Harper City: Day 1

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The First day of the TRC Public Hearings Proceedings held on Tuesday February 12, 2008 at the Harper City Hall, Maryland County. 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.

First Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Harper City, Mary land County
Viola Dioanene Jones
(First Primary Witness of day one)

The First Primary Witness of the day was called to the stand and she 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: thank you very much for coming, the superintendent, UNMIL, national police. As you are aware wee went through war 14 year of crises want we are in the process of making peace, for the next one week we will be in Harper, Maryland county, having this hearing one the daily basis, , if possible we will the legislative caucus to throw some light on the process here:

Chairman: Good morning mama, how are you, we want to welcome you to the TRC and thank you for coming forward to share your experience with the Liberian people.

Primary Witness: I was in my little house me and my little son, We went in town cross the bridge and went in town we went to the other house we were 10 women and 6 men we got to town they told us to start going from place to place, to go tot the superintendent house and we went to sit, they say what you old people here we were scare we did not talk, they say your go we go they give us place to sleep while sleeping we heard the firing sound.

In the morning old - old lady some of us they make us to haul water and beat rice. Then they started killing, we did this and that and so on and they stated telling us to haul hose, they food, cloths and other things, but some of us since I had little strength in me I could do some of this things, we saw a wheel barrow, they killed that man, expect you do everything they say you should do. They lined us up, they put some women up, nothing to eat whole day, sometime we beat the little rice and the sorry for us and give us to eat, that what happen in all.

Chairman: Thank you for sharing your experience again, the commissioner will ask you small question.

Can you remember what year this happen?

Primary Witness: Oh that's was the first war, the very first

Did you remember the name of the group that did these things?

Primary Witness: The first group that was here that LPC?

Can you describe how they were dress?

Primary Witness: Different clothes that what they had on.

Commissioner Stewart: Do you remember the name of any of their big man that was there?

Primary Witness: No

Commissioner Washington: who the man the killed and put in the wheel barrow?

Primary Witness: Mr. Hosh,

Do you know his full name?

Primary Witness: No.

Beside the hard work you older women were doing, are some of these old people still alive?

Primary Witness: Some died; because they were old, but I don't know where others are I don't know their names.

So they brought the 10 old women from different places?
Primary Witness: Yes.

Commissioner Syllah: How long did you spent there?

Primary Witness: For months.

How many old women like you were there?

Primary Witness: About 7, one was there even older than me.

What's about the young girls?

Primary Witness: They were there they were with the soldiers, they were used to work that we were doing the work.

Who talk about two children...?

Primary Witness: Yes, their mother they kill her, so there was no one to take care of them since we were the same, Kru and Grebo, I use to do everything for them today - today they are with their father.

Do you remember their age?

Primary Witness: The older one was 6 and the other 4.

The bodies that you say were they bodies buried?

Primary Witness: No, we only throw them away sometimes on the bridge.

Commissioner Coleman: no other group came around hat time

Primary Witness: They say some group was there, but I don't remember

Commissioner Konneh: what was the name of the woman who children you had?

Primary Witness: Her name was Boryunoh she was a Kru woman.

Was there any other survival besides you?

Primary Witness: Yes one lady they called her aunty Grace.

Do you know for sure that those who were here were LPC?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Besides sending you people to draw water, beat rice and other things did they touch any of your bodies?

Primary Witness: No

How you people used to eat?

Primary Witness: No food, sometime we look for snails, if you found one or two then that day alright.

Since the war have you seen any of them?

Primary Witness: No, my eyes

Commissioner Dolopei: how many of your family members died?

Primary Witness: Plenty, but they died by their self not in the war.

Commissioner Bull: can you tell us the name of their father

Primary Witness: Father: Nimley, and the children, one name in our dialect

Anytime you remember their names of the two children before we leave from here please gave. [The children names were later given as Yumudeh and Tenesie]

Chairman: this part of our work to find out what happen in our country from 1979 to 2003.

Primary Witness: I myself here happy about the idea for you people to come and ask us about what happen to who have been here for long time.

Second Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Harper City, Mary land County
Talitha Yibada Graham
(Second Primary Witness of day one)

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: Madam Witness good morning, how are you today?

Primary Witness: I am fine

We want to thank you for taking up your busy schedule to come and tell us what happened to you during the war. The Commissioners of the TRC and the people of Liberia are all here to listen to you.

How old are you

Primary Witness: 29

Are you employed?

Primary Witness: No I work for myself

Primary Witness: During the second LPC war they were not reaching to Harper. I came to look for farina and told my grand mother for us to go back to Ivory coast and I told her for us to go back and she said no. we heard that the LPC were coming and we were in a town behind lake Shepard. We were catching cool air that day when a friend called Lamford came and said your here LPC now reach and he told me to look at the smoke at the city hall and I saw the smoke and we had to run away.

On our war before we reach Kablike border, we saw the car light behind us and we started running and my mother could not run and she will run and fall and the car met her there. We were all in the bush they said everybody come outside. Then there was a papie who said nobody should go out because they are bad people. Then there was a rebel who said to my mother that oh you here, that you the chairlady of the market women and you always welcome Taylor and his people when they come here. The only thing I heard from her is oh my eye. And they slaughter her and killed her. There was a molatress woman who was killed and her baby was not killed, they left the baby behind. That is all I have to say.

The Secondary witness was sworn to tell the truth and nothing but the truth by the Hearings Officer of the TRC.

Chairman: do you live in Harper

Secondary Witness: Yes

For me I was not in Harper, I went to Ivory Coast with my mother and I was working in Glabo. My mother came back to Harper and they made her head of the women. I came and advise he to go back to the Ivory Coast and she refused and I went back. On September 6, the LPC came and took over the county. My mother left and had to walk in the sand. She couldn't walk fast and her friends left her behind. She could not go to the water side to cross because she had to come and take our brother and sisters. She had an accident before and she could not walk well and while going on the road she was complaining about her pains and the people met her there and she beg them they did not listen. They took all the money and her things and they killed her at the age of 45. Her name was Youbeh Haff, she had four living children. This is the story I know about her death.

Question from the Commissioners:

Chairman: who is this girl to you?

Secondary Witness: This girl and I are related and we lived together.

Were you present when this happened?

Secondary Witness: I was not present but my father told me that.

Who were the soldiers?

Secondary Witness: They were LPC fighters; they were many in the car.

Was she butchered?

Secondary Witness: No she was cut under the eyes

Comm. Konneh: what is the name of your father?

Secondary Witness: Taddar Hower

Is he here now?

Secondary Witness: Yes, he lives in Hofman Station.

How is he feeling about this?

Secondary Witness: He almost died as a result of the death. He was sick for about three months. We the children took care of him and he is okay now.

Did they only kill your mother?

Primary Witness: They killed so many people on that spot. There was one Molatress and her brother who they killed on the spot who baby was left there.

Were the people who they killed in the bush?

Primary Witness: Yes they called them out of the bush and they were killed. There was one old man who told me and my brother not to go out of the bush that is why we were not killed.

Were they killing for any reason?

Primary Witness: I don't know I thing it was because of the president business, they said the resident was not doing the right thing.

Commissioner Coleman: where did this took place?

Primary Witness: At Kablike border road.

How many people were killed?

Primary Witness: More then 20 people.

What happened to the bodies of these people?

Secondary Witness: They go rotten there, but for my mother, my father later went there and collected the bones and we did a false burial for her.

Do you know if others went there for their people?

Secondary Witness: People could not go there to take their people because the animals and dogs went there and took the bones and some people could not make up their own people. People in the nearby town came and collected the bones and buried them.

You said they could not kill you mother by gun and so they cut her, please explain that?

Primary Witness: As I said my mother was a traveler and she took care of her self, so they tried to shoot her but the bullet was doing nothing so they use knife to kill her.

Commissioner Syllah: can you tell us why smoke was coming from the city hall

Primary Witness: The LPC burnt the city hall.

You ran in the bush and the people called you out and you did not come was that why the others came?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Do you know how the other bodies were killed?

Primary Witness: By guns

What happened to the child?

Primary Witness: I was afraid to take the child and I left the child crossing over the bodies.

Were you the only person there?

Primary Witness: There were other people there because I was hearing other people behind us and my brother was there.

What is the name of the woman who had the child?

Primary Witness: I don't know her name, but she was a Molatress.

Commissioner Washington: sorry for what happened to you. Did the people called any names at the time?

Primary Witness: No as I said they never came form this side, they came from Monrovia. They were calling different things.

You said you could not take the baby, do you know what happened to the baby since that time?

Primary Witness: No, I can't tell.

Was the grandmother of the baby also killed at that sane?

Primary Witness: No she is in Galarway.

Do you know her name?

Primary Witness: No, she was only a friend to my mother?

Were you the only survival?

Primary Witness: No, so many people survive.

Commissioner Stewart: can you remember any of the names of any of the people that were killed?

Primary Witness: The only person I can remember is my aunty Mary J. Howard.

Secondary Witness: every body was disturbed at the time the thing happened and she was very small at the time, so you please know how to ask the question. The people that came form in the bush she did not know any of them; she came out of the bush and had to run back.

When did that happen?

Secondary Witness: September 5th, 1995

Commissioner Bull: what is your name?

Secondary Witness: Olinda Girl Boley

What is the name of your mother?

Secondary Witness: Mary Blaby. Howard

Do you know who the leader of LPC was and what it stands for?

Secondary Witness: I don't want to know because I was disturbed and when I hear the name now I am disturb.

Chairman: tell us about your mother.

Secondary Witness: My mother I thing every body here know her she was very active and could speak for the women. She was the speaker of the Fish town women here in Maryland County. She was very popular.

The information you give is very important to the work of the Commission and it is our hope that at the end of the process every body in this country will reconcile. Before you leave, is there anything last you will want to say to the people of Maryland County and the Commission?

Secondary Witness: I want to say thank you for TRC coming to Mary County. The LPC killed my mother and this disturbed me. My father was working with the LEC and he was killed at the cavalla river, they threw him in the river and when people saw the body they called us and I went there and saw the body. Because every body was afraid we had to wait until the body was taken down the river before we remove it. That is what I have to say.

Primary Witness: The only thing I have to say is to give god the glory and tell the Liberian people to try and get on their knees for our nation. That is all I have to say.


Third Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Harper City, Mary land County
Otis Simpson
(Third Primary Witness of day one)

Chairman: thanks for coming to the TRC for sharing g your experience with us. The commissioners are here prepared to listen to you...

Primary Witness: In 1990, the war was getting heavy so my father decided to go find somewhere in Ivory Coast for us to live, he took some my brothers and sisters and he left me to take care of the things and he was going to call me when he found place. In that process the rebels were coming, September 11 the rebels were in this Harper City, so where to go I could get my way out. I got to Kegbeh camp, there were heavy gun firing, then we came back to town, then a group of men came to me asking me for my father and I said my Father was not here, they say we heard that your father was the NPFL chairman here so what's the government property he got here, then one of them just came from behind me and hit me in my face, they started gashing me. During my beating that one man who was the only man that came to my aid, then they left me and he help me, when I came to my self I saw all the marks on my.

They say they got information that my father was giving information to the Defense Ministry in Monrovia, then they went for me and told the man to leave then I was taking again and put in cuff and I was with in jailed in my own father house.

On commander Minchin Sayon, used to me where was my father was and what happened the people was behind him I say I don't know I am small to know that, he use to get me with him, until when they were changing him he took me to Lofa, then he went to Monrovia, I left from behind him and went to my mother. And she started trying to send me to school.

Then September 18 came again that morning they say they were behind Roosevelt Johnson that started again, that morning my mother died from bullet since then I have been living on my own and I heard that my father had gone to USA and he was sending for me, that it what I have to say.

Chairman: sorry for the pain and sufferings you went through the commission will now ask few questions:

What year was that you said?

Primary Witness: 1990 September 5.

What was the name of your father?

Primary Witness: Alfred B. Thomson

Commissioner Konneh: you said your father was the chairman of NPFL?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Where?

Primary Witness: In Maryland county here.

At Pleebo something happen, you said what happened?

Primary Witness: Just in that time that was September 4 we understood that the police jeep was blasted in Pleebo.

Those who torture you who was their commander?

Primary Witness: Baltimore also known as Sea-Never-Dry.

Do you know if he still living?

Primary Witness: No it has been a long time.

Do you know some of them?

Primary Witness: Yes.

What is the name of your mother?

Primary Witness: Frances Nimley

Was she in the Roosevelt Johnson area?

Primary Witness: In mamba point.

Commissioner Coleman:

Is there any other incident you want to share with us?

Primary Witness: No only the last one with my mother.

Commissioner Dolopei: did you do anything while with them?

Primary Witness: No I never used to go on the front.

Commissioner Washington: am I correct that you were a victim-perpetrator?

Primary Witness: Yes, I was forced.

You said your father is in America now?

Primary Witness: Yes just 2003.

When you were with them what are some of the things that you did?

Primary Witness: Yes the only thing when they came from the front, they will tell me to wash their clothes, when they cleaning their arms I help but not going on the front.

Did you go on the battle front with them?

Primary Witness: Yes, I use to carry ammunition with for them

Do you know any of their names?

Primary Witness: Minchin Sayon.

He was commander of the group?

Primary Witness: Yes

Where?

Primary Witness: Maryland County here, Green Street, in my father house.

Do you remember any other fighters?

Primary Witness: They had one Dead-Body-Bone, but I don't know his full name.

Did they have with them any other young boys with them?

Primary Witness: Yes when they came here because of the action, most young boys join them to protect their people too.

How do you feel right now?

Primary Witness: Well I feel find, you at the en of every thing, I am asking the TRC to help me with my health; I have to strain myself on this foot to get something to survive.

Commissioner Stewart: How old were you at the time?

Primary Witness: I was at the age of 16 in 1990

Was the commander?

Primary Witness: Baltimore called Sea-Never-Dry he led the troop in this county the county commander and Mehnshan Sayon was the battle field commander.

What year was that?

Primary Witness: 1990 December 5.

Did you use to go on battle front?

Primary Witness: By that time I na used to go on the front accept one time they say they got information that the enemies were coming to attack so they say we should leave that area but when we were going we fall in ambush and everybody escaped including myself.

Where were you when LPC came?

Primary Witness: In Monrovia.

Commissioner Bull: in your statement you said in Gbarnga your mother was sick and she died and you escaped which one do we take the one in the statement or the one you are telling us now?

Primary Witness: I think the person who wrote that statement did not get me clear.

So that where?

Primary Witness: In Mamba point, Monrovia.

Commissioner Konneh: do you know anything about Oliver Varney?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Who was he?

Primary Witness: He was a commander, I was not close to him but I know him as a commander.

What's about black berry?

Primary Witness: No.

Are you saying that most what we have in the statement are not correct?

Primary Witness: Yes but I can't remember telling anybody I was in Gbarnga or fighting for Oliver Varney. I said I was with Mehnshan Sayon.


Chairman: did the people pay you?

Primary Witness: No but when they cook food I eat

They use to carry you on the front to hustle?

Primary Witness: Well like I told you from the beginning, I never use to go with them from the beginning.

Chairman: this part of our work to find out what happen in our country from 1979 to 2003.

Primary Witness: I just want say that I am appealing to the international community and the TRC that during the war there were lots wounds that we sustain that some of us are still suffering


Forth Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Harper City, Mary land County
Morris Weah
(Forth Primary Witness of day one)

The Forth 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 morning Mr. Witness, how are you today.

Primary Witness: I am fine.

This is where we tell what has happened to us in this country. The Commissioners and the people of Liberia are here to listen to your story. You now have to opportunity to tell your story to the Liberian People.

When we left Tapatah they told us not to go further because enemies could attack. It was around 5 in the morning we started to hear firing from both side. Some people began to run but for me I was in the kitchen for 3 days. They were exchanging fire for 3 days then they cease fire. After the cease fore, they said all citizens were asked to step outside. They put al of us in line and you will call your tribe and where you come from. They said I was a Mandingo man; I was caught and tabied for three days. I can show you the marks on my body.


The CO said they should tie me and put me under the sun. Luckily for me after 2 days a girl called Mary who I knew came in and said what are you here for and she took her knife and cut the rope and I told her what happened, she put me in her car and that is how I survive that one. She told me to go for training and I was trained for 90 days. After the training I was asked to drive trailer. My first trip was to go to Tapata, from there we went to Bong Mines and after 3 days, Prince Johnson took us from there. For me I was only a driver. When we got there, I was asked where I am from Maryland and all of my brothers are in Grand Gedeh. They had first and second battalions and my chief I was assigned with was a special forces and later I was assigned to General Nimley and after he was killed I formed my own group and we came all the way to Zwedru. And when they overcome my group I came to Kanweaken in 1994. The same year my father passed away. When we go look, LPC came 94, they ran behind us and they caught me in Pleebo and it was not easy. I don't think by now I was going to live, because now I have internal bleeding. They beat me a lot and later they beg me to drive for them. I was driving for them. Then they told me for us to go to Prolo border to buy things and when we cross I escape. Then in 1995 again the came for me and said we should go back and capture Harper. I told them I don't want to fight anymore and I don't want to die and they convince me and we came. At the time we had to attack MODEL and it was not easy. When I saw my own Harper burnt down I was disappointed and I had to go back to Ivory Coast. I was there until 1997 when I got job to drive and I came back.

From there again they caught me and they carry me to their chief and they say this man that old soldier mad and when they charge me they see union card. Then they say this mad that Mandingo man. They went to my house and they saw plenty things so they started to treat me bad. They kill one man there then that time I know I was going to die. When the man show the gun to me my spirit go away and the commander called Blackie came and said what are you people doing. Blackie save me and took me to Boy Walie Building and I said I want to go to Anderson building where there are plenty civilians. They never wanted me to go so what I did I tie cloth on my see and told them I had Hydro see that is how I got save today. Thank you.


Questions from the commissioners:

Commissioner Bull: you are now 62 years old and Kru, what do you want the TRC to do for you as a recommendation?

Primary Witness: Thank you very much, I only want for the TRC to help me and support my children school. I am helpless and have nothing to do.

Did you have children before the war, if so where are they?

Primary Witness: Before the war I had 2 children who ran away, and during the war I had a little Greebo girl who just pas away and she had four children for me.

Do you think you can escape yourself as a driver from what was done?

Primary Witness: By the time there was no possibility for somebody running away. The only time I had chance to run was when LPC brought me here in 1994.

Please tell us some of your doings in the war, the one you now and the one you took part in.

Primary Witness: Some of the people you meet, sometimes you know them. People were dying and we see them. Not to say what you were doing you were doing it with your own heart; I was doing it to be safe.

I know you were capture and you were beaten and you were force to do what you did, so I want you to tell us some of the things you participated in, who was you commander and where did you carry on the act. Let's start with Pleebo.

Primary Witness: The person I was driving for and they took the truck was Dr. Gaye a special and after that that was General namely. He died on the bridge on Buchanan highway.

What happened in Kakata?

Primary Witness: I went and carry the people around and we went to firestone and around 3 in the evening we enter Kakata. I was to the car.

Commissioner Dolopei: how many rebel force you fight for?

Primary Witness: General Gaye is one of the rebel forces and General Namely was another force. I was with First battalion with General Gaye and Second battalion with General Namely.

What were you doing?

Primary Witness: I was driving; I did not kill anyone in the whole war.

You know what the called massacre?

Primary Witness: I don know?

That to kill plenty people, you saw that one?

Primary Witness: I only hear it but I did not see it.

You use to be in the car all the time and you not come down to join?

Primary Witness: Ah! I never come down and killed.

Commissioner Syllah: where is the Mary woman who helped you?

Primary Witness: I don't know where she is.

Do you know some of the people who were on the base with you and what you were doing there?

Primary Witness: On the base people were learning how to put gun together and how to shoot and when you make mistake during the graduation and gun hit you head, they will charge you for FFI.

Commissioner Coleman: you said you were only brought in the fighting force and never came there?

Primary Witness: Yes

You had gun and never killed?

Primary Witness: Yes

You were in the car and never went on the front?

Primary Witness: Yes

Did you know Mary before?

Primary Witness: Yes I use to pay her school fees.

So Mary recommended that you join the Special Forces right?

Primary Witness: Yes

Did you hear about how many people died in the massacres?

Primary Witness: I only use to see dead bodies but I don't know how many people were killed. You had to be straight and do you job, any mistake your own people can kill you. The 1995 LPC in Pleebo that the people the call no Bible

At this point the witness was excuse to go and urinate

You said the second LPC called no Bible were very ruthless?

Primary Witness: They use to kill a lot and they can't spare people.

Were you pay by the LPC for the driving you were doing?

Primary Witness: My pay was for my life to be safe. All the tings we did were by force and we had to survive for our life to be safe. I am getting old now I am 64 and that people can help me.

Commissioner Konneh: do not worry, anything you say here will not be used against you, except you lie to us or you hide things from us. One of the things you talked about was the massacre that you people carry out, you were there, Doe soldiers were there and NPFL was there; are you telling us that the massacre was done by NPFL?

Primary Witness: The Charles Taylor group was the one who capture Kakata, Buchanan, Shufflin, Red-light and Old-road.

Are they the ones who carry out massacres in those areas you just named?

Primary Witness: Yes they are the ones who captured the areas. Some time when they capture the place, many of our men can lost.

Do you know whether the General Gaye and General Namley are still living?

Primary Witness: I don't know whether they are living.

You said your capture some LPC and some of them escape and you said in Harper they also carry out massacre there; is that true?

Primary Witness: The first LPC na burn Harper, the second LPC burn Harper.

Can you give us those information that are left out to know about the massacre that went out in Kakata? If you want the Commission to grant you and in-camera hearings so that we can get the facts of the massacre from you, it can be done, for the Commission wants to get all the hidden secrets and the back ground information about these things that went on.

Primary Witness: What I know about is what I finish explaining, but if you want me to go from the beginning of the war to the end we will not move from here.

Chairman: thank you very much for coming to the TRC to tell you story for it is important to us. One last question, did you transport dead bodies?

Primary Witness: I na think so.

Is there anything last you have to say to the Liberian people?

Primary Witness: What I want to say is that we pray for peace and peace is here, so we ask God for the peace to stay with us.

Fifth Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Harper City, Mary land County
Mamadee Konneh
(Fifth Primary Witness of day one)

The Fifth 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 welcome to the TRC Public Hearings. The Commissioners and the people of Maryland County are all here to listen to your testimony. This is the opportunity for you to tell your story.

Primary Witness: I want to start with the model war. When model was coming we heard that they were coming. After sometime they say they had captured Kanweakan then many people was here say we should go to ivory coast. When we were going to Ivory Coast, in Ivory Coast too war was there. When model was reaching here we went across. I left my things behind like my car and other things. When we reach across one model commander called alpha one said he was the one who seized my car from his boys and said I should look for something for him then I can go and take any parts that I want to take on the car. After sometime he came to me and said I should give him $20,000. I talked to him I said I never had that amount so I managed to give him $10,000.00. Then I left and went to Tabou to get some mechanics to come and take some parts from the car.

Just within that time one of my friends had come from Zwedru. He never had any money he left from there when model reached Zwedru. When he came to me I gave him $1,000. later I heard that it was that my same friend who was driving the car. So when I got the mechanic when we came Alpha one was driving the car around. He said papay if you want to drive this car come I said no how you will tell me that kinds of thing. Then I went back after sometimes their main commander one Alphonso Zahee came to in the camp and said they did not come to destroy any property they did not come to kill any body they only came to free us. So if any one who want to go back can come back and nobody will do anything to them and that anybody who had property here should come and collect it.

And that's how we came, when we came and went to Alphonso Zahee house they said we should stand one side and wait for him when we got there I saw one Sekou Swaray already in rope. I said ah but kinds of thing here so then he sent his men to us and said they should tie us. We were four, then one of them said you papay you better send your people in ivory coast to send the money I said what money they say $60,000 before they can release us. When alphonso zahee came he said I should pay that money, we beg him I told him that I could pay $30,000 and he said ok, so I sent my wife in ivory coast and she brought the money before they release me on the eighth day and that's how I left and went back to ivory coast until the war cool down.

Questions from commissioners

Chairman: did you get the car back

Primary Witness: No I did not get my car back.

Commissioner Konneh: you said one Zahee said something to you what did he say

Primary Witness: Oh that Alphonso Zahee he said they did na come to kill or destroy us that they had only come to protect us.

Where did this happen in Liberia or Ivory Coast?
Primary Witness: On Ivory Coast side right to the border

You said who seize your car?

Primary Witness: That Alpha One they called him alpha one, I don't know whether that his real name or rebel name. He is working to the DRC.

He told you to pay the money?

Primary Witness: Yes he told me to pay $20,000 dollars.

Liberian dollars?

Primary Witness: Yes, Liberian dollars then I begged him and gave him $10,000.00 then he said I should go and collect some parts from the car

Then who was Alphonso Zahee?

Primary Witness: Alphonso Zahee was the county commander he the big man for all of them.

Do you have all the documents for the vehicle at the time?

Primary Witness: The documents for the vehicle yes I should have them.

Commissioner Syllah: have you seen alpha one since the war?

Primary Witness: Since I came from exile we all live in this particular town here. I can see him everyday. He lives in Harper here.

When you use to live in Harper before the war?

Primary Witness: I was living Maryland Avenue in Harper here before the war.

In your statement you said something about your sister and mother would you throw light on it?
Primary Witness: No that was 1990.

So what happened to them?

Primary Witness: Yes after 1990 war you know there was elections and we decided to forgive everything and that's why I don't go back to that story again.

Commissioner Washington: did they return the car to you

Primary Witness: No they did not return it

Which group Alphonso Zahee was from?

Primary Witness: From model.

So how much money you paid in all?

Primary Witness: Alphonso Zahee charged us $60,000 but I paid $30,000 to release me and alpha one charge me $20,000 for my car but I paid $10,000 so I paid $40,000 in all.

You said where alpha one is working?

Primary Witness: He is working at DRC.

Where they get their office?

Primary Witness: In Harper here.

DRC that's the Danish Refugee Council, ok.

When was the last time you saw Alpha One?

Primary Witness: About two weeks ago.

So you think he still in Harper here?

Primary Witness: Yes I am sure.

So how long you spent with them?

Primary Witness: We were there and they release me on the eighth day, but I met one Sekou Swary there already in rope I don't know how long he spent there.

Commissioner Stewart: you said a rebel from model cross to Ivory Coast, was the Ivorian security aware of that?

Primary Witness: Yes, they went and talk to the securities and they called us and told us that they never came to destroy or kill us but to free us.

You were at the camp by then?

Primary Witness: Yes we were right across the border not on the camp.

Did the Ivorian security know that they were rebels?

Primary Witness: Yes they knew.

Were they in arms?

Primary Witness: No they were not in arms

But they went in?

Primary Witness: Yes but that the place they came from?

You sure?

Primary Witness: Yes that the rebels themselves use to tell us and when they came the word we use to hear from them was "Gbabo sound man and Taylor fuckup man".

So how you know that they were from Ivory Coast?

Primary Witness: We know they came form grand Gedeh but what the rebels said was they came from Ivory Coast. And when they came when they ready to go back to the Ivorian military car use to carry them in Ivory Coast we used to see that all the way to San Pedro and take them back especially Alphonso Zahee.

Are you sure of that?

Primary Witness: Yes I am the one telling you.

Where is the Alphonso Zahee man now?

Primary Witness: Well for long time I don't know I heard that he is in Monrovia.

Do you know any other name for Alpha One?

Primary Witness: No I don't know any other name for him.

You still know him?

Primary Witness: Yes I know him well.

Have you been able to talk to him about this?

Primary Witness: No the man who did something to me he not come to me and we can see but he can't come close to me.

Does he know you?

Primary Witness: Yes very well, he knows.

Commissioner Bull: would like to meet Mr. Alpha One to talk to him on what he did to you?

Primary Witness: Yes more than yes, he knows what he did to me I will like to meet him there is no fear in it was alpha one who capture my car and took my money from me just like that. And he's here right now. And their commander Alphonso Zahee come right no I can stand and tell him what I want he can't do anything me right now.

Primary Witness: well the only thing I got to say is that reconciliation is what we all pray for and that's what we want I will be hard to forget what happened to you.

Chairman: thank you very much that was fair enough most of us experience a lot of things a it would be difficult to forget some of these things thank you very much again. You may leave.

End of Day One of the TRC Public Hearings in Maryland County


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