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The eight day of the TRC Public Hearings Proceedings held on Monday January 21, 2008 at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion. The Hearings session started with the Commissioners of the TRC being ushered into their seats followed by a welcome remarks form the Chairman of the TRC Cllr. Jerome Verdier, who then called on the Hearings Officer Pastor John Teayah to invite the first Primary Witness to give her testimony.
Thirtieth Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings
Alfred Suah Debleh
(First Primary Witness of day eight)
The first Primary Witness of the day was called to the stand and he was accompanied by the psychosocial officer and the protections officer of the TRC. The Primary Witness was then sworn to tell the truth and nothing but the truth by the TRC Hearings Officer.
Chairman: Mr. Witness, you are welcomed to the TRC Public Hearings to tell your experience to the Liberia people.
How are you today?
Primary Witness: I am fine.
What do you say is your name again?
Primary Witness: Alfred Suah Debleh.
Are you employed?
Primary Witness: No.
You can go ahead with your story.
Primary Witness: I was in school in Zwedru. One day was coming from school and I met with some Gio fighters they ask me to take their loads. The commander Charles Dobu was the one who took me to be with him as small soldiers from there we went River Gee and I was becoming active and he became trusting me so he gave me arm, one berretta. When we reached in Rivergbeh we group ourselves and fought of Konaweh and we surrounded the town by 5 am and we started attacked. We put on the V formation and we attacked the village. The way we attacked that village, I don't think up to 10 persons escaped from that town. We did a house to house search and we collected about 65 persons and put in them in the town chief room and put fire on the house. From there we move to Zwedru. When we got to Zwedru, the commander change and Col. Moses Z. Blah was the commander. We got to Geebo and later on we capture Geebo and capture 10 person and we got rid of them and we kept fighting along the way and we killed everybody that we say because the Gio fighters came and they say only Krahn people were their enemies so for us we not choosing between them. The only people who survive were women but I can't call that survive because they were use as wives. And we push all the way from Kanweaken to Maryland. Between 1991 and 1992 Taylor sent for us as reinforcement and we came as reinforcement. We were referred to as Jungle warriors from the south east.
So when we got to Cape Mount our commander was J. J. Dotteh. Fortunately when we entered Sinje, the town was empty so we did not meet any resistance. And the first time we entered Sinje was one afternoon I can still remember. 1992 I got wounded there and I came back to Gbarnga to get a rest and treatment.
Later Isaac Musa change my assignment to marine and I did not want to be with the marine but luckily he came and said that the president sent for us to take part in a mission in Sierra Leone. So we left under the command of one Oliver Varney after some time we came back and I went back to Gbarnga to rest.
In 1993 LPC was founded already they were coming to attack the NPFL position and they needed strong fighters so I was contacted so I agree to go back to the south east. As guerilla we started fighting around Sinoe County but don't know how they burst through Grand Gedeh and we fought real fighting. And later in 1994 LPC pushed us out of Maryland and we ran to Ivory Coast. So one of our commander one Czar said that the president say we should proceed to recapture the Southeast again. So I say how we will do this. But before Czar let us he left small money with us so I developed my own plan. So I went in the market and bought two sets of jersey and me and boys wore it and charter one bus and me and my boys got on and we started going until we reach somewhere near Tabou and I told him to put us down. I told him that we were going in the bush for our medicine and later I came back and told him the car can not carry us in the town because if car carry us we will loose our game so he turn around and left. So we started jogging until we got to Tipotu. So when we got to the Liberian side of the border. There was no ammunition and at the sometime Gbarnga was under attack too. And we when we requested for supply Taylor told us that we should try because even Gbarnga was under attack too. So we had to sell a caterpillar and 500,000 CFA and we bought single barrow and ask the town people to bring there guns for registration and I told the town people to bring there single barrow and any body who don't bring their guns and I catch with them then it means that they are enemies. So as I was taken from them I was issuing to my men. So I took the bye pass and we got some where I was three men in their guards post. So I acted brave and I told them gentlemen your be careful your mor not let Charles Taylor men to try any thing here oh so I pass by them I went to the charge of quarter and the men who was there I asked him for their password. He gave me the password and I collected my men. The men to the check point my men killed two of them and use one to show us their roads. So the other man who gave the password first he and I were in caucus and from one thing to another I introduced myself to him as Brigade General something in the cause or Suah Debleh and for him he was already finish.
So when we reach, we entered and captured 82 of LPC men and we disarmed them and there was no armor so I say no need to spoil armor on them. So I pump them with real caustic soda and that's how all of them died. And there is opium from the Ivory Coast very powerful so I cook it wit rice and gave to my men and give them enough palm wine, you know that thing plenty to Maryland area. So we took the bypass through William VS Tubman farm, I met 3 men and I halted them and they say their boss men sent them and they gave all necessary information about how they were surrounded so I told them to fall behind me. I started moving the 1st person we meet almost in Pleebo, so as they saw me the opened fire so we too open from on them too. We fought until they cross too to Ivory Coast.
We fought and killed, some even ran to the Catholic Church. One Saye who was my bodyguard and driver show me those people in the church when I reach there they put their hand up to surround so I say yea I like people like you who can Surrender so your come line up and I brought a wall clock and asked each of them for their name and five minutes after you called your name I killed you that's how I kill all of them. Then from there, the next place I was going the LPC commander Lt. Gen. Amos Cole was in that area. So when I got the info we started going and we reach somewhere I met one oldma and I asked her to show me the way so she show me one foot country road. I was moving with 30 men and when we reach around Fish town he was there. Two other pekins were fishing we asked them for short cut and they say only the swamp so I say yes the swamp self I like it, then me and my men got in the swamp, when we were reaching around their area I took my shirt off and started running to him. I say chief we finish capturing Pleebo so we can go back now then he took out his pistol and sound up in the air so I say but send some of your men to go make sure they will come and tell you the truth. So he sent 20 men with me by that time my men were already in ambush as soon we reach in the ambush I say gentlemen your lets pray so we just put our heads together then my pekin them just came and surrounded us we disarmed with out noise an that how I went back to him I introduce myself to him and there was no way for him that how we capture them and we kill them all of his men and I made him to call back to his central base and call for supply and when the supply came and landed in my hands and I sent some for William Toe who was controlling Grand Gedeh.
1994 I was awarded as most tactical guerilla, the award was brought by Lt. Gen. Lasmazo and at the end of 1994 I was in Phebe and they say I should go back on base. P I, Samuel and I were in control of the mission in Pleebo. One time Isaac Musa came with a pickup and say I should join in with marine for a mission. I don't know the mission. So I got on the pickup and when we reach to 15 gate he brief us that there were some people in GV Kromah house in Du Port Road and they wanted us to go and killed all of them. They say they were ULIMO men but it was not written on any one face ULIMO so it means we should just go and kill any body. But when we reach to 15 gate, ECOMOG said we were not passing and firing opened. Then Mr. Guanna sent for his men while they were engaging ECOMOG we took a bye pass around Zubah town area. We had two zoes, David Quaya and Yondua Monokomuna. David Quaya said we should give ten living bodies and Yondua Monokomuna said he wanted a bucket full of fresh blood to do certain sacrifice. When we reach I told my men that every child they see they should cut their throat until they flood fill the bucket and we hand delivered it to Monokomuna. For David own they carry the ten children to him around Gbalatua to make his own of sacrifice, and I came back to rest.
In 1997 to 1998 people started joining SOD and ATU and AFL .the president sent for me to join AFL and the president sent us in Grand Gedeh. And General Koluba was the commander and PI was the second in command. While we were there the president said we should go Ivory Coast to assist Robert Gaye. It was Kuku Dennis who brought that briefing. So we needed to train some men. So we open a training camp in my home town in Grand Gedeh so we trained up to 500 men and later they that mission was not possible so we had to put the 500 men in the AFL.
I was also appointed to be part of the 150 men to go Zaire to help Kabila and we had men like Marcus Habrei, Hardgray, BM 40 Tordy Johnson and other people. We were there for some time and later it look like the people start noticing that Liberian missionaries were in Congo Zaire that how they say the papay call us back that's how we came back.
As soon as we came back they said we should go to Lofa that there was a war in Lofa but when we went there it was not a war but a riot between Lorma and Mandingo so we were the big fighters so we say it was not a war so they should send the pekin them that's how they sent AFL special unit. But when LURD was coming Kuku Dennis came again and gave us the SOP and later Joseph Montgomery came and said the president say your hold this small thing. And I share the money with my pekin them and I came Monrovia myself and bough T-shirt and put our squad name on it.
Later on that mission, the president sent Momo Geebah as Joint Chief for staff and next to him was Pa Zoekia. They came and met us and when I advice them to stay because we were in enemy zone they thought that war was fun and they left. On their way back they felt in ambush and only two of them survive. They men them killed enough ATU men and wore their uniform. But when I entered there the men then were not sure of me and myself I was not sure of them the naked guns I was holding self was not easy that the papay self give me that gun.
For Zorzor almost 20 something time we could not capture Zorzor, reinforcement came and we had some men like Varley Thread and other men. So we prepare some cocaine and divided it into pieces and each piece had their own mission. The piece that I took I was sujppose to attacked the zorzor from the center of the town. So that paritcicular was called last platoon and men like PJY, Varley Threat and reinforce one another until we manage to zorzor. Kuku Dennis came with some foreign journalist but they wer afraid to even come down from the car just imagine some people were fighting death some were still struggling withtheir lives.
All of us had our own target and accomplished our part but Melvin A. Sobani was afraid so he came to me to help him carry out his own of mission because the president give everybody small thing. So I told him told him to share his part of money and give me half of it to us and he say oh my man that money business I will give it because Churcky was coming to inspect our mission. So I move my men towards Voinjama. By 5 am Voinjama was under fire. I saw the LURD men them coming in line and they fall in our ambush. And that's how all of them were finish, when they coming they were speaking all kind of things. After we call our men to come in then Chucky say we should go Kolahun. Kolahun was attacked but because of material things our men was not serious for struggle again. So LURD cam back with real force I say, and some of us jump in the bush and we did not stop until Gbarnga.
I was in Gbarnga when LURD hit there, so my pekin told me and got ready by that LURD was already on the broad street. Luckily for us we harass one Catholic Lady and took her jeep from her and that how we bulldoze through until we reach Grand Gedeh. By that time the news hit the town so 50 sent communications that I was on the run. And that particular jeep was sold to seven persons and took it back from them and finally I turned over the jeep to Harper Catholic Bishop Boniface. Then I gave my pekin them some money and told them to go back to Monrovia.
I left in the village there MODEL started coming. Not knowing our people were in favor in MODEL I tried fighting model and my name spread all over Maryland that one Debleh was causing trouble. When Model finally entered they wrote me several letters to surround my self I did not agree. On one of their attacks, they capture my whole family including my wife and daughter. There was no resistance for them because by that time our men were not serious to fight again. So we retreated all the way, but before then I proceeded to Moses Zeah, Thomas Zawolo and the Superintendent and I asked for the AFL men they had there but there was no men. So I say how we will manage, so I went to Harper port and told a captain whose ship was being loaded and I told him to unload but he lie that another ship was on the way which would take everyone to Monrovia. We waited ever so long. The whole of Harper was upside down. So one night I saw a red light on deep sea and we look for Fanti canoes and collected some pickup and told the pickup driver to point their light to the direction of the ship. I got on the canoe with some of my men and by midnight we entered the ship and told the captain to go follow the canoe I was going to sail and that how I got that ship. Everybody got on and came to Monrovia, but I was afraid while I was coming because I was already on the run because of the catholic people jeep.
So when we reach to the Bong Mines pear, 50 himself was there and he said all wounded soldier should get on one line in to the ambulance. I went and wounded myself and I got on the line luckily as soon I was coming down somebody call his attention and that how I just went straight in the ambulance and they took us to hospital. When I reach at the hospital I told the doctor that nothing was happening to me so I left and went home.
When world war three was coming I was in Logan town, again my men went to me for me to go one that mission. So some where around 15 gate we push the men back and while I was searching in the civilian bag, open your bag what inside that's what I was on when 50 came from behind. He asked who is commander here I said me sir, we have push the men way down he said you sure I said yes then turn over one pekin that I should kill him because he was an enemy, while going his boy told him that but that the Suah Debleh man you been look for so 50 took off his twin mouth pistol pointed at me and later put his gun back, and said you God bless you. So when he left I asked the little boy and he said he is a student and did not know anything about the fighting. So I say let me go yah, 50 can't forgive more than one time. And that's how I left and I went to my house. We slept the next morning I showed the boy to my father and I took him to his people and his people were happy and today we are best of families. So let me stop here yet maybe the part your na understand I can clarify that because if your say all that I know then that not just now business oh!
Questions from the Commissioner:
Chairman: thank you Mr. Witness. We will ask you couple of questions to throw light on some other issues from your testimony. I presume that it is from 1990 to 2003 you just narrated I want to know who were the zoes you mentions?
Primary Witness: David Quaya and Yonduew Mokumonda it was Monokommun who requested us to summit a bucket of blood to him and David quaya said we should give him 10 living human beings.
Commissioner Stewart: who was Moses Z. Blage under Naraiga. Who is Kuku Dennis?
Primary Witness: Col. Moses Z Blage was one of our commander, and Naraiga was the first commanding general to be successful in the south eastern region and Kuku Dennis, is tall, bright, bushy hair, he has iron in his foot he was also a commander.
So were they aware of those killings?
Primary Witness: They gave the order. How will you say, you are not aware of the killing when the order came from you.
You mention David Quaya, who was he?
Primary Witness: Well he is short and bright, from Bong County before getting to Wensu, he was the Chief Zoe of Bong County
Who gave the order for you to move to Sierra Leone?
Primary Witness: Oliver Varney was the mission father to enter Sierra Leone, at that time; it was Oliver Varney, the brother of Sando Varney. And we went to Sierra Leone around1991 to 1992.
What year was this?
Primary Witness: 1992.
Who were those that recruited you to go Zaire and who give the orders?
Primary Witness: We were appointed not recruited, a point of correction. We were already formed therefore we were not recruited. Daniel Chea was the AFL chief of staff. He and Kadiatu took us to the spring field and divided us into groups and gave us our envelope. If I had my revolution album you could see him.
Who was the defense minister at the time?
Primary Witness: Daniel Chea and special assistant Kadiatu
Who were some of your friends that were on that Congo Zaire mission?
Primary Witness: Marcus, Hard-grade, Amos, Action, and most of our men I can't remember some of them now.
Are some of those Zoes still around?
Primary Witness: Yes.
Where you think?
Primary Witness: Well everybody hanging around.
You mention Rally Seckee, who was he?
Primary Witness: This Rally Seckee is not the political man this one is a tight Bassa boy who was with us.
Who gave the order to go Ivory Coast?
Primary Witness: The order came from the President Charles Taylor and went to Defense Ministry Daniel Chea. And it was Kuku Dennis who give us the briefing and then we started the training.
Tell us about those SOP that you were given by kuku dennis.
Primary Witness: Well some of our instructions were operation to go and fight, no retreat, no exclusion.
So basically your instructions were not for you to spare anyone?
Primary Witness: Yes, Thank you very much, when I say operation at that time, was not to spear anybody at that time.
What was Kuku Dennis' rank?
Primary Witness: Well he was some kind of chief for staff, he use to wear any uniform, SOD, ATU AFL and you know Taylor's government was just a kind of confused government where the wicked man survived. So I used to call him all color general.
Did you at anytime witness kuku Dennis?
Primary Witness: Yes, I can record, when we were at his compound, he will kill before investigating by then the person gone he had a way, he'll take out his pistol, as soon as he say, kuku and when you say Dennis it is on your head. He'll kill before he investigates.
How many persons can you remember?
Primary Witness: I can't remember but in my present he killed ten different times.
What was the operation in Du port road?
Primary Witness: The Du port road Cowfield operations were carried out by three different generals, me, Mark Goanna and other commander.
Sorry I didn't get something clear, you said who requested for the 10 children?
Primary Witness: That David Quah and Nyoundueh Monomkomuna called for a bucket full of blood.
Commissioner Washington: who was General Norigah?
Primary Witness: He was part of BIN border patrol team and was the first Commanding General to enter southeastern and come out successfully.
Is he still around?
Primary Witness: Yes, and he is alive. Right now I don't know but he use to be with immigration border patrol.
Commissioner Coleman: did you differentiate between groups; were you after any special group?
Primary Witness: It was to clear enemies and for my enemies there was no exception.
What if it was an innocent person, you had to kill them too, and did your command require that you kill them too?
Primary Witness: That is why I gave the parable that the fly that lives around the dead body will be buried with the body. You are not innocent if you are with an enemy, a soldier wife, children and his anybody is an enemy.
What was the Du port road mission about?
Primary Witness: Well innocent lives were involve, and it was about massacre that all.
Who was the commander of that mission?
Primary Witness: Isaac Musa and Dopo Megaza, our Commander Christopher Vambo and Mark Guanna.
What was the general's mission in Sierra Leone?
Primary Witness: To fight in favor of Foday Sankor.
Ivory Coast mission what was about it?
Primary Witness: I never took part; we were push there by the fighting.
What is about Zaire?
Primary Witness: Liberians were used as missionary base to help Kabila.
What year was that?
Primary Witness: 2000 to 2001.
Who did you buy the single barrow guns from?
Primary Witness: No we did buy guns but frighten the locals to bring their single barrels.
Could tell us a little about how your guns were given?
Primary Witness: We were just as receiver.
What time was that?
Primary Witness: 1992 we had sub executive mansion in Zwedru.
What type of services the Zoes used to give your?
Primary Witness: I don't know
Do you know whether Taylor use these services also?
Primary Witness: Yes, they were the first to be protected.
Before the war were you a Christian?
Primary Witness: No I was not a Christian. It was not until August when evangelist Blayee administered the gospel to me
Did you leave the Catholic lady alive?
Primary Witness: Yes I wanted the car not her.
Commissioner Dolopei: what was your age when you join the fighting?
15 and where was your mother at the time?
Primary Witness: 1983 I was in Zwedru and my father was in putu camp.
How many people did you kill in the church?
Primary Witness: There were 82 or 83.
What about the girls?
Primary Witness: I killed them
Who are the commanders you had during your fighting days?
Primary Witness: I was under Charles Goano, Super killing- 1991, Colonel Moses Z. Blage-1991, William Y sumo, PI, Striker Nelson Gaye, from there I was on my own now.
When did you dock the shop at bong mines pear
Primary Witness: 2002.
Who was the liberty?
Primary Witness: Under Mantina Johsnon, in NPFL.
Commissioner Kulah: did you take any special training for being small soldier?
Primary Witness: I never underwent any special training, but I got used to it and I started doing it.
Where exactly in Freetown did you fight?
Primary Witness: We entered Bo but I can remember the areas names
What was Ivory Coast Mission?
Primary Witness: To assist Robert Gaye, it did not hold so the 500 men that were trained later joined AFL.
Did you know of any one who came to training here?
Primary Witness: Yes, a group of Zambian fighter.
How do you feel with all those experience?
Primary Witness: Today I feel negative today, but before then I felt above all else the people.
Commissioner Konneh: did you have any predetermine mind to become a fighting force?
Primary Witness: I did not even have a mind to be boy Scott but I was forced.
Why were you along when you know that it was the time of war?
Primary Witness: I did not say I was alone, I said I was captured; I can't talk for others but for myself.
Were other students captured along with you?
Primary Witness: Yes but of Krahn tribe.
What was the role of each of the group?
Primary Witness: Jungle Warriors was the group in the bush and were brave, Small Soldiers were the small boy unit the president mission boys, he felt that they did not feel for any body execute orders and don't respect anyone. Marine was a fighting force to that were the largest fighting forces.
When were you assigned in Sierra Leone?
Primary Witness: As RTO to Oliver Varney, so I took part in three attacks. That is the time Jungle Jinn went there when took over the diamond mines.
When you got to Ivory Coast did the official know that you were there on an assignment?
Primary Witness: We entered as refugees.
What was the role you played in Weala?
Primary Witness: People use to come to buy rubber from me.
Is Gus a Liberian?
Primary Witness: I don't want to believe that he is a Liberian, he as living in the Ivory Coast
Was he an African?
Primary Witness: Well he had a white complexion.
Colonel Moses Z. Blage who was he?
Primary Witness: He was vice president and later president
When he was commanding officer, was he practically on the battle front.
Primary Witness: Yes, he and I laid in ambush together.
What was the role of Yondua Monokommuna?
Primary Witness: he was a Zoe.
What was your feeling at the time when you were carrying out these acts?
Primary Witness: They use to praise us so we use to do more
Commissioner Syllah: what happened to your family and where are they?
Primary Witness: Their lives were maintained but their properties were taken.
What were some of the activities of Momo Geeba and Isaac Musa?
Primary Witness: The other was brought from Isaac Musa to attack Du port road.
Did you fight for any other faction?
Primary Witness: Form NPFL to Government of Liberia.
What can you tell us about octopus if you know any?
Primary Witness: Before the octopus, there was a message from Prince Johnson, that time, he had already betrayed Taylor. He told us to disarm, and sent you to the place to get your supply. That place was gone to get the supply, he already made a way to an empty container, and he locked the container, and his intention was to throw us in deep sea. People started crying and most of the voice was the voices were gios. So some of his top fighters say but we can't sit down and all these gio boys die. That how they force the container open and by the time we got out, 350 of us had already died from heat. And the remaining 150 of us were, helpless. And the container open at Jamaica road train track. That's how the octopus started, when we came back from that container. When we came through
Primary Witness: Our men were already in route to rescue us around cruxsorvile.
What about octopus?
Primary Witness: Marine was heading octopus,
Commissioner Washington: tell us anything if you know the killing of prominent citizens from Nimba County?
Primary Witness: I was informed but I was not on the scene, but my friends that carried on the operation.
Chairman: Thank you very much, you information has provide us a full knowledge of what you happened. So thank you very much, any final words to the people of Liberia and the TRC.
Primary Witness: I want us this time to tell the people sorry for what happen for being part of the revolution.
Thirty First Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings
Joe T.Y. Lesole
(Second Primary Witness of day eight)
The second Primary Witness of the day was called to the stand and he was accompanied by the psychosocial officer and the protections officer of the TRC. The Primary Witness was then sworn to tell the truth and nothing but the truth by the TRC Hearings Officer.
Chairman: Good afternoon and welcome Mr. Witness, we are happy for you to come and share your experience with the TRC. The Commissioners are here to listen to you.
Primary Witness: thank you sir it's a pleasure.
Chairman: Can you kindly repeat your name aging?
Primary Witness: Joy Tawoo Yakpawolo Lesole A.K.A Joe Wallace
Chairman: Your date of birth please?
Primary Witness: I was born burn May 28, 1953 at the firestone medical centre.
Chairman: Are you currently employed?
Primary Witness: Yes sir, at the ministry of post and telecommunication mainly in the telecommunication department.
Chairman: Where do you reside?
Primary Witness: I reside on camp Johnson road, right behind Yes transport.
Chairman: Thank you, you may proceed.
Primary Witness: I wish to take this opportunity to praise the almighty God who marvelous loving kindness and because of my trust in him was exhibited in saving my life that today I am alive to reverse what was heard during the trial of the late Gray D Allison former Minister of Defense together with his wife about a case that I will narrate later. However, in order for you to have then chance to analyze what I am about to say particularly with that case I will first of all which to tell you that I am a victim of suspicious circumstances. I long waited for this day because had I not read the letter of an anonymous writer, to do what I am to do today would not have happened and I would have died as in the case of the late Twazamenton, and I wouldn't be around to tell you the truth.
I want you to give me chance so that I can go back as a victim of several circumstances. Upon my graduation from Monrovia College 1974, as the valedictory, when the late C Simpson David was our Guest Speaker and I got employed by the same minister as a cadet in his office. He didn't know me from anywhere but because he wanted to encourage excellence, he employed me. I then enrolled at the University of Liberia; my desire was to become a medical doctor not a police officer.
Really I am regretting the fact that the war came and took away the main factors in the case that I will explain later, because I wanted all of them to be here so that we can face each other here since in fact SATU is not around to attribute to fear, for us to bring to light to the attention of all Liberians. Those who are listening to be will hear the facts that I am about to say and see the truth as it was. But the war has made most of them to die except Jenkins Scott who was the Minister of Justice; I understand that he is alive, together with Cllr. Isaac Nyplue who I understand is also alive and Ben Sherman who are all part of the tribunal that was set aside by Doe to investigate the death of Gray D Allison. I can also remember one Jacob Namely then Assistant Director to CID Richard Doe then Chief of Intelligence, William Toe who was also working with Richard Doe, plus many other key actors that invested me in this case. I must admit that we were tortured I have no course to lie. If what was reveled at the tribunal was the truth, I would rather steak to that truth and continue to apologies to one of the sisters of Gray D Allison rather then come here to reverse testimonies which were ruled in favor of the government at the time masterminded by the government through the supervision of Jenkins scoot.
I had come for the farm one Saturday, by the time I arrived in Kakata, with my two begs of rice and one chicken given by my grand mother, the car loaders that were around took my luggage and placed it I a wagon heading for Monrovia. But instead of the driver remaining in the position he was heading for Monrovia, he started heading for Heabel parking and I told him I was in a rush as such he should allow me get of and find a different vehicle. The driver did not respond and he was talking to somebody in the front a police officer and I told the officer what was going on and he too did not respond. I got down and decided to take another car and when I attempted taking my baggage from wagon, the driver threatened me not to touch his car to my aultmost surprise. Before I knew what was happening I saw the police in the car four feet away from the car and I saw another police office officer saluting him and he asked him where is the man, thinking it was the driver they wanted, it was me instead and I was taken by the officer to the station and immediately placed into prison without any interrogation. I stood in there until the dun of the next day. And the commander of the detachment came in and when he saw my mode of dress, asked me what I was doing behind the cell and I explained the story and he was annoy by this and ordered my release in that there was no case against me. That was the beginning of my victimization.
While around thinking that the man who arrested me will come around, my uncle who I left back met me at the station and asked me what I was doing there and he was annoyed about this. And my uncle insisted that the police who arrested me give reasons why he arrested me. But things were settled and I came back to Monrovia. This situation played on my mind and even affected my academics and at the time I was still working at the Ministry of foreign Affairs and I went to my boss to ask for transfer to another department due to the work load and he was furious about this decision and I explained and he granted my request. I had the opportunity of not being too engage and continue with my academics. It did not work and I had to leave the school due to the problem and all the opportunities I had. It was in this same time that the OAU Summit was to be hosted by Liberia and they wanted police as such I had to go and enlist in the police and underwent the normal training so as to be professional in serving the diplomats that were expected. Wilfred Clark graced our graduation and distributed certificates and at that time Varney Demster was then Director of Police so fortunately for me after graduation I was transfer into the office of the director. I remain in his office until after the rice riot, the coup and after the coup, they lost Demster, Myres succeded him, at that time I was a sergeant. I became secretary to the director of police, and after the war there were lot of documents and lot of pending cases and these guys did not know which case to look in that the pending cases were many, and I decided to show my boss what was to be done directly and being impressed he recommended that I be his special assistant, and I consented and took the job. I then went back to the university and decided to take sociology instead of medicine. Then it came a time that I had a dream I which the car I used to ride in going around had an accident, and when I told Hon. Samuel A. Massaqui he said nothing will happen. And on the 24 of December 1980 I had a terrible accident on a very good road which no one will expect a car to have an accident. I had not gone on that road for months until he told me to go and bring one Jabeteh, that he had something for him, not knowing that they had already open that road and three was no sign, and I started dodge other cars that were in my way and as I went I had to dodge another house in my front and the bumper hit the house and the car damaged beyond repair. But what happened miraculously for me was that I went through the wind screen perfectly and this is because I did not have on my seat belt. I drop on my pistol and got wounded and was rushed to the hospital for six consecutive months.
The chairman at this point interrupted the witness and told him to restrict himself to the main story.
After the Quowonkpa coup attempt that failed, there were some of us police officers that were arrested on the charge of assisting Quowonkpa to overthrow the Doe Government, and I was innocent and didn't know how and who were involved in that coup, but most of us that were around the headquarters were arrested and placed behind bars. In fact while they were carrying me they were saying that I was with George, how, where only God knows. That is how I went behind bars. At that time I was the deputy chief of foreign relation at the SSS headquarters. November 12 Tuesday 4 o;clock 1985 I saw myself behind bars. By the time it was 8 o'clock my other colleagues and other individuals were been brought at the headquarters to be detained including the forming Minister of Finance, the former President of the University of Liberia madam Sherman and many other former officials of government. As police officials, from Tuesday midnight up to Friday after midnight, the death squat were visiting the headquarters and taking away some of our colleagues under the pretext that the cells were actually pack and so they had to transfer some of us to other deport. For those three nights of operations most of pour friends who were said to be transfer never were transfer but found beheaded one way or the other at different locations in Monrovia and its environs. That day that I thought I was going to be a part of that was that Thursday midnight when they took away one Joe Manday and Kenedy we were the three that always use to move together so I thought it was my time, but luckily for me as God would have it, they only took my colleagues and left me and I was told the following day that they too were also beheaded. We remained in jail for two and a half months we were investigated and those of us that at the end of the day felt they were innocent they only listed our names on one sheet and said by next Tuesday returned to work. So I said if this is the case I can't go to work, I have to go to the hospital and do a checkup. When I tried to inquire as to who order my arrest for such and offense or what they intended to do, that would have cost my life, nobody to tell me, so I went and wrote my letter of resignation. While coming with that letter, I met one Jacob Namely, who was then the chief of the intelligence. And I said look as chief of intelligence I thought you would have done your home work, now that we are out and there is no clue, may I know who ordered my arrest and he said he didn't know, and I said right now I am going to sent in my resignation. And this is the letter I am carrying, and he said don't do that Joe, you have to help us. I have known you when you were the Special Assistant to the Deputy for Administration. And I think I can rely on your expertise, could you please come and work with me? And I said I have to think about it, but I want to know who ordered my distension that he couldn't tell me, but when I came back, little on after having influence on him I reconsidered my decision and I started working with him when he was then appointed as Assistant Director for Public Affairs. And less then a month the late Henry swap office with him and he swap office with Lamford, that is he became the CID Director while Lamford went in as Assistant Director for Public Affairs. While we were there then the late Minister Minicon of the National Security came in and told Jacob Namely that we have brought in a Ghanaian soldier an ex-soldier from Ivory Coast and he wants to host us in the conference room to conduct an investigation. We understand that he is one of those that were coming in this country for surveillance and in an attempt to overthrow the Doe's Government. All was set for the investigation and Jacob Namely decided that I be the recording officer on that committee. The investigation was done and the documents were prepared to be signed by them to be forwarded to the appropriate authority. I was then told that perdiem were made available for the committee but my boss Jacob Namely held on to mine, and I then said if I don't receive mine, I will not release the report. As a result of this he and I clashed. Patrick Lincoln had to intervene in order to cool the tension, and insisted that he give me my perdiem which was LD300 and he insisted that it was not all that he supposed to give me. So Mr. Lincoln told me to forget it and I gave them the report and they signed it and that is how the case ended.
But due to this, Jacob Namely transferred me from being his special assistant to becoming the new chief statistician at the CID Department which I had no problem with and accepted. In about two week time in my new position, my wife and I who suppose to have gone to WADA in the Ivory Coast because their Headquarters was moved then to that country, decided that she and I should do some investment. I was advised by a friend of mine that Coldwell would be a better place to do business and when on the search for a place there we came across a store said to be belonging to the late Wata Allison. We met her and she said this place has been close because the renters always refuse to pay my rent. We talked to her and she accepted to give it to us. We immediately stocked the place and started business. This all happened in January and by March 31, I heard that a police officer was killed and the body dashed at the Bong mines train track and we wonder who the doers were. What surprise me most was we were seeing the criminal investigation unit under the supervision of Jacob Namely doing as if there were coming for visit or on business trip, but when asked they will say we are just around. When I try to offer them soft drinks they will refuse, and this lasted for eighteen days. On the eighteenth day was on April 18, 1989. to my surprise while I was sitting down I saw one gentle man came in with a Patrol car, only him in the car and said Jacob Namely wants to see you, and I sad while do Jacob Namely want to see me now? He doesn't speak to me why now and the man couldn't answer and I asked if I could ride with him and he said no and I went with my bus. Upon arrival at the headquarters as soon as I enter Jacob namely was there sitting and he ordered that I should be locked up immediately for security reason. I insisted that he should tell me my offence and not merely saying security reasons. Having giving the instruction he started leaving and I followed him and he told the police to lock me up. The argument was not easy and at the end of the day, one Joseph Klohn who was then the Chief of patrol finally convinced me to follow his instruction. That is how I consented and reluctantly went to jail.
While I was there, the seventh day I began to hear that the death of the police Melvin Kpan who was thrown on the train track was the reason for which I am being held in prison. I was really surprise and said if it was a plot for Jacob Namely to get at me, he will never get me. I was completely innocent of the whole killing. They then took me and carry me to the barracks, from the barracks we went to zone 6 and after two hours I was taken to zone 5 and there I was placed in the criminal cell. There they started torturing me. I was then transfer to zone 3 and I was there for some time. It happened one day my brother came to ask me exactly what happened and I told him I was completely innocent of what they are accusing me of. And that is how I wrote about what was going on and sent it through him and sent it to the New News paper and that's how the Deputy Inspector of Police open up. The commander of zone 3 was almost detained for this, and I was sent back to the headquarters. When we go there, I was surprise to see that SATU had gotten involved in the investigation. For more then three weeks, no sleep, I was being taking from one place to another until they brought in those who they thought were involved in the case, people like Jacob Toe, who was the driver for Wata Allison and one Bitta and the so called medicine man they talked about came in and then one Tappeh who I understand was assigned at the Allison was also brought, but non of them was able to exactly explain their involvement in the killings. I then at this point asked for my lawyer for I will not say anything without my lawyer and they asked of my lawyer and I informed them and when they send for him when they went to get him, he was busy and he send Taiwon Gonglo to represent him, our now Solicitor General. They started telling me that if you don't say what you have to say today, that's the end. And they asked my lawyer what are you doing here and he said I came to represent my client and by the time they started to intimidate me with different questions from across the board, I said if this is how you people are going to carry on the investigation, you will get nothing out of me, and as far as I am concern, I know nothing about this case. And that is how the sent me back to the cells. From that day till now, I don't know what happened to Gonglo and I never laid my eyes on him until the real period of torture started and I told them if they wanted to kill me they could go ahead for they had denied me all rights.
One day when they couldn't get anything out of all of us in prison on the case, they decided to lock us all in one room connected with the case and asked us to write statement and the statements were being edited by them. At the end of the day, they had to teach us what to write as a testimony. When I asked Tarpeh who finally agreed that he had beheaded the man he said they took him on the bridge and they were shooting between his legs, as such he had to say that. When I asked the other person he had his own story of torture to tell. One day Jenkins Scott came, I did not know he was there and they took me upstairs and all the senior security officers of government were present in the CID conference room. They told Jenkins Scott that this is the gentle man who doesn't want to talk, Mr. know all. I asked them what they want me to say, I said I know nothing about the case and you want me to say, and I told them I want to talk to the minister and he and I went into Joseph Niamey's office. I said Jenkins Scott, I know that you are a member of the Poro society then I throw my sign to show him that I know nothing about what was going, do you want me to lie? All of a sudden he jumped out of the seat and ran into the conference room saying what is this man telling me and the security came asking what are you telling the Minister and I told them I am only asking him if he wants me to lie, and they said this man is not ready to talk, put him back in the cell. I was taken back in the criminal cells. The following day they called me up and they brought my wife and said this is the lady that want to spoil our case and when they called me to see her, they took her by her hair and started polling her outside and I only heard her voice shouting that they will kill me and that is how they took her away, and I don't know what they did to her. It was then the following day which was on a Sunday when they came again and they took me, this time they had hand cuff me and I was been taken to the mansion by Jacob Namely and his group. When I arrived at the mansion, we passed through the back where the security always are and I was searched and my diary was taken in which I had every thing that was happening to me, and when he look in it he said if you take this kind of diary up there it will not be easy for you, so let me keep it here. This guy knew me from my short service with the SSS. When I finally escorted in to the office of he president it was the day when Kenya and Liberia was playing a football game that is all I can remember about that day. He was in his sport suit sitting behind his seat.
After my arrival there, I met Jenkins Scott and Welfred Clack and General Charles Julu and he told me you today you will die if you don't talk the truth. The president said you, do you know me? I said yes sir, I know you. He said where do you know me from? Do you know me when we were in PHP? I said I can't remember. You remember that some time we use to be together, we drink, we smoke? I said I can't remember. He said but I know you, he began to explain, after explaining he said I you ready to tell me the truth? I said Mr. President I don't know anything about this case. The only thing I have to tell you is let Jacob Namely and his group bring the proof that I am part of this case for I don't have any knowledge of this case. He said oh, is that all you have to say to me? He said you carry him outside and they took me and later brought me back and there was a soldier in hand cuff who said Mr. president this man was on the sane, he was there and I sad me; you ever saw me anywhere and you said this man was there. The other people said you better talk if you don't talk today your own finish. He said in fact go call the gentleman, he said no no don't call him let the man talk first. I said but what I will talk and they carry me outside, when I went outside the SATU from the outside of the city started pulling me and I said my man where are you carrying me? He said okay you will see what you will do to you. The other intended to punch me and threatening me to say something or they will kill me. The other man took the ban knife to juck me and I said no no I will talk and that is how they carry me back. What have I to talk, I don't know anything but due to the torture. They took me inside and they said your go and bring the man and that is how they went and brought Gray D. Allison and he said Mr. president the way the people treating me I am not satisfy, I don't even have a mattress to sleep on and he said oh you will keep the Minister in there without a mattress? Then he himself took out a hundred United States dollars and gave it to Jenkins Scott to buy him a mattress. Then he said are you ready to talk, I said yes, that this man who said he wants to overthrow you. By the time I said that, he said common your carry the man, how can he and myself be president the same time. They rushed him outside. That was all I sad and I thought had I said so I would have been freed, but prior to my coming they said they were only waiting for one more person to talk. I never knew that this was going to be the beginning of the case. And then they carry me back at the headquarters and Jacob Namely said this man that gentleman now let him be among your now, your must not give him hard time. Then later on they said carry the man inside for protection. The brought in Peter Thomas and I told him chief if you saw what the people did to m, I had to say what I said because o was afraid of my life. He said so what do you want me to do, you want me to go and tell the president that you lied and that you don't know anything about this thing, what do you think he will say or do. We were on it until finally they decided to put all of us in one room to make statement. If you want to be fair enough, how you can put us together to make statement. They took our statement one by one in the same place and they started fixing what we will say so that anybody listening to it will know that what they are saying is true. Jerkins Scott brought six lawyers and these lawyers were before us and they said as a state witness what you are going to say out there you should say it here. And that is how what they wrote for us and what we wrote and they edited I memorized it and I begin to say it and not knowing why I was saying it they were recording my voice. When I left, while in the cells, I got angry and I sad I will expose these people because of the way they took these statement from us and allow us to lie, not knowing while I was saying this, there were security officers planted in the cells who were carrying all we were saying out so that they know what was going on in there. In this process, an anonymous letter came to me under the fufu. At that time the restriction was not too heave, we could move around small. So they called me and I went to the front of the cells and they said you have food here. But the little boy who they gave the food told me in my ears that my mother said you should not allow anybody to eat the food with you; you have something under the food. That is how I took the food and took it on the last bed, when I sat there and look under the fufu with the spoon here was a note with no name and it said "Joe I understand that you are saying that when you go to the tribunal you are going to say that they torture you people and they forced story out of you people; but let me tell you one thing, you can remember when you people were rehearsing? Jenkins Scott recorded you voice and brought the cassette to the president and they are saying here that if you go and say that they force you to lie, they will play that cassette" that night I almost wanted to commit suicide, I said lord what am I going to do no? she said you better don't do what you intend to do, and if you think I am lying, the jeep on that day that is going to take you to the Pavilion to talk, Jacob Namely is going to driving that jeep, one sergeant will be in the front and you will be in the centre with one SATU on the left and another on the right with two sergeants in the back seat. Those are the people that will execute you if you say that the government tortured you to take the statement out of you. Well I read the note and I discarded it, I was sad that whole night, we were then finally called the next day to go and testify and all that the lady said in that letter came to pass.
On that day, they drove me at the pavilion where I was able to explain what we were taught and what the government wanted us to say. That day after I explained, I was never asked any questions and if there was any question there was only one which I can't remember now and that was all the part I had to play and since then I have not gone back to the tribunal until I heard that Gray D. Allison was guilty. They went to the criminal law court with his wife with another version that was concocted again telling what was not true. I could see how hard it was to look at these people in the face, when I heard him say these people are all lying on me. But there is true that we ourselves could say yes it is true we are lying on you. They also brought her down guilty. But the only sadden thing is that I would have loved them to be alive today if we did not have any war, so that they will be present and hear for themselves and for all those that were principle actors during the investigations to be present so that we can go into this thing. Because as far as I am concern if they who were the investigators of us are not the doing of many crimes, then they may have mistakenly or maliciously, politically or what kind of ulterior motives they had to have arrested us and placed us in prison and leaving out the real murderer out there laughing at us and calling us liars.
Having gotten my clearance from the court, I ran straight to the American Embassy where I had a fried the Deputy Chief of Security to allow me see any senior officer at he Embassy. All he ha to do was to say that the Ambassador was busy and so he usher me into another officer and I explained what went on and he said the only thing I can do is to give you the address of Amnesty International which he did. I went home, by July second the people decided to go on the street to demonstrate, we could overhear the people saying monkey must come down. Not knowing what have started many people had already been killed. I did not know until January 4th when the death squad came at my house, before they could come to my house, the man who came to show them my house, I saw him and he said that you we are coming for, you are wanted at the headquarters when you people want to destroy me, I am not going anywhere. I ran out through the back door of our house and told my wife that they are here for me again and I enter one of my neighbors room and the death squad had already entered my house. So what I did, there was an employee of LEC in the house and so I asked him for his head gear written on it LEC, I took his rain coat written on nit LEC and I took his boot which they use in climbing the light pool. I only disguise myself. So when I came out I met one of the soldiers and he said LEC man we are not here for you, we want that men in there. That is how I pass him bye and went all the way through Clay Street pass through Gurley Street and went through Public Works, PHP then started taking it towards coconut plantation and was heading for the American Embassy. It was on July 4th and I did not know that that day was the Independence of the United States. As I was walking towards the beach I saw a lot of bodies that is how I got to know that a lot of people are been killed. When I reached the Embassy I met only a security and he told me there was nobody in the office, it was a holiday. That is how I escape and went to one of my friends on Benson Street and slept in an abandoned place and the next day I went to one of my friends called Abraham at Clara Town. There was where I was until Prince Johnson came in and redeemed Clara Town. I could not go out, I was always indoor. The last attack on Clara Town was what brought me out and I went to VOA, where I met one old woman and she told me to go and report myself to the INPFL base and I went and did just that at Caldwell and meet all the members of the advisory board of the INPFL. I reported myself and they put me o the police dom. While I was there, they called my name on the loud speaker one morning and I went and when I arrived to where they called me, soldiers were lined up for briefing and I must admit I thought it was my time to be executed. But when I got there instead of his calling me, it was one member of the advisory that told me Joe you are the one we are calling, come on this side and they asked me are you the Joe Willacy who was in that case, and I said yes sir. He said but what happened? and I took my time and explained every thing to them, and they said from what you are explaining, who then killed Melvin Kpan; if the people who investigated us are not the murder or of Melvin, then I really don't know who did that for I don't know him and have not seen him from anywhere. And there where we were as God would have it, the members of the advisory board use to add act as Officers of the Day (OD) in the night they are then in control of the movement of people. And they wanted me to be their secretary general and I said I am the youngest among you people here and so it is difficult for me and I told them it will be better for me to go and be in the Dom and if there is any emergency they can call on me. They said I could go there and serve as OD, and when I went to do this I never ever came back again, I was minding the gate of the area where impounded vehicles were been kept, right before the yard of Prince Y. Johnson. We were there when one day we heard that the president was heading for the free port and the convoy pass us by and what transpired in there we did not know, but at the don of day we learned that the President was killed. We ourselves went there and we saw the body lying on the stretcher. Prince Johnson then appointed one Rainey Suah ad the Director and he came to me and said Joe since you and I have worked together in the police, I want you to work along with me to protect the people and what have you? I consented and I went to Hotel African and started working until Octopus at that time ECOMOG was already on the ground and things are now the way they are. I must admit that I had no idea as to what transpired, the stories we made were concocted by the then investigation committee and they went and brainwash Samuel Doe that we were the doers when we were not the doers. Thank you.
Questions from the Commissioners:
Chairman: thank you very much indeed, we assure you that we are grateful for coming forward to tell us the truth of what happened in the past so that we may reconcile the past. This is going to be based on the experiences of people so as to put the broken pieces together.
Commissioner Syllah: you said that you worked with the foreign ministry but left due to ill treatment, did you find out who order you arrest?
Primary Witness: My uncle met me at the Kakata parking.
Do you know why you were arrested at the time?
Primary Witness: I do not have any idea; I can not remember saying anything to that man. And instead of coming to arrest the driver I was arrested and that was my first time going to prison.
You mention being torture at the police headquarters what are some of the things they did to you.
Primary Witness: Every where I went the SATU were with me and they always attempt to beat me and they insulted me as such I was under trauma.
When Doe was taken on the base, was he taken alive?
Primary Witness: I don't know for I was on the high ways, and they past us.
Commissioner Konneh: I understand that you were many in Jail, were they all arrested in connection with Gray D. Allison issue?
Primary Witness: Yes, we were all arrested for the same purpose.
Do you know why they were so specific about your case for you were the only person not willing to talk?
Primary Witness: I was not the only state police we were four and I was renting from Mr. Allison shop and the wife driver and another town.
Did you see one Sackor who was a medicine man for Allison?
Primary Witness: Yes I met him and he said he is not a medicine man and he told me to lie so that I can live.
Commissioner Kulah: what are some of the torture that were carried on?
Primary Witness: They were throwing me from one cell to another, and with the presence of the SATU and the words from their mouth, it was enough to break me down.
After you left your house in the LEC uniform what happen to your wife?
Primary Witness: I left them behind and when I reach Hotel Africa, I was told they manage to escape and I met a friend and told him I am here and my wife should come and he managed to bring them.
Do you know who Melvin Kpan was?
Primary Witness: I don't know, I feel it is because of what transpire at my office for that document issue that I was lied on. I was arrested on the 18th day of a case and not given the chance to explain and was thrown behind bars.
Commissioner Coleman: what year was that July 4th you mentioned?
Primary Witness: July forth 1990 was the day they were shouting in the streets and people were been killed.
You mention a room where INPFL members were and you went there please clarify
Primary Witness: The INPFL had an advisory board who meet to advise Prince Johnson on how to carry on the war.
Could you mention name of some of the officials?
Primary Witness: There was one Talker assigned at the Ministry of Agriculture, but I can't remember all of them.
You mention three other persons have you seen them?
Primary Witness: I have seen Jacob Toe of late and the others I have not seen them. These people actually concocted what we said. If we had not said what they wanted us to say we would have died.
Do you think Jenkins Scott instigated the case?
Primary Witness: I want to think it was Jacob Namely for he was the one always behind this thing and always there to make things worse for me. And I can not remain quite to always keep what is the truth. There is nobody to intimidate me today so I can revise the truth and say it so that all Liberians get to know what really happened. And from the letter of the anonymous writer explaining all the came to pass, I had to say what I said for all these circumstances came to pass.
Commissioner Washington: let's look at December 1985, you said that you and some colleagues were taken away and were taken to prison and some of them were taken out of prison and killed, do you know any of them?
Primary Witness: I remember two of them, and let me tell you when ever they come and call your name, you have to come and it lasted for days and so when they took my partner I thought I would have been taken. They said they were ta
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