Zwedru City: Day 1

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The First day of the TRC Public Hearings Proceedings held on Monday March 3, 2008 at the Zwedru City Hall, Grand Gedeh County. The Hearings session started with the Commissioners of the TRC being ushered into their seats. The Mayoress of Zwedru City was called up to do a welcome which was followed by the introduction of the guest by the County Coordinator of the TRC and he recognize Commissioners, government officials and partners of he TRC present at the opening ceremony of he TRC Public Hearings in Zwedru Grand Gedeh County. This was followed by a speech presented by the Superintendent of the County.

Welcome Remarks from the City Mayoress of Zwedru City: Honorable superintendent, Mr. Chairman and commissioners of the TRC my fellow women all protocol observed. We would like to sincerely welcome you commissioners and staff of the TRC to the city of Zwedru, we a big welcome feel at home. For us since we been hearing the about this TRC business and me especially I think that the TRC will just want to hear from people and later they use what the people will say against them in court or to judge them. I was one person who never use to like hearing about the TRC business but one of the commissioners assured me that is not the case and with that assurance I became to understand the TRC process so I say to everyone of our citizens let all of us help with the TRC process, I thank you.

Statement from the Superintendent of the County Chris Billy

Superintendent: Honorable Christopher Beh Bailey
Presentation on Governance:

It is my distinguished honor to firstly welcome commissioner Verdier and his staff to the city of Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County and to wish you a pleasant stay as you conduct public hearings into the more than 14 years of brutal civil conflict that brought this country to its knees, as a way of healing the wounds of victims and making the perpetrators of these heinous crimes to come to the realization of the evil they committed against their brothers and sisters, Liberians , thus about national peace, unity, security and reconciliation.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I have been asked by the TRC to make a brief presentation on the challenges and prospect of Governance in Grand Gedeh County as well as recommendations.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the challenges and prospect of governance in the county are enormous and they are reflective of what is taking place on the national level.

The civil crises have left us, as administrators of counties, with a huge challenge of leading a group of young people who have a misconception of government. People who see government as an instrument of depression and a challenge to their free style of living. young men and women who came up during the era of civil conflict when law and order were broken down and there was no respect for government nor the constitution and laws of the country. Young men and women who were told by learned men, rebel leaders and some times politicians, that government was their enemy and population not knowing their civil duties to the state and those who serve them in position of trust.

Another challenges is that those who work in various institutions outside of government sees government as the only institution that should practice transparency and credibility but are quick to point fingers when government notice the corrupt practices in these institutions and thereby termed government as interfering upon their rights as independent institutions. Again , distinguished ladies and gentlemen, another institution that poses a challenge to government are those human rights and pro- democracy movements, in the county are not pro-active and the only institution they see to criticize the government but don not speak about the ills in society nor inform the citizens of their civil duties towards government and the state. These organizations do not intervene in crisis situations but wait until government intervene and they sis on the fence to criticize government as a way of pleasing their bosses I Monrovia who need negative stories to show to those international institutions and donor agencies that they are working.

Another challenges we are face with in this county is disrespect, mostly from young men and women who are our age group of who were once school mates. Because of being of the same age group of being class mates, they do not see us as a motivational force but as a force who make them to loose face before their girlfriends and parents and instead of helping us to succeed, they create stumbling blocks in every aspect of our endeavors, to see us fail without considering the general good our success will bring to the county.

We also notice another challenges which is a show of no love for county from or lack of patriotism and that is , those outside of government believe government should do every thing, from clearing the streets even to cutting the grass in their backyard and they are to only sit and watch because we ate the ones taking government's salary checks. Ladies and gentlemen the challenges are enormous and if I am to elaborate on all, it will take us the whole day, I will therefore, move on to the prospect of governance in the county.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen; the prospect of governance is in the county is good Gradually, people are beginning to understand the true meaning of "Government of the people, by the people and for the people" under the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf led government due to the nature of its inclusiveness and the practice of good government. They are now see the effective working of the three branches of government and the rule of law being enforce and "might makes right" as they were told to believe during our crisis period. The frequent citizens meetings in time of crisis situations and development issues; consultation in cases of important decision making by local administration and the equitable distribution of proceeds from central government to all districts in the county by the office of the superintendent and the taking of development programs to the people, have made the prospect of good governance in the county to begin taking shape, due largely to the transparent, credible, and effective management of the county by this administration.

Finally, ladies and gentlemen, we will like to recommend enough sensitizing and lecture series for the citizens as it relates to their civil responsibilities or duties to the state, government, and officials of government who are place in positions to lead them and not just telling them all the time what government have and must do for them.

Institutions out side of government must be made to understand that if their activities have the propensity to derail the peace or cause disharmony in the society, the government have the right to come in and arrest the situation, as it is not just the social responsibility of the government to maintain law and order and order and provide a conducive atmosphere for its citizens.

All institutions, independent or otherwise, must practice transparency, credibility and accountability as these very people now in private institutions will be seen in government in the future.

Institutions base in Monrovia, especially pro Democracy Movements, must organize training workshop for their staff and full equip them with the necessary tools to effectively do their work with the provision of an office space well equip.

Independent media, both electronic and print, must learn to inquire from county leaders before printing stories in their newspapers or airing negative news from the county and responsibility travel to Monrovia just to response to these irresponsible news.
Liberian media must learn to practice investigative reporting.

Thank you.

Chairman's introductory remarks: Honorable Superintendent, elders, madam city Mayoress, women group, our UNMIL Partners, citizens of Grand Gedeh county, the commission is please to be in your county to in saying so we want to express our appreciation for the warm welcome accorded us since we got in this county last Saturday we have conducted public hearing around the county in fulfillment of our duties. We as a people are anxious to move forward to develop ourselves but how do we do, it do we pretend that the past do not exist or do we come together as a nation to objectively review the past to find what went wrong or what needs to be done to make sure that these things do not happened again we had it in other Maryland, Grand Kru, River Gee and now we are pleased to be here.

This is why we are to take the Commission to the people. All the counties that we visited citizens come up to make recommendations to the commission if you will not have the opportunity share your experience with the TRC but base upon their testimonies you will identify with one or two testimonies here and after all of that the Commission will return to Monrovia where we hope that our politicians and major key players will also contribute to the process.

We will here up to Friday, for the first three days we will hear from the victims or perpetrators and the next two days we will hear from the institutions, at the end the government and people of Liberian people except us to identify the atrocities or what went on in the country, who did what and hear our recommendation.

What do we do for victims, can we provide compensations for victims, for women most of whom were violated, most of whom are widows and our youths about the youth 75 of whom constitutes the rank and file of the fighting forces or do we organize or institutionalized programs for them.

My people we are committed to taking out these tasks but we can not do it alone this is why we are here to hear from all of you. So as our witnesses come here we want everyone to give the due respect as they share their experiences with us something that they have been keeping in their hearts for the last 10 years.

Hence on behalf of the Commission I formally declare this Public Hearings opened:


First Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Zwedru City Grand Gedeh County
Helen Walker
(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: good morning and welcome to the TRC public hearings and for taking up your time to come to the hearings to tell your story to the people of Liberia, Grand Gedeh County and the Commissioners of the TRC.

Where do you live?

Primary Witness: Zwedru

When were you born?

Primary Witness: Dec 15, 1978

Primary Witness: 1900 at the age of 12 when the war we ran into the bushes after the rebels enter they started collecting people they brought us to town and they carry us to the station called the G-2 then while going there was a young man who kept watching me I don't know when we reach there they say someone have to sign for us and my uncle signed for us and no civilian could walk alone soldier have to walk with us then while going this young was behind us. The gun sounds were like music in our ears when we reach home my uncle wife brought seed rice for us to beat and find something to eat, but this soldier boy was till behind us, late in the evening he came back to the house before then our older sister husband took us from there and carry us to his house. Then soldier boy went to the house then he ask the papay for me and the papay say her sister husband came and carry them to his house then he say show me the house then the papay said I don't know the place then he if you don't should me the place I will tabay you duck-file tabay then he say the papay must sit on the ground, then the papay called one of our cousins say take this man and carry him to where the people go and reach him in the quarter and show him the place then our cousin went and the soldiers went and started looking for us and he found us so when he and his friends saw us I was sleeping I saw them then they left late in the evening by 7 to 8 he came back with his friends and called my ma and sister husband and my sister by then me little sister them we were playing the only thing I heard my mother saying is that my daughter is small you not get small sister then one woman say in our dialect that if you said that you will see your daughter laying in down in blood just now so since they respect you just allow them what they want to do some of your friends they can just sent their children and they can't see them again so if you do not want loose your daughter don't say that, after that my sister say I who my little sisters are scare of if you can see me sitting here without saying anything I know what those people can do lets us hold our heart, then my mother say my husband not here then my sister is even the man here in case they say they want your self.

He took me FDA camp we were there by Christmas time my sister beg one commando to take her to my place then she beg him say if few time pass please allow our sister to go and visit us and you are welcome to us we want to see her but even I say I going to see my other he will agree but if I go to my mother them not 15 minutes he will go for me thinking as if they will run away with me.

When 1994 war came before then I was pregnant I was holding baby, even I went to the hospital the say I was too small to born then we ran in Nimba, the thing that carry me in Nimba, they say LPC say any commander woman they see they will kill them, me and family we ran to together, so they we must walk different because they we were commando woman and my mother them were civilian, there, when I got to Diala, they put my parents in jail that they were the rebel but I did not know any other there, when I was living FDA camp the soldier boy I was with his boss man daughter called Izar, she said she and I must go to her house, her father Pah Yami was the ground commander, when I went I spoke to him and I say my father and I say my family on the jail, then they say Helen that us here they say we rebel so when I went home I say pay Yami then I say, papay my family is in jail right here up the hill and I say don't know what to Dao, late in the night some one say they should free them in the jail, the jail self the place wide open, no door and window, when they went home to the displace camp the next morning they went there and collected about 6 men and they going buy bonny to the Cestos river meaning that you going to die, the tied them with twan rope put down on the ground.

Then the papay give me plantain to carry for my family in the displace camp, when I went to carry the plantain, I went and say my father on the ground, then I know one man there to the check point then I told him my father was on the ground, then he say we will see about it then the ECOMOG soldiers were coming and they say the people should wake up then the ECOMOG car pass then they started carrying them again.

Then he asked me what was my man name then his name is Junior Bush then he say they should free my pah so from there then I went and told Pah Yami, some people come from me husband home, his sister and his uncle then he junior bush was behind Kpan town area LPC was in Zwedru then his people say they came for me to carry me then I say I don't know place your carrying me and my people are here then the Pah Yami say since you good to me I will keep your pah and mother here but you can go with your husband people, they were there until war came again and that's how they ran Tappita, we were around the ivory coast border.

In Tappita now my mother was selling in market and the people show me to here and said the they say they saw my mother and they asked her if she knew me and she yes her daughter married gio I say what the woman name they say Elizabeth and my man uncle when there an say them and they agree for me to go fro them by then my older sister had abortion then red cross took here to Ganta and she went to guinea.

While in the bush I was like a slave, three months I walk on my bare feet if mother was not there if she not give me slipper to wear, or lapper to wear or slipper, I could not get them. While the there I spent 4 years in Nimba, I made plantain, cassava farm when the things grow they carry to sell things they can't bring anything good for me. So when the war was finishing in grand Gedeh my sister and her husband was coming to Zwedru and but before then she wrote letter to me but I was in the bush when the letter reach so the town people read it when I came they give me the letter and it says we should follow her. But there was on money to go, my father say he will tap rubber, then my man too say he will tap too then while there I was walking with my bare feet and that what I was doing until I got 13 big pieces of rubber and after that they say they were going to see it and up to now I did not see one cent.

In that process the rubber I use to carry the latex use to flash on my baby no soap to wash the baby, in that the next day they came to me say I my father was sick when I came I only say my father body, then when my mother came then my sister heard it then she sent her husband to get us when the man came to us the people say, the people say the old ma and the other people can go but I who their woman should remain. Then I say how will I leave here, then my mother say it can't happen, then we call one of their aunty and we explain to her what her people were saying then she say your can't do this kind of things since some one died from the people your let the woman to go, and that how they allow us to go.

When we came the man, December 1998 then I saw him behind the house he say I come for us to go, you just coming then you say I come for us to go that how people can do something. Then I told him you took me by gun and now I am leaving you by my heart then he say I should give him my children, then he left then he went and called one Gondda then the man came when the man came he say we get talk he told my ma that his bother say he want his woman. Then the man say I will go and bring my friends for us to come and talk this thing. Up to now we did not see him again.

Then after sometime the junior man went in the barrack and brought soldiers that was one
Daia, Othello, Baby Diaper and Cooper I can't remember the other two names and the carry other two little girls. Because my sister was talking then they say they must drag my sister because was causing my sister when they were carrying later they left her. Then she too say the thing jr did to her his blood will not remain in her house so the next morning I carry the child to the barrack, then they say the baby was small I say no small not small your take the children. And I left the baby their and later they put him out say he was dirty. He went and left one half of burger wheat. Then I went and talk to the my sister and she allow me to bring the children and he went again and stole the children and carry them in Nimba now the children future spoil that what enthuse me to come to the TRC.

Questions from the commissioner:

Chairman: Where did these things happen?

Primary Witness: Some in Zwedru here and another in Nimba?

Do you know his name the name who forcefully married you?

Primary Witness: Junior bush his real name Junior Humpka but now he use his self Jeremiah.

Do you know where he is?

Primary Witness: He is here and sometime he can go to the gold mine.

Which faction was he from?

Primary Witness: NPFL

Commissioner Konneh: what is the name of your uncle who signed for you is he still living?

Primary Witness: Kollie, he is in river gee.

Where is your mother now?

Primary Witness: She is in town here.

What is name of your father?

Primary Witness: Thomas walker

When did you give birth to the first child?

Primary Witness: 1993

Second?

Primary Witness: 1996

Third?

Primary Witness: 1999

Where were your husband when you went in Nimba?

Primary Witness: He was there in Nimba.

And he was not care to look after you and your children?

Primary Witness: Yes

Do know where the children are right now?

Primary Witness: He carried them in Nimba?

When?

Primary Witness: 2004

What work he is doing?

Primary Witness: He on contract to contract.

What work he was doing after the elections?

Primary Witness: He use to go hunt when he kill animals he will sell it and but cigarette and be smoking.

Is this child his child the child you have now?

Primary Witness: No

What would be your advice to the with respect to the welfare of your children?

Primary Witness: I want them to go to school or learn trade?

Would you appreciate us contacting the county official on the welfare of the children?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Commissioner Syllah: do know what part of Zwedru he is?

Primary Witness: He don't pay rentage when he go and spend three months then they will put him outside then he will go and live somewhere again just like that.

So how you think the TRC can find him?

Primary Witness: I can only ask people and when people see him they can tell me.

He was living here before the war?

Primary Witness: No

Why he decided to come back for the children?

Primary Witness: He left the children with some one he was not there and the person he left the children with they were not treating them fine. It was after nine months before he came back for them.

Do you know his home town?

Primary Witness: Yes I know the town and his whole family.

Commissioner Coleman: how old was junior when he force you into marriage?

Primary Witness: I don't know, he was a young boy.

Are you married now?

Primary Witness: Yes

How many children you have now with your new husband?

Primary Witness: 3 children

Where is the boy coming from?

Primary Witness: From Nimba.

Commissioner Dolopei: you said where are your children?

Primary Witness: In Nimba

Where in Nimba?

Primary Witness: Gbowee village

Since two years now you have heard from your children?

Primary Witness: Yes

What are their names?

Primary Witness: Sarah, , Cinterkey, Mercy but she is with me going to school

Where is his own family?

Primary Witness: In Nimba

So the children with them?

Primary Witness: I don't know because his ma and pah not together?

Commissioner Stewart: are you able to send the children to school if they came back to you?

Primary Witness: I don't have the hand to send them to school but I want them back.

Who was the commander that was there that time?

Primary Witness: I forgetting his name

You saw them kill anyone in your presence?

Primary Witness: No

Did they tabay anyone?

Primary Witness: Yes

Did they loot places?

Primary Witness: Yes that one pa they did it plenty

Were there other young girls they took away?

Primary Witness: I don't not see that but he took one Pah Guann from Kumastonw as his slave because each of them had their slaves.

So they had plenty people as slave?

Primary Witness: Yes

When they were going they carry people with them?

Primary Witness: No that time people were running so they did not carry slave because everybody was running.

How long did this continue?

Primary Witness: From 1990 to 1992 when ECOMOG came.

Who will take care of the children if they came back?

Primary Witness: That why I want the TRC to help with my children school business.

Will you and your new husband be willing to accept these children into your home?

Primary Witness: Yes

But your husband now will allow them?

Primary Witness: Yes

Did they burn any house?

Primary Witness: No, I did not witness that

Chairman: did his people do any marriage ceremony when they carry you to Nimba?

Primary Witness: No

The reason whey I asked this question is because under Liberian law if you and a man have children and there is engagement or marriage arrangement the children are for you the woman.

Primary Witness: Last word: I want help from the TRC because I want to learn my trade because it is late for me to go to school now because any where I go for trade they would say we don't want baby ma or big belly so that one too is disturbing me.


Second Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Zwedru City, Grand Gedeh County
George G. Quiah
(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: good morning and welcome to the TRC public hearings and for taking up your time to come to the hearings to tell your story to the people of Liberia, Grand Gedeh County and the Commissioners of the TRC.

What is your name?

Primary Witness: My name is George G. Kuah

When were you born?

Primary Witness: I was born in 1938 at Bacula.

Where do you live?

Primary Witness: I live in Bacula Town.

Primary Witness: But before I talk, I want to know the reason why you sent for me because I can't just wake up like that and talk anything.

Chairman: So in other words you're saying you don't know why you are here before the TRC? You can remember talking with the TRC Statement takers.

Primary Witness: I can remember TRC, the two that came here two times. They took, they asked me to take my statement I don't know whether it is the same thing I am here for I don't know. But they asked before and I explained to them two times

Chairman: the very things you told them that why they said you much come. They believed what you told them is important for us to hear. So that is why they notified you and say that our bosses coming on Monday. So the things you told us come and tell us come and tell us if you still want to talk it. But at this time if your mind changed and you don't want to talk you can forget it. Is it ok

Primary Witness: Ok

Primary Witness: I can remember in 1990 when the war start, people start to run away and go to Ivory Coast. Since I born, I never traveled on the side before. However it was not my intension to travel on that side. I will die in my town. I will not go anywhere. Later, see how the people moving and we that remained in the town. The same way the other people going, I will go there too. God will provide I went. But when I went there after few times, they people told us they say the people pass now. They go to Zwedru they not reached to your town I can go there. We are grouped we went that time the people not even pass our town. I went. The first time they came they met me there, they came to Babera town two times. 1990 when they came I was there. That was Thursday when they reached in town. They only burned two houses when they left, we went in town. They finished spoiled the things them they will come here again. I was there Friday, Saturday I was there. Saturday morning the same people came back. When they came we ran away. They went and burned the town. We have some village near the town we went there. We say if we can still there two day if nothing happened then will stay there. We were to the village again they reached to us to the village. They burned all the house that were in there. They never touched nobody so I say oh me I going oh. Like this now there is no other place. The village that I depend they burned the place. So where I will sit down self and build house so I will go to Ivory Coast. We went. We not come back until 1996.

They say the war finished oh then we came back. We were among the first group to come back. When we were there three days we started brushing, we start brushing, we stay there more than the three days self. They say the people came back again, we were there then we went back to Suahken. P Karzer people came and say we grab the people now so we much get back to town and your will be cooking then we defend you people for you to sit down on the road there. We went back to the town. When we were there, the people not give them chance. Instead coming to inform us they never did it. They ran away. We were there in town some people say we going to check on the road. They go they can't come back. We never knew that people can kill them. We were thinking the people who say they were going to check why they not come back. We were thinking about them. Then other group said we going to check when they go they can't come back. So we that remain in the town now we were scared, my brother Peter Seoh and myself we make a farm near the town. And there we carried our bed, our mattress and built a tarpaulin tank. In the evening we go there when the day broke when we can see outside clear then we can come back. We were not satisfied to be in town, so one time we were in town in the morning then Peter Seoh go check on the road, then some people started packing their load too. He said my brother I saw plenty people coming. So let we look for place and hide ourselves. We ran and go under a cocoa tree.

When the people came they caught one man they call David Nuan with single barrel. They say call the people in town, we that George Borley people. We come to fix to guide you people so call your people. In fact George Borley told us that we should bring all body to Tuzon. So we want everybody to carry your to Tuzon. If you have your money put it somewhere and we will carry your to Tuzon. They get rice and everything to Tuzon. When I went and greet them, I thought they were Krahn people. Our own people, I went to greet them I say Taro then he say Onhum, taro, onhum I say ah! How the people can answer so. Yes then I called my other brother they called Moses Gediah. I say this people here they are not our people oh, so let run away. He said George don't say that thing there, that our people. When they not our people they will just shoot when they come to our town they will just kill us that our people, I say me I will look for way to go oh- then I start moving small because if I run the people get gun. When I run they will shoot me. So I looked for way, I was passing the dump pile way they went and called me. They say old let's go over there. I told them I will make announcement on this side yah. So the other people that are in the bushes will come and join us. They said oh oldman go call them. Now I started speaking our dialect.

Mo geo mo gee, that is your come oh, our people our going I saw one small road path, I pass. I went that bush there I was there until 1:00 o'clock I say the people not bad people. Ever since the people came and now 1:00 and never do anything, I will go back in town. I was going to the dump pile way, I heard them saying my man kill the thing let go. I say ah that town not easy. The way they are hallowing so, I went back to the same place. I was there, that time we came we clear the whole town. If you stand you can see far place. So I my one in the bush I was just thinking. I say oh I can hear anybody crying. I was there then other man, they were two men from Ketor town we were all in Babera town, because the road blocked now there is no way for them to cross, and nobody to their town. The other man name Thomas Saydee and Sammy Sesaw, Sammy Sesaw part he's living he's to Ketor town now. So the other man they killed they called Thomas Saydee he said but how is it today just like you come to force us.

Then when they reached to my house then they start calling, George, George, I heard them but I was in the bush I not wanted to answer them. When they called it don't take four minute self I hear them was firing gun. Then it was almost four o'clock now they were firing gun. After firing then Sammy Sesaw and myself, went to the house then they gone now. We went just like hunter from the bush. When day broke we just lay down. When we reached to the town, we look at them. We don't have no way no strength to bury somebody. You see like this now all we have to do let's go sleep in the bush tomorrow we have to go to Ivory Coast. We went we slept in the bush. From Babera town before we reached to Zuu it took about 17 days before we reached to Zuu. Ah they spoiled all the houses that were there. I who talking now I have house in Zwedru here, I have one house to Barbera town. All two they spoiled it, that all I know about it.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: sorry for all that happened to you. Can you remember who they killed?

Primary Witness: John Nah. David Bayea, Martha Bayea, Moses Daye and Thomas Saydee.

That all?

Primary Witness: those that were killed in the town, but those who they killed on the road were not known.


Who do you think that send them?

Primary Witness: I don't know, but they say George Borley sent them. And that they were LPC.

Commissioner Steward: who were in control of Zwedru when you came from back from Ivory Coast?

Primary Witness: That Charles Taylor group

You say this happened in 1996?

Primary Witness: yes in April

Did they loot?

Primary Witness: Yes the loot

Did they carry anybody?

Primary Witness: No, I was not present.

Did they burn people houses in 1996?

Primary Witness: no that time no house. We built these small small houses.

Commissioner Dolopei: can you name those who your sent on the road who didn't return?

Primary Witness: Yes, they were: Alfred Saydee, Albert Kuah, Sammy William and Bitter Sweat.

Commissioner Coleman: I just want to know about this, two incidents as because you they came and said that George Borley sent them, do you think they were just the same people but they were trying to play trick?

Primary Witness: yes, that time LPC people were not here self.

When was it?

Primary Witness: 1994 -1996

You talked about the people who came and fooled you say they were your own people?

Primary Witness: they say they said they were our people and one of our own people (David Mnah) called us the town people to come out and we came out because his voice was familiar.

Were your relatives among them?

Primary Witness: so so bones were there, we should not make up anybody, we just took pickup up the bones and buried.

But what about the MODEL time they did kill anybody and burn town and loot?
Witness: No, they did not come here.

Commissioner Syllah: the people they killed where there children among them?
Witness Yes

Commissioner Konneh: sorry for your experience. The only confirm affairs that war in not good. But you mentioned that on your way to the Ivory Coast you spent days in the bush. How many days?

Primary Witness: spent many days, more than two days.

What was the name of the town you mentioned that these NPFL people killed people?

Primary Witness: Barbera town

What was the name of the town they killed people the third time?

Primary Witness: Tonjlu town

Chairman: is Albert Kuah related to you?

Primary Witness: No

Since the killing have come to know how many people died?

Primary Witness: Yes, 28 persons

But since your returned have the elders ever had any ceremony for the spirits to lay down?

Primary Witness: no

What will be your last words, before you leave us?

Primary Witness: as I said in Zwedru and I in Babera but the war spoiled all and have my two (2) children in school and I am only down farming job. I don't have anything. So that your recommendation your say your will make you make it good, good oh.

Chairman: We as commission can only make recommendation and we will remember you, you hear.
You can leave now.


Third Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Zwedru City, Grand Gedeh County
Mercy Daytopo Yamie
(Third Primary Witness of day one)

The Third 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. She was accompanied by an interpreter.

Chairman: good afternoon and welcome to the TRC public hearings and for taking up your time to come to the hearings to tell your story to the people of Liberia, grand kru county and the Commissioners of the TRC. What you are doing is the right thing because with peace and reconciliation our country will not go anywhere. And for us to reconcile we must first know what happened.

What year were you born?

Primary Witness: I am 23 years old

Are you working?

Primary Witness: No

Primary Witness: During the war time I came from Ivory Coast me and my ma and my ma owner of grand ma pass away and she say we must go tell our people in Nimba and on the way we fall in ambush ands all of them die and my brother in America and that me alone here. The time they catch my ma she say they must na kill me and her and they say they will kill only my ma and they will leave me then they carry me in front and when they finish doing what they wanted to do I came back and I na see my ma, and they say I must not talk if I talk they will kill me.

Then they carry me Nimba and the people say I must na go if I want to go I must cut their cassava and I say no and they say I must beat their rice and I say no then they lock me in the room and then they sent me then I ran away and the other people I went to I tell them say the people want to kill me I from Grand Gedeh and they say I must be with them and I was carrying load for them. Then I was tired I was sitting down and I was crying and they say I must not cry and I was with I was looking for my ma and I can't see any body and while we were going I saw my ma body on the road and we na no who kill her. I was there I was crying and then we started going and we fall in ambush and they people say they will love to us if we na do it they will kill us then I managed I ran away. And when I reach there somewhere I see one woman and I stay with here and some other people came and they wanted to kill us and one boy took me and he is the one that is minding me. he brought me in town here and I born two children for him and that he talking care of me but when I see other people ma then I can be crying (witness Crying).

Questions from the Commissioners:

Commissioner Dolopei: sorry for what happened. We also want to tell you tank you for telling the story. We will ask you small question to get some things clear.

Commissioner Stewart: what faction killed your people?

Primary Witness: That the MODEL people.

What year was that?

Primary Witness: I can't remember.

Do you know the name of the commander?

Primary Witness: I don't know them they carry me far place so that I can't know them.

Do you know where they carry you?

Primary Witness: I na know the place.

They kill people in front of you?

Primary Witness: No

How do you know they kill you people?

Primary Witness: They took me away from there before they killed them and my father he went in the house to take our things and they burned the house.

Commissioner Coleman: did they kill your mother and father?

Primary Witness: Yes

Do you have brothers and sisters?

Primary Witness: I have only one brother but he na know me he is in America.

What time did this happen?

Primary Witness: 2003

What is the name of the boy who helped you?

Primary Witness: Richard

He forced you?

Primary Witness: No he na force me they time what they were using me that the time he took me and he taking care of me.

You have children?

Primary Witness: Yes two children.

What are their names?

Primary Witness: Abraham and Richardson.

What is the name of your rather and mother?

Primary Witness: Jamesa Yammi and Etha Yammi

Commissioner Syllah: how long you stayed with the MODEL group?

Primary Witness: I was with them until the war finish.

What time you met Richard?

Primary Witness: I met him at Tapata

Was he part of the soldiers?

Primary Witness: He was in the radio room

Do you know where you mother people and father people are?

Primary Witness: No.

Have you looked for them?

Primary Witness: Yes but I did not see any of them

How many children had?

Primary Witness: Seven children but all of them go back only two of us here.

Have you gone back to your father yard?

Primary Witness: No because if I go there I can be crying and I don't know where my pa and ma people are.

Commissioner Dolopei: do you know your house in Tapata where you were living?

Primary Witness: No the house break down

How long did you cook for the rebels?

Primary Witness: I stay long with them and I cook long time.

How long did you stay with them?

Primary Witness: I stay with them for one month and I ran away from them.

Did they rape you when you were with them?

Primary Witness: Yes

You got pregnant from it?

Primary Witness: Yes

Where is the child?

Primary Witness: The child go back.

How old was the child?

Primary Witness: Two months

Ok, sorry for what happened to you. From your story we are able to get some ideas of what went on and to say sorry for what happened. What is you last word?

Primary Witness: I want for you to help me and my children.

What is Richard doing?

Primary Witness: He is going to school.

What is the name of you brother in America.

Primary Witness: His name is Chinese Boy.


Forth Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Zwedru City, Grand Gedeh County
Joseph Kekula
(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 and welcome to the TRC public hearings and for taking up your time to come to the hearings to tell your story to the people of Liberia, Grand Gedeh County and the Commissioners of the TRC.

What is your name again?

Primary Witness: My name is Joseph Kekula.

When were you born?

Primary Witness: I was born in the year 1956.

Where do you live?

Primary Witness: I live in and Saniwen, in Barzon district.

What are you doing currently?

Primary Witness: I am doing farming.

Primary Witness: Thank you for coming. We the citizen of Liberia, especially I Joseph Kekula I want peace in Liberia we don't' want any trouble. Because I from Bong county. I have been here for 28 years now in Grand Gedeh. I was working with DCADP as grand textured. That Samuel Doe brought me here. So I stay here, stay here learn my trail here. I born my children 12 living children I have them in Grand Gedeh they living with me now. We were here 1990 we were in Dozre town, working with Flamingo logging cooperation as timba-ja operator. So when I was living there, we do every thing in comer. We were there 1990 the war came. We were there the war came then I run away my children and we went in the Ivory Coast. When we were there, I have my little brother picture with me here. He was living with his name is John Doeba he was teacher for ADRA. When NPFL rebel entered in Nebodee they took my brother and my little daughter away. When they took them away, because they were not living with me because the little boy was teaching in Karlawo because they were living there then I was living in Tearbee karlaku. So I fight by all means I can't get my family. My little son my little daughter I can't get them because they were living with me so when the war finished 1980, I came back in Liberia, I came back home. I thought they went home. Because we were Kpelleh people when the war finished I went home I couldn't get them. From there before some people told me they say Joseph, then I went home some people told me say Joseph, the people killed your brother and your daughter. So I sat down I start remembering, thinking and start feeling bad. What I will do because I nine get hand. So I have a Krahn woman that's how we start making development and making some things. So in 2004 model came my children, my wife and I went in the bush. When we come back, that was one general the called him GND, it meaning fire replay fire. He was general for MODEL. They met one woman in the town that took sasaywood. Because the woman and myself live together the woman is a Krahn woman. Because I have a Krahn woman so I get feelings for them. That day I did go on the farm because I was feeling bad. Because MODEL top bride say the woman was making watch. They say the woman get watch so they will do sasaywood. The clan chief the late David Julu say Mr. Kekula you can join the people and go and check whether the people will gave the woman sasaywood. When we got there, he came he see me and he say Kekula the people gave the woman sasaywood, I say oh I don't know because I am a stranger. The people say they gave the woman sasaywood some people came in the town and say that Kekula because that Kpelleh man they came to find me, they didn't see me, They grasped my son that how they start beating my son. And when I came my wife told me oh Kekula, they beating your son .I say let him killed me and spared my son because me I am old now I can die anytime. When I got there I say Mr. Gaye what happen? He say your flogged the man. They saw me they say oh, this is the Joseph man. They started to knock me with stick, over my body the man kicking me and they knock me down. Even today it makes me to get hernia. 2005, I took operation in Zwedru here. I am a second handed human being I can do nothing for myself. Go see the house I am living in, when you see it you will sorry for me. I have my children I na able to do nothing for myself. They beat me now, now when the sun gets hot I can see well when I go to toilet I can toilet with blood because through the man beating. And they lit lamp and put it to my mouth and say I much lick it. I could not say no because I not get arm. I couldn't do any thing. There were sore in my mouth for one mouth. What I will do I don't have power. We stay there the man came and say if I na gave him three thousand (3000LD) they will killed me. I go I take all my rice I match, gave him the three thousand and that how they released me. That what happened when I heard about TRC I came.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: Thank you for coming I want to welcome you to the TRC. We appreciation that you could take up your basic schedule to share your experience with us. It help us to live better, it helps us to reduce the burden that we experience and we all share the burden and also is having on us. Because we realized that every body becomes award of the experience and then we all share the burden. In that way, we get to understand what is happening during the conflict. And who we can fine solution to stop another war from coming in our country. So we thank you very much for coming.

Commissioner Stewart: Let me say how sorry we are for what happen to you. But what time of 2003 this happened to you?

Primary Witness: I can't remember the month.

You say what was the big man name?

Primary Witness: General Yakpa, Jr. Gaye

They looted from people?

Primary Witness: No.

They did burn houses?

Primary Witness: No.

Rape girls?

Primary Witness: No.

Did you see another big commander?

Primary Witness: Lazo, that Mandingo man

Did he apologize to you?

Primary Witness: Yes, Joshua can even came and drink my palm wine.

Commissioner Dolopei: Sorry you hear. The general you talked about took part in beating you?

Primary Witness: Yes, in fact he the real person who really beat me.

Commissioner Coleman: Sorry, but we need to know more about this because it's a national issue. But is your mother alive?

Primary Witness: Yes, she is in Bong County but my father has died -1978

How was life in Ivory Coast like with you?

Primary Witness: Fine, because I am strong so my life was fine. Except that Liberia is my home. I can speak Krahn well and French

How many wives do you have?

Primary Witness: One, because me am a Christian.

Commissioner Syllah: What is the name of your brother?

Primary Witness: John Dongba

Commissioner Konneh: I am sorry for what happened to your daughter and your brother. As a Christian I hope you believe in predestination.

Chairman: Thank you very much. Is there anything in your mind that you will like to tell us?

Primary Witness: Yes, I want to ask you, this question the way I came and talked all this now what will be my own the security now? Because they people I know what I am telling you.

Our security people will talk to you when you finish.

Fifth Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Zwedru City, Grand Gedeh County
Jasper Zleho
(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. He was accompanied by a translator.

Chairman: good afternoon and welcome to the TRC public hearings and for taking up your time to come to the hearings to tell your story to the people of Liberia,

Your date of birth?

Primary Witness: I was born 1939

What are you doing?

Primary Witness: I am a farmer?

Primary Witness: When the war started in 1990 I was in my village planting. When the war was coming we thought it was not coming to us. We said since the president was from Tuzon we thought the war will stop there but that was no the case. Two of my friends colonel Jloka and Glay came to our town and said the rebels were taking Grand Gedeh and so you the men of the town that can hunt have to join us with the single barrels so that we can have enough fire power and they said they will brings single barrels and they brought it and they brought trucks and we entered. while we were going the car put us down in Senewen and they gave us single barrel then one of my friends use to ring the school bell called Jonathan was given a M1 and we went on the front and we started fighting and he and I ran away. While we were running the gun fired and they bust my friend head, that was the first time I saw a man been killed by gun so I ran in the bush where I was for 2 days and when I reach my town I told the people to pack their things for us to go and there was a letter from Bomi Hills that came. My little brother that build 2 houses for me the people entered his house and killed him and I told my families let go then we left. When we went my brother that I am next to was also shot and the bullet was in him when we fled and he died in four months. So my nine and three children which are twelve were what I was feeding in Ivory Coast.

When I came back my two houses were burnt down and the other one is standing but there is no roof and I cant sent my children to school and my crop farms were covered by the bush and I am fighting with is this is what I am using to send my three children to school and the others are not going to school because there is no hands.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: sorry for what happened to you and we are happy that you were able to come and tell this story. You have talked for the others that were not able to come here today. The commissioners will now ask you some questions. Did all of this happened in 1990

Primary Witness: Yes.

Did they forced you to hold the single barrel or you voluntarily joined?

Primary Witness: He brought the idea but we were not forced to doing it we only try to go and defend our county.

Was it a defense force or a militia force?

Primary Witness: If we had died then it is free because we were just citizen defense force and not working for the government.

Commissioner Konneh: before been asked to join and fight were you able at the time to shoot gun?

Primary Witness: I am a single barrel hunter but I have not fired fighting guns before.

Were you and the others hunters?

Primary Witness: I was among those that went and not all of that were given guns that knew about guns.

When you fell in the ambush were you accompanied by the AFL solders or you were all civilians?

Primary Witness: We were accompanied by the AFL and they were in the front and Primary Witness: one of them was killed in the ambush.

When you were in the truck were they wearing uniforms?

Primary Witness: We were in color cloths and they were uniform.

You brother who was taken and he was bleeding was he a defense force also?

Primary Witness: Yes

So he was shot on the front?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Commissioner Coleman: your parents what happened to them?

Primary Witness: My mother at the time was alive but when my little brother got killed she was worried and died in the IC and my father died before the war.

What happened to the other brothers and sisters beside the one who died in the war?

Primary Witness: My sister and I ran teetered.

What about your wife?

Primary Witness: I have three wives and we ran to the IC

Which group was general Glay in then?

Primary Witness: He was in the AFL

How long did you stay in the Ivory Coast?

Primary Witness: I was there until 2003 and it didn't take long until the MODEL came.

What was your experience with the MODEL?

Primary Witness: When they entered I took my wife and children to the village and I did not come to town until the war finished.

What was your experience in the Ivory Coast?

Primary Witness: The condition there was very terrible, if I tell you we will not go but the only thing that happened is that if you are given a land to farm you will brush it and another person will come and take and if they bring food for us the Ivorian will take a bulk of the food.

Commissioner Dolopei: when they killed your brother, did others died with him?

Primary Witness: When he died the others went to the Ivory Coast before they died.

How about Moses Glay?

Primary Witness: For him he was at the real so when he heard the sound he turned around and came to Zwedru.

Do you know the name of the people who killed your brother?

Primary Witness: No they were in the bush.

Commissioner Stewart: were you in the town when they killed all these people there as said by one witness?

Primary Witness: I ran away and so those that stayed there were the ones affected.

Chairman: we want to say thank you again for coming to tell your story. Before you leave is there any thing you want to tell us?

Primary Witness: The reason why I gave my statement is that for now I do not have a house and he brakes house is standing and no roof and my children are going and no help so I am asking you to assist me.

We understand your plea, but that the Commission don't employment the recommendations the advance to the government. The war has affected a lot of people and we are going around the nation to get the story of all those in the nation that were affected. But after also of our works the recommendations that we are capable of making are those that everybody will benefit from, such as schools and roads that all will benefit from even those that are not yet born. It is also possible that we recommend for one or two individuals based on the gravity of their cases brought before us.

Sixth Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Zwedru City, Grand Gedeh County
Rancy J. Borkay
(Sixth Primary Witness of day one)

The Sixth 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: you are welcome to the TRC Public Hearings, this is the opportunity fro you to tell your story to the people of Grand Gedeh and the people of Liberia.

Where do you live?

Primary Witness: Zlehtown

When were you born?

Primary Witness: 1963 September 2

Primary Witness: 1985 before the elections of 1985 we were given opportunity to organize political parties, one of elders prominent citizen grand Gedeh took a different turn in the political stand meaning not the NDPL but LAP he became the first campaign manager of the party in my area called Peter Johnson that became an offense to the regime of Doe and there was elimination against his family and himself. During the aborted coup by Quiwonkpa, Mr. Peter Johnson was arrested and hundreds of Doe's soldiers move in our area our people were brutally handled some of our parents escape to the Ivory Coast and some eventually died, while that process and after the aborted coup then Samuel Doe returned to Zwedru then he called a town meeting then there was a first cousin of mine who was Washington Wolo a patrol man at the time he was assigned in Tuzon was asked to serve duty that night though that was not his time to serve the guard, motive behind it was that the first Land and Mines Minister under Doe regime died according to the people of Tuzon that it was customary that when ever great man died they have to carry someone with him but the person has to be alive and then they buried this patrol man near the coffin of Willi Nimbo. This thing cause problem and we tried to get the actual story from the then president Doe nothing prove fruitful.

The people of Tuzon holds us apology to the people of Gbawo and we have serious problem with them until they come apology what ever happened at the time we will never forgive them we hope they come to tell us what happen actually.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: we appreciate you coming to the commission to share this experience with us apart from us look into past atrocities and the crimes committed during the war the TRC is also interested in sources of potential conflict issues that would cause potential conflict in the future so that we can find immediate lookup to it and so thank you for elaborating that the people of Zlehtown are today not in peace with the people of Tuzon because of what happen and I am confident by you coming it means that your people want their way out of this and want the situation be resolve so thank you.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: what is the name of the police office that was killed?

Primary Witness: Washington Wolo

Was he a citizen of Zlehtown?

Primary Witness: Yes few kilometer.

What year did this happened?

Primary Witness: 1985

Commissioner Stewart: what month this incident happen?

Primary Witness: 1985 December to January 1986

Who was the officer in charge on the night when patrol man Wolo was on guard?

Primary Witness: We did not know the details we only know that he was asked to served and the next day we did not see him again.

Do you know where they buried him?

Primary Witness: It was a crime by then to ask where is the burial site, you can't try it.

Can you clarify a little bit the incident leading to his death?

Primary Witness: I think it had some political motivation,

Since that happened did any of the family member bring that up with the Doe government or subsequent government?

Primary Witness: No for some of us no but for Doe government time none of us could try it.

How were you certain that this happen the way you think?

Primary Witness: We had some of you people in the mansion too and they knew about it but could not say it.

Commissioner Dolopei: do you know some of the people that were involve?

Primary Witness: Most of these that were executing these kinds of things were the top confidant of the president like Edward Slanga and others.

Were some of these confidants in your town when torturing of your people were going on?

Primary Witness: Yes one person I can remember on the ground was Thomas Gbamga he was on the ground on these were going on.

Did any other person died in that incident?

Primary Witness: Not instantly but few months later old man Gaye and old man Cipha died later as the result of the beating and torturing.

Commissioner Coleman: is there any person that you can remember in that incident?

Primary Witness: Thomas Gbamga, I say I can remember he was there.

What was the situation regarding Mr. Slainga, and Blayee would elaborate a little further?

Primary Witness: These were confidants of Samuel Doe they were very close to Doe it was impossible for those kinds of things to go on if they don't know about it. For Blaye now he is in exile right now.

Who was Willi Nimbo?

Primary Witness: Mr. Nimbo was a distant cousin of Doe, and was the first Minister of Land Mines and Energy under Doe's government when he died they said there was a custom that he should be buried with someone alive and that's how they buried patrol man Washington Wolo alive with the coffin of Nimbo.

Was his death a natural death?

Primary Witness: I didn't care to know.

Do you have any other experience with LPC or MODEL?

Primary Witness: The only one that went really down to my heart was the one I just explained to you.

Commissioner Syllah: did Washington Wolo leave any family behind?

Primary Witness: Yes

How have life been for them since their father died?

Primary Witness: Very difficult for them, more than you can imagine.

Commissioner Konneh: Mr. Witness I don't have a question but a comment for you. You brought this issue up for all of us to get the clear picture of what happen to your kinsman Patrolman Washington Wolo and other members of your town. And we can see that you are interested in resolving these matters, so if any one who knows any thing about this matter should please come to the commission whether in camera or public to give us some insight of this story. We want to call on the people of Tuzon and general the Krahn ethnic group that is here to take this massage to our people in Tuzon so that we can sit down and see how to settle those kinds of problem this is what our act provide that we should provide forum between a perpetrator and a victim this fellow has come for us to see into this matter he said no one has ever gone to them to apologize for what happened to his people we appreciate it.

Commissioner Stewart: How do you think the TRC can facilitate?

Primary Witness: To make the people Tuzon to know that somebody is feeling bitter about us but if it is not done it would not go down with us.

Chairman: Beside Washington Wolo, has being any other cases of living person being buried?

Primary Witness: That what they say if great people died someone must be buried with that dead person.

Are
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