation if you really want to reconcile yourself with the perpetrator that you say killed your uncle.  So I will really encourage you to follow up and see what happens.   If you are unable we still have you on our records here.  There are plans to have a Commission in place to handle situations like yours.  Do you have other recommendations?  

Mustapha:    No, as long as you have said it, I am so happy over that.

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:    So we thank you.  Try it and you will see that it works.  You may step down.


Isata:        My name is Isata Kumba Ngaujah.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Isata, are you a Christian or a Muslim?

Isata:        I am a Christian.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Now take the Bible and repeat after me.

The oath is taken by Isata Kumba Nguajah.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Now, Isata, I’m sure you are an intelligent pupil; I want you to tell us what happened to the girls during the war.  So many young people have told us their experiences so you don’t have to feel embarrassed about telling anything at all, we just want to know your experiences during the war.   So relax and tell us your story.

Isata:        When I was captured, they first took us to Yandi Sandor first.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    So who captured you?

Isata:        The rebels.  They took us to Yandi Sandor where they left us.  We were there with them until two weeks.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    And who are the ‘WE’?   Were you the only one or there were other people?

Isata:        There were other people with us.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    For how many weeks?

Isata:        For two weeks.  We were then taken from Yandi Sandor to Tombodu using bush paths.   In Tombodu the other troops joined us.  They asked us where we were coming from.   We told them that we had been captured in the bush, so they released us but asked us to go back to Yandi Sandor.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    They released you but then you went  back with the rebels to Yandi Sandor?

Isata:        Yes.    After that, we were captured again by some other troops.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    So when you went to Yandi Sandor, you were released?

Isata:        Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    And who were those people who captured you?

Isata:        The rebels. We were given rice to cook.  We cooked the rice.  During the night, they told the boys that they should sleep in the parlour while two of us girls were taken into the room.  So not too long, a certain boy came in but I pretended to be sleeping.   The boy started beating us.  After bearing me, he left me but started beating my sister.   He was requesting to have sex with us.  I said that the man that told us to sleep in the room said that if anyone attempted to rape us we should shout.  The boy said that if you shout, I will kill you people.  He raped my sister and after that he came back to me and raped me.  In the morning we told him that we are going to tell his boss.  He said that if we ever explained what to his boss that he raped us he was going to kill us.  In the morning, we were released by them.  On our way, we saw another group of rebels.   When we met with them we ran into the bush, but they caught an old man and killed him. We saw them but they didn’t see us.  When we reach to my mum, I was told that my father had been captured and tied up by the rebels.  I asked my mother to tell me where my Dad was captured.  She said it was in Sandor chiefdom.  My father’s money, his tape recorder and everything he had was taken away from him by the rebels.  As they were about to kill him, my brother ran to the town and explains to their boss that they were about to kill my father.  Their boss intervened before they could release him.  After releasing my father, we decided to go to Guinea.  While we were travelling to Guinea another man by the name of Pa Mattia was captured in our presence and killed.   When we arrived at Foray Koniya, we were told that they had burnt all our houses.   So my mother decided to go to Guinea instead.  In Guinea, we stayed at a camp.    We were repatriated by UNHCR.   That is the end of my story.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    I am sorry for all that happened to you.  You seem to have recovered physically from the injuries inflicted on your body.  Physically, I said.   I would like to ask you a few questions just to help us understand properly what you told us.  Was your father holding any prominent position?

Isata:        He was the Supervisor of schools.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    And where is he now? His home, where? Where do you live now?

Isata:        Number 2 Bar Street here in Koidu town.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    The other girl you shared the room with, was she your real sister?   Or were you just captured together?

Isata:        She is my mothers elder brother’s daughter.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    So she is your cousin.    Where is she now?

Isata:        She is at Tadu Road.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    In Koidu?

Isata:        Koidu Town.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Now have you any problem at school the with regard to what happens to you?

Isata:        No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    But they know that you were captured?

Isata:        Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Have you any problems when you think about what happened?

Isata:        Sometimes when I remember all that happened to me I just begin to cry.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Have you been consoled?

Isata:        Only my mum.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    But she is the best person to console you.  Have you any physical problems as a result of the raping?

Isata:        Sometimes I become weak and my temperature is high.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Still go and listen to your mother and try to be practical about things.    Things have happened and there is nothing you can do now to reverse them.   The only thing you can do is to try to put them behind your back and get on with your school work.  You stand a good chance for the future.  You should remember that it was not your fault.  Get yourself totally involved in your studies in order to forget those evil days.  Alright now, I have asked you questions.  Have you any questions to ask the Commission?

Isata:        I only want the government to help me with my education.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:     Well the government will not be able to just give money to you alone, to you Isata for your education but when we finish our report and hand it, the government will be able to do something about education.  More will be done about education generally so that you can benefit. From what you had said, you are in a better position than quite a number of the other young people who had come to us.   Your father is an energetic man and in fact he has been a supervisor of schools before.  So you only need to work hard and be patient for a couple of years so that educational facilities can improve in the whole country and you will share in the benefit.  Do you have any other question?

Isata:        Now my dad is not working.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    I guessed that.  I was not talking about his position.  I was talking about his enlightenment and his education to be able to direct you and to lead and guide you until the government does its own bit for you young people.  Do you have any other question?

Isata:        No!

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Have you any recommendation to make? What class are you?

Isata:        I am in form one (1).

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Have you any recommendations which we should put in our report for the government? I am referring to things which you will like the government to implement?

Isata:        We want the government to assist us in Kono here because all our houses have been burnt down.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Any other?

Isata:        We want better educational facilities in Kono. That is all.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    I am sorry but I have to ask this question.  Why are you only in form one (1)? Did you miss school?

Isata:        I was not attending school throughout the war.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    You must try and wakeup.  We thank you very much.  Isata, you can step down now.


Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    What is your name in full?

Rebecca:        My name is Rebecca Finnoh.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Your name in full?

Rebecca:        Yes, Rebecca Finnoh.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Are you a Christian or a Muslim?

Rebecca:        I am a Christian.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Take the Bible and say after me.  The oath was taken by Rebecca Finnoh.

Comm: Marcus-Jones:    Rebecca, you seem to have had some terrible experiences during the war?

Rebecca:    Yes Madam.    

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    I want you to tell us about those things and you have to talk a bit slowly because I have to write as well.  You have nothing here to worry about.  Alright now carry out.

Rebecca:        In 1998, early in the morning when we woke up, we heard firing.   We were told that the rebels had attacked the town.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Attacked where?

Rebecca:        In the old town Koidu town. When they attacked, we ran into the bush to one village called Yadu Gbassy.  By then I was with my grandfather by the name of Rev. Paul Domba, the SLPP chairman.  So we were in the town for two days.  They attacked us there again.  We escaped again into the bush.   By then there was no way to go to Guinea neither to Freetown.  I was in the bush with my grandfather and his wife our food got finished.  We were there for more than a week when his children came and saw us.  Pa Paul Domba’s children were there too struggling with us.  They told us that, they are going to find ways and means to go to Freetown.  After they left, two days the rebels attacked us again in the bush.  By then Pa Paul Domba was sitting on a rock.  The rebels told my grand dad to surrender to them as they searched his pocket.  After searching my grand dad’s pocket, they found a document in the name of SLPP where our names were written.  They told my grand dad, that they were going to kill him.  They said that he was chairman for the SLPP and for that he was going to die.  They got closer to us as there were so many people around us.  They stripped him naked and tied his hands behind him.  So I was captured by them and they ordered me to go and show them where we kept our rice.  I told the man that, we didn’t have rice, we bare survived on bush yams.  I was walking away from the man while he walked close to me from behind.   We went until we saw a rock and the man told me to lie down on it. The man told me to take off my clothes including my knickers.   I obeyed.  The man forced me to have sex with him.   He attempted so many times but failed to penetrate me and so he got up and asked me what the problem was.    I told him that I was a virgin.  He fired a shot in the air.  He forced me and raped me.  After raping me, I was bled profusely, and he too had blood all over his body.   He told me that I should wipe the blood from his body.  I was then taken back where my family were.  By then my grand-father was tied and he lay on the ground.  They were stabbing him and beating him.  There was a suckling mother among us whose properties were all scattered about.   I picked up one of her child’s nappies and cleaned up my body and wore my clothes again.  They said that, my grandfather and I should follow them.  Everything was taken from my grand-father including his shoes, clothes, etc.  My grandfather was walking slowly because of the thorns but one of the rebels told the others to kill my grandfather because he was wasting their time.  They fired him on his side.  After the first shot, he cried and said, oh!   My children don’t kill me! They gave him another shot on his chest, he died.  I was then taken by them.  Following the death of my grandfather I walked with them for over 20 (twenty) miles with serious bleeding.  We came as far as Kamadu where we met Superman.  We were then brought to Superman and Superman was keen to know who took me there.    He was asking us the civilians.  We were then pointing to those who captured us.  They made an attempt to kill us but I went and pleaded with their big man not to kill me.  The towel that I was tying, was drenched with blood.   I showed myself to Superman and said, ‘Please, don’t kill me’.  They were still threatening to kill all of us but since I pleaded with them, I was taken from among my colleagues.  They wanted to know who raped me.  I pointed the man who raped me and also I told them he killed my grandfather and right there they killed him.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    He was the same men who killed your grandfather?

Rebecca:        Yes Madam.  Then superman took me to his wife.  His wife cleaned me up and gave me food to eat but because I was worried, I could not eat.  I was then with Superman’s wife doing her domestic work such as  washing dishes, laundering, etc. but all the time I was in sick bed, all the time sick.  The ECOMOG came and attacked us repelling us from here.   When I heard that in an announcement on the radio my grandfather’s name was mentioned with mine I started crying.  They asked me why I was crying over and over. They asked me if I was unhappy staying with them, they asked if I wanted to go to the ECOMOG?  There was a boy who was brought up by my grandfather.  After hearing the announcement, the boy started looking for me.   When he saw me with Superman’s wife he went and told Superman that I was his sister.  He asked their permission to bring me to Kono and he was allowed.   We then came to Kono and stayed together till the year 2000 when I went to meet my family in Freetown.    They accepted me.  Since then I have remained on the sick bed.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Thank you very much Rebecca.  I am going to ask you some a few questions.  Do you know the man who raped you?

Rebecca:        Even though, it was only once I saw him, he had dreadlocks on his head.    He was called Kakay, but I have not been seeing him any more.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    The man who killed your grandfather?

Rebecca:        Yes Madam.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    And that Kakay was killed too?

Rebecca:        Yes Madam.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Who killed him?

Rebecca:        Superman.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Where is your brother who saved you and brought you to Kono?

Rebecca:        I don’t know his where abouts now.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    What about the papers they took from your grandfather’s pocket? The documents they took from your grandfather’s pocket?

Rebecca:        They carried them in their pockets.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    What is wrong with you now?

Rebecca:        My stomach got swollen.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:   Apart from your swollen stomach, have any other problem?

Rebecca:        Whenever I get to the time for my menstruation, I don’t usually have my menstruation.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    You started menstruating before you were raped?

Rebecca:        No Madam.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    What else?

Rebecca:        My stomach only.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    What about the bleeding, the bleeding has stop?

Rebecca:        Yes madam.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Has the colour of your eyes always been like that?

Rebecca:        No! I was not like this before.   I believe if is due to the sickness.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Alright thank you very much.  Now I had asked you questions, have you any questions you would like to ask me?

Rebecca:        Yes madam.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Now let me ask you one more question, were they able to bury your grandfather?

Rebecca:        Yes, I heard that those who were around buried him.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Have you any question for me?

Rebecca:        I only want you to help me because I am really suffering from this sickness.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Are you taking treatment now?

Rebecca:        When I came from the bush, we went to Connaught hospital. I was only given a letter and that letter was given to my brother.  He took the letter to my mother but they were just crying.  When I urinate, I don’t do it much.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Just try now to see that you get well and take care of your health.  Don’t worry about bearing children right now.   Have you any recommendation?

Rebecca:        Like what?

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    What you want the government to do for your community, anything that you want the government to do.

Rebecca:        Yes madam.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Yes, alright, we will give you a letter.   We will send you to a clinic and hopefully they will be able to help you, do you understand?

Rebecca:        Yes madam.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Alright, what else?

Rebecca:        I want them to help me for my education.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Alright, thank you Rebecca for coming.  Try to keep trampling in spite of everything and to be hopeful.  If you think you are going to be well, it will help, it will help in addition to whatever treatment you take.  Just think that you are going to get better.   You may step down now.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Let the witness give her name in full.

Fatmata:        My name is Fatmata Bockarie.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Are you a Christian or a Muslim?

Fatmata:        I am a Christian.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Take the bible and say after me.  The oath is taken by Fatmata Bockarie.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Now Fatmata, I want you to relax then I want you to tell us clearly and then briefly and you talk the main points of what happened.

Fatmata:        During the time the rebels attacked in Kono we went to a village called Tomboro.   We were there for two days.  The rebels attacked us 2 0’clock in the afternoon.  When they attacked us, my son ran into the bush.  I was in a room with a woman.   The commander said that we should go and meet him. We went there and found that the rebels were all gathered with guns in their hands.  We also saw lots of people whom they had captured.  They said they were going to kill all of us.  In our presence they killed two men.   By then I was having my child who was one year and (3) three months old.  And I had a four-month pregnancy.  They called the woman and said that they were going to kill her.  She told the rebels that she preferred to be rape rather than killed.  The woman was taken behind the house where they raped her.  After that they killed her.  The husband was there with two children with whom he had run into the bush.  After killing the woman they started burning houses and went away.   From Songolo, we went to Tweyor Fairmu.  In Tweyor, we were attacked and they captured me and then I was raped by the rebels.  We were there with the rebels everyday.   We were there when they killed a boy, but the boy was half dead when they buried him.  We were in the Joe bush in Tweyor when they allocated the posting.   We were in the mining section.  They normally took some civilians to do manual labour, usually to find food for them.  When they returned from finding food, they killed all civilians that were captured on the way.  In the jungle I gave bath to a child.  My child was having a foot problem.  I was there with my three children.  So I was with my three children but one of my children usually went with the rebels to find food.  From there, we were taken back we were brought to Koidu town where they attacked and repelled ECOMOG out of Koidu.  They collected or captured civilians from Makeni and Sandor to come and train them in their base.  Those trainees were not given any food.   While we were in Koidu town, General Issa executed few SLA soldiers because; according to him, the SLA had betrayed them.  On visiting Kono on one occasion he arrested some people with diamonds and killed them.  While we were in the mining unit, General Maskita used to send cigarette, marijuana, rice and diesel for the miners.  They usually beat people with electric cables until such persons died.  That is all I know.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Thank you very much Fatmata Bockarie.  How did you manage to get back into your community?

Fatmata:        When we came back to Koidu town, and the cease-fire had already started, we heard that the helicopter gun-ship was coming again so I decided to go to Kenema to meet my people there.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Wouldn’t you have left if you did not hear of the coming of the gun-ship?

Fatmata:        By then I was not having money I was finding money to travel to Kenema.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Now who is the father of the child you have?

Fatmata:        I have been abandoned by the man.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Was he one of the rebels?

Fatmata:        No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    But you had a child when you were with the rebels?

Fatmata:        I had two children and a four-month old pregnancy.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Oh! I see so it was the last child that got deformed?

Fatmata:        Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Where is the child now?

Fatmata:        She is in Freetown.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    They raped you when you were with them?

Fatmata:        Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    You wanted to stay with the rebels then?

Fatmata:        No!

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Why didn’t you leave them before?

Fatmata:        We were surrounded by them and if any one attempted to escape from their camp, they would be shot.  By then I was having three children with me.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Why was that boy buried even when he was not dead?

Fatmata:        I don’t know because it was their normal way of behaving.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Okay thank you very much.   I have asked you questions have you question for the Commission?

Fatmata:        I am just saying thank you, and thanks to the government.  I am only pleading with you to solicit support for us the women because the women suffered more than any other category of persons by this war.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Actually this is your recommendation and not question as such.  So I take it, you have no question? This is your recommendation any other recommendation?

Fatmata:        We want the government to assist us with housing and good hospitals; we don’t have husbands, we are just living like that, we have nothing with us.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Yes, any more.

Fatmata:        I want them to assist us with micro loans.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Alright, we can see whether we can refer you to any NGOs for help.  We will put your suggestion in our report.   And it is not a calamity that you don’t have a husband, and you can work and maintain yourself.  So thank you very much for coming.


Kono District Hearings

 Closing Ceremony

Commissioner Sylvanus Torto:      Now I can keep my head up, I thank you very much and we do hope that the apologies that are being rendered by the perpetrators would be accepted.   I like the statement in the Deputy Chairman’s speech “that the music has changed and we have to change our mode of dancing as well”.  I was going to be the only one bearing the shame.   I was going to take it along with Mrs. Bundu Manyeh.    Again we thank you very much for coming out and appreciate all you did.  Once more we thank you.

The chief who shared the Kola also prayed but I think his prayer was not complete.  I expected him to pray that this group which came from Freetown would pick some diamonds on their way back.  Thank you very much Commissioner Torto we also have not been disappointed by the people of Kono District.   No doubt this is the District where we have recorded the highest attendance and I believe that goes to the credit of your own son and our Commissioner Sylvanus Torto and the District and Regional Co-ordinators.  I don’t want to talk more than that because you would say I am competing with the Commissioners.  I will now call on one of our international Commissioners who is no less a great personality to give the final vote of thanks to this session.

Commissioner Schabas:    This is the easiest job of the afternoon because my colleague Sylvanus Torto has thanked every single person in this room.   At one point he thanked the others even the people who put us up the first time.   So there is nobody left to thank.   Let me repeat the thanks for emphases.  The resident Paramount Chief and the Paramount Chiefs, the Chief Police Officer for providing security, the Commanding Officer of the officers and soldiers of the Pakbat for providing security and logistics.  We also say thanks to the station manager of the SLBS and above all the people of Kono District.   By your attendance, participation and enthusiasm you have made these five days of hearings in Kono District notable in measuring the successful work of the TRC.  The TRC victims and perpetrators have spoken often with great difficulty and great pain but this is as it should be and it is part of the process.   We now leave this town but the process must continue.  The process must go on and it’s up to the people of Kono District to see to it that it goes on.   I’ve just been handed a note.   We did forget a few people and I want to mention them: the IRC and the chairman and staff of the town council.   Good luck to all of you.  Thank you.

Professor, thank you for your co-operation.   We have actually come to the end of this ceremony.   This is the end of our five day sittings here in Kono.  Commissioners and staff have expressed their thanks and now they have to go to Tombodu to see the places that the witnesses mentioned in their statements.   Places like savage pit, houses that they buried the people that were killed.  After that those here that we would not meet again well by God’s grace maybe we will meet again someday in Freetown.  I will once again say thank you for your patience and God bless.  We will stand now so that the Commissioners would move out to their chambers.

COMMISSIONER MARCUS JONES:   All protocols observed, ladies and gentlemen, today the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has come to the end of its public hearings here in KONO.  Our stay here has been very short but not uneventful. The Commission has been able to give voice to victims to relate to the nation and the international community bitter experiences of the gross human right violations they suffered during the decade old war in the hands of the different fighting groups.

The Commission also provided perpetrators a golden opportunity to confess their roles and involvement in the atrocities carried out during the same period in the civil war.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is quite aware of the extent of human rights violations committed in this District.   The Commission is also aware that there are many perpetrators even in this hall who have deliberately refused to take advantage of the Commission’s presence here to come forward and owned up to the roles they played during the war and be fully accepted back into the community.  Let me say that it is a mark of strength not weakness to say sorry when you have done wrong.  Modern civilisation does not consider it a mark of heroism to be arrogant even in the face of wrong, the real heroes of the ten year war therefore are those who have confessed their roles during the war and begged for forgiveness.  I therefore urge those perpetrators still in hiding to come out and do the same, so that Sierra Leone will be a safe place for us and our children.

As a Truth Commission, our role is to create an enabling environment for true hearing and reconciliation to take place.  We cannot forced anyone to confess his wrong doings neither can we force anyone to forgive but we must realise that development which we all yearn for cannot take place in the place of hate, revenge and bitterness, we must therefore cultivate the culture of brotherliness and peaceful resolution of conflict in the spirit of development and co-existence.

Ladies and gentlemen, I must say that it is lamentable that the Commission is not mandated to address individual needs nevertheless all the needs expressed here and even those not expressed have all been captured in all the testimonies we have listened to during the course of our hearings in other districts.  The Commission shall address all these needs collectively.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are leaving today permit me to say that we have started a process of reconciliation, which we are sure the traditional leaders, religious leaders and the civil society will continue.  Reconciliation is an ongoing process, it is a collective responsibility, we must not see it as an exclusive preserve of the TRC.  

Finally, I wish to thank you all for making our stay in Kono and our work here successful, I wish to thank all those who supported our work here.

Once again I thank you all on behalf of the TRC for your continuous attendance here and which is no doubt indicative of your confidence and trust in the TRC and its activities.

Thank you and God bless you all.


July 7, 2003

Commissioner Laura Marcu-Jones (Presiding)
Commissioner Sylvanus Torto
Commissioner William Schabas
Commissioner Yasmin Sooka

LEADER OF EVIDENCE: Commissioner Yasmin Sooka


Adekera:    Good morning everybody. We are now going to start the ceremony.  Shall we all rise for the Commissioners please?

    Please be seated.  The Deputy Chair, distinguished guest, ladies and gentlemen. We will start the ceremony right away with inter-faith prayers.  May I ask Reverend Martin to come forward and lead us in christian prayers? Reverend Martin, please.

Reverend Martin:    Offered christian prayer.

Adekera:    Thank you very much Reverend.  We also call on Alhaji Wahab to lead us in Muslim Prayers.

Alhaji Wahab:    Muslim prayer was offered.

Adekera:    In continuation, we invite the District Officer to make a statement.  Mr B. M. Turay could you please come forward.

B.M. Turay:    Madam Mayor, Commissioners, of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Honourable Members of Parliament, heads of departments, members of the NGOs community, religious leaders, community elders, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, good morning.  I would like to take this opportunity to heartily welcome the Commissioners of the TRC and all those that have come to contribute to make this hearing a success.  Truth and Reconciliation are concepts that are ordained by God for perfect peace and harmony between an offender and the offended. This also applies to our relationship with God. If a sinner makes a sincere confession to God for a sin committed and completely desists from his evil ways, the bible and the Koran tell us that, that sinner will be forgiven by God and both will reconcile.  On behalf of government ladies and gentlemen, I would like to encourage all those that have come to contribute to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearing to do that with sincerity for perfect peace and reconciliation which is the hall mark of peace, unity and development in any society.  On behalf of Government, I say welcome and “seneho” (welcome).  I wish all of you a successful hearing exercise.  May the Almighty God grant you travelling mercies to enable you return to your respective homes safely.  I thank you all and declare this TRC hearing opened.

Adekera:    Thank you Mr Turay. Recognising the role played by Inter Religious Council in the peace process in this country, we also invite a representative of the organization to make a statement at this occasion.

Inter-Religious Council Representative:    Since we do not have an interpreter right here I would like to talk in the Krio language, if the Commissioners and the staff could permit me to do so. We have people here who have no formal education. My statement on behalf of the Inter-Religious Council is going to be brief.  I first of all want to express our happiness and joy that the Commissioners and the staff of the TRC have come here to make peace among us.  We are very much happy that this thing is happening today.  I even want like to dance, with the permission of the Commissioners and the staff to express my happiness.  The Inter-Religious Council here has already been preparing the minds of our people about what you were coming to do here. And I want to assure you today that the people are prepared to open up their hearts to confess to you what had been bordering them. We want to confess what has been keeping us in continuous fear of each other.  There can never be reconciliation where there has never been some form of broken relationships. We are happy that you have come to mend that broken relationship among us. We are happy that the Chairman of the TRC Bishop J. C. Humper hails from this town that is hosting the first hearing in the district.  We believe that what you have come to do will bring us together. Our people are prepared to confess the truth, forgive, and reconcile with one to another.  I am not going to talk too much but just to say that we are all happy. My dear people of Bonthe, let us show our happiness by just giving them a big, big applause.  Great!  Thank you very much and God bless you.

Adekera:    Thank you very much for those words of encouragement and words of assurance.  We recognise traditional authorities.  We know that we deserve the blessings of the traditional leaders.  In this regards I want to call on the Mayor of this place to also give us a statement or welcome address.

Mayor:    Good morning everybody. TRC Commissioners, dignitaries, parliamentarians, the Inter Religious Council, the District Officer, ladies and gentlemen.  On behalf of the Bonthe Town Community, I want to take this opportunity to heartily welcome all of you.  I also wish to take this opportunity to thank the financers and donors of this Commission.  I also thank the ruling government for the brave steps taken to enhance and ensure lasting peace in our war torn country.  I also reassure the Commission of our total devotion to this course of permanent and lasting peace through this TRC.  I want to appeal to the entire people of Bonthe district to come out with their grievances. The TRC is here to address these grievances.  We pray that justice will be sought for the betterment of our nation.  I once more thank you all and welcome you to this Island.  Thank you all.

Adekera:    Thank you very much the Mayor of this community.  We know that with these assuring words from you and from the rest of the speakers that have come up before, our stay in Bonthe is going to be very, fruitful.  Thank you very much once again.  We also recognise the presence of the political parties and the contributions they have made so far.  We also want to take statements from them.  May I now call on the leader of SLPP Party in this district to give a statement at this occasion?

SLPP Leader:    Madam Deputy Chairperson, the leader of the SLPP Party has welcomed the Commission to this district.  He has promised us the cooperation of the SLPP as a party and he has called on his people to forgive and forget.

Adekera:    Thank you very much Sir.  We also call on the leader of the APC Party if he is here to make a brief statement at this occasion.  The APC party leader is not here. Any other political party or a representative here?  As a Commission we recognise all political parties.  We have at least made provision for them to make statement.  I understand that the representative of NACSA is here.  We recognise the role NGOs- both local and international have played in the peace process and if the representative of NACSA is here let him speak on behalf of all the NGOs – anybody?

NACSA Representative:    Thank you, Mr Chairman.  Sorry for coming late.  Good morning distinguished guest, ladies and gentlemen.  Today is a history making day in Bonthe district. Today we are starting a new journey that brings people together for development.  Today, the nation will give you truth for genuine reconciliation. We must say the truth about violations and abuses of human rights that have taken place in this country during the eleven years of civil strife, destruction and displacement.  During the conflict, thousands of people died as a result of summary executions, mutilations, and torture. Many more suffered from sexual abuses, recruitment of children into fighting forces, and displacement.  The challenge we now face include addressing violations that took place during the conflict and preventing such abuses from re-occurring. The TRC has been set up to deal with issues of impunity, responding to the needs of victims and preventing a repetition of the violations and abuses suffered.  We in the sister Commission, NACSA (The National Commission for Social Action) was also established by an Act of Parliament as a successor institution to the National Reconstruction, Resettlement and Rehabilitation (NCRRR).  NACSA therefore is a social front with the core responsibility of taking the resettlement and reintegration processes forward. NACSA in supporting the overall reconstruction and rehabilitation services, is helping communities rebuild their lives and livelihood systems.  NACSA has three programme windows- the community driven programme, the public works programme and the micro finance programme.

This morning, I am here representing NACSA and all the other key NGOs that are all helping Bonthe district.  We have the World Vision, NCDDR, Sierra Leone Red Cross Society and other supporting partners.  At this time, we pledge our firm support to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a sister Commission.   I don’t have much to say as we have other speakers to come.  I thank you all gathered here this morning as we all help to heal the wounds that the eleven-year civil war has created in our society.  As the last speaker rightly said we must not just reconcile but we must also forget.  I thank you.

Adekera:    Thank you very much the representative of NACSA for that very brief speech on behalf of the NGO partners.  The TRC was created for the purpose of national healing and reconciliation and we are here in continuation of the hearing process which has taken us round the country.  At this point, I want to have the privilege of introducing the Commissioners that are here to conduct the public hearings.  For the next three days we shall be listening to them and and narrating our stories before them. For the purpose of convenience, the Commission is split into two teams Team 1 and Team 2. It does not have to do anything to do with superiority.  It is just a matter of convenience.  Right now as we are here, team 1 is in another place headed by the Chairman of the Commission who I understand is your son Bishop Joseph Humper.  

Team 2 is here headed by the Deputy Chairperson of the Commission in the person of Justice Laura Marcus-Jones.  Deputy Chair could you please rise for recognition? Another Commissioner that is here to see that the district hearing goes on well in this district is Commissioner Sylvanus Torto.  We also have her one of our international commissioners Professor William Schabas.  The three of them are here to conduct the district hearings.  May I at this juncture invite the Deputy Chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Justice Mrs Laura Marcus-Jones to present her address to this gathering? The Deputy Chair.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    All other protocols observed. Ladies and gentlemen, today the train has arrived at the famous Bonthe Island. The Truth and reconciliation Commission is at last here today in continuation of its public hearings which was first launched in Freetown early April 2003 by his Excellency the President Alhaji Dr Ahmad Tejan Kabbah as part of the effort at sustainable peace and development in Sierra Leone.  Ladies and Gentlemen, you will recall that on 7th July 1999, the Lome Peace Agreement was signed between the government of Sierra Leone and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) Sierra Leone to end the ten year war that had left the entire nation almost completely destroyed.  The Lome Peace Agreement made provision for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission as one of the instruments that will help sustain and consolidate the negotiated peace and promote reconciliation.  The Commission was ratified later by an Act of Parliament in February 2000.  Thus the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established with the following mandate:

  1. To create an impartial historical record of the human rights violations and of violations of international humanitarian law relating to the conflict from the beginning of the war in 1991 to the signing of the Lome Peace Agreement on 7th July 1999.
  2. To address impunity.
  3. To respond to the needs of victims.
  4. To prevent a repetition of the human right violations and abuses experienced by the people of Sierra Leone
  5. To promote national healing and reconciliation as one of the strategies.

To achieve its mandate, the Commission has organised public hearings to listen and vividly capture the experiences of the people of Sierra Leone during the period of the war. Today it is your turn in Bonthe to be part of this effort at national healing and reconciliation.  I hope you will take advantage of this opportunity and come forward and tell the Commission what happened to you or what you did so that there can be genuine healing and reconciliation.  Ladies and gentlemen, may I use this forum to explain in unmistakeable words that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is not a court.  The Commission does not have judicial powers to try or sentence anybody nor handover anybody to the police.  Whatever information we collect therefore is to help compile our report of what happened during the ten years of senseless fighting.  Nobody should entertain any fears or be deceived by anyone that the testimony you give at the Ccommission will be given to the Special Court.  That should convince you that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is purely to promote national healing and reconciliation.  Permit me to say also that the mandate of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission does not include payment of compensation to victims as many people have been expecting.  We do not even have a budget for that. The Commission, however will make very strong recommendations that will adequately address the needs of victims. Ladies and gentlemen, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission will be sitting here for three days and in Mattru for the rest of the week during which you will have the opportunity to listen to your brothers and sisters, relating their bitter experiences during the decade old war.  You will also have the opportunity to listen to your brothers and sisters openly confess their involvement in the human right violations during the war.

All these experiences should help us as Sierra Leoneans to say together never again.  May I therefore call on all the people of Bonthe district especially perpetrators to seize this opportunity and come out and confess their involvement so that they can be fully integrated into the community.  To the rest of Sierra Leoneans, I wish to say that the music has changed.  So we also must change our dancing steps.  The war is over!  We are talking of peace without which there cannot be any form of development.  We must all join hands to make Sierra Leone a safe place for our children.

We want to see this hall filled up everyday.  Once again I thank you and God bless you all.

Adekera:    Thank you very much for that interpretation.  I hope the message from the Deputy Chairperson has gone down well with everybody.  We believe everybody has heard us and everybody is going to cooperate with us. I will invite our National Commissioner, Commissioner Sylvanus Torto to just briefly introduce some of the supporting staff that are here with the Commissioners.

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you very much Mr Adekera. District Officer, Mayor of Bonthe, Inter Religious Council, Commander of NIBATT here in Bonthe, the Chief Policw Officer, local authorities and all other protocols observed. My responsibility this morning is to briefly introduce to you the supporting staff that are accompanying the Commissioners in the exercise of their duties.  I intend to be as brief as possible.  Let me start with your own very people, your sons and daughters of Bonthe District.  The Commission made it a responsibility to actually appoint indigenes of the district to do the work here in the district.  Nobody should therefore be hesitant to meet them.  I will start with the Statement Takers in Bonthe district. I start with the District Coordinator of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission - Bonthe District, in the person of Mr Oswald Hanciles.  Mr Hanciles has been the standard bearer for the TRC in Bonthe. I have Alice Sandy the statement taker responsible for the Island.  These were the people from whom you first heard the word TRC. We have Martin Scottman from Freetown. Scottman  is the administrativehead of the team.  She is head of the Legal and Reconciliation Department of the Commission.  Next to her is a public man, who is actually a very senior officer- Mr Daniel Adekera. Mr Daniel Adekera heads the Public Education and Sensitisation division of the TRC in Freetown.

We have also people who do technical.  Mrs Bondu Mange, please.

There is the Transcriber, Mr Samura. The man seated over there will be taking the testimonies verbatim. Whatever you say here is taken down both in writing and on tape.   We have a whole gamut of press people with us; both print and electronics. I want them to please stand up for them to be seen.  

These are the people who are going to make us or make our presence known outside here.  We are very thankful to them. We have also the sound technicians and video-graphers.  As you see, whatever is being done here is going to be shown on television.  We have still the cameramen and other supporting staff.  These are the people that are going to be with us.  Please forgive me if I omit anyone.  I thank you very much.

Adekera:    Thank you very much Commissioner Sylvanus Torto for this brief introduction.  With that, we are virtually coming to a close to this morning session. As soon as we finish up the ceremonies, we will go on a short break. But before we finally close this session, we want to invite Commissioner Professor Schabas to give us a vote of thanks. William Schabas is from Canada and is one of the International Commissioners. He is an expert in Human Rights Law.  Professor Schabas will give a vote of thanks and  the Deputy Chair will brief us on how the next session is going to be conducted.  Professor Schabas.

Commissioner Schabas:    Thank you Daniel.  Well, I am a national but not a national in Sierra Leone. I have been here since the work of the TRC began and I am beginning to feel that I belong in Sierra Leone.  Thank you.  I want to thank the people of Bonthe for welcoming us here.  We are very grateful for the warm welcome.  I want to thank particularly the Mayor, the District Officer, Religious Leaders and the members of civil society who are here from the Bonthe town and Bonthe District.  I want to thank the musicians who welcomed us gracefully this morning as we were arriving.  We thank the UNAMSIL Commander, and the police who are looking after security.  We thank the interpreters, the Red Cross, and the Journalists.  Our thanks go to the staff of the TRC who have already been mentioned by Commissioner Torto.  I hope all of you will stay for this very important meeting that we will be having over the next 3 days here in Bonthe.  Thank you.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Ladies and gentlemen, we are now going to have a short break. We are going to offer very light refreshment.  After the refreshment we will reconvene here again at 10:50 when we will start our hearings.  We have selected witnesses of all ages, men and women, people of all religions and backgrounds who are going talk about the different kinds of wrong things that happened during the war in Sirra Leone. The Commission has encouraged witnesses to give testimonies on a voluntary basis and we want to express our appreciation to those who will do so in the next few days.  However, the Commission has the right to use sub-poena in order to have someone come to the hearing and give a testimony.  The Commission will only use this power as a last resort.

Our procedure is this. Everyday’s hearing will begin with a prayer or with religious songs. We have already had prayers this morning.  So we are not going to have anymore before we start the hearings.  The witness is entitled to have a relative or a friend sitting next to him or her.  The witness will also sit with a counsellor of the Commission.  Every witness can speak in his or her own language.  The Commission will provide an interpreter.  Now this is very important!  The public is asked to respect all witnesses.  Everyone in the public has to remain silent during the testimonies.  Those who have mobile phones are asked to turn them off now.  No one in the public is allowed to speak, to shout, to laugh, to boo, or to clap.  Any person who dose so might be ordered out of the hall.  Media persons who are in the hall are requested to respect the dignitary of every witness.  No member of the public is allowed to take any pictures.  Only accredited journalists can do so.  If a witness names a person, who has allegedly committed a violation or abuse, the Commission will do everything possible to invite this person to come and give his own view of the fact.  At no time will a victim be confronted with the alleged perpetrator during he hearing.  If both the victim and the perpetrator wants to meet with each other, the Commission will create a separate occasion for them to do so after the hearings.

The Commission will have public hearings here today and on Tuesday. On Wednesday we are hoping to have closed hearings for women who have been sexually assaulted and for children. We will not disclose the venue for the closed hearings on Wednesday.  At the end of our sittings here, we will have a closing ceremony just as we had an opening ceremony this morning.  As I told you, we have already selected the people that we are going to hear this morning and on the other days. We still however, have a statement taker here.  If there are people who wish to make statements, they can do so while we are here.  The statement taker will take your statement.  Thank you.  We will now start today’s hearings, Leader of Evidence, are your witnesses ready?

Leader of  Evidence:    Yes chairperson, the witnesses are all here.

Commissioner Marcus- Jones:    Could we have the first witness please?

Commissioner Sooka :    Chairperson our First  witness for today is Mr. Alpha Joe Bai

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:        Could the witness give his name in full?

Joe Bai:    I am called Alpha Joe Bai

Jones:        Are  you a Muslim?

Joe Bai:    Yes, I am a Muslim.

       (The oath was administered)

Commissioner Marcus-Jones    : Alpha Joe Bai, I understand from your summay that you have experiences which would be very important to the TRC. We want you to as clearly as possible share those experiences with us. You have nothing to be afraid of. We are not the Special Court. And the Special Court doesn’t require any information from us. The Special Court has said it loud and clear. So please feel free to share your experiences.

Joe Bai:    At one time, we were at our farm when the rebels came to Nyadehun. They passed through Nyadehun and went to Foya. On their return from Foya they set our houses ablaze. Twenty house were burnt down. After that we went to Dukor, a camp. While we were at Dukor, the Kamajors came to Talia. While I was at Talia, I had that my son was killed at Ngulama Tonge. That was the ordeals I went through.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    I beg you Pardon?

Joe Bai:    That was the end. While we were at Talia, I heard that one of my children was killed at Ngulama Tonge. From Talia, I went to Bo. That’s the end.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: I am looking at your statement. What information did get in Bo?

Joe Bai:            When I was also in Bo, it was confirmed that they had killed my child at Ngulama Tonge.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Yes, from there you also got certain information about the  CDF didn’t you? Its here in the statement.

Joe Bai:        Yes, I heard that.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Yes, and what did you do about that?

Joe Bai:    I was told that he was killed by one of his friends but I don’t know who the friend was.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Now, you’ve told us about your son and we’re very sorry about his death. We will ask you questions about that later. I’m asking you questions about yourself for now. What did you do when you learnt about the headquarters of the CDF.

Joe Bai:    When I heard about the CDF headquarters I did not do anything. I only got the message.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Didn’t you join the CDF?

Joe Bai:    Yes, I became a Kamajor myself.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:     Now, why did you join?

Joe Bai:    I only became a Kamajor for self-defence.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Self-defence? Defending yourself only?

Joe Bai:    I joined the CDF for self-defence only. Just for myself as an individual

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Do you want to tell me that you went to join a group just to defend yourself? Could not you have defended yourself without joining a group?

Joe Bai:    I would have been able to defend myself even if I had not joined the Kamajor.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Well, why did you join? You were in a community. Were you only going to defend yourself?

Joe Bai:    Well, it was for myself and the community were I was living.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Yes, and you joined the Kamajor to defend yourself and your community. That is not a bad thing. You are reluctant now to tell us about that.

Joe Bai:    It was not actually difficult for me to answer that question. I only forgot some points.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Well, nobody is quarrelling with any group that wanted to defend communities. Where were you based?

Joe Bai:    I was at Nyandewu at that time.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Did you go to the general base for the CDF?

Joe Bai: Well, it was not possible for everybody to just go there at will. You have to be appointed and asked to go there.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Were you ever appointed to go to the base?

Joe Bai:    No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Have ever heard of a place called Base Zero?

Joe Bai:    Yes, I heard the name of that base.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Did you not at anytime go to Base Zero.

Joe Bai: I used to go to the town where Base zero was located.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Yes, what was Base Zero really, what did they do there?

Joe Bai:    It was a council and only members were aware of that council

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    What was the council doing?

Joe Bai:    They were doing arrangements.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    They were doing what?

Joe Bai:    Arrangements

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Arrangements?

Joe Bai:    Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    What were the arrangements about? Where they arranging religion, administration, education - what were they arranging?

Joe Bai:    It was in connection with the war, to bring the war to an end.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Arrangements to bring the war to an end?

Joe Bai:    Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Did instructions filtered to you from Base Zero?

Joe Bai:    Well, I did not go as far as the council. Because I was not appointment I could not go to the council.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    But then the council gave instructions to you?

Joe Bai:    No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    You were a member, so what was the use of making arrangements to end the war if they did not give instructions to somebody like you to complete the war.

Joe Bai:    It was only the leaders who were decisions makers.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    They didn’t make the decisions and carry out the decisions themselves. They made the decisions for people to carry out?

Joe Bai:    I did not get any instructions to carry out any decision that were taken

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:     Are you telling us that you were you just a useless Kamajor?

Joe Bai:    Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thank you.

Commissioner Torto:    Alpha Joebai, thank you very much. I will start with a simple question which is a continuation of Commissioner Marcus- Jones question. You were a Kamajor receiving logistics and being paid. You were given everything that Kamajors were receiving in terms of incentives.

Joe Bai:    No.

Commissioner Torto:    Were you not receiving supplies?

Joe Bai:    No.

Commissioner Torto:    What then was your responsibility as a Kamajor?

Joe Bai: I was an ordinary Kamajor. I did not got to war front.

Commissioner Torto: Okay, I will not dwell on that. I have haerd of people who were Kamajors just to terrorize civilians. They avoided the enemy. Now, let me come to your own circumstance. It was very pathetic story that you son was killed at Guramaturnkia. I know Ngorama Tunkia very well. It is in the  Eastern province of this country. What was your son coming all the way from Mattru Jong  doing at Ngorama?

Joe Bai:    They went to the war front.. They went to fight.

Commissioner Torto: You don’t know the person who killed your son.
Joe Bai: They sometimes killed one another for properties.

Commissioner Torto:    Looted properties?

Joe Bai: Yes, they used to kill their companions for looted properties.

Commissioner Torto:     In your testimony you seem to have suffered in the hands of both the RUF and the CDF.  Which one of those groups actually aggrieved and terrorized you most?

Joe Bai: I was more aggrieved with the Kamajor.

Commissioner Torto:    But you were one of them? Why were you actually with a group that was causing you so much havoc?. You continued to take orders from them and yet they were causing you so much grief? Sorry, I have no more questions for this witness I thank you very much.

Commissioner Marcus- Jones:    Before we go on I just want to remind you that you had been told at the very beginning that here has to be no laughing. This is a solemn occasion. People come here and tell us of how their children, their parents or their friends were killed. Those are no launching matters. So could we please listen with the seriousness the occasion demands.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Leader of evidence, have you questions?
Commissioner Sooka:    Thank you Chairperson. Mr. Alpha Joe Bai, I’m sorry that you lost your son under such circumstances. How old was your son when he was killed?

Joe Bai:    I cannot tell his age but he was a full grown adult. He had a child.
Commissioner Sooka:    What was his name please?

Joe Bai:    His native name was Aiah Musa. He was also called Patrick Joebai.

Commissioner Sooka:    Did you and your son joined the Kamajors together or was he aready a kamjor when you became a Kamajor?

Joe Bai:    He was the first to join the Kamajor group.

Commissioner Sooka:    Do. you remember the year in which he joined the Kamajor?

Joe Bai:    I cannot remember the year

Commissioner Sooka:    Do you remember the  government that was in power at the time? Was it the governement of the NPRC or Tejan Kabbah?

Joe Bai:    It was at the time of Strasser.
Commissioner Sooka:    Did you join the Kamajor after the death of your son or before?

Joe Bai:        Before my son was killed.

Commissioner Sooka:    When your son joined the Kamajor did he seek your advice?

Joe Bai:    He did not. We were not living together at that time.

Commissioner Sooka:    When you joined the Kamajors, were there any explaination, any rules on how to behave toward civilians?

Joe Bai:    Yes, we had rules for the protection of civilian. We were not to harm civilians.

Commissioner Sooka:        And what would happen if someone harmed civilians?

Joe Bai:    I don’t know. Only few people harmed civilians.

Commissioner Sooka:    You said that you joined the Kamajors to defend yourself and your community. I think that was the reason why a lot of people joined the Kamajors?

Joe Bai:    Yes

Commissioner Sooka:    But the Commission had testimonies on Bonthe Island, and also this morning of civilians who were killed, harassed and even amputated by the Kamajors. What went wrong? Why didn’t they go on protecting civilians?

Joe Bai:    In most cases I was not there. I cannot tell.

Commissioner Sooka:    Did you say house was burnt by the RUF rebels in 1994?

Joe Bai:    Yes, that is right.

Commissioner Sooka:    And you also said that  you went to Bo. Did you also say that you lived in a town near Base Zero.

Joe Bai:    Yes.
Commissioner Sooka:    Which town is that?

Joe Bai: Nyandehun.

Commissioner Sooka:    Nyandehun, your own village was the village were Base Zero was?

Joe Bai: It was my own village, but is was not the location of Base Zero.

Commissioner Sooka:    But you said before that you went to live in the town next to Base Zero,so which town was it.

Joe Bai:     It was Nyandehun, which was very closed to Base Zero.

Joe Bai:    Base Zero was in Talia not in Nyadehun.

Commissioner Sooka:    And you said that there was a council that took place in Base Zero, can you tell us who the members were?

Joe Bai:    I cannot tell you any thing about the council.

Commissioner Sooka:    But in that base were there people?

Joe Bai:       There were people there.

Commissioner Commissioner Sooka:    And all those people were Kamajors?

Joe Bai:    Almost all of them were Kamajors.

Commissioner Sooka:    So, what were they doing there? Were they receiving training or was it just like a village?

Joe Bai:    They were making lots of arrangement towards bringing the war to an end.

Commissioner Sooka:        How do you know that?

Joe Bai:    Well, they used to talk about it.

Commissioner Sooka:    Okay, what did they say about the arrangements?

Joe Bai:    They said they were going to fight the rebels to bring the war to an end so that we can have peace in the country.

Commissioner Sooka:    Is that what happened?

Joe Bai:    Yes.

Commissioner Sooka:    Did you contribute to that?

Joe Bai:    I did not contribute because they did not consult me and I was not a party

Commissioner Sooka:    I don’t understand that?

Joe Bai:    Pardon?

Commissioner Sooka:    Can you repeat what you said?

Joe Bai:    I did not contribute any because I was not a party to the council.
Commissioner Sooka:    Where you even involved in any chasing of the rebels?

Joe Bai:    In the first instance,we were hiding from the rebels.

Commissioner Sooka:    You were hiding from the rebels?

Joe Bai:    In the first instance I was hiding from the rebels.

Commissioner Sooka:    Yes, but when you were a Kamajor or you we fighting them did    you hide from the rebels?

Joe Bai:    No, when I became a Kamajor I was no longer hiding from rebels.

Commissioner Sooka:    So what were you doing then?

Joe Bai:        Well, if they confronted me fought.

Commissioner Sooka:    Excuse me I didn’t understand/

Joe Bai:    Pardon?

Commissioner Sooka:    Can you repeat that?

Joe Bai:    If the rebels confronted me when I became a Kamajor we went and fought them. I have to defend myself.

Commissioner Sooka:    In how many fights were you involved?

Joe Bai:    When I became a Kamajor they did not come to me any longer.

Commissioner Sooka:   You were never involved in any fight?

Joe Bai:    I did not go to any war front to confront the rebels.

Commissioner Sooka:    Who was your commander?

Joe Bai:    We were very many when we joined the Kamajor so I cannot remember the name of our commander at that time. We were very many.

Commissioner Sooka:    From who did you take instructions? Who was your direct superior?

Joe Bai:    Kondowai.

Commissioner Sooka:    Kondowai. And what was the role of Kondowai in the Kamajor movement?

Joe Bai:    He was only the chief celebrant in the Kamajor society.

Commissioner Sooka:        Was he a member or this council you talked about               earlier?

Joe Bai:    Yes, he was a member.

Commissioner Sooka:        Did you ever meet him?

Joe Bai: I did not ever go to that council.
Commissioner Sooka:    No, that’s not my question. Did you ever meet Kondowai?

Joe Bai:    Yes, I saw Kondowai

Commissioner Sooka:    What did he do at the time that you saw him? Or what did he say?

Joe Bai:     When I came across him, he did not tell me anything about their council. I only came across him as a member of the Kamajor society.
Commissioner Sooka:    So, what did he say apart from saying something about the council in general.

Joe Bai:    He was so superior that he hardly talked to ordinary members. So I did not have any conversation with him.
Commissioner Sooka:    Do you think that what happened to you happened to most of the Kamajors-  that after the initiation they were sent home and stayed there never involving in any fight?

Joe Bai:    Well, that was what was happening to most of the Kamajors.
Commissioner Sooka:    Thank you very much I have no other question.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Have you any questions for the commission?

Joe Bai:    I have no question.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:         Have you any recommendation?

Joe Bai:    Yes, I have some recommendations

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Yes, what are they?

Joe Bai:    Now that most of our homes have been destroyed, and all of our properties looted, how is the Commission going to assist us?

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: The Commission can do nothing. We have no resources. I have said that over and over again. We have no money. The Commission can make recommendations to the Government to  about people’s concerns.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Any other recommendation?

Joe Bai:    We only want the Commission to recommend to the Government that some consideration be given to our welfare.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: What do you mean by that?

Joe Bai:    I have about 15 children. I want them to grow up as responsible citizens. How am I going to cater for their education and other facilities?

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thank you for coming. You may step down now.

Commissioner Sooka:    Madam Chairperson, our next witness for today is                         Mr. Momoh  Sandi.


The Oath is administered.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Now, Momoh Sandy, the conflict lasted for long time. As a matter of fact it lasted for over ten years. And so many things happened to people in this country. If we therefore want every detail about what happened we may never come to the end.  We would therefore like you to tell us the most important things that happened to you, or to people very close to you.

Sandi:    I am very happy to stand before this Commission today to say the truth. In 1991 war broke out in this country. The war at the time did not reach here, but stopped at Talia. All of us escaped from the towns and went to the bushes. While in the bush we were told that soldiers have come to the town. We were told to leave the bushes and go back to the towns. We went back to our towns. We had no food with us. I have a son in Bo called Francis. He sent a message to me to go to Bo for food. I travelled to Bo on a bicycle. On my way to Bo, I  met some soldiers at Senbehum Junction. The soldiers captured me and beat me up because I didn’t have an identity card. They asked me to pay twenty thousand Leones. I asked them: “if I pay the twenty thousand leones would you provide the identity card for me. When I asked them that question they threw me into the guardroom. They wanted to take away my bicycle from me. A corporal talked to them to leave my bicycle. They took away five thousand leones form me. They let me continue my journey.

So that was one of my experiences during this war. After that, in 1995, the real rebels came into our area. They came and attacked here. They left here and went to Talia Yobeko on the April 1. They looted properties. The Paramount Chief was flogged and striped naked. The rebels flogged the town chief and laid him under the sun. some of us went into the bush and hid there. They  went to my village- Kotimao and destroyed it. That same day the rebels  reached Nyandehum Yobeko and burnt down three houses. They reached Foya–Yobeko and burnt five houses there. I told some people to follow me back to the town to find out whether the rebels had left or were still staying. When we were in the town that evening the rebels came, shooting in the air. We went into hiding around the town.

A rebel that was very prominent in those attacks was called Baba Ngoma. Later we came to know that his real name was Hassan. The other one was called Isaac. He was an easterner. The other one was called Makanaki. His native name was Lansana Wright. He now lives in Boidu. The rebels told us that if we didn’t leave the bushes and come into the town they would kill all of us. So, we came back to the town. After that they went to Talia. I had a child called Matu. She was staying with my elder sister in another village. At one time the rebels went to that village and took away Matu. She was not yet a grown-up. She was never seen again. One day the girl’s mother went to the rebels to ask for her child. The rebels attmeped to kill her. We heard that the soldiers have taken over this town form the rebels. After burning several villages and killing scores of people the rebels went away.

After that, the Kamajors came to Talia. When the Kamajors came we embraced them as our own people. We were forced to feed them.

At some point  they began to threaten us. They would do all sort of humiliatings things to us. One day the Kamajors went and attacked Anhu. Let me talk a little about what brought the attack by the Kamajors. When the Kamajors went to do initiations at Talia they asked the chiefdom people for some contribution. They said one person should contribute five thousand Leones. The people that were heading the initiation ate all the money. We made complaints to the Paramount Chief against these people.  And the chief decided to call a meeting. Kondowai was invited to that meeting. The Chief who was not well, was represented by Demba Joebai. The Chief Kamajor by then was Momoh Kalia. On the day of the meeting the Kamajors headed by Kondowa, mobilized and attacked the town. The Kamajors were shooting and cussing. The meeting was not allowed to take place. Some people drowned as they tried to escape.
Kamajors were undergoing training at Tialia. They took awaw people’s chickens. I had twelve chickens. They took all away. My sister’s child was amputated.  The child is here right now. Those were some of the things I experienced during this war.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Thank you for telling us about all those important incidents. Did you say the child whose foot was amputated is?

Sandi:        She is in town.

Commissioner Sooka:    She is not in the hall but she is in town.

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you Mr. Sandi. You said on your  way to Bo to collect food from your son you were arrested by soldiers at a check point for failing to produce an identify card. How did you finally escape from their arrest?

Sandi:    I paid five thousand Leones and they left me.

Commissioner Torto:     What hepened to your bicyle.

Sandi:        They gave it back to me.

Commissioner Torto: Thank you.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:        Leader of evidence- any questions?

Commissioner Sooka:    Thank you Chairperson. I wanted some explanation about the abduction of your daughter because I did not quite get the story. Can you tell us again.

Sandi:    The child was staying with my sister when the rebels captured her. She was staying with a rebel called Jonathan. We tried to get the child back but they didn’t give her to us. After the war I heard that she was in Makeni. So I went there. I have brought her back..

Commissioner Sooka: Can you tell us how old she was at that time.

Sandi:    About fifteen years.

Commissioner Sooka:    And she was not the only girl that was abducted at that time.

Sandi:    No.    

Commissioner Sooka: So what happened to the others, did they all come back?

Sandi:      Another girl was carried away. She has been brought back..

Commissioner Sooka: Some people who have testifed before the Commission have said that they became Kamajors because they were first victims of the rebels. You were a victim of the rebels, so why did you decide not to become a Kamajor?

Sandi:        I did not want to join.

Commissioner Sooka:    Excuse me, I was?

Sandi:        I was not interested.

Commissioner Sooka:    Why not?

Sandi:        I was not interested.

Commissioner:    But people joined the Kamajor to protect their communitiws and their families. So was that not something that you had wanted to do?

Sandi:    I will talk a bit about that. When the Kamajors first came to us we embraced them. Later they turned against us. That was why I decided not to be part of them.

Commissioner Sooka:    Why did they turn against you and why did they attack your village as you said?

Sandi:        They know the answer. I don’t know the answer.

Commissioner Sooka:    Thank you very much.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Have you any questions you may want to ask the Commission.

Sandi:        Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    What is your question?

Sandi:    What is the Commission going to do for us after all the the sufferings we’ve undergone?

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    What the Commission is going to do is to make a record of all your sufferings. We are analizing the  various abuses and violations according. And it will be part of history. People will come to realize that the ten years conflict caused a lot of suffering to people. And people will take precautions to avoid a repeat of what happened. They will also be able to tell from our report what might have caused the war so that those things can be avoided and the war never happened again. And we would be able to have development in the country lasting peace. And other question.

Sandi: No other question

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Any recommendation?

Sandi:    Yes

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Carry on.

Sandi:    I am making an appeal to the Commission to assist us in our area to develop in the areas of education, medicine, and food.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    We will include your recommendation in our report. We thank you for coming. You can step down.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Leader of Evidence -I thing we can break for this morning’s session. We will have witness Mustapha Musa when we resume. Is he around ?

Commissioner Sooka:    Yes, chair person he is present.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: I welcome you all again to this  afternoon session.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Could we have Mustapha Musa?

WITNESS NAME: Mustapha Musa

                                   The oath is administered
Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Mustapha, you have the benefit of experience of listening to the other witness this morning. So you should be quite confident now,. Go ahead and tell us your testimony.

Musa:    I want to thank the Commissioner very much for giving me the privilege to sit down here and narrate to my story. I was not living in Jong Chiefdom when the war started.  I was in the Gbangbatok chiefdom Mokanji. When they attacked Mokanji the very first time I was not in the town. We were in the bush making gari. By then I was learning Arabic. I  managed to get to my actual place of birth. Father gave me news about my brother who has the bread winner of the family at the time. At one time while I was in my village, one member of the Kamajors came. He was called Sondo. He asked for my brother. Father told him  that my brother had gone out. He told my father to sit on the floor. Father was sick at the time. My father sat on the ground. He threatened to kill him if my brother’s whereabouts were not disclosed.  My brother entered the house. He told my brother that they should go together to  a place called to Bole. Bole is just a resting place during the dry season. We later that the Kamajor cut off his ear at Bole. My brother was tied, put on a boat in the Sewa river. They dropped my brother in the Sewa river. He died there.

After that my father escaped and managed get to Talia. At that time one Moalim Sesay and Kondowa were at Talia. They presided over the cases. They tried to preside over my brother’s case. After they had presided over that case it discovered that the Kamajor had wronged my brother. But actually what led to the killing of my brother? I was told later that the deceased and the Kamajor were at one time in a town when the rebels  attacked. They took my brother and other people as carriers. The carriers came back later. It was after this that this Sondo, when he became a Kamajor accused my brother of collaborating with the rebels. He threatened to kill my brother. If I could remember well I think it was in 1997 that my brother was killed. When it was decided that he had wronged my brother the Kamajor was to be killed. The Kamajor pleaded with my father that he should talk to Kondowa to spare his life. My father refused. He said: “you too must be killed. That is the only thing that will give me consolation.  It was decided that he too was to be killed. Kondowai and Moalim Sesay later said that my brother and the Kamajor were rivals over a girlfriend. They therefore decided to set him free. One of my step-mothers was pregnant when she was killed by the rebels.  In another village close to ours village called Waima  the rebels chased one of my elder sisters who was a nursing mother. The baby fell from her back and they killed that it.  They also killed my father’s brother.  When we started hearing that TRC was coming to take statements from people I left here and went to my village to confer with my parents. All of them told me to come and give you this information.  

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Thank you Musa. We thank you parents for letting you come to give your testimony.  Now what was the name of you brother killed?

Mustapha:    He is called Moiwo Musa.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Did you know anything about his girlfriend?

Mustapha:    At that time I was not at home.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  What was the name of the Kamajor who killed him?

Mustapha:    He is called Sombo Juana.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Sombo Juana?  Were you there when your brother was was killed?

Mustapha:     I was not there at that time.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Now, who reported the matter to Kondowai?

Mustapha:    My father- Mr. Musa Moiwo.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  And who was the other person who sat on the matter?

Mustapha:    Well, according to information from my father, the people who sat on the matter were Kondowai and Moalem Sesay.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Do you know what has happened to Kondowai?     

Mustapha:    Now?

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Yes.

Mustapha:    Well, I heared rumors that he has been arrested.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  And what about Moalem Sesay?

Mustapha:    No, I have not heard anything about Moalem Sesay.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  What did they actually say to your father after they sat on the matter?

Mustapha:    Well, I was not there at that time but according to reports from my father, when they sat on the matter they decided that they were going to kill the Kamajor.  But they did not go along with that decision.  They said my brother and the Kamajor were rivals over a girlfriend and therefore the Kamajor was right to kill my brother.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Did your father make any effort to find out about this girlfriend?

Mustapha:    I did not ask him about that.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Was your brother’s body recovered?

Mustapha:    He was tied and thrown into the river Sewa so we did not see the corpse at all.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Have you any idea of the definite place where Juana is now?

Mustapha:    I don’t know the town but my parents told me where he is leaving.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Is it anywhere near here?

Mustapha:    No. It is not close to here.  I can only tell you the name of the town.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  And what is the name of the town?

Mustapha:    The town where he is at the moment is called Kamboye. It’s in Bum chiefdom, Madina, Shegbureh. That is in Bonthe district.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Leader of evidence?

Commissioner Sooka:    Chairperson, I just want to ask the witness about the other people in his family that were killed by rebels. He mentioned a  step-mother, a sister’s child, and an uncle. Where they all killed when when the rebels attacked your village?  

Mustapha:    It was not at the same time.

Commissioner Sooka: I want to know if all the people were killed during this same attack by the same rebels.

Mustapha:    No. They were killed on two different occasions.  

Commissioner Sooka: So. Was it later or earlier?

Mustapha:    Well, when the war started initially people did not leave for Bonthe.  They were almost preparing to get away from the war to go to other places.  It was during that period that my sister lost her child.

Commissioner Sooka:    Can you give us the names of the other members of your family that were caught, killed and that you mentioned?  First of all you mentioned that your step-mother was shot by one of the rebels.

Mustapha:     She was called Lucia Musa.  I made some small mistake if you can permit me to say something more.  The rebels also burnt our houses and not only our own premises but all other towns within our town, our village.  I forgot to tell you that one.

Commissioner Sooka:    Thank you for this clarification.  You also said that your father’s brother was killed, can we have his name as well?

Mustapha:    He was called Soriba Bangura.

Commissioner Sooka:    Did you say your sister’s child was killed too? D you have the name?

Mustapha:    Well, I forgot to ask the name of the child. And I cannot tell whether it was a boy or girl.  

Commissioner Sooka:    Thank you.  Was any of your sisters abducted?

Mustapha:    They abducted one of my sisters, yes.

 Commissioner Sooka:  And did she come back?

Mustapha:    She is back. She is now a married woman.

Commissioner Sooka: A Kamajor killed your brother. Rebels killed the other people.  Do you know the rebel group that did those killings?  

Mustapha:    I was not there. I cannot tell the group of rebels that did the killings.

Commissioner Sooka:    So you don’t know if it was the RUF or AFRC?

Mustapha:    I don’t know.  I was not there and I did not ask.

Commissioner Sooka:    Thank you very much. No more question.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Mustapha, did  you say you are a school boy?

Mustapha:    Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  And in what form are you?  

Mustapha:    I am in JSS 1.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  I believe you should be able to understand what I am going to tell you now.  You know that according to the Lome Peace Agreement, of 7th July 1999, people like Juana have been granted amnesty.  The Special Court, which is trying leaders of the warring groups, will not bother with a person like Juana.  We are a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We do not punish. That brings me to my question.  If Juana were to turn up would  your father and yourself  be ready to reconcile with him?  

Mustapha:    You mean Juana the Kamajor?  Well if Juana appears now before me I would shake hands with him.  He did not kill me. He killed my brother. I don’t know what my brother had in mind for him.  But if he comes here now, I will personally reconcile with him.  

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  The chances are slim that we would be able to get in touch with him. We’ll see what we can do.  Do you have any questions to ask the Commission?  

Mustapha:    I don’t have any other question.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Any recommendation?

Mustapha:    Yes, I have a recommendation.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Go ahead.

Mustapha:    Our village used to have a school. During the war the school collapsed. I am appealing to Government to rehabilitate our school. Secondly, our village was totally burnt down by the rebels. I am appealing for assistance in rehabilitating our village. Those are the only two appeals I am making toGovernment.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  We’ve made a note of your recommendations.  Now, I am not quite sure we have the correct spelling of your village. Can you spell it for us?

Mustapha:    Batahoi

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  One word?  

Interpreter:    Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Thank you. You may step down.

Martein:    Chairperson, our final witness for this afternoon is Mr. Joseph Yankuba

Yankuba:    My name is Joseph Yankuba

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Are you a Muslim or a Christian?

Yankuba:    I am a Muslim.

WITNESS NAME: Joseph Yankuba

(The oath was administered).

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Joseph, we thank you for coming.  We would now like to hear your testimony. But please we want you to give us just the very important things that happened to you or to people very close to you.  We do not want to hear about everything that happened during the war. Carry on.

Yankuba:    I greet you and I want to say thanks for giving me this opportunity to come before you.  One day when we were in Sogbeni, people came and told us that the war had reached Sierra Rutile.  Our people came from Rutile on foot to Tiihun.  They said all operations had ceased at Rutile, and everybody had run away.  My brother told me that we should go into the bush and build a hut there to live.  So we made the hut.  Then we heard that the rebels had captured Mattru.  They abducted some of our relatives who were in Mattru.  One of our children escaped from the rebels and went to us in Tiihun.  He followed us in the camp.  He said he had a message that the rebels were going to be in Tiihun on Friday without fail.  We did not take it seriously at first but he insisted that it was something very serious.  That same Friday the rebels were inTiihun.  When they went there, they captured the town chief and a lot of other people and burnt down few houses. Two people were killed that same day.  They also captured some people from there and carried them towards Senjehun.  The rebels crossed over to Boleh and slept there.  They left the people to return to their villages. The rebels told the people that they should not allow soldiers  by any means to come and stay in Tiihun.  The rebels threatened  that if that happened they will burn the village.  That message was given to the town chief for his subjects.  The chief came and relayed the message but by then many people had gone into the bushes to hide.  After that we saw some soldiers  come to Tiihun. They were sent by Maada Bio.  , The rebels started attacking the town on a frequent basis as soon as the soldiers arrived there.  The first attack was during daytime; and it was a serious one.  Early the following morning the town was attacked again.  After a day, the rebels again attacked the town for the third time.  We were now seeing scores of soldiers coming into the town telling us that they have been sent by Maada Bio.  They were approximately about five hundred of them.  The rebels seemed to have realized that that was the number of soldiers in that town.  The time the rebels went to take over the town, they went in their thousands. There were about two thousand, five hundred rebels.  They fought over three hours until the soldiers were repelled.  All the people in the town were gathered at the Court Barray.  That day they killed over five hundred people.  I was called by one of the rebels.  I was carrying one of my children. The rebel told me to give the child to my wife.  We had to leave the child behind us.  I walked two steps then he told me to come and meet him. He said he was not going to kill me.  He took me from the Barray to the town.  When we went to the town chief’s house, they lined me up together with the ones that they were going to be killed. Two people in front of me were  killed.  Then they asked us to bring the rebels that had been wounded during the attack to Mattru for treatment.  Then they took us right round the town and told us that they were going to burn down the whole town. And indeed they burnt down the whole town.  People were being killed in groups of ten, twenty, thirty or forty. One of the rebels pleaded for the few of us that were left because  they needed some people to carry luggage.   We left for Mattru.  When we arrived they told us that they were going to kill all of us the following day.  The following day, two airoplanes came in the vicinity. We scattered, hid and went back to our village.  We stayed in hiding. The rebels went from village to village burning houses.  We were in the bush in hiding, when I heard that the child that we left behind was in Bo.  The night that we were moved to Mattru, soldiers entered the town.  They met the town chief and greeted him.  They asked the chief whether the rebels had gone back.He said yes.  Then they told the chief that they were going to carry him along.  The chief said he was unable to go because the rebels had looted all his property and had killed his people. He said he was going to stay in his village and die there.  They took about eight children and seven wounded people and carried them to Bo.  They went and gave my son to one Themne woman and up till now I haven’t got my child back.  While in the bush we heard that soldiers had captured the town of Mattru.  The soldiers went into the bush and told us to leave the bush and go to Mattru. I refused to go.  I remained in the bush while some people packed their things and went to Baoya.  There was an attack at that time in about thirty people were killed.  We went into the bush again. The Kamajors came.  We heard about them from the end of Talia.  We went and met the Kamajors and they brought us to Tiihun.  This is the testimony I have to give.  

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Thank you Joseph.  We would ask you some questions.  Were you captured by the rebels?

Yankuba:    They captured me after the battle had taken place and many people had been killed. I was captured to carry their luggage over to Mattru.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Now, how long were you with the rebels?

Yankuba:    I stayed with them for one night.  When I went back they told me that they had killed nine of my relatives.  

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  But you said in your statement that you stayed with the rebels for three weeks.

Yankuba:    When the rebels left me I was in hiding for three weeks.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Where did you hide?

Yankuba:    At Gelehun.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Now, What were the things they gave you to carry?  

Yankuba:    They gave me a tape to carry.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  But didn’t they mean to recruit you? Did they not lose a number of men and therefore wanted new recruits?

Yankuba:    No. I wouldn’t have joined in fact.  

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Where did you leave the tape recorder?

Yankuba:    I brought it to Mattru.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Whereabout in Mattru.  Was it a house, where in Mattru?

Yankuba:    We left the rebels at the river-side and they crossed over to go back to Sierra Rutile.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Now how many members of your family did they kill?

Yankuba:    They killed eight of my relatives and one of my friends.  They killed my mother, my brother’s wife and child, my aunt, my uncle and his wife and their child, and my friend called Sylvester.  Those were the people I lost.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Did you see the corpses?

Yankuba:    I saw my mother’s corpse and my aunt’s too.  I also saw the corpses of my sister, her child and my friend.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Were you able to bury your mother?

Yankuba:  No.   

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Why ?

Yankuba:    They threatened that anybody who went around to collect any of the corpses will be killed.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  What did they do with the corpses?

Yankuba:    They didn’t do anything with them.  They were just lying there.  Every morning, they came and watched the corpses and went back. The corpses were eventually dried by the sun.  When it rained, the corpses rot.  

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  And after the rain what happened to the corpses?

Yankuba:    They all got rotten and the flesh fell off.  When the soldiers went to Mattru,  we went and gathered the bones and buried them.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Where did they bury the bones?

Yankuba:    We buried them at our town cemetery in Tiihun.  We first gathered all the  bones at the Barray.  

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  In which town is the cemetery?

Yankuba:    Tiihun.  The cemetery is at Tiihun.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  And how far is Tiihun from here?

Yankuba:    If you use the motor road from here to Tiihun it is eight miles.   

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Now, if one were to go to the cemetery in Tiihun would one see any particular sign or mark to be able to identify the grave of all those people?

Yankuba:    Yes, we would be able to identify the place where they buried those bones.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  How many people would you say were buried in that particular spot?

Yankuba:    I cannot tell the figure.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Thirty, below thirty, above thirty?

Yankuba:    The bones were carried in wheelbarrows I cannot really show a particular figure.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Thank you Commissioners, Leader of Evidence?

Martein:    I would like to ask this witness how the people were killed- were they

Yankuba:    They were killed by guns.

Martein:    I think that we had another witness today who testified about this massacre.

Mr.Ansumana Sandi: I think he said that the Court Barray was burnt down.  Is that correct?

Yankuba:    That is the same place.

Martein:    I think he said that the Court Barrie had been burnt down.  Is that correct?

Yankuba:    When they killed the people, they spilled petrol and lit fire on them. They were burnt. The Court Barray was burnt down too.

Martein:    So it was burnt when the people were already dead?

Yankuba:    Yes. The Barrie was burnt down and fell on the people, and  all of them were burnt to ashes.

Martein:    Now Joseph Yankuba, did you say that you had one child who was abducted?

Yankuba:    Yes, one of my children was abducted.

Martein:    And this child never came back.

Yankuba:    He has not come yet. I hear about him but he has not returned yet.

Martein:    Are you in touch with any NGO or with the Ministry of Social Welfare to trace this child?

Yankuba:    I don’t know about NGOs and the ministry.

Martein:    What was the name of this child and how old was it?

Yankuba:    He was five years by then.

Martein:    What was the name?

Yankuba:     The child’s biological name was Maada but when they abducted the child they gave him the name Amara.

Martein:    Was there any particular reason for the rebels to kill so many people in your village?

Yankuba:    In the first place they said  Maada Bio was in power and the place was his home.

Martein:    He is from your village?

Yankuba:   Yes.

Martein:    Now, in your statement you said that those rebels were RUF.  Do you know any of them?

Yankuba:    I   know two of them.

Martein:    Do you know their names?

Yankuba:    Yes.

Martein:    Can you give them to us?

Yankuba:    The first one was called Brima Fabasalat.

Martein:    Brima  and…

Yankuba:    Fabasalat.

Martein:    And the second one.

Yankuba:   Momodu Gbatalovai.

Martein:    Can you repeat.

Yankuba:    Momodu  Gbatalovai.  I don’t know there whereabouts.

Leader of Evidence:        In your written statement you say they are in Freetown now.

Yankuba:   That was what I heard at that time.  But right now I cannot locate them.

Leader of Evedence:    And were those two the commanders of those rebels who attacked your village.

Yankuba:    I want to know whether you are asking if they were commanders of the rebels.

Leader of Evidence:     Were they the commanders of this attack.

Yankuba:     I can’t tell.  I just use to see all of them in combats

Leader of Evidence:    Yes,  but how did you know them?  You knew them before the attack?  How did you know their names?

Yankuba:     Because they were with us fighting and they used to call their names.

Leader of Evidence:        I have one more question Mr Yankuba. Some people who would have survived this kind of an attack would have decided to join the Kamajors in order to defend their community.   Did you join the Kamajors?

Yankuba:   No, I didn’t join.

Martein:    Why not?

Yankuba:    By then they had killed all my relatives so I just decided to stay away from everything.

Martein:    I’m really sorry about the loss of all the members of your family.  Thank you very much.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Joseph, had your abducted son another name apart from Maada and Amara.  Is that the same person as Augustine?

Yankuba:    No, Augustine is a different person.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Who was Augustine?

Yankuba:    The Augustine you are talking about?

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Yes.

Yankuba:    That Augustine was the person who left Mattru and took the message to Tiihun that the rebels were going to the town that day.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  I see, thank you.  Now, have you questions for the TRC?

Yankuba:    Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Carry on.

Yankuba:    I am appealing to the Commission to help us because the rebels burnt down our village. The houses we are now putting up are covered with thatch and we often experience fire accidents.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Well, we’ll put that in our recommendation.  That is not really a question but a recommendation for better housing facilities in your village.  I was asking whether you had any questions on the Commission’s work.

Yankuba:      Yes, I have a question.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Yes, go ahead.

Yankuba:    What assistance can be given to us by the Commission so that our children can have a better education?

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  We cannot give assistance now.  We will put that in our recommendations to the government so that your children will be able to get a better future.  We’ve had the same concern expressed in many of the districts that we’ve been to. It will definitely go down in our report.  Any other recommendation?

Yankuba:    Yes. I have told you all the atrocities committed by the rebels but right now some of the rebels are staying with us in the communities.  What will be our protection against them?

Commissioner  Marcus-Jones:  Against the rebels?  Will you repeat his question again?

Yankuba:    I want to know what protection will be granted us now that we have come and said the truth about the rebels. Most of the rebels are staying with us.

Commissioner  Marcus-Jones:  Well, you haven’t named anyone in the community. But if you have any special concern tell our briefer and we’ll see what protection can be given.  If it is a general fear about rebels the normal courts and the police force are still very active. They could take care of any rebel who still has evil intentions.  If the witness has no other statement to make then we thank him for coming. Please step down.  

We have successfully come to the end of our first day session. I want to thank you all for coming and making this day’s programme a success We hope to  meet again tomorrow .

Commissioner Laura Marcu-Jones (Presiding)
Commissioner Sylvanus Torto
Commissioner William Schabas
Commissioner Yasmin Sooka
Commissioner Joseph C. Humper

LAEDER OF EVEDENCE: Martein Schortsman Lydia


Leader of Evidence: may we have your first witness?

Martein:    Yes, Chairperson we have our witness- Mr. Ansu Koroma.

Commissioner  Marcus-Jones:  Can the witness please give his name in full?

Ansu:        Yes, my name is Ansu Koroma.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:  Are you a Christian or a Muslim?         

Ansu:        I am a Christian.

(The oath is admistered)
Commissioner  Marcus-Jones: Please sit up a bit forward so we can hear you clearly. And talk a little slowly so that we’ll be able to make a record of what you are saying.  Now, you don’t have to worry about anything. We don’t punish anyone.   All we want to do is to get the truth for the records and where possible bring about peace and reconciliation.  So you can start now.

Ansu:        I was at Bandajuma in the year 1995.  One afternoon we saw a large crowd coming towards us.  They all had guns.  They did not talk to anybody. They just passed through the village.  We were scared. We had not seen these kind of people before.  So we took to our hills and went into the bush. We were there for about a week.  While in the bush we had to come to the town if we wanted drinking water.  At one time my brothers and I decided to come for water.  When we came we found these rebels in the town. We were abducted.  They asked us where we were coming from.  We told them we were hiding in the bush. One of them asked whether I was a soldier.  I said no.  I told him I was a civilian.  They then asked me for my parents. I told them they were all in the bush.  They asked us to go with them to the bush. We went together with them back to our hiding place.  They saw my parents and then gathered all of them.  They told us to leave the bush as they had come to liberate us.  They then asked us to go to the town.  

Before we went to the town, we did not know that they were divided into four different groups and that the others were also bringing people out of the bush.  All of us came to the town.  They said if they found anybody in the bush, that person will be termed a “bad person”.  They then elected a town chief, appointed a women’s leader, a town commander and town mother.  They said if any thing went wrong the people appointed would inform them.   One morning the rebels abducted seven of us. We were brought to Mattru.  At the Mattru hospital the rebels had bags of rice. They asked us to transport the bags of rice. The commander who was leading us at that time was called Kalankay. He pleaded with the rebel to leave me alone.  The rebel told my father: “if you don’t want your son to take this bag along, then you can carry it for us”.  I told my father that I cannot see him carrying a bag of rice.  I told my father to stay.  I left my father weeping. Three of us from the same father were abducted at that time.  I, my younger brother called Amara and my younger sister called Mariama were taken along.  They told us that we were taking the luggage to Zimmy Bargbor.  We spent a night on our way and arrived the following day at Zimmy.  We were all thinking that we were going to stay at Zimmy. But we were told that they were expecting some other group to come and collect the luggage from us. But the other group did not come. We continued the journey and reached Bathust junction. We saw another group approaching us.  We thought they were coming to help us. But they were coming to reinforce the rebels who were resident in Mattru.

The on-coming group crossed us and went to Mattru.  We continued the journey and reached a village that I cannot recall the name now.  The rebels asked us to stay and prepare some food.  We prepared ‘garrie’ and ate.  Four of the carriers escaped and were recaptured.  They were put in the front so they could not escape a second time.  The rebels told us that they were going to set an example for all of you to see.  The four people who had attempted to escape were all killed in our presenc. The rebels told us that anyone who attempted to hide again will meet the same fate.  We got to Gandorhun Kpaneh and found a good number of other rebels there.  There was a church building in that town in which all of us were packed and were locked.  There was empty kerosene tin inside the church building which was used as chamber.  We stayed there for two nights and were taken to Dukuya.  Dukuya was where they had their training base.  That was where Mr. Sankoh was. This was the place they called Zogoda, Civilians do not go there.  We got to a village very close to Zogoda called Salolo ground.  That was where all of us were packed.  They asked us to wait for them there. The rebels came back with another group of people.  The luggage we had brought along were carried by the people they brought from Zogoda.  All of us were lined up again and asked whether we were interested in joining the ‘movement.” Anyone who was not interested in the movement was asked to indicate so by putting up his/her right hand.  Two people put up their hands. Their throats were cut off. Our leader took the remainder of us to the training base.

We found Gio people there. The rebels said that we were now members of the “movement”.  For three consecutive months we were at the training base.  We were sent to various locations the day we passed-out.  I was sent down to Koribondo jungle.  I was there for quite some time, before my location was changed.  I was then sent to Gandorhun Nyawa.  I was there again for quite some time until the Lome Peace Accord came into force.  Mr. Sankoh had an audience with all of his top officials.  He said we had fought for too long  and time to go to the negotiation table.  Sankoh said he was conferring with them because he had been invited to a peace talk..  He said: “one cannot put out a flame of fire with a flame of fire so I want to move from this place”. He called C.O. Mohamed who was in the Western Area close to Freetown.  This C.O. Mohamed’s birth name is Mohamed Tarawally.  He was the only person very close to Mr. Sankoh.  He called him and he came to us at Zogoda.  He then asked Mohamed Tarawally to deputise him as he was leaving for the negotiations.  He divided the whole company into three groups.  One group was to go to Libya, one to Burkina, and the third to the Western Area.  Sankoh was afraid that once he left we were going to abandon Zogoda. C.O. Mohamed did not divide us into groups as per Sankoh’s instructions.  When Sankoh was ready to go a helicopter came to collect him. The helicopter landed at Sondumi.  The helicopter that came had a Red Cross emblem on it.  Some time after his departure, we heard that he was arrested in Nigeria.

Our enemies started attacks against us.  We were then removed from Zogoda. Mohamed then divided us into groups in haste.  We were now only divided into two groups.  One group went to Libya and another to Burkina.  We went to Libya.  Don’t have any doubt when I talk of Libya.  Pujehun was the area we called Libya.  Kailahun was Burkina.  We found out that pressure was mounting on our brothers.  Our enemies pressured us for some time and my own assignment was changed.  I was transferred to Gendema close to Bo-Waterside.  When I got to Bo-Waterside, I decided to stay there because it was not far off from the boundary.  We were at Bo-Waterside when enemies (the Kamajors) came from Zimmy Makpay and drove us from Gendema. We went to our brothers at Gorhun.  When we got to Gorhun, we were asked by our brothers to get back to Gendema and repel the Kamajors. We were however short of ammunition.  Our commander at that time asked for more ammunition but there was none.  We were asked to go and use     the little we had in our guns.  Sometimes we had some guns without cartridges.  When you reported it to the commander, he would say: “my friend, don’t say that”. “You can even create a “morale” with that as the people will fear the empty gun in your hand.  The commander then moved with us.  The sooner we left the high command, we rebelled against him saying our lives had been betrayed.  We scattered and went to a village the name of which I cannot recall. All of us went to that village.  By then, we were almost surrounded by our enemies.  Our highest commander at that time who was called Brigadier Mike Lamin crossed over to Liberia where he was given ammunition.  He was given fifty R.P.G. bombs with “A.K. rounds”.  We were asked to use those ammunitions to defend ourselves until we crossed the river boundary.  Those of us who had guns were left stranded behind the river.  We were told not to cross.  Abductees who were with us were crossed.  We were there at the waterside for three days.  Every morning when our enemies our enemies we fought.  Our enemies attacked in the morning and in the evening.  The little ammunition we had also finished.  Our pursuers came one very early morning and pushed us unto the river bank.  Some people tried to escape by swimming across the river.  Many drowned.

I had to swim across the river. I took my clothes off and threw my gun away before jumping into the river. When I got to the other side of the river, I started tracing our brothers who had previously crossed over.  I was there for four days.  We were told that they were taking us to “headquarter”.  All of us were disarmed and  taken to Teni.  We were at Teni for two nights before moving on to Lofa Bridge. From Lofa Bridge we were taken to Bopolo were we camped.  Then they had to contact Charles Taylor. Gangai gave us a proverb that a “Cutting grass” (Squirrel) cannot be a starnger in any farm.  We were all dispatched after a week.  We were asked to go wherever Taylor had his own soldiers.
I was sent to a place seven miles to the city.  The name of our Commander at there was Jobojaba. We fought so heavily on Taylor’s side that Alhaji Koroma became afraid. So they made peace.  When disarmament started in Liberia, the guns that had been given to us by Taylor when we crossed over were asked for.
The guns they took from us were however never presented for disarmament. They were hidden. We where supposed to cross over to Sierra Leone again but the Nigerians went and occupied the crossing point.  We stayed in Bopolo until the Red Cross decided to assist.  The Red Cross gathered all of us. Tey were givingus supplies.  We were in Bopolo when elections time came. We did not know that there were two places where guns were hidden in Bopolo.  One day a lunatic man in the town, while walking around in the bush discovered a pile of guns.

He took one out. He placed it on his shoulder and came to town.  When we saw him with the gun, we thought he was an enemy. We all ran.  When I left Bopolo I came down to Lofa. At Lofa I was involved in mining.  Then Mike Lamin went to call all of us again together with our Commander..  Our commander was treating us very badly in Liberia.  The commander decided to cross ahead of us.  Unfortunately he crossed at the point where the enemy was. The commander, his wife, and his bodyguard were all killed.  Only one of his bodyguards was able to escape to go back to meet us.  He told us how his master was killed. sent for us to come.  When we were ready to answer Mike lamin’s call, we came down to Timba Village.  We were there for three days. We moved form Timba Village and came to Keyafa Junction. Mike Lamin sent two spies to Keyafa to find out if ECOMOG was there. ECOMOG soldiers were spotted there.  Arrangements were made as to which route to take to escape the ECOMOG.  Some of us were taken off from the convoy. Five of us escaped from that group.  We walked a distance of twenty miles  for a whole night.  

At a village that we arrived we heard children. I called the children.  I asked one of them if he had seen any of our brothers who used to come with gun to the village?  The children told me it is a long time they saw such people. “They only come to check and go back; but it is a long time they have not come”, they said.  We knew straight away that there were army offiders in that town.  We moved ahead.  After  a few steps, I saw the town.  There was a big crowd on the street. They were all men. Some had sticks, and others had matchets.  I was frightened.  Cakes were being sold along the road which I bought.  I sat on there observing the crowd on the street.  I came to realise that they were actually set for us. I got into the town to bye-pass the crowd. I got into another side of the town were people were selling junks. I pretended I wanted to buy junks just to have a route to escape.  While I was talking to the junks seller, one ULIMO member came and told me that they wanted to see me.  “Who was calling me”, I asked him. He said the Town Chief.  I told him that the chief did not know about me. But I still went to the Barray.  One Mandingo man came and pointed me as a rebel.  I said I was not a rebel. We had an arguement.  One of my colleagues was sson after brought.  They were able to round up all of five of us. We gave different excuses. They  believed  that we were not bad people. They however said they will keep us till 9’0clock the following day. “If we don’t see any other group behind you people, we will release you to go”, they said.  So we were jailed.  So it was 3a.m. in the morning when we saw a very large crowd coming. They had captured more of our brothers.  They kept packing more of us into the cell.  Seventy five of us were put in one cell.

The following morning the “Commissioner” came.  The sooner they opened the door, one ULIMO boy spotted us and away went out to say he knew me. It meant that we were prosecuted already. There was one RUF Member, from 1991 he had come to Liberia.  He was still with Gangay for quite sometime until he became a very big authority within the Gangay’s territory.  He was called General Foday Howard.  The Commissioner gave command that all of us be locked up.  They were only cooking fifteen cups of rice for seventy-five prisoners.  They will make seventy-five balls of cooked rice. Five balls will be put into a basin. They will open the door and then  five people will come out to take one ball each.  When they give you one ball, they give you a glass of water.  We were there for twenty-two days.  We were there until the election was over in Liberia.  The sooner Charles Taylor won, we were set free.  Some of us did not sleep in the town that night.  We moved from there and then came down to Boidu. At Buedu we met Mosquito. We were again divided into groups.  Some of us were asked to go to “Angola”. Some went to Makeni, some to Freetown.  and others to Bo.  I stayed in “Angola”.  It was at that time the Nigerians came to this country. Fighting was going on seriously.  At the height of the fighting, Mosquito became the Leader.  

Mohammed Tarawalli and his body gaurds had taken to the jungle.  They were caught and killed.  That was how Mosquito became a leader.  He was second in command after C.O. Mohammed Tarawalli.  l Foday Sankoh was released in Nigeria.  He came down to Boidu.  When he got to Boidu, he spoke to us then and came to Freetown.  He went back to kailahun after two weeks. Sankoh was telling civilians that he was captured but had come back.  Sankoh told us how he brought the war to so that there could be free education in this country.  He said he was fighting for the civilians.

Mr Snakoh went back to Freetown and sent orders to Kailahun through Mosquito for us to disarm. Mosquito refused to disarm us. Mosquito said he said he could not take orders from Sankoh while he was in Freetown. He said Sankoh himself had to come down to Kailahun. Mosquito asked us to defy Sankoh. He said if Sankoh was in Freetown then it meant he was under captivity.  Mr. Sankoh talked to Mosquito many times from Freetown. Mosquito kept defying him.  Sankoh talked to him so many times through radio messages that Mosquito too became annoyed. Mosquito said people would laugh at us if we disarmed.

He threatened to pull out of the movement.  General Issa at the time was still at Makeni.  General Issa said Mosquito has betraying them.  General Issa threatened to move with troops from Makeni to arrest Mosquito if he attempted to leave the movement.  Mosquito told us to go and lay in ambush for General Issa. We were however not ready to fight against our own brothers. We did not say this in Mosquito’s presence. We only had it in minds.  When they sent us to lay in ambush we did not deploy. I was caught and beaten. My stomach was cut with a knife. I ended up in a cell.

I was released after one week and sent me to Sandaru. At that time some Kamajors had come over from Guinea. At that time, my first child died.  I left the corpse and went to Sandaru.  I had five children and it was the eldest that died at that time.  It was with sadness that I went to Sandaru. As soon as we Sandaru I again tried to escape. I came back to where I left the corpse of my daughter. I was caught by my colleagues and again dumped into the cell for the second time. but somebody pleaded on my behalf.  Upon consideration of my situation I was re;leased.  General Issa came with his group. Mosquito left for Liberia with a whole truck of men and ammunition before General Issa came.  We had an FM radio station in Kailahun called it A.K. 47. Mosquito took all that along.  He took away whatever property that belonged to the movement. It was at that time that disarmament started in the country.  We were disarmed.  I stop so far.

Commissioner Marcus- Jones: Thank you very much Ansu. We have been listening to you for quiet sometime now. It is now time to ask you questions on what you have said.

Commissioner-Torto: Thank you very much Ansu for your very revealing testimony. Some people here may be amazed but we are now used to it.  You are not really the first to give those kinds of testimonies to this Commission. In fact you are among the last.  Our questions are going to be very, very simple. And please, I want you to be very brief and staright forward in your answers.    

Did you attempt to escape when you were first captured? you knew you were going to be part of an exercise that was unpopular. Did you attempt to escape from your captors?

Ansu:    Yes, I attempted to escape.

Commissioner-Torto:    What happened?

Ansu:    At our base they used to appoint people to go in search of food.  With intentions to escape, one day I lobbied the Commander who was in charge to appoint me to go with the group in search of food.  They wrote down my name and we went.  We were taken across the Moi River.  Three of us escaped. We were captured.  We were mercilessly beaten.  We were actually beaten like beasts.  There is somebody amongst us here who is aware of that beating. He too was at that Base.  If an escapee was caught his or her forehead was branded with the RUF symbol.  Red-hot iron was used for such branding. If the red hot iron was not available, they use new razors to write RUF on your forehead.  That was I decided to stay.

Commissioner-Torto: Alright. You mentioned instances of fighting in Kailahun and Pujehun Districts.  Who were you fighting with?

Ansu:    First, we were fighting against Government soldiers. Later we fought the  kamajors and ECOMOG.  When they knew that we had decided to disarm, and no longer willing to fight  they enticed us with money. Charles Taylor used to send money to the Commanders.  They were giving us money to go across to Liberia or to Guinea. The Commanders were Manawa, Kalankay, Mike Lamin, Morris Kallon, and Rambo. It was only God that saved us from that movement but our lives were betrayed

Commissioner-Torto: Thank you very much.  You were also sent to Freetown to protect Johnny Paul  after the May 25 coup.  Where were you particularly selected to go and protect Johnny Paul?

Ansu:    Well, all of us were assigned to different units.  We were appointed from different Units.  I was in Star Unit and fifteen of us were appointed.  I was the fifteenth Member.  When ECOMOG attacked Freetown our commanders asked Johnny Paul to hand over the ammunition store to us. Johnny and his men however doubted us. They thought we were going to turn against them.  That was why we were driven out of Freetown.  We took Johnny Paul away from Freetown to Kailahun. We were carrying him in a hammock.  At one point he gave some amount of diamonds to his wife and asked her to go ahead.  The wife was captured at Bomaru on the border with Liberia. She was brought back to Buedu. The diamonds were taken from Johnny Paul and his wife.

Commissioner-Torto:    Thank you.  You must be a very brave person.  What was your rank in the RUF?

Ansu:    I was a Military Police Commander

Commissioner-Torto:    What Rank?  Field Marshal or some Major or what rank?

Ansu:    I stopped at Staff Sergeant

Commissioner-Torto:    What was your name in the RUF?

Ansu:    You mean the war name or my real name?

Commissioner-Torto:    War name because I believe this Ansu Koroma is your real name.

Ansu:    Around the world.

Commissioner-Torto:    Around the world?  How long did you fight in Kono district?   

Ansu:    I was there for three months and transferred to Tongo. Amara Peneto was our commander inTongo.

Commissioner-Torto:    Peneto?

Ansu:    Amara Peneto.

Commissioner-Torto:    Thank you.  I am impressed that you are so brave to sit here today and recount your story.  You must be a very brave man.  During all the attacks do you remember how many people you killed? I want you to be kind to me.

Ansu:    I cannot tell. I don’t know if I killed anybody. Where there is an exchange of bullets, you cannot tell which one is going to hit somebody. Beyond that I never actually fired a gun at anybody directly.

Commissioner-Torto: But I want to believe that during your stay with the RUF you certainly killed people, even if unknowingly?

Ansu:    It is possible. But I don’t think I killed anybody wilfully.

Commissioner-Torto:    And those included women and children?

Ansu:    Yes

Commissioner-Torto: And there were boys under your command who occassionally raped women?

Ansu:    They were small boys. I cannot remember any of them doing that.  

Commissioner-Torto: Thank you.  In Kono district what was your relationship with Alhaji Baryoh and Colonel Savage?  

Ansu:    Well, I don’t want to tell you lies.  I do not know much about them.

Commissioner-Torto: One thing I want to tell you Ansu is that I am very impressed with your testimony and your courage to come forward and recount your stories.  Would you be ready to apologise to the people of this country for all the deaths, rapes, and loss of property caused by you and your men?

Ansu:    Yes.

Commander Torto:    I thank you very much. I do not want to waste further time for the fact that you are ready to own up to your responsibilities.

Commissioner-Jones:    Leader of Evidence, have you any questions?

Commissioner Sooka:    Yes Chairperson. I would like to ask some questions.  You have mentioned several people that were Commanders in the RUF- Issa Sesay, Sam Bockarie, Mike Lamin, Mohammed Tarawalie. Could you explain what the hierachy was below these people?

Ansu:    There was firstly Mohammed Tarawalie called C.O. Mohammed Tarawalie.  Mosquito only came after Mohamed Tarawalie. CO Mohammed was the highest in authority among them.

Commissioner Sooka:    What about rank?

Ansu:    Both Mosquito and Issa were Majors.  Mosquito had a higher rank.  It was when Mosquito left that they gave the rank of General to Issa.

Commissioner Sooka:    And what about Mike Lamin?

Ansu:    Mike was a Brigadier

Commissioner Sooka:    You mentioned that weapons were brought in from Liberia. Would you say that those weapons were exchanged for diamonds?

Ansu:    I cannot remember that.  They did not give us guns from Liberia in exchange for diamonds.

Commissioner Sooka:    But you saw the weapons coming in?

Ansu:    I did not see ammunition coming from Liberia to Sierra Leone with my own naked eyes.    All the guns we had were taken from our enemies.  We took many guns from the Nigerians soldiers for instance.  Even the 40 barrel gun which they brought was taken away from them.

Commisioner Sooka:    And when you say Nigerians, you mean ECOMOG?

Ansu:    Yes, ECOMOG.

Commisioner Sooka:    Where you minig for the RUF?

Ansu:    There were people mining for the Government, that is the RUF. Some of us mining individualy.

Commisioner Sooka:    And were you allowed to keep all the diamonds or did you have to give some to the RUF?

Ansu:    If they see big diamonds in your hand they will take it from you. They will say it belongs to the movement. Tbey don’t take diamonds thay are not up to one carat.

Commisioner Sooka:    You also said that there were a number of rules in the RUF against rape, killing of civilians, etc.  Were there any system of punishment if someone broke those rules?

Ansu:    Sometimes when you commit these crimes, they would kill you. Sometimes are not shot. They will cut off your throat with matchete.  

Commisioner Sooka:    Did rebels use drugs?

Ansu:    We were given us cocaine

Commisioner Sooka:    What kind of drugs?

Ansu:    Cocaine

Commisioner Sooka:     Cocaine

Commisioner Sooka:    And did they give it to you before a battle, before a fight or before an attack or all the time?

Commisioner Sooka:    The RUF had rules against these things. The Commission had heard so many testimonies of civilians killed wilfully. Civilians were amputated or raped. If every RUF Commander who committed these crimes had been punished there would have been  no rebel left.

Ansu:    Mosquito was responsible for that. When Mosquito says this is operation no living thing, you should not spare any human life.

Commisioner Sooka:    Did Mosquito or someone else give the order to amputate people’s hands and limbs?

Ansu:    Yes, he was saying that.

Commisioner Sooka:     Did this order come only from Mosquito or also from others within the RUF?

Ansu:    The orders were actually coming from Mosquito. Foday Sankoh was not here at the time.

Commisioner Sooka:    Where did the idea to amputate civilians come from?  Why were hands and feet amputated?  

Ansu:    It was during the leadership of Mosquito.

Commisioner Sooka:    Yes, but why?

Ansu:    I cannot give any reason for that because all the instructions were from him.

Commisioner Sooka:    And did any one ever question these instructions?

Ansu:    Nobody would have attempted to question Mosquito at that time.

Commisioner Sooka:    Do you feel bad today when you see these amputees?

Ansu:    I feel sorry for them at this moment.

Commisioner Sooka:    Chairperson, I have no further questions.  I admire the courage of the witness to come here to explain .

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Ansu, what happened to Amara and Mariama?

Ansu: Mariama was killed by a jet bomber in Makeni.  Amara was killed by Kamajors.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    I am sorry about that.  When did you marry- before being abducted or when you were with the rebels?

Ansu:    I was married before I was abducted. After the training, I sent for my wife.  Then she went and met me.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    How long were you with the rebels?

Ansu:    For eight years

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Now, when Maskita was collecting all the ammunitions and diamonds and properties and getting about to leave for Liberia, did he kill any of his leaders?

Ansu:    Yes, he did kill some leaders. And included SLA personnel. He killed one Colonel “Devuyama,” a Commander.  

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: I am disturbed by one thing that  has come up in your narration. whilst You kept saying ‘our cause’. At what time did you start feeling sorry that you had been waging war against your own people?

Ansu:    I am not too sure whether I waged war on my people because I was with them when I was abducted.  And when I was abducted, they themselves did not know whether I was alive or not.  It was only when they saw me come back that they realized that I was still alive.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    My question is when did you start feeling sorry?  That is, if you are sorry about all what happened?

Ansu:    Well, I was only thinking of my parents, whether they were alive or not.  .

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Why have you come to tell us all this today?

Ansu:    It is because of all the atrocities, the evils and all other bad things we were doing to people.  We want them to forgive us because some of us did not join on our own free will.  We were abducted. If I had wronged anybody, I want to say please forgive us.  I have not hidden anything because I want all of you to think that I have clear conscience now.  If we have it in mind, we would hide some.  I am pleading that they forgive some of us.  
Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    What is your own name?

Ansu:    Ansu

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    All of us have heard what Ansu Koroma has confessed.  Today, Ansu has confessed publicly before all of us that in those days when the rebels came to this place, they abducted him forcefully.  When they took him along, he had to join their course. They did a lot of destruction in the country but, he has come before us this evening and confessed all what he did. I want to join him to plead to all of us my brothers and sisters to show mercy and show forgiveness to Ansu.  Let us accept him back into our community. What is passed is passed.  Let us unite and fight the way forward.

Reverend:        How are you Mr Koroma?

Who would not want forgiveness from God if you commit sin here amongst all of us here?  All of us need forgiveness from God is that not so? That was why God said we too should forgive our brothers and sisters when wrong us.  In asking for  forgiveness when somebody confesses I feel very pleased. It is incumbent on all of us here to forgive Ansu Koroma.  Let us become his advisers as from today. Ansu, I want you to accept Christ as your Saviour.  If you do that, I know you will receive the Kingdom of God.  Are you prepared for that?

Ansu:    Yes

Some Prayers were recited by the Reverend which Ansu repeated.

Imam:    Ansu Koroma, I am happy for you today. When ever someone does something that is bad and that individual stands publicly and talks about all the bad things that he/she did I feel happy.  I hope you have actually decided to do away with all bad things. God also said it in the Holy Koran, that if anybody commits a crime, and asks for forgiveness that person must be prepared never to repeat such a deed again.  The Lord said he is ready to accept you. I am pleading to everybody in this town to forgive and accept Ansu Koroma.

Some prayers were said for Ansu Koroma.

Iman:    And to Ansu, I am asking you please to remain where you are today.  We don’t want you to go back where you came from.  We want peace in this country now.  We also have accepted you.  So please you too accept us.

Member of the public: Ansu Koroma, this evening you have confessed all the bad things you and your group did. It is difficult for somebody to stand publicly and talk about what he or she did. I am talking on behalf of the women in the town to say we have forgiven you. We ask you to stay here and make your own contribution to the development of Sierra Leone.

Member of the public. Ansu Koroma, you have apologised today. We are prepared to forgive you. We advice you that you obey the laws of this country.  Living in the bush is different from living in town.  Here, we have law and order.  So as you have ask for forgiveness, you need to respect the customs, and laws within the Community you find yourself.  On behalf of the Officers, we the Police at Mattru and elsewhere, we embrace you. You must be law abiding.  I thank you all.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Ansu koroma, what you have done has impressed us so much.  Evberybody knows that you did wrong. But now that you have asked the Lord for forgiveness, all the elders and other people in this town have prayed for you, and accepted you. This is the time you need to advice.

You have peace of mind now and feel more comfortable.  Do you have any questions for the Commission?

Ansu:    Apart from the apology I have made to my parents and all the confessions I have made here, what protection am I going to get from TRC?  I have a reason for asking this.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Well, you will talk to an official of the Commission at the end of this ceremony and we will see what we can do.

Ansu:    I am a traveller. Even though we have done the ceremonies here,  I know everybody in the whole country is going to be aware of it.  I will therefore need some amount of protection from you people. Because I wouldn’t want people to say it was this man that revealed our secret..

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    We will see to that and of course it won’t be here.  Now, have you any recommendations for the Commission to include in its report?  Go ahead and tell us.

Ansu:    Since I disarmed, I have not been engaged in any trade or work.  I want the Commission to assist me so that I can go to a vocational institution to learn a trade. Most of my companions are in institutions. And we are hearing that this December will be the end of the DDR Programme.  So I want this Commission to please find ways and means to assist me to get into any institution to learn a trade.  

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    We have heard your plea.  We will give a letter of referrence to see what help you can get now.  Any other recommendation?

Ansu:    That is all.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Well, I want to thank you very much for coming to the TRC.  I want to thank you for coming here and to make such a confession and on behalf of the TRC, I wish you a healthier and brighter future.  You will talk to our Counsellor later.  You may step down now.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    The Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Sierra Leone has today heard testimony about the tragic loss of many human lives in the conflict that ravaged our country.  As a mark of respect to the deceased and their families and as a symbol of our compassion and our solidarity, we ask that after I have read  the names you please stand up in observance of  a minute silence for the following victims: - Joe Kai, Joe Boizy and nine other men in Banigor vilage, Ya Musa Jobai, Maada Demby Sandy, Tommy Sandy, Pa Yoki, a man called Government, 600 people killed in Tiihun town, Mahaye, Mabi, Tiyange, Unisa, Ammie, Muina, Muka, Mori, Yokugbe, Maria, Fatu, Yokugbe, 700 people killed at Bahoya junction, Philip Musa and his wife and son, Pa Salu, Mariama Sata Momoh, Maudi, Lucia Musa, Shumba Bangura, a baby, many people in Senehun village, Tommy Brewah, Momoh Lugbu, Abu Memo the father of Alusine Foday, Abu Musa, Tommy Konneh, Moiwo Musa, Abu Kutu, Moiyata, Mamie Sylvester.

All stand. May the Souls of the departed rest in Peace.

WITNESS NAME: Kadiatu Sillah

Lydia:        Our next witness for today is Kadiatu sillah

Commissioner Humper:     Name please?

Kadiatu:    Kadiatu Sillah.

Commissioner Humper:    Muslim or christian?

Kadiatu:    I am a christian

(The oath was administered)

Commissioner Humper: We want you to share your experiences of the war with us.

Kadiatu:    We were at Kotumahun village one evening when the Kamajors attacked us.  People were getting ready to go for prayers when we heard gun shots. Everybody went into the bush.  After I took my bath, I went into my house. My father asked me about the shots he heared. I said I don’t know.  I took my child went into the other house to my mother.  My mother told me to eat but couldn’t.  My mother encouraged me to eat because I was pregnant at the time. After the Kamajors had looted property, they jumped into the vehicle they came with and drove away.  Some Kamajors stayed behind and hid in the town.  They hid themselves behind the houses. We didn’t know they were in hiding because we heard their vehicle moving away. People came back from the bush and went into their houses. I left my mother’s place to go to my own place to sleep.  One of the Kamajors surfaced and asked me my name. I told him my name was Kadiatu Sillah.  It was a man called Sidia who asked me my name. There was another Kamajor called Brima Baimba. The other one was called Maada. And there was Borbor Sandy.

Their leader was called Morlai Kamara. He led the Kamajors into Leeyobeko.  It was Brima Baimba who fired me.  As I was about to go up the steps of my house he asked me my name.He asked if I knew him. I said yes. He asked me where I knew him. I called the name of the village.  He asked me where I grew up. I told him that I was given in marriage in Guinea. He asked me whether I was here during the war. I said no.  He asked me if I knew the rules in that place. I said no. I asked him to tell me the rules. ‘Kamajor rules’?  he asked. I said no.  He did not tell me the rules. I began  to walk away. He fired me.  I was eight months pregnant at that time. I started bleeding. My mother went and reported the matter to my father’s brother at Malema.  My uncle told them to go to the Paramount Chief to get a vehicle to take me to hospital.  The vehicle came for me and they brought me to this town. Medicin San Frontier was at the hospital.  The doctor who examined me said he did not see any baby in my belly.  Then my mother ran away. The doctor advised them to take me to Bo.  When we came to Bo, they handed me over to Dr. Rogers. He examined me and also concluded that there was no baby in my belly.  He said that if I took some treatments the baby would go back to its normal place.  After some treatments the child went back to its normal position.  The doctor declared that my foot was no longer in any good condition.  After I delivered the child, they amputated my foot.  The child died.  The Police went to Leeyobeko and obtained statements from the people.  We left Bo and went back to Leeyobeko.  The Police again went to Talia and obtained some statements from us.  After that my people advised me to come to Mattru to get some skills training.  And the Kamajor who shot me went to Leeyobeko and felt very proud of what he did.  And right now I am amputated. I have a child. My father is old and there is no one to take proper care of him.  I live today on charity.  That is my experience.

Commissioner Torto: Thank you very much Kadiatu. We are very much sorry to hear about your ordeal. But we are gratified by the fact that you lived to tell the story.  God has said that this was the path you are going to take. We just want you to clarify a few issues in your explanation.  Where is your husband now?

Kadiatu:    My husband is in Guinea

Commissioner Torto:    Does he know of your ordeal?

Kadiatu:    I don’t know

Commissioner Torto:    You have not written to him since?

Kadiatu:    No.

Commissioner Torto:    Why not?

Kadiatu:    My husband’s relatives are here. They didn’t write to him, that is why I did not write him also.

Commissioner Torto:    But you are the wife. And you had a son and who passed away. What happened to you was not of your own making. In the war many people suffered like you. Why didn’t you at least inform your husband for you to know what his position was on the whole matter?

Kadiatu:    I understand that my husband got married.

Commissioner Torto:    Is it for that reason that you don’t want to get in touch with him anymore?

Kadiatu:    Yes

Commissioner Torto:    You said that Brima Baimba who shot you is still at the village.

Kadiatu:    He has hidden and gone to Bo

Commissioner Torto:    So you don’t know his whereabouts now?

Kadiatu:    I don’t know the house he is staying in Bo.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    I am sorry Kadiatu that you lost your baby and a leg. What happened to the first child that you had

Kadiatu:    He is still there.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    How old is the child now?

Kadiatu:    He is five years old.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Is the father the husband in Guinea?

Kadiatu:    Yes

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: And yet you don’t contact him so that he can take care of his child?

Kadiatu:    His relatives sent a message to him but he refused to come.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Well, you should try and send a message to him. It is his responsibility to take care of his child. What type of marriage did you enter into, a Muslim marriage?

Kadiatu:    A Muslim Marriage

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Well, if you enter into a Muslim marriage, why are you so annoyed that he has taken another wife?

Kadiatu:    I am annoyed because when I underwent all those atrocities, his relatives sent somebody to go and tell him the problem. He refused to come.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Where is your mother?

Kadiatu:    She is in the village.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Is she working?

Kadiatu:    She is a farmer.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    What skills did you have or being trained in?

Kadiatu:    I am doing needlework and gara tie dyeing.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Have you finished your training?

Kadiatu:    I have not finished yet.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    In what institution are you?

Kadiatu:    OIC- Mattru.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    You are getting some support for now but what about your child? You should try and contact the father.  Are there plans for you to have an artificial limb?

Kadiatu:    I have one but it gives me pain when I use it.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Alright, thank you.

Commissioner Torto:    Leader of Evidence.

Lydia:    I am really sorry for all the suffering you have undergone. I do not really understand why they shot at you. Did you break any of the rules?

Kadiatu:    My child went against the rule

Lydia:    What did your child do?

Kadiatu:    She threw a broom at them. They wounded her.

Lydia:    But when did this happen. What year did this happened?

Kadiatu:    After they had fired me.

Lydia:     No. I mean when did they fire you and in which year did this incident take place?

Kadiatu:    Two years ago.

Lydia:    Two years ago. So your child was three years old then?

Kadiatu:    She is five years now

Lydia:    The Kamajors shot at you because your child took a broom and hit one of the Kamajors with it.

Kadiatu:    No. I was fired before my child rubbed the broom on the Kamajors

Lydia:    Then, why did they shoot at you?

Kadiatu:    For one bag of rice

Lydia:    What bag of rice? Explain to us a bit.

Kadiatu:    One of the Kamajors ate a bag of rice. The other Kamajors became annoyed with him and they went as a group to meet the Paramount Chief. People ran away from the town when they saw the Kamajors. I was made to understand that the Kamajors were looking for two men- John Sandy and Unisa Sam. These two people however hid from the Kamajors. I was going into my father’s house when they shot me.  I was just an unfortunate victim.

Lydia:    Were you the only one that was fired at by the Kamajors at that time?

Kadiatu:    They attempted to kill a Kamajor called Borbor Kamara. but the cartridge missed him. No other person was killed at that time.

Lydia:    Thank you very much. I have no further questions.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Did the Kamajors hurt the baby who rubbed the broom against them?

Kadiatu:    That was what they told me if was one of their rules

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    But did they hurt the baby?

Kadiatu:    They gave it a small cut on the hand and the kamajor licked the blood, the child’s blood.  It was not a large cut it was a small one.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Thank you.

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you very much for your testimony, Kadiatu. We feel a lot of sympathy for you. I am yet to know why they really shot you. You didn’t offend anybody, and you had nothing to do with the stolen bag of rice. Can you suggest any reason why that person shot you?

Kadiatu:    I didn’t do anything to them.

Commissioner Torto:    Okay, thank you very much for this. It is now your turn to ask us questions. Do you have any questions for the Commission?

Kadiatu:    Yes. I want to know what assistance the Commission is going to give given my disability. My father who used to help me is sick and I have a son that has now reached school going-age.

Commissioner Torto:    That’s a very legitimate question. It is understandable that people ask those kinds of questions. But the unfortunate side of our work is that we were not given powers to compensate victims. At the end of our work we will make recommendations to Government as to how people like you could be taken care of.  At this point we cannot raise your hope that you will be compensated nor can we tell you that you will not be compensated.

Kadiatu:    I thank you very much.

Commissioner Torto:    Okay, do you have recommendations or questions?

Kadiatu:    No.

Commissioner Torto:    We thank you very much and we encourage you to continue doing your skills training. It will help you a lot.  You may step down now.

WITNESS NAME– Bassie Katta

Commissioner Torto:    Do we have another witness?

Lydia:    Yes, Chairperson, our next witness for this morning is Mr. Bassie Katta

Commissioner Torto:    Bassie Katta, you may have had a lot of experiences during the ten-year war; but time is howeever not on our side to allow you to recount everything today. We are therefore asking you to talk about any one experience.
Katta:    It is true Commissioner that I cannot tell all my stories here today. I will tell you what I suffered during the war.  I had earlier on given you statements. Do I have to start from the statements I had given you previously?

Commissioner Torto:    Exactly.

Katta:    I thank you.  Sometime ago while we were here in Mattru,  we heard rumours that rebels had entered Sierra Leone.  They told us that they were at Zimmy Makpay. We thought that it was far off from here.  We went about our daily business not knowing that the rebels were coming down to us.  After a while we heard rumour that the rebels had come down to Kwame Bai Krim and killed the Paramount Chief. The chief by then was Mr. Bonifine.  That was a big threat to us. Our own Paramount Chief was a friend of my brother, Mr. Kemoh.  Our Paramount Chief sent to call Mr. Kemoh. Mr. Kemoh took me along to answer the Paramount Chief’s call. When we got to the Paramount Chief he told us about the rumour of Chief Bonifine’s death.  The Chief said that he had heard that Mr. Kemoh had piassava at Baoma–Pengeh which he (Kemoh) wanted to transfer to Mattru. Would you please enquire the truth of the death of Chief Binifine when you get Baoma – Pengeh? Mr. Kemoh went for the Piassava and found out that the story of Chief Bonifine’s death was true. The Paramount Chief called a gathering to discuss the issue. Section chiefs and other elders after hanging heads on the matter advised the Paramount Chief that the chiefdom be on alert always.  They said they are going to form a committee. The committee was called Civil Defence. It was just to defend the township.  We had at every junction within the township a group of civilians on guard every night.  We did that for quite sometime and abandoned it when the situation seemed like easing.

After sometime we saw people coming from some other areas, like Sumbuya.  They came and told us that the rebels were at Sumbuya. They had attacked Sumbuya and killed one Lebanese man.  Our Chief called another meeting of the chiefdom elders. At that meeting he recognised the work the elders had been doing to defend the town.  “But the people you are talking about are rebels- they have guns” he said. The Chief said he could not defend the chiefdom on his own and was therefore going to send to Bonthe  for some soldiers.  He sent to Bonthe.  After sometime some soldiers were came. Their leader was called Massaquoi.  He and his men assured the civilians that they could now rest as the  situation will be taken care of.  He said there was only one big job for us. The job was to imform the soldiers about whatever we see or heared. Our Paramount Chief died. After his burial ceremonies, we heard that the rebels had attacked Bompeh. Massaquoi and his men the told us that the rebels only hit the town and had gone back.

Things remained quiet for sometime. With all what was happening we had hopes that Sierra Rutile mines was better secured. We  thought nothing was going to happen here. The Whites at Sierra Rutile were even giving us continuous assurance that nothing was going to happen around this end.  One day we heard that rebels had attacked Mokanji and captured it.  We started giving up hope. The situation was going out of hand. We started to hear that the soldiers deployed in our area were dumping some of their belongings in the river. They were doing it gradually. The number of soldiers within the township started reducing. But the soldiers were still giving us the assurances of safety. After sometime we heard that Sierra Rutile itself had been attacked and captured.  From that point people started leaving this town. Some people were fortunate to have boats to take them to Bonthe.  There came to a time when boats were not coming to Mattru. Some others went to Freetown.  Th town cut-off. We had no means of transportation to leave the town. People even took away our small boats at night. I had two boats myself. They were taken away by unknown people at night.  

I couldn’t move out of the town. It was in January.  It was the season for brushing of farms. The rebels entered here one evening.  The rebels captured the town that same day. They started burning houses at night. From our hiding place in the bush we heared cries from the township.  We could not come to town.  It was a bad situation for us. There were lots of young boys in the town when they captured it. We had one of our brothers in town. He was sending messages calling us to come back to town. He said that the rebels were warning that they will be very drastic with people when they decide to get them out of the bush.  

One evening the rebels went to a place in the bush close to where I was hiding. We heard gunshots.  They found one woman there. She shouted, ran into the swamp, and came towards me.  The rebels burnt the hut in which the lady was living.  We took to our heels and left our hiding place.  After darkness fell, all of us converged at a waterfall. It became a very big camp. We were there for quite sometime. We started hearing that the rebels were also planning to pursue us at the camp. Messages were reaching us that if we didn’t come out from the bush rebels were going to kill all of us.  Rebels went to one of the camps and wounded the residents with the bayonets. They did not kill anybody.  One of the wounded persons did not follow them to town here but ran off and went to our hiding place, he gave us the news.  

We were thinking that the rebels would never get to our hiding place. They eventually got there. There was one civilian amongst us who was actually a giant- he was very strong. His name was Amadu Kanu. The rebels flogged him with knives, and cutlasses. Amadu was the man on whom we relied.  After seeing the treatment given to him we obeyed the rebels and went to town.  The rebels warned us that who ever attempted to escape will be shot.  We were not told to gather any of our properties at the camp. They set the camp ablaze.

We stayed in Goba town with the rebels. Every morning they would check our numbers by roll-call. After sometime they started telling us pray everyday. More people were being brought from the various camps around the town.  One morning, when we went for prayers a helicopter came around. It headed for where we were gathered.  It was the rebels who were with us that first suspected that it was the helicopter that was coming. They placed all the guns on the ground and then lay down on top of them.  They told all of us to sit down and make no movement.  They told us that anyone who moved will be chased by the helicopter and fired at.  Meanwhile the helicopter was hovering above and coming down very low. There were so many babies amongst us. The babies were making noise. The helicopter later went away. The rebels told us to disperse and we went to our various places.  More rebels came to the town. They were bringing more people. The rebels were us that they directed by their boss- “payay”- to establish a training centre here. The first training centre was started at Base Centinial field.  They did that for just a short time. On evening, while they were there training a jet bomber came around. The jet dropped a bomb.  Unfortunately the bomb did not get the rebels. It was dropped on the road.  The rebels changed the location of their training base. They took their training base to the oil palm plantation. They gave us permission to go to places during the day and come back at night.  

One day a man who the rebels said was of high rank in the movement was introduced to us. The man was called Mr. Bainda.  They told us that Mr. Bainda was the liaison between the civilians and the rebels. They told us to direct all questions to Mr. Bainda. Mr. Bainda told us that he was going to set up a court. Rebels who terrorised civilians could also face that court, Mr Bainda told us.  Although we were encouraged by those statements things turned out differently. One morning they brought one of our sisters-  Jebbeh Massaquoi.  They told us that she was going to be killed. They said she was going to be killed after prayers.  After prayers, they killed that lady.

"You have only been hearing their name rebel, but you do not know our character”, they said after they killed the lady. They said the lady was killed because they found salt and tobacco in her possession.  “As from today any person in whose possession we find these two items will be killed”, they said. The rebels said we can only obtain salt and tobacco from them. We could bring fish, meat, and other things in exchange for salt or tobacco, they told us. But sometimes you don’t even get the salt when you took those items to them in exchange.

The rebels told us one day that they had discovered civilians operating in a group called “single barrel papay”. The rumour went around for quite sometime. At one time the rebels sent a lot of people to one seaside village to fetch salt. The rebels did not know that this group callint itself “Single Bar papay” had taken notice of them in this area. The “Single Barrel Papays” came down and attacked the rebels at their salt mining areas. It was serious battle a because some seriously wounded rebels were brought back to town. The rebels never went down the river again.

And after sometime we heard that government soldiers were coming to capture this place and clear the road.  The rebels also called up a meeting to discuss this. They moved to attack the at soldiers at Bumpeh. The rebels however did not go as far as Bumpeh. They stopped at Kaniyah.  Afterwards the rebels started transporting the properties they had here.

I had a neice who was married to a rebel at that time. She was called Fudia. She came to me one evening and asked me if I could keep a secret that may save the lives of the two of us. She told me that their husbands were tired with the war, and that Government soldiers were very close. She said that some of the leaders of the rebels pulling out. She told me these things on a Thursday. The following morning we took some of our properties to our hiding places again.  We were approaching the Water Works area when we heard the sound of two jet planes. There was shouting all over the town. It was the rebels themselves who were telling civilians to get out of the town as they have been dislodged by the soldiers.  They told us to go down to Senehun waterside and cross over.  The two jets fired at the rebels for quite sometime.  As the jete were firing and we heard the sound of an RPG at Bandajuma. We  realised later that the soldiers had liberated the town.  We were in the surrounding bushes. On Saturday, a man called came to town, and spoke with the soldiers. He was given instruction to go round and tell everybody hiding in the bush to come back to town.  
The news got to us on Sunday. My brother- Gibrilla Coker, and I went to town. We did not find any who had the guts to come to town at time.  We were arrested.  We were threatened and flogged. The soldiers even threatened to kill us. They said that we were spies. I told them that it was not true. While they were punishing us another civilian- a foreigner by the name of Lahai Maraka came and joined us. There were many Guineans amongst the soldiers. Lahai Maraka started speaking in Mandingo with the Guinean soldiers. They asked if he knew me. He said yes. He told them that I was Section Chief in the town.  And he told them that I was a good man. We were released and asked to sweep and clean the area.  Towards dawn, they asked me if my family was far off from me. I said yes. They gave me a pass, two cups of salts, a packet of cigarette and a box of matches and soap. They asked me to come the next day with my people. They told me that the rebels were still in the town’s surroundings. It was therefore risky to stay in the bushes. I brought my family to town that same Sunday.  People eventually started coming in groups until there was a very large number in town.

The man who led the soldiers to liberate this town was ABK. He left after sometime. When he was going he introduced three people to us that had newly come to town. Lieutenant Kaimapoh, Lieutenant Brewah, and Lieutenant Kabia. Those were the people that were going to remain here.  Mr. Mansaray, who first came to town after its leberation was made chief in the town. It was from him that we could get e news about the soldiers.

Mr. Abu Kainessie, an old section chief in this town called us to a meeting. Our two chiefdom speakers, many chiefs, and most of the elders had not yet come but town. We discussed the administration of the chiefdom and I was appointed as leader.  The man the soldiers had introduced as our chief was dethroned. I don’t know what happened between them. The soldiers accepted my election.

Commissioner Torto:    Mr. Katta, you have actually done about forty-five minutes- almost going to an hour. I told you earlier that it will not be possible for anyone to actually explain the ten years ordeal at a sitting. We simply do not have time. We just thought you would hit  on one or two areas where you suffered human rights violations, or where you played a part instead. Could you please? You have about five minutes more to round up.

Katta: When the time for elections came Kamajor called us. Lieutenant  Kaimapo told us to try and get the Kamajors to come to the town. He told us that the military officers were divided and there were speculations that there might be trouble if only soldiers stayed in the town.  He told us that some of the Task Force soldiers were rebels and Government knew that too. We agreed on calling the Kamajors. It was during the month of Ramadan. The leader of the Kamajors was Mr. Gobeh.  There were two hundred and forty kamajors, Lieutenant. Kaimapoh gave us one bag of rice for the Kamajors and told us to provide condiments.  Elections were very close by then. What Lieutenant Kamapoh told us came to pass. Had it not been for the Kamajors who were here, the elections would not take place in this area.  The soldiers opened fire on us. We were however able to vote.  This is all I have to say.

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you very much. It was a long explanation. We know that you went through a whole lot of hassles. We will now ask you a few questions to clarify issues in both your written statement and your verbal testimony. Thank you.

Commissioner Kamara: I want you to tell me who killed Chief Goba? Is it Goba? Bonafiine?

Katta:    I don’t know- we were here.I was only told that he was killed by the rebels.

Commissioner Kamara:    At the beginning of the occupation of this place according to your explanation and also what is in your written statement, you underwent training under one Mr. Marcus, what fighting group were you being trained by?

Katta:    I did not talk about training

Commissioner Kamara:    But it is here in the written statement you made

Commissioner Torto:    And you mentioned training in the Centennial Secondary School field in your verbal explanation a while ago.

Katta:    It was the rebels that were training at the Centennial field.

Commissioner Torto:    Okay, what happened to the man that was flogged with the side of the machete-  that strong man that you all depended on?

Katta:    Well, he was not wounded he only had the pains

Commissioner Torto:    So is he still alive?

Katta:    Yes, he is still alive

Commissioner Torto:    The woman that was killed because of salt and tobacco- where did she say she obtained those items from?

Katta:    The lady had relatives in Bonthe and Freetown. They sent those items for her. It was a woman friend of hers that told the rebels about it.

Commissioner Torto: Nobody pleaded for her to explain this.

Katta:    She explained this to the rebels. Other people said it. The rebels did not accept. When rebels wanted any items for themselves they would not take any plea.

Commissioner Torto:    There was a group down the river that you said the rebels went and met. The group called itself “Single Barrel Papay”.  What group was it? Were they a different fighting group or part of the rebel group?

Katta:    It was Kamajors. They started with that “Single Barrel Papay” name and have ended up as Kamajors

Commissioner Torto:    You were you yourself a Kamajor?

Katta:    Yes, I am a Kamajor

Commissioner Torto:    What was your role in the Kamajor movement.

Katta:    I not spoken about my being a  Kamajor.

Commissioner Torto:    Okay.    

Katta:    When the kamajor movement was actually being established I was first afraid to join it.  One day we got a call for a meeting of all elderly people and chiefs from this chiefdom and the surrounding chiefdoms.  When we got to the meeting place we found a lot of people.  We were told that the war was between civilians and rebels; and there was realisation that even the soldiers were now against civilians.  It was decided that it is better we took the prosecution of this war at chiefdom level.  We were not released again. We were initiated into the society straight away before being released. Later, I was appointed as Chief of the Kamajors at chiefdom level. As Chief Kamajor I was called every two days.

Commissioner Torto:    You were called every two days to where and by who?

Katta:    Mr. M.T. Collier    

Commissioner Torto: For what?

Katta:    To make arrangements for the war.

Commissioner Torto:    During the war did you have women and children fighting along side the kamajor

Katta:    It did not happen early days of the Kamajors.

Commissioner Torto:    But later it happened?

Katta:    Yes.

Commissioner Torto: Thank you.  Leader of Evidence do you have questions?

Leader of Evidence:    Thank you chairperson. When you talk about the rebels who occupied Goba town which rebels do you mean?

Katta:    It was the RUF.  They inscribed  RUF on every house they occupied.

Leader of Evidence:    You mentioned in your statement that a number of young boys were abducted by rebels what happened to them?

Katta:    Some came back.

Leader of Evidence:    And what happened to the others? What happened to those who didn’t come back?

Katta:    I cannot tell what happened to those who did not come back.  Even my grand daughter who was taken did not return. But I cannot say whether she is dead or alive.

Leader of Evidence:    Was your granddaughter abducted?

Katta:    Yes.

Leader of Evidence:    And did you try to trace her after the war.

Katta:    I have tried to trace her but to no avail.

Leader of Evidence:    And what about your daughter or your sister Fudia who became a rebel’s wife? Did she choose to become a rebel’s wife by choice?

Katta:    She was abducted.  I have not seen her too?

Leader of Evidence:    But she was with you in Goba Town.  She was with you when you ran away from Goba Town before the soldiers attacked.

Katta:    Yes.

Leader of Evidence:    Was she taken away but the rebels when they fled?

Katta:    Yes.

Leader of Evidence:    And what about the man who was the commander of the rebels- do you know where he is now?

Katta:    He went with the rebels. But he was born here. He has children here.

Leader of Evidence:    But where is he now?

Katta:    I understand he died in Freetown.  

Leader of Evidence:    You said you became chief of the kamajors in your area.

Katta:    Yes.

Leader of Evidence:    Did you ever go to base zero?

Katta:    Yes I went there.

Leader of Evidence:    Where is base zero?

Katta:    Base Zero was an area for arrangement. There was a special place called Base Zero where people met to make arrangements.

Leader of Evidence:    Yesterday we had a witness here who said that Base Zero was a council that made arrangements for the war to stop the war. Is that what you are also saying?

Katta:    Yes, that’s correct.

Leader of Evidence:    Were you a member of this council.

Katta:    I was not a member of the council.

Leader of Evidence:    Do you know who were the members?

Bassy:    Yes, I know some of them.

Leader of Evidence:    Can you give us the names please?

Katta:    Yes

Leader of Evidence:    Go ahead.

Katta:    Base Zero actually was a name given to a place they brushed around town where they meet in council. It was within Kalia township itself.  The Paramount Chief of Gbapie Nongowa is a member of the council.

Leader of Evidence:    Paramount Chief?

Katta:    Paramunt Chief  Tucker of Gbapie. Paramount Chief of Nongoba Bullom, Chief Vandy Soka, Moinina Fofanah a member and Alhaji Daramy Rogers of Bo were also members of that council.

Leader of Evidence:    And what about Hinga Norman- was he a member?

Katta:    At the initial stage he was not a member. When he later started coming to the base he became a member.  But the people I have named were initially the inner core of that council.

Leader of Evidence:    And what abut Kondowai.

Katta:    He was a member.

Leader of Evidence:    How many people were members of this council?

Katta:    Even the Paramount Chief at Tihun- Chief Bio, was also a member of that council.  There were some other people came from afar. I cannot remember all their names.  But these are just the immediate people I can remember.

Leader of Evidence:    Okay. And this council took the decision on where the kamajors had to go?

Katta:    Well the main function of the council was to plan as to how get food for the kamajors.  The council also catered for the medical needs of the Kamajors. The council also handled issues of crime.

Leader of Evidence:    Do you know of any case were a Kamajor committed crime? Did you investigate or took a decision?

Katta:    Yes.

Leader of Evidence:    Do you know of any instance where a Kamajor committed a violation against a civilian and this council took care of the case?

Katta:    There was a time when we went to Talia and found one Kamajor seriously tied.

Leader of Evidence:    Tied?

Katta:    Yes, tied up.

Leader of Evidence:    I was talking about crimes been committed by Kamajors

Katta:    Yes. This Kamajor was being punished for a crime.

Leader of Evidence:    And why was he punished?

Katta:    He took a single-barrel gun from a civilian. When the matter was reported he denied it. Upon investigations it was discovered that the Kamajor was in possession of that single-barrel gun. That was why he was punished.

Leader of Evidence:    Do you think that this council was aware of everything the Kamajors did in the field?

Katta:    I cannot tell.

Leader of Evidence:    Where you as a chief of the Kamajors aware of what your men did in the field?

Katta:    Not at all. It was not my area of work to sendg them to the war front.  There were people in charge of that.

Leader of Evidence:    As the Chief did you receive any report?

Katta:    Yes, I use to get some reports.

Leader of Evidence:    And were those reports complete?

Katta:    Sometimes civilians came to report kamajors

Leader of Evidence:    And what did you do?

Katta:    Mr. Goba was in the position at the initial stage.

Leader of Evidence:    When were you given the position or post?

Katta:    I can’t remember the date.  I was initiated in 1995.  I was not given any position at that time because Mr. Goba was in charge.  

Leader of Evidence:    How many years were you  chief of the Kamajors?

Katta:    About 4 to 5 years

Leader of Evidence:    Do you think that any of the Kamajors under your command committed any violations against civilians?

Katta:    Yes, I am aware.

Leader of Evidence:    Like what for instance?

Katta:    They were insulting civilians.

Leader of Evidence:    The commission received this morning a statement given by Joseph O. Musa in which it is saud that you ordered your Kamajors to beat him because he refused to give rice to you.  What do you have to say to that allegation?

Katta:    Who gave the evidence?

Leader of Evidence:    Joseph O. Musa.

Commissioner Torto:    Excuse me just a minute, is Joseph Musa in the hall?

Leader of Evidence:    Yes

Commissioner Torto:    Can you bring him forward to be identified.  Is this the man?

Musa:    Yes, I am Joseph Musa.

Commissioner Torto:    Okay you can go and sit down please

Leader of Evidence:    Let me read the statement. He says I met Mr. Katta who was elected Chief after the rebels had left Mattru. He became a Chief Kamajor.  At that time Mariam Luseni gave me a swamp.  Maada Sam told Katta to ask us for swamp rice. I told them that Madam Mariama Luseni had given me the swamp. Katta said that he had been insulted.   He told the Kamajors to look for me and catch me.  They got me and took me to the Kamajor office at the District Council.  Katta ordered his Kamajors to beat me.  I was find the sum of 10,000 Leones.  I think that is the most important part of the story.

Katta:    He is lying. What I did when he was taken to me at the CDF office is not what he had said.  I know him.

Leader of Evidence:    Can you tell us what happened?

Commissioner Torto:    Please we don’t want to encourage confrontation in this matter.

Katta:    I never did what he has said.

Leader of Evidence:    Mr. Katta Kata we are not in court. We just want to know your own version of this story.  We will like to know the truth about what happened.

Katta:    I can apologise to them.  It is unfortunate that you did not know the relationship between that man and I. We have been too close. If you had known the relationship you should have known that he is telling lies on me.  Well, this is not the very first time. He had started in Bonthe. Musa and and one other man were writing letters to soldiers there telling them that we were rebels. They even went to the extent of taking a list of names to the soldier. But this is not the first time he has made allegations against me.

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you Mr. Katta for your testimony.

Commissioner Jones:    Does he want to tell the real story?

Commissioner Torto:    Do you?

Katta:    I don’t know anything about rice transaction with that man.

Commissioner Torto:    Alright, Pa Katta, we thank you very much. Do you have any question for the commission?

Katta:    Yes. We have gone through a lot of suffering. Our houses have been burnt down. We have lost almost all of our properties. You have come to get statements from us. At the end what is the Commission going to do for us or ask the government to do for us?

Commissioner Torto:    The Commission is not in a position to do anything in that regard. If you however have suggestions to make as to how to address the problems you’ve faced, it is the Commission’s responsibility to include them in its report to Government.  Do you have further questions?

Katta:    I have no other question, commissioner.

Commissioner Torto:    Now, what recommendation would you want us to pass on to government?

Katta:    This is an area well-known for agriculture. We have started receiving rice seedlings from Government. We want the government to continue to do that until during the dries.  We want the government to send tractors so that we can begin our agricultural projects.  We can have enough food to eat and excess to sell. Money earn from sale of agricultural products would be used to pay school fees and and attend to other things.  So we are asking for more agricultural tools, especially tractors.  Secondly we have a hospital here but still it is not enough. We are pleading for more medical assistance.  

Commissioner Torto:    We thank him very much for coming.

Katta:    Well we have got the rice seedling what we are dearly in need of are tractors.

Commissioner Torto:    The Ministry of agriculture would certainly have programmes in that direction. Your recommendations will be part of report.  Thank you very much.  As mark of respect to the deceased and their family and as a symbol of our compassion, please stand up in observance of a minute silence after I have read the names  of the following people: Jebbeh Massaquoi, and unknown woman stabbed to death at Mattru Jong. May their souls rest in perfect peace.  We are now going to start hearings for children and women. Leader of Evidence may we have the witness’ please?

Leader of Evidence:    Abu Brima.


(The oath is administered)

Commissioner Torto:    Abu Brima, we want you to reflect on what you went through during the war and share your experiences with us. Explain how you got involved into the whole thing and what happened? Be assure that the Commission understands that it was not by your own fault. Anyway Abu what do you want to do now, now that you have been set free?  What are you doing at the moment?

Abu:    I am attending school?

Commissioner Torto:    what class?

Abu:    Class 3.

Commissioner Torto:    With whom are you staying?

Abu:    I am now staying with my father.

Commissioner Torto:    Thank God. Commissioners do you have question for the witness?

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Yes. Abu, tell me all the things you did when you were with the rebels.  Four years is a long time.  Describe a day with the rebels what would an ordinary day be like with the rebels?

Abu:    Sometimes we went to sell vegetables.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Where would you go to sell vegetables when you were with the rebels.

Abu:    Buedu.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    You will leave the camp and go to sell vegetables.

Abu:    We had left the camp. We were in the town.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    So the rebels were living in town?

Abu:    Yes

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    And you were living with them.

Abu:    Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Why didn’t you run away then?

Abu:    They were flogging us at that time seriously.

Commissioner Marcus Jones:    Apart form selling vegetables what else did you do?

Abu:    We were making farms. We were helping them to make farms.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Planting what?

Abu:    We use to plant rice and pepper.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Were you able to harvest the rice?

Abu:    Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Did you do any schooling at all?

Abu:    Yes. I was going to school when we were at Buedu.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: What were you taught?

Abu:    He used to put some work in the blackboard for us.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Can you remember anything you learnt there?

Abu:    Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Tell me one thing

Abu:    He taught us to read.

Commissioner Marcus -Jones:    What did you learn.

Abu:    Here is the key.  Bintu is buying balloon.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Were you taught any songs?

Abu:    Yes, but I cannot remember them down.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Now that you’ve started schooling again have you told your school friends what happened to you?

Abu:    Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    And what do they say to you?

Abu:    Nothing..

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Did you loot?
Abu:    Yes, we were looting.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    How did you go about it?

Abu:    They gave the looted items to us to carry.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    You did not loot yourself.

Abu:    Well, our boss or leader does not allow us to leave him we are always on his side.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Who was your boss?

Abu:    Desmond John

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Did know Desmond John before? If you see him now can you recognise him?

Abu:    Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Do you know where he is?

Abu:    No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    What was he- this Desmond John? What did he speak, Krio, Mende. What language did he speak?

Abu:    He use to speak Mende and Krio.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    What would you like to be when you grow up?

Abu:    I want to be educated.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    After education what would you like to do? What work would you like to do- teacher, pilot, engineer?

Abu:    I would like to become a Mason.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    A what?

Abu:    A mason.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Are you worried now about the time you spent with the rebels.  

Abu:    I have forgotten about them.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    That’s good. Alright thank you.  Who takes care of you at home?
Abu:    My mothers’ mate

Commissioner Torto:    Alright. I am interested in the way you travelled. Those distances that rebels covered were really very long.  How did you travel- by vehicle or on foot?

Abu:    On foot. Once on a while we used vehicles.

Commissioner Torto:    Where did you escape from them?

Abu:    At Bendu Junction.

Commissioner Torto:    It’s amazing. Leader of Evidence, do you have questions for the witness?

Leader of Evidence:    Yes. Abu, I want to ask you a few questions. How many children were abducted at that time in your village?

Abu:    I think we were four.

Leader of Evidence:    Four. Did the others come back as well?

Abu:    The others have not returned.

Leader of Evidence:    And you don’t know where they are now.

Abu:    I don’t know their whereabouts.

Leader of Evidence:    How many other children were staying with the rebels?

Abu:    Many.

Leader of Evidence:    Boys and girls.

Abu:    Yes, both.

Leader of Evidence:    Do you remember how old you were when you were abducted?

Abu:    No.

Leader of Evidence:    How long ago did you come back?

Abu:    I came back in 2001.

Leader of Evidence:    So you were 8 yrs old.

Abu:    Yes.

Leader of Evidence:    Did the rebels give you any military training?

Abu:    Yes, they did that.

Leader of Evidence:    What did you learn during the training?

Abu:    They were teaching us so many things.

Leader of Evidence:    Tell us some of them.

Abu:    They taught us how to jog, crawl on the ground, and how to dismantle a gun.

Leader of Evidence:    Did you ever go with the rebels to attack villages?

Abu:    Yes, sometimes I used to go with them. Sometimes we went in search of food.

Leader of Evidence:    What was your role?

Abu:    Well, sometimes we uprooted cassava.

Leader of Evidence:    I mean when the rebels went to attack villages. I suppose they didn’t have time to uproot cassava.

Abu:    We don’t go.

Leader of Evidence:    Some children have told the Commission that they went along with the rebels and threw stones at people’s houses. Was that something you did?

Abu:    Well, during our own period we were not doing that.

Leader of Evidence:    Were there women who were rebels?

Abu:    There were women rebels.

Leader of Evidence:    Do you know some of their names?  Who is the most important of the women?

Abu:    I can only remember one person.

Leader of Evidence:    What’s the name?

Abu:    Cololonel Monica.

Leader of Evidence:    And what did she do?

Abu:    She was the secretary.

Leader of Evidence:    Who was the biggest boss amongst the rebels?

Abu:    Morris Kallon

Leader of Evidence:    And did you ever see mosquito?

Abu:    Yes, I saw him.

Leader of Evidence:    Where did you see him?

Abu:    I saw him at Kailahun.

Leader of Evidence:    What did he do?

Abu:    His wife was in Kailahun.

Leader of Evidence:    Did you ever see Foday Sankoh?

Abu:    Yes, I saw Foday Sankoh as well.

Leader of Evidence:    Where did you see him?

Abu:    Buedu, when he went there with a helicopter.

Leader of Evidence:    What did he do?

Abu:    He addressed people.

Leader of Evidence:    What did he say?

Abu:    I cannot remember what he was saying.

Leader of Evidence:    Did they ever explain to you why they were fighting?

Abu:    Yes, they used to tell us.

Leader of Evidence:    What did they say?

Abu:    They said they were fighting for freedom?

Leader of Evidence:    Did they ever gave any drugs to the children.

Abu:    No

Leader of Evidence:    Okay, thank you very much. I don’t have any more questions.

Commissioner Torto:    Do you have questions for the Commission?

Abu:    Yes. What assistance are you people going to give us now that we have given all these evidences and information?
Commissioner Torto:    Well, Abu, this is a sad part of our job that we as commissioners and staff have not been very comfortable with. This question is been asked everywhere we go.  It is sad when people asked us to do things for them and we are unable to do.  All we can do to mention people like you and your condition in our recommendations to government. Do you have any other question?

Abu:    No. I have no more questions.

Commissioner Torto:    Do you have any recommendations that you think should be passed on to government?

Abu:    I have no recommendation.

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you very much for coming. You may step down now.

Leader of Evidence:    Our next witness is Abibatu Harding. Are you muslim or Christian?

Abibatu:    Christian.

WITNESS NAME: Abibatu Harding

(The oath was administered).

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Abibatu, you have nothing to worry about. We are ready to listen to you. Therefore feel relaxed and just tell us what happened to you during the war.  Carry on. We were in our town one day then we heard that the rebels had come as far as Semabu.   We ran away into the bush. We stayed in the bush for two weeks. Then rebels told us to leave the bush and come to the town.  They us to Mattru where stayed for three days.  We left there to go to another location.  On our way they told us to sing for them.  As we were singing they started killing people.  They reached at us and they killed my mother.I was wounded on my back.  In the morning I left the town and went into the bush. I stayed in the bush with nothing to drink and eat.  On the fourth day my father found me in the bush and he carried me to a hiding place where he started treating my wounds with native herbs.  On our way to Mattru we met the rebels and the soldiers fighting. We could not enter the town. So we went to another village.  

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Thank you Abibatu. I see you made an additional statement telling of life in the bush.  Is it a description of life in the bush with you father before you were abducted?

Abibatu:    I was not abducted.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Oh, you just captured for a short. You were not carried away. You were lined up and the rebels shot people. How long did it last?

Abibatu:    Everything took place the same day.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Did they just leave you to walk away after wounding you on the back and on the ear?

Abibatu:    They didn’t leave me to walk away. They killed so many people. They thought all of us had died. It was when they forgot about us that I walked away slowly into the bush.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    And your mother’s corpse was left there.

Abibatu:    Yes.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    What happened to it?

Abibatu:    There were so many corpses lying there. Nobody was able to take any corpse because the rebels were checking all the time.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    So what happened to those corpses eventually?

Abibatu:    They rot.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Was the village not able to collect all of them and burry them?

Abibatu:    Later they dug a hole and gathered all the bones and buried them.
Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    How old were you at that time when this happened to you?

Abibatu:    I cannot remember my age at that time.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:     Do you have any recommendations to make to the Commission?

Abibatu:        No, madam.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Thank you. you can step down.


Commissioner Sylvanus Torto (Presiding)
Commissioner Marcus-Jones


Adekera:    Ladies and gentlemen, we welcome you to the third day of our hearings here in Mattru.  We are ready to start and I will ask that we stand and remain standing as the Commissioners come in.  Shall we stand please for the Commissioners?  I have the pleasure to hand you over to Comissioner Sylvanus Torto.

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you very much.  Good morning all of you and welcome to today’s hearings.  I just want to remind you that the rules remain the same as stated yesterday by Commisssioner Marcus-Jones. Let us stand up for Muslim and Christain Prayers respectively.
(Muslim and christian prayers were offered)

Commissioner Torto: Leader of Evidence, may we start with our first witness please.

Leader of Evidence:    Chairperson, our first Witness for this morning is Sheku Kpasiwai.

WITNESS NAME: Sheku Kpasiwai

Commissioner Torto:    May the witness identify himself please?

KPASIWAI:    My name is Sheku Kpasiwai of Gbanda Kemoh Chiefdom.

Commissioner Torto:    Christain or Muslim?

KPASIWAI:    I am a Christain.

(The oath was administered)

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you Sheku.  You may have suffered harrassment and various kinds of human rights violations during the ten years of war.  As you may agree with us there is not sufficient time to to allow you to explain everything.  So we want you to share your experiences with us on one or two of the incidents.  So please go ahead.

KPASIWAI:    We were in our village the rebels attacked us.  They started matcheting and killing people. We ran into the bush. In the bush we had a camp.  When the rebels also started chasing us in our various camps we left.  The rebels made a law that if anybody did not leave the camps and come back into the town, that person  will be killed when caught.  We left the camps and came back to the town. We were all gathered in one place called Ngeyebu. Then they read another law that nothing belonged to any individual.  Everything belonged to everybody in the community.

We heard that soldiers were coming to liberate this area, more especialy the road.  After hearing that news, the rebels came back to the village and told us that they were going to kill all of us because they were made to understand that we were no longer giving them support that we were expecting the soldiers to come.  We told them not to do that.  We said they had our full support.  They went back into the bush.  The rebels came back to the town after a few days threatening to kill everybody.  We had to hide.  We were initiated into the Kamajor Society.  After our initiation, we got a letter from Chief Hinga Norman requesting us all to travel to Bo because elections was at hand..  

So we went to Bo. While we were in Bo we sometimes saw some people coming with amputated hands. They would tell us that they had been amputated by rebels.  We got another message from Chief Hinga Norman again asking us to go back to our various villages and into the bush to bring our brothers and sisters  back to town.  So we went back to our various villages.  In my group we only had two guns. All of us had matchetes.  We came across 800 rebels.  They killed two of our colleagues.  The others ran away.  So only two of us were left in the town.  They were firing at me.  I shouted at the gun and it ceased firing.  I was able to handle one of their guns.  We started exchanging fire.  I had a bullet wound on my leg.  One of my companions who was with me in the town was killed.  He was caled Shaw Simbo.  We retreated and went into the bush. The following morning I crossed the stream and went away.

The man who took me across the stream left me in the bush for three consecutive nights.  It was the miners that saw me. They took me away.  They carried me to a village called Kuranko and and later taken to Leguma Kandu.  Pa Norman sent a vehicle to take me to Bo. I was in the hospital there for three days.  Later I was sent to the camp where the amputees were resident.  Throughout that period, my leg did not heal.  During my stay in the camp, an old lady came at one time very close to me and whispered in my ears that she was made to understand that rebels were coming to attack Bo and that they might be looking out for Kamajors.  She said it would be proper for me to leave that area and go back to wherever I was came from.  When I got this news, I left that area and went to Sugar Ball Hotel.  At Sugar Ball Hotel I saw Mr. Moinina Fofanah and gave him the news. But Moinina Fofanah said I was not to worry over that.  He promised to provide a vehicle that evening to take me back to Mattru Jong.  The vehicle arrived.  So I was brought back to base.  That was my own experience.

Commissioner Torto: Thank you very much Mr. Sheku Kpasiwai.  The Commissioners will ask you questions, followed by questions from the Leader of Evidence.  How long have you been a Kamajor?

KPASIWAI:    I was initiated in the year 1995.

Commissioner Torto:    How many battles did you take part in?

KPASIWAI:    I fought three times.  It was on the third time that I got that bullet wound.

Commissioner Torto:    The third time?


Commissioner Torto: During those battles do you remember killing people  intentionally or unintentionally?

KPASIWAI:    I did not slaughter anybody with matchetes. When attacked by a group of rebesl we exchanged fire.

Commissioner Torto: Were there rules about the protection of civilians during those attaks?


Commissioner Torto:    And what were some of them?

KPASIWAI:    Well, if you are going to war and had an ordinary civilian with you who was not a member of the Kamajor Society, you rubbed charms on himor her.

Commissioner Torto:    What about the civilians who were not memebers of the fighting force?

KPASIWAI:    If rebels open fire on us when civilians are around. We don’t fire back immediately.

Commissioner Torto:    Who was Chuck Norris?  

KPASIWAI:    He was our battle Commander.

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you.  Commissioners do you have any questions?

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Thank you for your testimony.  Did you ever meet Hinga Norman?

KPASIWAI:    Yes, I met him.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Where was this?

KPASIWAI:    When he invited us to Bo before the elections. All of us were lodged at Sugar Ball.  

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    And what happened?

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Was that the only occasion you met him?

KPASIWAI:    After that I did not meet him again.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Alright, thank you.

Commissioner Torto:    Leader of Evidence, do you have questions for Mr. Sheku?

Leader of Evidence:    Thank you Chairperson, Mr. Kpasiwai, were you ever at Base Zero.

KPASIWAI:    I did not go to Base Zero.

Leader of Evidence: And during your initiation in Bo were you given Military training?


Leader of Evidence:    Were you taught how to handle a gun?


Leader of Evidence:    And you were also told not to mistreat civilians?

KPASIWAI:    We were told not to be harsh with civilians.

Leader of Evidence:    Do you know of any Kamajor who mistreated civilians and was punished for it?

KPASIWAI:    Well, I do not know of any other Kamajor.  I only know about myself and what I did.

Leader of Evidence:    And you yourself did you harm any civilians?

KPAIWAI:    I don’t think I did.  In those days there were very great restrictions.  

Leader of Evidence:    Why do you say at that time?  Did it change later?

KPASIWAI:    Well, I cannot tell.

Leader of Evidence:    You mentioned that you met Hinga Norman. You also mentioned that you met Moinina Fofanah at one time. Could you explain what his role was?

KPASIWAI:    Those were the people that gave us instructions to go to the war front.  Those two people.  Hinga Norman and Moinina Fofanah.  Moinina Fofanah was the War Director.

Leader of Evidence:    Who was of the highest in rank- Hinga Norman or Moinina Fofanah?

KPASIWAI:    Hinga Norman.

Leader of Evidence:    And did you ever meet Kondowai?

KPASIWAI:    Yes, he initiated me into the Society.

Leader of Evidence:    What was his rank compared to Moinina Fofanah and Hinga Norman?

KPASIWAI:    Norman was the highest in rank.

Leader of Evidence:    And then came Moinina Fofanah and then Kondowai?  What was the rank?

KPASIWAI:    Kondowai was only an initiator.

Leader of Evidence:    Mr. Kpasiwai, the Commission has a lot of testimonies of civilians who said that they were bitter with the Kamajors. Some even had their relatives killed by Kamajors.  What do you think about that?

KPASIWAI:    After that bullet wound I did not participate in any other thing whatsoever.  So I cannot comment.

Leader of Evidence:    Yes, but you did participate in three fights and you were a Kamajor for a long time.

KPASIWAI:    The things you are talking about were not common in our own days. We were under strict regualtions.

Leader of Evidence:    You yourself was initiated in 1995.  So when did you have this bullet wound?

KPASIWAI:    It was during the 1996 elections.

Leader of Evidence:    Now, I just want to go back to the beginning of your testimony when you said that the rebels attacked your village.  Can you tell us what rebels those were?

KPASIWAI:    Yes, I will tel you who the rebels were.  One of them was called Sokay, another was called Kaywoh, another called Gbassay, and another one called Freedom.  Those were the people that came and set our village ablaze.  

Leader of Evidence:    Which group did those rebels belong to?

KPASIWAI:    Well, I cannot tell because all of them had combat fatigue.

Leader of Evidence:    Were they AFRC, RUF, or were they Kamajors?

KPASIWAI:    They did not tell me their group. I don’t know their group.  They only had guns and combats fatigues.

Leader of Evidence:    Can you tell us how many people were killed during  that attack?


Leader of Evidence: Were there any relatives of  yours?

KPASIWAI:    Yes, a good number of my relatives were among the dead.

Leader of Evidence:    Can you give us some names?

KPASIWAI:    Yes, I can give you some names.

Leader of Evidence:    Please go ahead.

KPASIWAI:    One is Pa Ali Yemgbe.  They tied his hands and legs and he was beaten to death.  Another one was Beni Joe.  He was tied and burnt to death. Another one was Lahai Bordameh

Leader of Evidence:    Lahia?

KPASIWAI:    Lahai Bordameh.  Another one was Mr. Sam King.  Those are the corpses I saw with my own naked eyes.

Leader of Evidence::    You say Sam King?

KPASIWAI:    Sam King

Commissioner Torto: Thank you Sheku for your testimony and we are very much sorry for the relatives you lost during the war.  We have asked you questions after your testimony and you have answered them.  Do you have questions for the Commission?

KPASIWAI:    Yes, Commissioner

Commissioner Torto:    Go ahead.

KPASIWAI:    Well, I was wounded during the war.  Today I cannot walk. I am not able to work and I don’t have anything.  I am only requesting that you assist me.  I have children.  I cannot tell what type of assistance I need, but I need it.  I am poor, I have no money.

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you for this request.  The Commission is really sorry that it does not  have the mandate to actualy provide assistance to individual victims.  If the Commission had it, you would have definitely qualified for that type of assistance. There are however NGOs around that are rendering various assistance.  I want to encourage you to find out what they can do for you..  If you were given some form of transitional safety allowance as an ex-combatants, I want to encourage encourage you to make very good use of that. I know the answer that I have given is not going to be enough but there is nothing enough in the whole world. Any other question?

KPASIWAI:    I have no more questions, Commissioner.

Commissioner Torto:    Does you have recommendations you think we could pass on to the Government?

KPASIWAI:    Yes, Commissioner.

Commissioner Torto:    Let’s hear you please?

KPASIWAI:    Please pass on to Government the request that I made to you.

Commissioner Torto:    I can assure you that  it will be included in our report. Any other recommendations?

KPASIWAI:    I thank you very much Commissioner.

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you very much.  If you don’t have any further recommendations, you may stand down.

Commissioner Torto:    Leader of Evidence, the next witness please?

Leader of Evidence:    Chairperson, our next witness for this morning is Mrs Jeneba Vandy.

WITNESS NAME: Jeneba Vandi

(The oath was administered)

Commissioner Torto: Jeneba, as it has just been done with the first witness you will have to make a verbal statement after which Commissioners here will ask you questions. The commissioners questions will be followed by questions from the Leader of Evidence.  At the end, you too will have the opportunity to ask us questions and also profer recommendations. So we want you to explain to us particular incidents that affected you most during the ten year war.

The rebels came to Kagbonda Kemoh and attacked us.  I was entering into my house when one of the rebels took a cutlass and stopped me. ‘What have you come to do here’ he asked?  I told the rebel that this was my house. The rebel told me that as from that day the house was nolonger mine. He went away with my sister-in-law.  All our properties were looted and they didn’t allow us to re-enter the town.  We left Kagbonda Kemoh chiefdom altogether and went to Bumpe Chiefdom. We went one village called Gendema.  That was were I was wounded.  When the rebels attacked us, one of them was chased me with a cutlass and wounded me on my hand and face. Then one of the small rebels came to me and asked whether I had been killed.  The rebel that wounded me said “no she did not die but she will not survive the wound that I have given her”.  

I stayed in the bush until the evening. I strugged to go to a house. I was taken from there and carried to somewhere else.  They tried to treat my cut with native herbs.   Early in the morning my husband spread word that I had been killed and wanted to and bury me.  When people came they did not meet me dead. So my husband ordered people to lay me on a hammock and carry me.  They continued to treat me with herbs. After sometime the pain started to heal up and they told me to go with them to Bo.  On our way to Bo rebels attacked us again.  The rebels carried away everything we had.  We were left with nothing.  So we decided not to go any further to Bo Town because we didn’t have anything to wear.  We went back into the bush.  

Kamajors were looking for us. We were found taken to the town.  We were now staying in the town.  The rebels abducted my daughter who had three children.  I heard later that my daughter and all her children died. And she was the one that was taking care of me because I suffer from epilepsy.  Today I don’t have anyone to look after me. I have so many other children but that was the only one that took care of me. One day I had an attack of epilepsy  and fell on firern.  I was in that fire until the following morning.  I became parpalysed and stayed at home for two years. In the third year I started walking.  The child that I had at the time I fell into the fire was not breastfed because my breast was dried up.  So the child got sick and got tetanus. But I thank God the child survived.  I have said everything.

Leader of Evidence: Commissioner I think the witness wants to show you her burnt legs.

Commissioner Torto:    We thank Madam Jeneba Vandy very much for this sorrowful testimony.  The Commission sympathises with her on the loss of her relatives and all that she went through.  We just want her to answer some questions for some clarifications of issues from both the verbal and written testimonies.  Do you remember the group of rebels that attacked?

Jeneba:    I cannot tell the group.

Commissioner Torto: Did you happen to see the faces of any of the attackers? Do you know them today?

Jeneba:    No

Commissioner Torto:    Do you remember who wounded you?

Jeneba:    There were a lot of them in the group. I cannot remember the particular person.

Commissioner Torto: Okay, how is your health condition now after all the severe wounding and the fire accident?

Jeneba:    I am sick. I feel pain all over my body.  

Commissioner Torto:    At the end of the testimony you will talk to the briefers. They will give you a letter of recommendation for some medical treatment.  How many children do you have?

Jeneba:    I have five children

Commissioner Torto:    The husband too?

Jeneba:    The husband is with me.

Commissioner Torto:    What about the son?

Jeneba:    The boy is also with us.

Commissioner Torto:    I am happy to know because according to the written statement here you were not able to trace them.  I’m happy to hear that the husband and son are alive.  Commissioner Marcus-Jones will ask you questions.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Jeneba, we are sorry that you had all those injuries during the war. And in addition to that you seem to have a very small worrying illness. I just don’t understand how you could fall in the fire and stayed there till morning. Could you explain? Where was the husband?

Jeneba:    I was living with my sister-in-law at the time. My husband was staying in another house.  I will give a lot of praise to my husband because he is really cares for me.  That was just an unfortunate situation.  He has taken a lot of care I can say that to even my parents.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    I am very happy to hear that you have a supportive husband. Have you been able to get any counselling from people given what you suffered durind the war?  I think you need counseling?

Jeneba:    Except you provide for me a counsellor.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Our counsellor will talk to you after here.  Thank you.

Commissioner Torto:    Leader of Evidence, do you have questions for Jeneba?

Leader of Evedence:    Thank you chairperson.  I am sorry for all your suffering and for the loss of your daughter and her children.  Can you give us the name of your daughter?

Jeneba:    Her name was Sato Vandy.

Leader of Evedence:    And do you also have the name of her children that wre abducted with her?

Jeneba:    I can’t remember their names.

Leader of Evedence:    It’s okay, it’s okay.  Thank you very much.

Commissioner Torto:        Jeneba, we have asked you questions.  Do you have questions for the Commission?

Jeneba:    Yes, I have a question.

Commissioner Torto: Okay.

JENEBA:    Am I going to get any medical assistance from the Commissioner?

Commissioner Torto: We have just taken care of that.

Jeneba:    The rebels also burnt down my house and right now I am displaced.

Commissioner Torto:    What form of assistance?

Jeneba:    I want a house.

Commissioner Torto:    And what else?

Jeneba:    That is all.

Commissioner Torto: We are sorry that it is not the mandate of the Commission to build houses.  It is the sorrowful part of our work.  We do not have the mandate or the resources to build individual houses for people.  We will however encourage you to talk to e NGOs that provide assistance in that regard.  Do you have recommendations that we can pass on to the Government?

Jeneba:    Yes.

Commissioner Torto:    Yes, let us hear them.

Jeneba:    I am telling the Government that I have a small child.  I need assistance for that child because the child is very sickly.  I am not able to take care of that child.  We need food and clothing.  That is the recommendation I have.

Commissioner Torto: I thank you very much for coming to the Commisssion.  You may step down now. Leader of Evidence, may we have the next witness?

Leader of Evidence:    Chairperson, our next witness for this afternoon is Allieu Ndimawa.

(The oath was administered)

WITNESS NAME: Allieu Ndimawa

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you.  Allieu, please briefly tell us about any incidence that happened during the last war in which you were involved. I know you may have gone through a lot of struggles but we want you to share with the Commission just one or two particular incidences that actually grieved you most.

Allieu:    I say thanks to the Commission.  We were in our village called Bolum.  One morning we heard gunshots coming from Gbap end.  We saw a young man running towards us.  “What has happened’ we asked? “The rebels have set us in disarray” he replied.  “It is the rebels that are shooting at the moment.”  All of us went into the bush that morning.  One hour later we saw a large contingent of rebels approaching us.  They entered the village shooting at random and insulting people.  They entire village was completely burnt down.  There was a Mosque and a school in the village. They were all burnt down.  Six people were killed.

We stayed in Bonthe for three months. We suffered hunger in Bonth.  When we heard that Kamajors had cleared our area we decided to go back.  The Kamajors attacked our village and looted properties. We walked down to Bonthe and reported to the District Officer. The District Officer at the time was D.O. Kanneh.  Before reporting to D.O. Kanneh we first told our traditional head – the Paramount Chief.  The D.O. wrote a letter to Bo to one Mr Monina Fofanah and the Provincial Secretary reporting what the Kamajors did.  We went back to our village.

Two weeks later, a lady called Wuyatta Kandja came to us to ask that we return her things that Kamajors sold to us.  We refused.  She then went and reported us to one Kamajor Chief in a near-by village. Two Kamajors were sent to collect us all of us who were heading of the tradefare.  We were asked to give ten thousand Leones to the Kamajors who went for us. They said it was their transport fare. We paid.  We were also asked to pay seven thousand Leones for the complaint lodged against us.  That was also paid.  We were asked to pay for the lady’s things. We were given two weeks to pay.

We were preparing to go to Bonthe again to make a report when the District Officer, came to our village. We reported the matter to him.  We explained to him exactly what happened to us.  He instructed us not to pay anything.  He told us to report any  Kamajor who threatened us.  On that same day, the lady who wanted us to pay for her things reappeared with another Kamajor.  She said the Kamajor was sent by Kondowai. The Kamajor said we were to pay by force for the lady’s missing property. We told them that the District Officer had instructed us not to pay for anything.  The Kamajor started shooting at random in the village.  Some Kamajors who were around seized the gun from him.  The woman and the Kamajor went back and reported to Kondowai.  He sent a number of Kamajors who came and looted more of our things.  

We again came to Bonthe and reported to the District Officer that the same thing that happened to us had reoccurred.  He promised to take action.  He told us to go back and exercise patience. We continued to run our tradefare. As the situation was normalizing the Paramount Chief told us that he was going to remove the trade fare from us.  We went and pleaded with him but he refused to accept our plea.  We came again and reported to the District Officer.  The District Officer summoned him twice. Twice he did not respond to the District Officer’s call.  The District Officer told us that since it was a Kamajor zone it was not safe for him to go there.  He gave us a letter however to take to the Provincial Secretary in Bo.  The Provincial Secretary reported the matter to the Residence Minister.

Commissioner Torto:    Mr Allieu, please, we want things that actually border on human rights violations.  We are not concerned with civil cases, trade fare, and that kind of thing.  We want to hear about physical torture, killings and things like that. Can you round up so that we please?

Allieu:    I want to conclude my testimony because a lot of money was taken from us at that time.  We went back to Monina Fofanah.  He told us in Bo to pay back the sum of two million Leones if we wanted the trade fare to continue.  We said we were not able to give that kind of money.  We pleaded to pay one million Leones.  Monina Fofanah gave a condition that unless we paid the money he was not going to accept us to head the trade fare.  The money was paid to him and he never allowed us to continue with the tradefare. He said that the tradefare was locked for good and the keys had been sent to the monkeys.  He took my brother to Bo and locked him up in jail for thirty days.  He never refunded our money.  Those are some of the things that I suffered during the war.

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you very much Mr Allieu Ndimawa. Did anybody die during all these ordeals?  Was anybody killed?

Allieu:    That was the first thing I said in my testimony. Six people we were killed.

Commissioner Torto:    What village is that?

Allieu:    Bolum.

Commissioner Torto:    Under what circumstances did the people die?

Allieu:    They were killed by the rebels.

Commissioner Torto:    Did the rebels find Kamajors or soldiers in the village?  

Allieu:    There were no Kamajors or soldiers.

Commissioner Torto: They just attacked the town?

Allieu:    They just entered the villages and started burning down houses and killing people.

Commissioner Torto:    Six people died in the process?

Allieu:    Six people died in all.  

Commissioner Torto:     You said in your verbal statement and your written statement that you were not getting along with the Paramount Chief. For some reasons the Paramount Chief took the tradefare business from your hands.

Allieu:    Yes

Commissioner Torto:    You were a contractor for the fare.  The chiefdom had given you the contract.

Allieu:    Yes

Commissioner Torto:So what was the nature of disagreement between you and the chief?

Allieu:    I did not do any wrong. He simply removed it from us.  We were paying monthly dues to him. He gave us receipts.  

Commissioner Torto:    What is the name of the chief and the chiefdom?

Allieu: Paramount Chief C. W. Tucker of Nongoba Bullum Chiefdom.

Commissioner Torto:    Who was Monina Fofanah?

Allieu:    He was called Director of War.

Commissioner Torto:    Dis you say you gave him Le1,000,000 what for?  Why did you give him Le1,000,000?

Allieu:    He went to the tradefare and threatened to stop if we didn’t give him Le2,000,000.

Commissioner Torto: So you gave the money and he didn’t stop the trade fare?

Allieu:    We ended up paying Le1,000,000.

Commissioner Torto:    On the orders of who?

Allieu:    He ordered us to pay.

Commissioner Torto:    Was the money collected on the orders of the Paramount Chief or Kondowai the head of the Kamajors?

Allieu:    I don’t think so.  It was for Monina Fofanah himself.  His voice was more powerful at than thetwo people.  When the Provincial Secretary instructed that the Trade fare be restarted, Fofanah threatened to deal drastically anybody who attempted to do so.

Commissioner Torto:    And he was not taking orders from his boss who happens to be Konowai?

Allieu:    Not at all.  Even Konowai was afraid of him.

Commissioner Torto: What is he now in the chiefdom?
Allieu:    I hear rumour that he is in this town.

Commissioner Torto: Here in Bonthe?

Allieu:    That is what I hear people say.

COMM TORTO:    Have you seen him here.

Allieu:    I have not set eyes on him since I came.

Commissioner Torto:    You also said that Moinina Fofanah killed your uncle called Vandi Ndimawa. Under  what circumstances?

Allieu: I did not say he killed him. He arrested my uncle and took him to Bo where he was locked for thirty days.  We had to pay Le76,000 before he was released.

Commissioner Torto:    Who do you think was responsible for human rights violations in the chiefdom- the rebels, the Kamajors, or the Paramount Chief

Allieu:    All of them inflicted punishments on me.  

Commissioner Torto: How

Allieu:    The rebels destroyed our villages, killed our relatives, and burnt down our plantations. The Paramount Chief was in league with Moinina Fofanah.  They seized everything from us.  Kondowa sent Kamajors to harass us.  That’s the reason why I say all of them inflicted punishment on us.

Commissioner Torto:    Who is running the fare now?

Allieu:    It is now permanently with the Paramount Chief.  It is not with us.  

Commissioner Torto:    What is the current position of Moinina Fofanah?

Allieu:    There was a time when the paramount Chief took him to us and told us that he was going to be the chiefdom speaker. The chiefdom people rejected him. It almost became a crisis in our chiefdom.  The report war made to the District Officer.  The chiefdom people insisted that they did not want him.  That was what refused his leadership.  After sometime Fofanah disappeared.  We’ve now started hearing that he is here in Bonthe.  That is all I know about him.

Commissioner Torto:    Who is now chiefdom speaker?

Allieu:    The  office is vacant.

Commissioner Torto:    If Moinina Fofanah goes back?

Allieu:    We have decided that he should not become our speaker.

Commissioner Torto:    Let me make a point on the appointment of chiefdom speakers.  It does not man that I am backing Moinina Fofanah. I’m just explaining a Government policy.  The policy is that once a chief is elected; if the position of a speaker is vacant the chief has the right to appoint one.  But let’s go back to our issue at hand. Are you still interested in this type of trade?

Allieu:    Precisely. I like it because that is where I get my livelihood.  It was out of the trade fare that we used to pay the teachers at our school.  The school is no longer existing but source of money has been taken away.  

Commissioner Torto: Thank you. It is really sad that you lost six people during an attack on your village.  Commissioner, do you have any questions for Mr Allieu?

Commisioner Marcus-Jones: Yes. Thank you very much mr Allieu. Can you give us the names of the six people who died?

Allieu:    Joe Kekuda, Senessie Abu, Madam Adama, and Kemoh Gibrilla and his son.

Commisioner Marcus-Jones: And what’s the name of the son?

Allieu:    Moray Gibrilla.

Commisioner Marcus-Jones:    Thank you. When did the attack take place?

Allieu:    1996.

Commisioner Marcus-Jones:    Which group attacked the villages? Was it the RUF or CDF, or something else?

Allieu:    RUF.

Commisioner Marcus-Jones:    During this war were any of your relatives killed. Were any of your relatives among those people killed in the villages?

Allieu:    Yes. I am related to all of them.

Commisioner Marcus-Jones:    Close relations?

Allieu:    Some were very close relation.  

Commisioner Marcus-Jones:    Thank you very much.

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you Mr Ndimawa. Do you have questions for the Commission?

Allieu:    I don’t have any question for the Commission.

Commissioner Torto:        Do you have any recommendations to make?

Allieu:    Precisely.

Commissioner Torto:    Let us hear them.

Allieu:    We want Government to help us rebuild our school.   We are also appealing to government to help us rebuild our Mosque in the village.  And the most important thing we want Government to do is to re-instituted the trade fare.  And it should be put in our care.    

Commissioner Torto:    In whose care?

Allieu:    In our care.  

Commissioner Torto:    Let me briefly comment on the recommendations:  the project to rebuild your school cannot be a problem.  The Ministry of Education is rebuilding of many school.  It may be that they have not yet reached in your area.  We will stake your recommendations into consideration. I’ve not seen government building Mosques or Churches. I advise that you rebuild your mosque through communal efforts.

The issue of re-instating the trade fare and putting it in your care is a question for the chiefdom council. It is really a matter for the chiefdom.  I will encourage you to really lobby and talk with the chiefdom authorities. Do you have other suggestions or recommendations?

Allieu:    No.

Commissioner Torto:        Thank you very much for coming. You may stand down.    Next witness.  Do we have another witness for today?

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Mr Commissioner we have heard all the witnesses for today except for one who has arrived. I suggest that we hear him tomorrow.

Commissioner Torto:    We have come to the end of today’s hearings here. We thank you very much for coming.  As you may know tomorrow is our last day here in Bonthe.  But we will sit up to two O’clock in the afternoon. We will have a very short ceremony to say goodbye.  We are asking you to please come tomorrow. We will be moving to Mattru Jong late in the afternoon tomorrow.  The Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Sierra Leone has today had testimonies as to the tragic loss of many human lives in the conflict that ravaged our country.  As a mark of respect to the deceased and their families and as a symbol of our compassion and solidarity, we ask that you please stand up in observance of a minute silence after I have read the names of the following:

  • Victor B Koh
  • Kona Pujeh
  • P. C. Brandon
  • Kontoh
  • Konema Nao

Many people killed in Gbap, Kangama chiefdom including the following:

  • Joe Kekuda
  • Senessie,
  • Madam Adama
  • Kamoh Gibrilla and
  • Moray of Kangama

May we stand please?  May the souls of those departed rest in perfect peace.  With this brief closing ceremony, the hearings for today are adjourned to tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m.  So we thank you for coming again and hope to see you then.  Thank you.


Commissioner Marcus-Jones (Presiding)
Commissioner Satang Jow    
Commissioner Sylvanus Torto
Commissioner John  Kamara


Commissioner Satang Jow    


Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen.

Leader of Evidence, may we have your first witness please.

Commissioner Jow:    Madam Chairperson, our first witness is  Mr Sei Manni. .

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Witness, could you give us your name in full.  You might have other names that we don’t know.

MANNI:    Sei Manni.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Are you a Christian or a Muslim?

MANNI:    I’m a Muslim.

(The oath was administered)

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Thank you for coming. Mr. Sei Manni, your name has been called quite often in this Commission. We want to hear what you have to say.  We are not here to fight. And we are not here for confrontation. We just want the truth. And were possible, people should express regret for what they have done and be ready to reconcile with others.  

Lahai Koroma Ndokoi has appeared before this Commission to say that you were responsibke for spreading rumours that he had business with the soldiers. He said you wanted him killed because you were interested in having somebody else as Chiefdom Speaker.  You have also been accused of ordering Kamajors to beat up Paramount Chief Brandon. The chief subsequently died as a result of the beating.  What do you have to say?  Please try to make your testimony as brief as possible and to the point.   How old are you?

Manni:      I don’t know my age.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Well, from your look, you are as matured as Ndokoi.  So, you are two mature, elderly people who should be able to tel us what happened.  Carry on.

Manni:    The allegation that I ordered the beating of the Paramount Chief is not true.  The then District Officer, Mr Kanneh, the late Paramount Chief Brandon, Rev, Sandi and our late Secretary General, Victor Caulker stayed with me when they escaped from Bonthe. I walked them through the bush,  and helped to build huts for them to live in. I fought to save their lives.  The Late Paramount Chief was my brother.  It makes no sense to order his killing.  People have made this allegation because they hate me.  I suffered a lot of troubles in during the war.  I had two houses in Bonthe. They were burnt down.  The left Bonthe distressed and went to my village.  The village was also destroyed. I was not a Kamajor at the time.  Throughout the war, I didn’t become a Kamajor.  
Pa Lahai Ndokoi was the actual Paramount Chief.  His had more powers than the Paramount Chief himself.  When I went to Mosande, he ordered rebels to leave Bonthe to go to Mosande and burn down the village.  He was thje one responsible for the destruction of this entire area.  Duuring the last Paramount chieftancy elections he asked us to vote for him.  How can we vote for somebody who has distressed us?  All his allegations against us at this Commission is a revenge.  All what is testified before you is not correct.  That is what I have for the Commission at this moment.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Thank you.  Why should Ndokoi hate you?

Manni:    Because we did not vote for him.  Even his testimony that he was responsible for my being Section Chief it was not true.  Chieftancy is not conferred by one person. It comes from the Section.  The Section Heads came together and made me Section Chief. He therefore has no right to say that he was responsible for the position I hold today.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thank you.  The other Commissioners and the Leader of Evidence will ask questions.

Commissioner Torto:    Mr. Sei Manni, I welcome you to this Commission.  I just want you to make a few clarifications based on the testimonies received about you and your activities.  I want to start with a very simple one.  Since you’ve suffered so much in this war, why didn’t you make a statement to the Truth and Reconcilliation Commission before?

Manni:    I gave a statement.

Commissioner  Torto:    You gave a statement to the TRC?

Manni:    Yes.

Commissioner Torto:    Today? When was that?  

Manni:    A long time ago.

Commissioner Torto:    Thank you.  More than three people have accused you.  One of the people who accused you is of course you friend and brother. Mr Ndokoi, Mr. Allieu Massaquoi, and Mr. Squire, have all said that you gave orders to them to committ certain atrocities.  Are all these people lying?  Why would a Kamajor take orders from a non-Kamajor?

Manni:    Power belonged to the Kamajors.  I didn’t have any power to order them to do anything.  Lahai is a Chief.  He left the Chiefdom and came down to Bonthe together with the rebels. He was moving with them.  I don’t know anything about the Kamajor society because I am not a Member.  I am not denying that Kamajors went to my place.  When war first reached Mende land, Kamajors came down to my area and the surrounding villages.  When the rebel war subsided they went back.  I can’t drive them away because they went to protect my life.  That is all I know.

Commissioner Torto:    So you encouraged them and worked with them?

Manni:    You can never deny them anything otherwise you’d be killed.

Commissioner Torto: Could it be that you gave orders at that time out of fear?

Manni:    I did not do anything like that.

Commissioner Torto:    Pa Sei Manni, I want you to understand that we are not witch hunting Kamajors.  We are not looking out for Kamajors to be implicated or that kind of thing.  It’s not an offence to be a Kamajor.  It is the activities we are interested in.  So I want you to admit that you were part of the kamajor Movement.

Manni:    I was not with them.

Commissioner Torto:    Allieu Massaquoi said you gave him orders. He said they were arresting people and taking them to you.  Why?

Manni:    I don’t know about that.

Commissioner Torto:    We are not a Court.  We want the truth before God and man so that reconcilliation can take place.  Until you say the truth, the people and God will not forgive you.  You will make our work very difficult by not saying the truth.  Please answer the questions in a very truthful way.  We have evidences, and testimonies that actually point you as being behind all the atrocities committed in Sitiya Chiefdom and Bonthe Town.  Who burnt down your village?  

Manni:    The rebels from Bonthe.

Commissioner Torto:    Rebels from Bonthe?

Manni:    Yes.

Commissioner Torto:    What village is that?

Manni:    All the seven Villages were burnt down.  I want to name some of the villages.

Commissioner Torto:    You can name them.  Go ahead.

Manni:    Pelewahun, Sembehun, Pujehun, and Momotok.

Commissioner Torto:    Did people die in these incidences?

Manni:    I cannot remember that.

Commissioner Torto:    Did you remember the names or faces of the people involved in the burning of these Villages?

Manni:    No.

Commissioner Torto:    A Kamajor called Rambo said you gave him orders to do a few things.  Where is he now?

Manni:    I don’t know his whereabouts.  We don’t live in the same place.

Commissioner Torto:    Where is he now?  You may not live in the same place but it is here in the written statement.

Manni:    I was told that he was in the Imperi Chiefdom. But I don’t know the exact village.

Commissioner Torto:    You gave orders to Rombo to spearhead the beating of Chief Brando.  You remember the date you did that?

Manni:    I don’t know about that.

Commissioner Torto:    Pa Sei Manni, you should remember that you are under oath. The books before you there are God’s words.  They should not be taken lightly.  He is mightier than all of us. Please say the truth to us.  You seem to have denied every testimony adduced before us that implicates you. It is clear to me from the countenance of people in the audience and the murmurings that you were responsible for many human rights violations.  The best way we can get over this is to say the truth. These people and God will forgive you.  Was there any animosity between you and Chief Brandon?  

Manni:    There was no animosity between us.

Commissioner Torto:    What about Koroma Ndokoi?

Manni:    We used to be friends.  There was no animosity between us.  In the first chieftancy contest, I canvassed for him.  I did not vote for the late Chief Brando but he held me with two hands.

Commissioner Torto:    And you ordered his beating?

Manni:    I did not do it.

Commissioner Torto:    There are testimonies.  Were you not the Section Chief?

Manni:    I am still a Section Chief.

Commissioner Torto:    The Commission has a lot of respect for chieftancy.  Did you order beating of Concern?

Manni:    No.

Commissioner Torto:    You don’t know him?  You don’t know Concern?

Manni:    I don’t know him.

Commissioner Torto:    Chairman, I have no more questions for this man.  He is not telling the truth.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Leader of Evidence, have you any questions?

Commissioner Jow:    Chairperson, I would like to ask the Witness if he knows anybody by the name of Kondowai?

Manni:    I don’t know him.  One time Pa Nabie Koroma took me to his Village to collect charms. That was the only time I met Chief Kondowa.  He brought me to Bonthe in a canoe. He gave me a bottle of rum.  The bottle was the size of my toe.  It was a charm. It contained several things, including human body parts.  That was the only time I saw Kondowai. We have nothing in common. We are not related.  I don’t think he can even recognise m today.

Commissioner Torto:    Chief Sei Manni, your association with this man bother on charms, Are you telling us that he cannot recognise you today if you see each other?  You expect us to believe that?

Manni:    You ought to believe it.  We met for a very short moment.  I may or may not be able to recognise him.

Commissioner Torto:    You said there were human parts involved in the charms provided.  How were those human parts collected?

Manni:    They were taken from Chief Lahai Ndokoi.

Commissioner Torto:    The human parts?

Manni:    They were collected from inside the house of Chief Lahai Ndokoi.  When these things were collected, I was ordered to take them  to Chief Kondewai.  I could not deny because I wanted to protect river myown life.  If I denied, I would have been killed.

Commissioner Torto:    Is the person from whom you collected those parts still alive?

Manni:    He must be alive.

Commissioner Torto: Where is he?

Manni:    I think he is in Timide. In the Moyamba District.

Commissioner Torto: Chief, we don’t want to spend too much time here. You are not helping the Commission. Our mandate is to seek the truth and reconcile people.  We will find it difficult to reconcile people if the truth is not coming out. You are denying all the issues raised against you.  Who killed Mr Koroma, Lahai Ndokoi’s nephew?

Manni:    I cannot tell.  I didn’t go there.

Commissioner Torto:    But you sent people?

Manni:    I did not send anybody.

Commissioner Torto:    But you know of it?

Manni:    I did not send anybody.  I know the people.

Commissioner Torto:    Why didn’t you stop them?

Manni:    They were very aggressive. They had no intention to listen to me.

Commissioner Torto:   I know chieftancy very well.  As a Section Chief you must be a very powerful person.  You’ve denied that you were a Kamajor. But you cannot deny that you had power.  You knew that somebody was being killed. What did you do?

Manni:    When they first started, I stopped them from going.  I told them not to leave my place to go to any other place. The Kamajors were people who never listened to anybody.  They wereall  aggressive in the Kamajor Movement.

Commissioner Torto:    So you silently presided over their aggression?

Manni:    I spoke but they never listened to me.

Commissioner Torto: So you were part of them?

Manni:    I did not move along with them.  I was an ordinary civilian.  How could I have been a Kamajor?

Commissioner Torto:    You keep emphasising that you were not a Kamajor.  We are not witch-hunting Kamajors. Nobody is saying that to be a Kamajor is an offence.  It’s their activities that we want to investigate.  We just want you to confirm what the kamajors or any other fighting group did regarding human rights violations.  You keep on saying “I’m not a Kamajor, I’m not a Kamajor” as if that’s the end of it all. As Chief, could you tell me of instances were you protected civilians during the war and how you protected them?

Manni:    Yes. I protected Reverend Sandi, the District Officer, and Victor Caulker in order.

Commissioner Torto:    You have not answered my question.  What part did you play? Tell me of a specific incident?

Manni:    I protected the people in the Village. We were moving together in the bushes.  When all the Villages were burnt down many people went and stayed with me permanently.  

Commissioner Torto:    No further questions for this Witness.

Commissioner Marcus- Jones:    Thank you.  Pa Sei Manni, confrontation is not part of the way the Commission works. People have made statements calling your name.  We are not here for any confrontation. If you come here on your own wish, we msut get the truth. Confess what you have done, so that you can have a free conscience. Once again you can look at your people without bowing your head down.  But if you think there’s no need for that we can’t force you.  Have you any last statement you want to make?

Manni:    You have come to reconcile us as a people.  You have been given the Mandate to come and talk to people to reconcile but I cannot answer to what I did not do.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Thank you.  Have you any questions for the Commission?

Manni:    I have no questions for the Commission.

Commissioner Marcus- Jones:        Any recommendations to put in our report?

Manni:    Yes.

Commissioner Marcus- Jones:        Carry on.

Manni:    You come here to reconcile us in this part of Sierra Leone, so that we can live in peace.  It is peace I want you to make.  That is my recommendation.

Commissioner Marcus- Jones:    Right.  Thank you, we’ll endeavour to make peace where people are ready to reconcile.  Thank you very much. You may step down.

Commissioner Jow:    Chairperson, our next witness for today is Lamin Sidiki who has been called by the Commission to answer to the allegations made against him by Alhaji Noah Abdul Wahab on Monday.

Commissioner Marcus- Jones:        Witness give your name in full.

Lamin:    I’m Sidiki Lamin.

Commissioner Marcus- Jones:        Are you a Christian or  Muslim?

Lamin:    I am a Muslim.

(The oath ws administered)

WITNESS NAME: Sidiki Lamin

Commissioner Marcus- Jones:    Now Sidiki, you are here because one witness gave evidence before the Commission that you were responsible for an attack on him. He said that you had part of his ear cut off. The witness was Alhaji Noah Abdul Wahab.  I would like to hear your own side of the story. After you’ve spoken to us, we’ll ask you questions. The Leader of Evidence will also ask you questions.  We are not a Court of Law, we are not going to send you to prison.  What we want from you is the truth and if necessary, to make reconcilliation between you and the other parties. We have nothing to do with the Special Court. We don’t give information to the Special Court and the Special Court does not require information from us.  We are ready to listen.

Sidiki:    At one time, my sister sent me to Bonthe buy somethings. On my way back to the Village, I met a group of soldiers.  They took bundles of tobacco from me. When I pleaded with them to return the tobacco they grabbed me and put me on the ground.  I left and went to report the matter to Pastor.  The Pastor asked me whether I could identify the soldiers. I said no.  I left them and went to a Clinic where I had four injections.  When I felt better, I returned to the village.  After a couple of days, Tommy sent to call me.  Tommy told me that he had received a letter from Bonthe saying that Chief Lahai Ndokoi was threatening to send soldiers to our Village and that he was demanding his (Tommy’s) head.  

We didn’t know what to do.  The soldiers were constantly threatening us. The threats became unbearable. We started hearing news that Chief Lahai Ndokoi was threatening to send soldiers to look for Kamajors. A meeting was called to organise ourselves to launch an attack on the soldiers in Bonthe.  When the Kamajors came to Bonthe, the soldiers Gunboat returned fire and many of them were killed.  Some of them escaped.  Two days after the Kamajors returned, Tommy sent a message again to our village, asking me to go to the place where he was.  So I went.

While I was there Alhaji Noah came. Some charges were levied against him. Alhaji Noah denied them. They started flogging him.  While he was been flogged, I cut part of his ear with a knife.    He prayed briefly.  I felt very bad and I left.  I couldn’t go back to Mosande for two days.  My people wept because what I did to the old man.  That was what happened.  I want beg for forgiveness. I regret it.  I am begging that Pa Abdul Noah forgives me.

One night, soldiers came and attacked Mosande.  I had already left the village after inflicting wound on Abdul Noah.  When the soldiers attacked Mosande they killed Tommy Nyande.  They cut his mother too.  When they were returning to Bonthe they took my brother’s son with them. They nicknamed him Reverend. They kidnapped seven people and brought them to Bonthe.  My brother’s son has not been seen to this day. When we heard the news that Chief Lahai Ndokoi had hands in what the soldiers did, we could not believe it. What made us to believe however was that Chief Lahai’s son was seen among the soldiers when they went to those villages. When our brother Tommy was killed, Chief Lahai’s son took a knife and cut his private. He put it on a string, hung it around his neck, and came back to Bonthe.  According to Mama Adama, while the soldiers were moving back to Bonthe, Chief Lahai went to receive them in jubilation. That was what happened. I left the area.

Commissioner Marcus- Jones:    Thank you.  We would like some clarifications.  Who was the Pastor that you reported the soldiers to? The soldiers who took your tobacco.

SIDIKI:    I reported to Pastor Sandi himself.

Commissioner Marcus- Jones:    Is Pastor Sandi here?

SIDIKI:    Yes, madam.

Commissioner Marcus- Jones:    Who is Tommy?

SIDIKI:    He was my brother.

Commissioner Marcus- Jones: And who is Ibrahim Ndokai?

SIDIKI:    I did not mention Ibrahim Ndokai.

Commissioner Marcus- Jones:    Now who was the Ndokai you mentioned?

SIDIKI:    I called Lahai Ndokoi.

Commissioner Marcus- Jones: Lahai Koroma Ndokoi?

SIDIKI:    Yes, madam

Commissioner Marcus- Jones: The brother killed, was it Tommy?

SIDIKI:    Yes Madam, Tommy Nyande.

Commissioner Marcus- Jones:    And it was Tommy’s private parts which they cut off?

SIDIKI:    After killing him, they cut off his private part and brought it to Bonthe and the person who did that was Chief Lahai Ndokoi’s son.

Commissioner Marcus- Jones:    Can you tell us why Tommy was hated so much?

SIDIKI:    He was a Kamajor and he was the Commander protecting the area at that time.

Commissioner Marcus- Jones: The Commissioners will ask you more questions.

Commissioner Torto:    Sidiki Lamin, thank you for responding to the Commission’s invitation.  You said you were beating a man when accidentally the man’s knife in his pocket pierced his ear.  Was that what you said?

SIDIKI:    I didn’t say so.

Commissioner Torto:    Okay, please tell me something about that.

SIDIKI:    While the other Kamajors were beating the man, I went with a knife in my hand and pierced the back of his ear.

Commissioner Torto:    Who?  Mr Wahab?

SIDIKI:    Alhaji Wahab.  That is why I am asking for forgiveness.

Commissioner Torto:    Okay, we will come to that later. But did you also steal money and a radio from him?

SIDIKI:    I didn’t do that.  After commiting that act I was now afraid to take anything from him.

Commissioner Torto:    Okay, you did not but members of your group did?              

SIDIKI:    I had left the scene.

Commissioner Torto:    Why was a fine of Le50,000 imposed on Alhaji Wahab?

SIDIKI:    I was not there.  

Commissioner Torto:    So, you are not denying that it happened?  Another  Kamajor burned Alhaji Wahab’s body with cigarette.

SIDKI:    I was not there when all that was happening.

Commissioner Torto:    What about Momodu Kondor and Kuku Sillah?

SIDIKI:    I don’t know anything about them.

Commissioner Torto:    My last question.  I am very impressed by the fact that you are willing to apologise for your deeds.  I can see from your countenance that you regret whatever you may have done.  It is people like you that the Commission respects- people who accept their faults and apologise.  So, I thank you for your testimony.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Leader of Evidence, have you any questions?

Commissioner Jow:    Chairperson, it is not really clear to me why the decision was taken to beat up Mr. Alhaji Noah.

SIDIKI:    We had information that Alhaji Wahab wanted to imitate a charm the Kamajors had so that soldiers can attack us.  That was the allegation that was made against him.

Commissioner Jow:    You said that Tommy Nyande was your Commander.  Was there any other Commander that you know in the group of Kamajors that you were part of?  You said that Tommy Nyande was the Commander of the group you belonged to.  Who was the Commander above Tommy Nyande?

SIDIKI:    There was one Patrol Commander.

Commissioner Jow:    What was his name?

SIDIKI:    He was called Momodu.

Commissioner Jow:    And do you know one Julius Squire?

SIDIKI:    The Julius Squire who was here in Bonthe?

Commissioner Jow:    Yes.

SIDIKI:    Julius Squire who was in Bonthe.  Yes, I know him.

Commissioner Jow:    But do you know him as a Commander of the Kamajors?

SIDIKI:    I do not know of any other Commander apart from those I have mentioned.

Commissioner Jow:    And do you know Sei Manni?

SIDIKI:    Yes, I know Pa Sei Manni. He’s my grandfather.

Commissioner Jow:    He’s your grandfather.  Is he a Kamajor?

SIDIKI:    No.

Commissioner Jow:    Okay, no further questions.  Thank you.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Thank you.  It is good to see a young man with some sense.  Leader of Evidence, may I hand over to you Mr Sidiki who is ready to apologise.

Commissioner Jow:    Madam Chairperson, I would suggest that we call the witness and Alhaji Noah Wahab to the floor together. Alhaji Noah Wahab?

Alhaji Wahab:    I’m going to touch him according to tradition but I have something to say.  Whatever I say here people will carry it far and wide.  What this young man has said preparing charms for the soldiers is a black lie.  Somebody wears a charm for protection against bullets but he’s still killed. How could I take the same charm and expect it to work for other people?  I am not stupid to do a thing like that.  Let me explain what happened.  Kamajors were killed by soldiers.  I saw it from my verandah.  Later, a dead Kkamajor was seen around our area.  Three of them were sitting on my verandah.  One boy called Junior came with a paper in his hand. Something was written in Arabic on the paper.  He said to me, “Kamor, this is what we have got from this dead Kamajor”.  I looked at the paper.  It was not anything to save anybody from bullets.  I am saying this on oath. It was something to cause confusion between people.  I burnt it.  I believe that it was the woman who was sitting by me that went and fabricated that lies that I was making charms for soldiers.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Thank you for the explaination.  Can we carry on with the reconciliation ceremony?

Alhaji Wahab:    I have agreed to forgive him.

SIDIKI:    Thank you very much ‘Kamor’ for forgiving me.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Any  word from traditional leader?

Traditional Leader:    This is what we have been looking out for.  This is what we have come for. We are assembed here from different parts of the district. When you wrong anybody don’t go to a Juju man. Go to the person you have wronged. This is what God requires of us.  If you have wronged God, you go to God. God will accept you but if you wrong your fellow human being and you leave him and go to God, God will not accept you.  I believe God is going to set this young man free. I thank the commissioners very much.  The commissioners know how to investigate matters. May God help you.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Thank you very much.  Has the Witness any questions for the Commission?  

SIDIKI:    Yes, please.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:        Carry on.

SIDIKI:    I have apologised to the Pa. I have been accepted and forgiven. Am I expexted to make any monetary compensation?

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:        As far as the TRC is concerned, no monetary compensation is involved. And I guess that Alhaji Wahab himself is not thinking about monetary compensation.  
SIDIKI:    I thank you and I am thanking Alhaji very much.

Leader of Evidence: Our next witness for today is Reverend Father John Emmanuel Garrick.

WITNESS NAME:  Reverend Father John Emannuel Garrick

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Can the Witness please give his name in full?

Reverend Father:    Reverend Father John Emmanuel Garrick.

(The oath was administered).

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    We are delighted to have you here especially on this last day of our hearings on the Island.  From all the tesimonies we have heard, it is our conclusion that the poor people in Bonthe were between the devil and the deep blue sea.  Under duress they had to help the soldiers. And the Kamajors made them to pay for that.  We are sorry that due to constraints of time and we may not be able to listen to Father Garrick for as long as he would want to talk to us. But I’m sure that the Reverend Father will tell us the most important things in the short time that he has.  You have the floor Father Garrick.

Rev. Father Garrick:    I was not here when the 1997 coup took happened.  I was in Freetown with some people from Bonthe to attend the funeral rites of my aunt. I wanted to return to Bonthe but there were no passenger vehicles on the road. I had people to bring back to Bonthe.  Among them were two Nigerian Sisters from Fourah Bay College. We tried to hide their identity because the soldiers were searching for Nigerians.  We went down to Tombo and I hired a boat to take all of us to Bonthe.  Later, I was told that my car had been commandiered.  When news of the coup reached Bonthe  gun fire erupted allover town. The gun-boat went up and down the river firing, until it hit a sand bank.  With world-wide condemnation of the coup, there was some amount of peace in the Island.  

Many people were moving from other parts of the country to seek refuge in Bonthe Town.  We later started seeing Police and Prison Officers carrying rifles given to them by the Navy. In June, some vilagers were coming with news that soldiers were attacking and looting their villages around Bonthe. As this continued, we began hearing news of Kamajor attacks in the Northern positions in Bonthe.  The soldiers’ reaction to this news was very negative for the civilians. Each time there was a strong Kamajor attack in Bonthe, the soldiers will go all around the town firing guns. They were not only firing small rifles like the AK 47. The gun-boat was also involved in the firing. The soldiers threatened and accussed civilians that they were supporting and harbouring Kamajors.  
News of a pending Kamajor attack came one day. Panic and fear gripped everyone. Many prominent people left this land. Does who left included the District Officer Mr Kanneh, Rev. Sandi who was by then the Chairman of the Shebro Urban District Council, the Officer in-Charge of the Police, Mr. Moinama, Mr. Winston Bondo, Manager of Fisheries and Marine Resources Department, the Paramount Chief of Sintia Chiefdom, and  Mr Victor Caulker, the SLPP party Secretary in Bonthe.  With the absence of these uuthorities, the situation became worse in Bonthe.  The Soldiers took the law into their own hands. Simple cases were transferred from the Police Station to the Military Base.The soldiers played the role of the Police Officers.  

The soldiers were always right in any palaver between them and civilians.  Civilians were subjected to forced labour.  Some civilians were even flogged. Some were thrown into the Military Guard room.  The Elders of this town decided to form a Committee called the Bonthe Working Committee.  This Committee was supposed to liaise between the soldiers and the civilians to prevent soldier-civilian clashes. These are the names of those who were in the Committee: Mr. Nelson Williams,    Mr. Oswald Hanciles,    Mr. Gilbert Caulker, Mr. Alieu Kpaka, Mr. Saspo Bangura,,Mr. Tommy Palmer,,Mr. Joe Greywoode, Mr. Raymond Squire, Mr. Okelo Margai,    Mr. Rashid Mansaray, Mr. Bejamin Cole, Mr. A.J. Samie,    Mr. Paul Kpana, Mr. J.M. Bundu, Mr. B. Dimoh, Mr. Nat Kommeh,Mr. Albert, and Pa Jusu.
These were the Members of the Working Committee.  Their function was to prevent soldier/civilian conflict.  Quite often, members of this committee were harrassed by soldiers and blamed when civilians failed to honour their requests.  There was a time when some members of the committee were forcefully invited to the military base. During the meeting, the commanders apologised for the wrong manner in which the members of the committee were brought before them.  The soldiers explained why they brought members of the committee to the base. It was to talk about matters affecting the town, they said. During that meeting, somebody suggested the resusitation of the defunct Civil Defence Unit. None of the elders was in support of that idea. The District Officer convened an open meeting of all religious heads, Sectional Heads, and Department Heads. Military and police authorities had presence.  During this meeting, the following were discussed:-

  1. The too much gunfire in Bonthe
  2. Stopping Launches from plying the sea
  3. Security on the Island

Major Mansaray represented the Navy had this to say about the issue of gunfire in the township: “the firing is to send a message to the enemies, the Kamajors that we are on alert and have supreme gun power.”  He promised to talk to his men to stop the gun fire. The gun-boat was to however ill continue to fire. Major Mansaray agreded to allow resumption of launch travel.  The issue of security was discussed under three headings:-

  1. Depending on ECOMOG attack
  2. The threat of the Kamajors
  3. Soldiers threats against civilians

Major Mansaray told us not to worry about the ECOMOG attacks.
He assured us that ECOMOG was concerned with Military Targets. He said that soldiers would continue to defend Bonthe against the Kamajors.  On the third issue of soldiers’ threats against the civilians, Major Mansaray promised to talk to their men. Major Mansaray assured us that the soldiers’ threats were meant for the Kamajors and civilians.  There was relative calm on the island for a while. We began to hear gun firing again. The soldiers started patrolling the Sherbro River.  Villagers were coming to Bonthe with reports of soldiers attacking them and looting propereties.  Some of saw the soldiers’ patrol boat offloading looted properties. Launches were again stopped from running.  No civilian was alowed to go near the military base.  People were even manhandled.  Many elders like Alhaji Dauda Minah, Pastor Sandy, Chief Lahai Koroma, and Pastor Nicol were threatened.

One morning a contingent of soldiers entered Pastor Nicol’s apartment threatening him that he was a Kamajor. They said he was a Creole. The man told them that he was a Creole, and if there were any secret society to be associated with, it would be the Hunting Society in Freetown and not the Kamajors.  There was serious gun firing in Bonthe.  The situation became worse in Bonthe. There was not even food to eat.  

The District Officer called up another meeting in his office.  In that meeting, officers who were supposed to be there representing the Navy were not around. A Commander of a Military boat, one Commander Martin, came.  We explained to him our situation. He promised to carry our message to the authorities.  When things continued to be bad, the Late Pa Isaac Wilaims, Dr. Samba and Dr. Turay went to the Military Base to report about the threatening and dangerous behaviours of the soldiers.  The Commanders promised to talk to their men.  The District Officer called another urgent meeting at the house of Pa Isaac Williams. He was afraid to call up the meeting at his office.  The purpose of the meeting was to arrange to stop Kamajors from entering Bonthe. We believed that would end the harrassment of civilians by soldiers.  A delegation headed by Reverend Sandy was sent to go and meet the kamajors of Sitiya and convince them not to come to Bonthe. Alhaji Wahab  was in the delegation.

Encouraged by the initial success of this initiative, it was agreed that we prepared for a peace mission to Kondowai- the supreme Kamajor head in Tiihun.  With much pressure from the town’s people, the soldiers agreed to allow the boats to begin moving again. The boat that moved was called “Good sababu”(favour).  “Good  Sababu” left for Mattru one day and was supposed to come back the other day. It did not come back. After several days, the owner of the boat J. Dao appeared with a story to tell that Kamajor had seized the boat. He said he was serious beaten and given this  message:

“When people move from Bonthe to go and talk to them, they would listen; but when they talk to the soldiers, they won’t listen”

With this news, the District Officer summoned another emergency meeting. In this meeting almost everybody expressed concern about soldiers attacking villages.  We decided to go to the naval base to talk with the soldiers. At the base, we met the soldiers preparing to on the attack.  We told thgem our intention. They welcomed the idea and even helped us with fuel.  At Pa Isaac Williams’ house a ten man delegation was formed. It compried of the District Officer Mr. Kanneh as head of the Delegation, Rev. Josie Musa, Rev. Nabieu, myself, representatives of the Christian Council of Churches, Alhaji Fallor, Imam Shaka, Imam Unisa representingthe the islamic community, Dr. Samba, Mr. Rogers, and Mr. P.J.D. Tucker representing the elders.  This venture was to be financed by the community and the heads of the Departments.  We arranged for the fastest and strongest boat, Neptune. We  sent messangers ahead of us to inform the Kamajors to expect the delegation.

We asked the soldiers to give us five days.  We cautioned them not to go anywhere otherwise our lives will be endangered.  On Thursday 21st August, we all assembled to start a mission that was very dangerous. After prayers we took off.  When we approached the village, it appeared empty. But we knew there were Kamajors there. We asked the captain of the boat to anchore.  As soon we stepped out of the boat, Kamajors came out firing everywhere around us. The District Officer was ordered us roll over on the ground.  I am sure one of those Kamajors, Julius Squire, is with us today. We were forced to sit down.  They were shouting and insulting us. They had no time to listen to us.  It was a young man called Sheku Kellie, alias Bomb Bomb, who saved us. He called for quietness. He said he was not disputing the fact that we were all dead men but wanted to listen to us first. Somebody suggested that all of us be allowed to leave except the District Officer. He was to be killed.  We performed traditional greetings, and gave our story. The first to speak was the District Officer himself.  He told them our mission was peace. We promised to talk to the soldiers not to attack their villages.  When I spoke, my emphasis was on my new appointment as head of the Catholic Mission.  I spoke about my development plans for farming, fishing, schools, and clinics. There were many other speakers. Many of the Kamajors responded favourably. The majority of them however, were hostile to us.

Sheku Kelli stood up to address us. He claimed to be the son  the Kondowai, the man we wanted to see. He promised to take us to his father Kondawai.  He barely managed to get approval from the other Kamajors. We left.  Before leaving Dr Samba gave some medicines to them. I gave some money. Others made some gestures to appease them and to encourage them not to come to Bonthe.  At Mattru, we were taken to the Kamajor headquarter and highly welcomed by the Ground Ccommander. The District Officer introduced us and acquainted them with our mission.

On Friday 22, we had a meeting in the morning in Mattru. The people in Mattru were very happy with our venture.  The Kamajor Ground Commander of the district Mr Gobeh arrived in a blue toyota pick up to lead us to King Dr Kondowai.  When we arrived at Tylia, we went to the house of Kodowai.  The man himself appeared simple.  He lived in a simple mud house. He spoke briefly to us and instructed his men to prepare the barray for the meeting.  He had a Praise Singer. The Praise Singer was about 14yrs. – 16yrs. He was very good with his local made guitar.  His music was very powerful, centering on the greatness of King Dr.   Kondowai, and the bravery and powers of ther Kamajors.

There was a slack fence around this house with Kamajors at every point.  The whole town looked like a military State with Kondowai himself as a War Lord.  At this point, we also came across Chief Muranna koroma, also a kamajor.  We started the meeting with the traditional greetings. The Kamajors expressed angry with the District Officer. They said that the District Officer neglected them and stayed in Bonthe with the Soldiers.  When we all spoke they were highly impressed. Many of the Kamajors spoke about Kondowai and they praised him for what he had done for their area.  The talk ended with King Dr. Kondowai agreeing on the following points:

A. Ceasation of hostilities between them and the Soldiers in Bonthe,
B. No Kamajor attack on Bonthe
C. Free movement of boats
D. An end to passenger and civilian harassement
E. Peaceful co-existence between Kamajors and Soldiers
F. Soldiers free to visit Kamajor areas but with prior meetings to prevent misunderstanding
G. Kamajors too should be allowed to do likewise.

King Dr. Kondowai emphasised the point that there was no need to fight against each other.  ‘Why should we destroy our home lands and farm Lands’, he asked? He recalled that a few months back soldiers were providing arms and ammunition for Kamajors to fight against rebels. Those who caused the problems were in Freetown, he stressed. He emphasised that he would not hand over territory under his authority to any military Government. The meeting ended with King Dr. Kondowai ordering his Secretary to write a letter to all Commanders around Bonthe ordering them to abandon their intention of attacking Bonthe.  Dr. Samba gave some medicine to the community. We gave some money.  We ate and late in the evening, were on our way to Mattru.  

On our way we met a large group of kamajors who stopped us. They were quite hostile to us.  They asked all of us to climb down the vehicle. They said that they wanted to see Ngobeh the District Ground Commander.  They said they had received a letter from Gambia concerning us. We would only be heard in the presence of King Dr. Kondowai, they told us.  We went to the house of Chief  Ngobeh. We asked to know the contents of the letter from Gambia.  The letter said in summy:-

“The letter is from the Commander at Gambia.  He has spied two soldiers. It is the District Officer who has brought the Soldiers.  The Ground Commander, Ngobeh, the District Officer and some people passed through Gambia. And we were not aware of the Mission”.

The chief told told us to have no fear to return to King Kondowai since he firmly beieved in our innocence.  We had a second meeting with king Kondowai.  The letter was read and the man himself said that there was malice behind it.   He said he had been put to shame. If the matter was investigated and we were found guilty, all of us will be killed. If it was however find out that it was a plot against us, all those concerned will meet death. That was King Dr Kondowai decided.  We were handed over to one Pa Collier to take care of us until the next day.  The next morning, Kondowai himself led us to Gambia. On our way we came across Bumbumbwhy and his troops.  We explained the matter to him and he decided to join us at Gambia.

A Court sitting was called to order.  King Kondowai appointed Pa Collier and two other people, Ngobeh and Pa Lewis (Caretaker Chief of Gambia) to investigate this matter.  We retired into one of the rooms in the house.  Upon investigation, we were found innocent. The Commanders in Gambia were found guilty and King Dr. was invited to listen to the verdict.  He was familiar with the proceedings. He explained to them how they had put him to shame He ordered their immediate death.  Again we had to  beg for their lives. He listened to us.  After that we were allowed to return go.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Father, your account is very interesting and you have been holding us spell bound but time is against us.  Do you think you can summarise and give us the violations committed by the Soldiers, and Kamajors; and if possible names of people who were responsible for most of these violations? We want to have time to ask you questions?

Reverend Father Garrick:    On our way, we arrived at Moremayah.  I asked the Kamajor Head there to hand over the boat to us. He told us to fetch our own boat at a near-by village. I went to take the boat.  After paying the money, the boat was handed over to me. When I came back I met my collegues lying on the ground with the Kamajors over them again.  Some weeping.  I asked what the problem was. They told me that the gunboat had just fired at some of their villages along the sea.  We came back to Bonthe and reported to the people.  They were very happy for us.

There was peace in this land for sometime.  On on 2nd September we heard heavy gunfire down the river in the evening.  There were rumours around that the soldiers were creating a situation that a battle has taken place around Bonthe.  The next morning I went to Church. At the church I communicated on the Radio.  I had just finished when a band of Soldiers entered my compound with RPGs, and AK 47s.  Many of them were firing around the compound, they demanded my presence at the Military base.  One of them said I should not leave the radio behind.  On the way, one of the soldiers smeared me with mud.  When we arrived at the Base, I was taken straight to the Gaurdroom.  The late Pa Isaac Williams, in his morning gown, lay down on the floor of the Guardroom.  They asked me to declare whatever thing I had on me.  I only had a watch and a ring. I gave them to one of the soldiers who appeared sympathetic. In the Guardroom there were many Pastors, Imams, and town elders. Some were crying. Some had wounds. Many of them were naked.  One soldier came and pointed his gun through the spy hole of the Guardroom and fired shots into the room.  After some time one soldier came and demanded Pa Isaac Wiliams. Pa Issac Williams went out.  After some time, they came for us all.  We were taken to the Head quarter.  We were pushed and flogged.
There was nobody to talk to us.  Later on, some Commanders came and told us that they knew nothing about our ordeal. We asked them to let us go. They said they were not the ones who called us. We later moved from the place and went to our homes.

After that, the Commanders came and apologised for the actions of their men. On 6th September, a group of soldiers arrived at Alhaji Wahab’s house and arrested his children, and one Mike Lebbie. They were taken to the Military Base.  Later in the evening, the children of Pa Wahab were released but Mike Lebbie was not.  I went with some people to enquire but we were not allowed to pass the checkpoint.  Up to this day, we have not heard any thing about Mike Lebbie.

On 15th September, Kamajors attacked Bonthe.  In that fight, many kamajors were killed.  The next day we were all forced out of our homes to go to the Military Base so that the soldiers can really search the town for any remnant Kamajor.  We had news of retreating Kamajors dying on the way. Some were even committing atrocities on the way.  News came for instance, that one Momoh Sitah killed a pregnant woman called Ghebeh.  I want to believe that her people are here with us.  Bonthe became an unsafe place.  Many people began to leave Bonthe.  I tried hard to send the Nigerian Sisters back to Freetown. There was no other means to leave Bonthe except the gun-boat. Because of the number of people who were fighting to leave, the gun-boat was moved off the jetty.  They were using the smaller boats to ferry people into the gun-boat.  On 3rd October, there was a very serious sea accident.  Many people died.  Victor Caulker was discovered in dead in their family house. The Caulker’s house was burnt down.  The soldiers also burnt down Reverend Sandy’s family house on 15th October.

Thereafter the soldiers began to pursue Kamajors anywhere their activities were reported.  After that, there was some amount of peace in Bonthe. War was however raging in the rest of the country against the junta. The situation was becoming very bad for the soldiers. On 5th February 1998, an ECOMOG plane flew over Bonthe fired shots. The gun-boats and soldiers in town returned fire.  On 13th February, at 11.30p.m., I heard a knock on my door. Many people had come to seek refuge in the Mission house with me.  I was also informed that some soldiers had gone to the house of Chief Lahai Koroma. Chief Lahai Koroma escaped.  After this, the whole family of Chief Koroma and some panic-stricken civilians came to seek refuge with me in the Parish House.

We heard news of soldiers trying to leave Bonthe and they were encouraging people to leave with them. The soldiers told civilians that the kamajors were going to destroy Bonthe and kill everybody. I tried to convince people to stay.  Many stayed.  On 15th February about 1a.m., the gun-boat Naimbana-102, roared into action.  Shots were fired but not in the town. The soldiers left for an unknown destination.  In the morning, some elders and I went to secure the Military base to prevent people from tampering with whatever gadgets that were left behind.  There are some Police Officers and Prison Officers with us.  I drove the Hospital Ambulance to my compound.  It was on a Sunday morning. I went to prepare myself for Mass.  Mass was almost about to begin when we heard gunshots coming form the Playing field area. I saw people dressed in Kamajor attire running up and down the town firing guns. Many people rushed into the Mission House.  The Kamajors went round the town and told people to assemble at the Military Base.   

There was a Kamajor by the name of Lamina Gbokandama.  He was looted the District Office.  He took the Paramount Chief’s staff and went up and down Bonthe announcing himself as chief of Bonthe.  I managed to cajole him after giving with money to hand over all the materials he looted.

Another group of Kamajors went to the police station and siezed caps, helmets, uniforms, and other things.  The Public Works Department, Government House, the prisons, Fisheries, and many other government places were all looted. I have photographs of some of these incidents. I went to the Fisheries Department as it was been looted.  I met Rambo there. Rambo and his group took a fridge out and load it into a boat.  I collected the fridge and carried it back to the building. They took it back.  I was not able to control the whole situation. Some people were killed in the town.  Abu Samuka Kamara was killed on Monday 16th.  Condeh Batiama was killed that same day.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:     Father, I am afraid this will have to be the end so that we can ask you questions.  We thank you very much. We can see that you have been through a lot of ordeal. We thank you for the submission you have made to the TRC. We’ll now ask you a few questions.  The title King Dr Kondowai perplexes me. Can you explain them?  Where did the “king” come from? Was he a medical doctor or a doctor of philosophy?

Reverend Father Garrick:    I can’t tell. I have some letters from him that carry the title King Doctor Allieu Kondowai.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Do you know where he is now?

Reverend Father Garrick:    No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Thank you.

Commissioner Kamara:    Thank you very much Reverend Father. I must also congratulate you for your courage and fortitude to withstand all the punishments, and hassles you went through both in the hands of the soldiers and the Kamajors.  We have a written submission from you. We want to assure you that it will be read thoroughly and reacted to accordingly.  We see that you have not said all that you wanted to say. We however, have to leave at three O’clock. We wish you had come earlier in the week.  I want you to help us clarify a few issues. Which Government was in power when all these things happened?

Reverend Father Garrick:    AFRC.

Commissioner Kamara:    And who was the Head of State at that time or Head of Government?

Reverend Father Garrick:    Major Johnny Paul Koroma.

Commissioner Kamara:    Did you make an attempt to report to him what was happening in Bonthe?

Reverend Father Garrick:    The District Officer was here. We were meeting and reports were sent.

Commissioner Kamara:    But there was no such report. Did you later disappear from the scene?

Reverend Father Garrick:    Yes.

Commissioner Kamara:    What happened to the other elders that were working with you?  What happened to Oswald Hanciles and the other people?

Reverend Father Garrick:    The whole situation was fearful. Many people decided to stay out of it because it was dangerous at some point.

Commissioner Kamara:    But you don’t know what happened to people like Oswald Hanciles?

Reverend Father Garrick:    He was in this town. He was a member of the Bonthe Committee. When the Kamajors came they looked for members of that Bonthe Working Committee.  He was one of those arrested. Kamajors were demanding their death. I ended up paying money for all those members in the Bonthe Working Committee.

Commissioner Kamara:    The members of the committee disappeared after that without telling you goodbye or let you know?

Reverend Father Garrick:    Some of them disappeared when the soldiers were still in Bonthe. Others disappeared when the Kamajors came.

Commissioner Kamara:    You were taken down to the military base with your  radio set. What happened to the set later?

Reverend Father Garrick:    Every communication set in the town, including mine, were confiscated.  We were able to recover all the radios were when ECOMOG came.  

Commissioner Kamara:    Thank you. Did you find among the Kamajors people who appreciated God?

Reverend Father Garrick:    Yes.

Commissioner Kamara:    What happened to Nicol? Was he killed or saved?

Reverend Father Garrick:    No. He was not killed.

Commissioner Kamara:    You mentioned Julius Squire, a very popular name at this Commission. Was he among those who were hostile to your delegation?  Did he offer any form of assistance to the delegation?

Reverend Father Garrick: I couldn’t initially tell who was commander or who was not. All of the Kamajors were hostile.  He was firing all around the place. But it was he who opted to move with us to Base Zero. There is something I want to mention here. When the soldiers left and the Kamajors came in I received a message from one Thomas Nelson-Williams, one morning. The message was that Kamajors, including Julius Squire, were looting Nelson-Williams and Saspo-Bangura’s apartments.  

Commissioner Kamara:    Thank you. Yesterday we listened to one of the most gruelling testimonies. It was from a lady called Cecilia Coker. Why do you think her son was killed that way?

Reverend Father Garrick: The thing is that the soldiers saw the Kamajors as their enemies and the Kamajors saw soldiers as their enemies. I want to believe that was the reason.

Commissioner Kamara:    But could it have been a revenge killing?

Reverend Father Garrick:    There was an attacked on Bonthe. The soldiers felt that he was one of those in those who attacked Bonthe.

Commissioner Kamara:    Where is Lamin Gbokandoma?

Reverend Father Garrick:    I can’t tell.

Commissioner Kamara:    Is he still alive?

Reverend Father Garrick:    I can’t tell.

Commissioner Kamara:    Why was Lebbie taken away?

Reverend Father Garrick:    His relatives may know. I don’t know.

Commissioner Kamara:    Did you remember who took him away?

Reverend Father Garrick:    Yes.

Commissioner Kamara:    Who?

Reverend Father Garrick:    Sengbeh Pieh.

Commissioner Kamara:    Who do you think committed the most atrocities on this Island- the Kamajors or the soldiers?

Reverend Father Garrick: Both groups committed atrocities.

Commissioner Kamara:    I thank you very much.  

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Thank you Father. I wonder why Mrs Cecilia Coker has not been able to get aid from some of the prominent people here. I believe she is one of the oldest of your members here in Bonthe. I consider it strange that she should not have had any help at all but from the French.

Reverend Father Garrick:    Well I can’t really speak for people. I use to help a lot of people when I was here.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Thank you, Leader of Evidence?

LYDIA:    Thank you. I have a few questions.  Did you know anything about the death of Paramount Chief Brandon?

Reverend Father Garrick:    I know something about him. I mentioned that he was brought to me on the night the soldiers were leaving. The soldiers threatened him. That is what he told me.  When the Kamajors came, they too were looking for him. He left the house and went back to his village.  He was hiding in the bush from the Kamajors.  I sent message to him to come out of the bush. He came and I hid him.  One day, the Kamajors came into my compound and dancing. A Kamajor boy saw him and he shouted: “here is Brandon”. The Kamajor called out his compatrots.  Brother Martin, my assistant, took Chief Brandon out and ran with him. He hid somewhere behind the mission.  At night Chief Brandon found his way to Pa Lamboi. I went and met him there. I called on the Kamajors’ Battalion Commander, Murray Jusu kamara.  I told him that Chief Brandon was with me. I carried him to where Chief Brandon was. He promised to protect him but was afraid of the other Kamajors.

It was this same Murray Jusu who told me to go to Freetown, and get some documents from the Government to prevent the other Kamajors from carrying out Kangaroo court. I went to Freetown to the Task Force that was headed by Mr Berewa. He gave me a document to hand over to the Officer Commanding Bonthe. I rushed back to Bonthe.  Upon arriving at the jetty, the Kamajor Battalion Commander, Jusu Kamara ran to me and said: “they have just caught that man and they are beating him up, please run there, I can’t go there, I can’t go there.”  So I went to Pa Koroma’s house. They were flogging chief Brandon. I told them stop. I told them that the law of the land was still in force. I told them about the letters from Mr Berewa, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice. They demanded to see them.  I gave them the letters. I asked them to hand over Chief Brandon to me. I took Chief Brandon to the mission.  When the situation calmed, I arranged for him to go to Freetown. Chief Brandon wrote me a letter of thanks. I heard later that had died in Freetown.  This is the letter from the Attorney General.

LYDIA:    Who would you say is responsible for his death?

Reverend Father Garrick:    I can’t tell. He was flogged in Bonthe. He however spent sometime with me after that beating. He seemed all right when was going to Freetown.  The doctors may be able to tell us.

LYDIA:    Who gave the orders to beat Chief Brandon?

Reverend Father Garrick:    I was not here. I had just arrived from Freetown when Murray Jusu Kamara told me that Kamajors were beating Chief Brandon.  I am sure the people of Bonthe knew those who were beating him up.

LYDIA:    It is generally said that the Kamajor movement came out of the need for civilians to protect themselves.     Civilians therefore  supported  the Kamajors. In Bonthe however, we have heared of many unhealthy incidents between Kamajors and civilians.
Reverend Father Garrick: This question should be directed at the Kamajors. The soldiers were suppressing us because of the Kamajors. They were saying that we were there brothers.  But at the same time they were seeing us as people collaborating with with the junta.  As somebody said the civilians were between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Thank you Father. Do you have any questions for the Commission?

Reverend Father Garrick:    Yes, many.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    We can only take a few.

Reverend Father Garrick:    I am not really seeing the perpetrators of human rights abuses here. I am not seeing the heads of the groups that were involved in harassing and molesting civilians.  I thought that amongst us here there would be people like Murray Jusu Kamara, Major Mansaray, Major Medo, and many morem. Why?

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Well, Father I’ll attempt to answer your question. When a witness comes here and names a perpetrator, we’ll try to get the person named. We could even issue subpoenas to get a witness to appear. A perpetrator has to be named first.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Do you have any recommendations that could be included in our reports?

Reverend Father Garrick:    A lot needs to be done in these villages to reconcile people.  You have already seen that there was a lot of animosity between people during the war. A lot of what you are seeing now is superficial. There is a lot more.  Government need to get involved and bringing people together. People are divided in this society. Don’t make any mistake about that.  Things like shelter assistance, and vocational skills training for former fighters should also be given attention by the Government.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Thank you very much. We will include your recommendations in our report to Government. Regarding reconciliation, we want to appeal to people like you, the traditional leaders, and religious leaders to play their part in  in reconciling communities. The TRC can only initiate the process. The TRC cannot go the whole way. The Government too cannot be expected to do it. It is left with the people themselves. Reconciliation is not a day’s job. It takes a long time. Thank you very much Father. You may step down now. Can we have our last witness?


Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Leader of Evidence, are your witnesses here?

Commissioner Sooka:    May we have the first witness please.Would the witness give her name in full please?

Witness:    My name is Agnes Banya

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Muslim or Christian?

Agnes Banya:    I am a Christian

(The oath was administered)

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Agnes Banya, we are pleased to have you here.  If you had been attending the hearings, you would know by now that you have nothing to worry about. I would like to repeat that you have nothing to fear or worry about.  The information you give to us remains with us. We do not pass it on to any other organization. Our job is to bring about reconciliation.  We are not going to punish you or any other person.  We do not expect to hear everything that happened to you during the ten years. Tell us about the most distress things that happened to you.  You may begin.

Agnes Banya:    I want to thank you very much. We heard about the rebel war when it was been fought in the Pujehun area.  We started seeing displaced people coming to our area with bundles on their heads.  We were afraid and went into the bush to seek refuge.  We were there when the rebels entered.  They came to Mattru and destroyed villages.  The rebels started going in search of us in the bush.  An order was passed asking everybody to come to town. We left the bush and moved into the town.  Our town was called Motowo. They used to seize our food and properties from us.

We left the town and went to our farmhouses.  My farm was very close to the main road.  One day I heard very loud noises. I saw a lot of civilians and rebels.  One of the fleeing civilians said that it was the Sierra Leone Military that had come. The civilian told me that the soldiers had had driven the rebels from Kaniya.  I was told that the rebels asked civilians in the area to move to Jang.  I collected my daughter and the other dependants from the next farm and left for Jang.  We were in Jang for four days. We almost ran out of food. We decided to come back to our place in Motowo where we had some food.  The following day we had to leave again for Mattru when panic broke out.  On our way to Mattru, we fell into an ambush.  Many people, including my son-in-law were killed. Only seven out of twenty five relatives that were with me were saved.  My grandson had a bullet wound on the right foot.  The rebels also wounded him on the head with a bayonet. My daughter was severely beaten.  Her child could not survive. We managed to reach Mattru. Commissioners those are my own ordeals during the war.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Agnes Banya, we sympathise with you on the loss of many relatives. We have had a number of testimonies about this massacre. I will ask you a few questions. How is the son getting on?

Agnes Banya:    He is alive.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: What is his physical condition?

Agnes Banya:    He gets periodical pains in the head and the foot where he was shot.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    And have you been seeking medical attention for him?

Agnes Banya:    An NGO by the name of HANCI has been helping with   medicines, school uniform, and learning materials.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Have you noticed any strange behaviour by him?

Agnes Banya:    No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Thank you.

Commissioner Torto:    Can you tell us which groups of rebels attacked your area?

Agnes Banya:    It was the RUF.

Commissioner Torto:    What e languages did you hear them speak?

Agnes Banya:    They spoke different languages.  They spoke Mende, Fula, Temnes and many others.

Commissioner Torto:    Liberian languages?  Did you hear any Liberian language been spoken?

Agnes Banya:    Yes. There were Liberians among them.

Commissioner Sooka:    Thank you Mrs. Banya.  I am realy sorry for all the members of your family that you have lost in the war.  Did you have any idea why the rebels killed all those people at Mbawuyah Junction?

Agnes Banya:    I have no idea.

Commissioner Sooka:    Did you have soldiers amongst you at Mbawuyah Junction?

Agnes Banya:    It was the Sierra Leone Army that was bringing us to Mattru. We were civilians. The army was only escorting us when we fell into the ambush.  

Commissioner Sooka:    And was there was a fight between the rebels and the soldiers.

Agnes Banya:    The rebels lay in ambush. The opened fire on us, and the soldiers returned fire. Fighting broke out.

Commissioner Sooka:    But who were larger in number, the soldiers or the civilians?

Agnes Banya:    There were more civilians than e soldiers.

Commissioner Sooka:    Okay, Thank you very much.  Do you have questions for the Commission?

Agnes Banya:    No.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Any recommendations?

Agnes Banya:    I want to request assistance in the areas of housing, food, and educational for the children.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    We will include all your recommendations in the report to Government.  We want to thank you again Agnes for coming. You may step down.  May we have thenext witness please.

WITNESS NAME: Maseray Amara

Commissioner Sooka:    Madam Chairperson, our next witness for today is Mrs Nancy Maseray Amara.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Maseray, you have nothing to worry about insharing your experience with us.  Could you give us your name in full?

Maseray:    I am Maseray Amara.    

(The oath was administered)

Maseray:     What I experienced during the war was painful.  People came from Jang to tell us that the rebels were coming.  We left for the bush.  My husband and I had some good amount of money and food. We left without taking them.  When the rebels came, they set fire on all the houses in our town. We lost everything. We stayed in the bush for quite some time.  Later we heard news that the Kamajors were coming. If they find anybody in the bush, that person will be killed.  We left the bush. We couldn’t goto Motowo again because it was burnt down.  We went to another village nearby us called Godama. We settled there.

Whilst we were at Godama, we heard that soldiers had come and and wanted to see everybody at Mattru.  We left Godama and came to Motowo with the intention of going to Mattru. We got to Motowo late in the night.  People met us in Motowo to tell us that a lot of people had been killed at Mbawuyah Junction.  We left Motowo and went back to Godama.  My husband’s father who was with us, was sick.  We were not able to take him back with us to Godama. We left him and my husband’s brother in the house.  When the rebels came they killed both of them in the house. We left Godama as well and went to another village.  That was what I came across.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    We are sorry that you lost all your properties, and money.  And we are sorry that the old man was killed.  We are going to ask you a few questions to clarify some issues.

Commissioner Sooka:    Can the witness recall the year in which this happened?  Was it before the elections or after?

MASERAY:    Before the elections.

Commissioner Sooka:    In your written statement, you mentioned one Pa Nabieu.

MASERAY:    My father- in- law who was killed was called Gabai.

Commissioner Sooka:    Who was Brima Sellu?

MASERAY:    Brima Sellu was killed in the bush.  We were in Mattru when they killed Brima Sellu in the bush.

Commissioner Sooka:        Who killed him?

MASERAY:    The rebels.

Commissioner Sooka:        And who was Gassumu?

MASERAY:    That is the son of my father-in-law.

Commissioner Sooka:    And was killed as well?

MASERAY:    He too was killed.

Commissioner Sooka:        In the village or in the bush?

MASERAY:    They were killed in town.

Commissioner Sooka:    Thank you very much.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Maseray, have you any questions you would like to ask the Commission?

MASERAY:    Yes. What can the Commission do for me now that I have lost all the money and property? I am now an old woman.  

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    We have said it here often that TRC has no money.  We were not given any money to give to victims.  We can only make recommendations to the Government as to how victims like you could be helped.  Have you any other questions?

MASERAY:    I have no more questions.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones: Any recommendations?

MASERAY:    I’m recommending that Government brings development to our community.  That is all.

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:    Thank you very much Maseray. You have the distinction of being our last witness.  Thank you very much for coming.  You may step down.

The Truth and Reconciliation for Sierra Leone has today heard testimonies as to the tragic loss of human lives during the conflict that ravaged our country.  As a mark of respect to the deceased and their families and as a symbol of our compassion and our solidarity, we asked after I have read the names that you please stand up in observance of a minutes silence for the following victims:-   Marie Bundu, Mohammed Lebbie, Foday Sherriff, Pa Sellu. Pa Bai and many other peole killed at Mbawuyah Junction, Gasumu and Pessima.  May the souls of the departed rest in perfect peace.

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to thank all of you for your attenddance here. Paramount Chief, Chiefdom Speaker, all traditional and religious leaders, we thank you all for your support. This is the end of the Public Hearing.  During the testimonies, we heard so much about a particular massacre. After here, we are going to move on to Tiihuun, Sogbeni Chiefdom to see the mass grave there and to perform traditional rites.  After our ceremony at Tiihuun, we will depart for Freetown to continue work there.  We still have to do what we call Thematic and Institutional Hearings.  We would also be thinking about the programme for reconciliation. We want to appeal to the religious and traditional leaders here to continue whatever reconciliation we have initiated. It is incumbent on every one of the members of your community to make a special effort to bring peace and reconciliation among people here. We want to welcome again your women and children who were abducted by the rebels. Give them an opportunity to make a new life for themselves so that you will be able to develop into a strong community. I am sure Commissioner Torto will have something to say to you as well.

Commissioner Torto:    I will try to be as brief as possible because the Chairperson has already said everything pertaining to our hearing. We are satisfied with the Hearings in Bonthe District.  We are very happy with the attendance.  Let me now show you the people who assisted the Commission in performing its duties in all the Districts we have gone to.  They will stand up please to be identified when I call their names.  We have a very powerful and industrious Regional Co-ordinator for the Southern Province,  Mr. Alex Nalo.  Alex Nalo has been the Regiona Co-rdinator for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the Southern Province.  We are very thankful to him and his team for a job well done.  Next we have a son of the island, Mr. Osmond Hanciles.  He was the District Co-ordinator for the TRC for Bonthe District.  Then you have also very, very, important workers who have been assisting Nalo and Hanciles.  They are the statement Bonthe District statement takers.  The two here on the main land are Sarah Rogers, and Alice Sandy.  I will briefly run over the staff from Freetown.  We have  ofcourse myself, and Justice Laura Marcus-Jones. Honourable Justice Laura Marcus-Jones is the Deputy Chair of the Commission and head of this team.  We also have Professor William Schabas.  He was one of the International Commissioners on the team but he has to return to Freetown. You have Leader of Evidence Martien Schotsman. She is Head of Legal and Reconciliation Department.  We have Daniel Adekera, Head of Public Information and Sensitization.  You have Mrs. Bondu Manye, who is the Briefer. She talks to the witnesses before and after the testimony.  You have Mr. Mohammed Samura, Head of the Transcribing Section.  We have Mr. Edwin Koi a videographer.   You have Mr. Augustine Gundu a sound Technician. You have Mr. Abdul Akim Sesay, electrician, he is at the back there.  We have Cecilia During, who is with the SLBS/TV.  From SLBS/TA we also have Mr. Henry Maurel.  You have Mr. Abubakaar Sesay a reporter for Radio Democracy.  You have Mr. John Koroma a print Journalist for Salone Times Newspaper.  You have Mr. John Ngayah from Taking Drums Studio.  You have a very Senior Staff member at the Secretariat in the person of Mr. Olu Alghali.  He is Assistant to the Executive Secretary and handles logistics for the team.  You Mr. Abayomi Tejan, reporter for Democrat Newspaper.  And there are the drivers.  They are responsible for getting us here.  Please drivers stand up if you are at the back. Let us clap for them all.    We are very thankful to everybody in the team.  

Commissioner Marcus-Jones:      The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is quite aware of the extent of human rights violations committed in this district. We are also aware that there are many perpetrators even in this hall who have deliberately refused to take advantage of the Commission’s presence here to come forward and own up to their roles in the war and be fully accepted back into the community.  Let me say that it is a mark of strength not weakness to say sorry when you have done wrong.  Modern civilisation does not consider it a mark of heroism to be arrogant even in the face of wrong. The real heroes of the ten-year war therefore are those who have confessed their roles during the war and begged for forgiveness.  I therefore urge those perpetrators still in hiding to come out and do the same, so that Sierra Leone will be a safe place for us and our children.

As a Truth Commission, our role is to create an enabling environment for true hearing and reconciliation to take place.  We cannot force anyone to confess his wrong doings, neither can we force any one to forgive but we must realise that development which we all yearn for cannot take place in an environment of hate, revenge and bitterness. We must therefore cultivate the culture of brotherliness and peaceful resolution of conflict in the spirit of development and co-existence.

Ladies and gentlemen, I must say that it is lamentable that the Commission is not mandated to address individual needs. Nevertheless all the needs expressed here and even those not expressed have all been captured in all the testimonies we have listened to during the course of our hearings in other districts.  The Commission shall address all these needs collectively.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are leaving this quiet and beautiful Island today after only three days, but permit me to say that we have started a process of reconciliation, which we are sure the traditional leaders, religious leaders and civil society will continue.  Reconciliation is an on-going process. It is a collective responsibility. We must not see it as an exclusive preserve of the TRC.  

Finally, I wish to thank you all for making our three days stay in Bonthe Island and our work here successful. I wish to thank the Nepalese Battalion, the Police, Boys Scouts, the Red Cross, the Inter-Religious Council and those who supported our work here especially our Interpreters, our Statement-Takers and our indefatigable District Coordinator, Oswald Hanciles.

Once again I thank you all on behalf of the TRC for your continuous attendance here and which is no doubt indicative of your confidence and trust in the TRC and its activities.

Thank you for your hospitality and God bless you all.