Press Releases

Former Deputy Public Works Minister's Widow Testifies


January 24, 2008

MONROVIA (TRC)?The widow of former deputy minister of Public Works, Isaac Vaye, told the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia Thursday, the 11th public hearing, that former president Charles Taylor and General Benjamin Yeaten were responsible for the death of her husband.

Suzanna Vaye said Isaac Vaye and John Yormie were arrested on June 4, 2003 and taken to the residence of former president Taylor before they were killed.

Mrs. Vaye said Vaye and Yormie were later taken from "White Flower" (Taylor's house) to an unknown destination where they were murdered. She said her husband and Yormie were killed upon the orders of General Benjamin Yeaten, alias "50."

Susanna, 48, said this happened when an indictment to arrest Taylor was unsealed by the United Nations backed War Crimes Court for Sierra Leone while he was attending a peace conference in Ghana.

She said that when news of the indictment hit Monrovia, Vaye was at the home of Taylor's brother, Bob, in Paynesville, when he was called to return home.

She said when her husband heard that John Yormie was invited by President Taylor, he decided to accompany him, but she advised him not to because he was not the one invited.

Susanna said she and Yormie's widow, Cynthia, made frantic efforts to know their husbands' whereabouts by going to the homes of General Joe Tuah and Richard Flomo, alias "Banana," the special attendant to President Taylor but to no avail.

She said they were informed of their murders on July 14, 2003, during the height of the war with the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) and the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL).

The first blind witness to testify since the beginning of the hearings, Sarah Quaye,said her father, Joe, husband, Mannah Anderson, and son, Biwee Bility, were executed by fighters of the defunct National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) while hunting for ethnic Mandingos and Krahns during the conflict.

Quaye, 45, became visually impaired from a liquor she claimed she was given by NPFL fighters. She said the incident happened in the township of West Point after they decided to seek refuge elsewhere.

She also accused General Charles Julu of killing her uncle, Colonel Appleton, in an ambush in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County after alleging that Appleton was a sympathizer of the NPFL.

Another witness, Annie Smallwood, said she was made handicapped when an insane fighter of the defunct United Liberation Movement for Democracy (ULIMO) of Roosevelt Johnson, went on a shooting spree in Bong Mines, lower Margibi County shooting her in the right leg.

Smallwood, 42, said the incident occurred when news spread of an attack by ULIMO-K fighters on ULIMO-J positions in Tubmanburg in 1994, She was carrying a three-month-old baby, who, along with his father, was killed by the attackers.

The only perpetrator to testify, Morris Padmore, recounted atrocities he committed when he joined the NPFL in Division 11 and Du-Side Hospital in Division 10 in Firestone, Margibi County.

Padmore admitted involvement in the Carter Camp massacre, where over 500 to 600 civilians were murdered, and the Du-port Road massacre.

Padmore, 32, said he was 15 years-old when he was recruited into the NPFL and trained at Konola Mission School Campus in lower Margibi County, which was then used as a training base. He said the base was under the command of General John Tarnue, NPFL training commandant in 1990.

He said his first assignment was the Roberts International Airport (RIA), where he received military supplies brought into the country by Air Burkina for the front's leader. Thereafter, Padmore said he was sent to Gbarnga, Bong County and Vahun, Lofa County before he was sent to Sierra Leone and Guinea as a mercenary.

He also revealed his participation in the death of the five Catholic nuns during the October 15, 1992 "Operation Octopus" that the NPFL launched to capture Monrovia.

Padmore said he and other fighters attacked Gardnerville, a suburb of Monrovia, and entered a white building where the nuns were executed under the command of General Christopher Vambo.

Before the execution of the nuns, Padmore said they were raped and stabbed several times. He said he did not know they were missionaries serving the Catholic Church in Liberia.

Padmore said he served the dissolved Special Security Unit (SSU) and Anti-Terrorist Unit (ATU), two elite security apparatus during the Taylor regime. He said before the Taylor regime he was a member of the NPFL Marines Division.

Another witness, Joseph Kamara, said his left eye was damaged after he was arrested and flogged with guns by six soldiers of the Sierra Leonean ECOMOG contingent in Liberia under the command of Corporal Thompson on April 5, 1995.

Kamara, 46, recalled that at about 7pm the soldiers went to his house in West Point, claiming that their tape recorder was missing and that it was sold to him for US$150.00, a claim he refuted.

He said following the incident, he was taken to the ELWA Hospital in Paynesville, where he was told by doctors that he needed eye surgery but he lacked money to cover the cost.

He said the matter was reported to the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (JPC), then headed by Samuel Kofi Woods, who in turn wrote the ECOMOG Field Commander, who ordered an investigation.

Kamara said the investigation found the six men guilty and that they were asked to underwrite the cost of his medical treatment, but nothing was done until they ended their mission and returned to Sierra Leone.

The last witness to testify Thursday was Stephen Bryant, who accused then-Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports, Marbue Richards of unjustly denying Bryant his wage of US$150.00 because he did not play for the IE Basketball team for a season.

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