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The second day of the TRC Public Hearings Proceedings held on Wednesday January 9, 2008 at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion. The Hearings session started with the Commissioners of the TRC being ushered into their seats followed by a welcome remarks form the Chairman of the TRC Cllr. Jerome Verdier, who then called on the Hearings Officer Pastor John Teayah to invite the first Primary Witness: to give her testimony.
Forth Primary Witness: of the TRC Public Hearings Marie Konyan
(First Primary Witness: of day Two)
The first Primary Witness 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 Verdier: Good morning madam Primary Witness: how are you today? We are the Commissioners of the TRC and will be listening to your story today. You don't have anything to be afraid of. Just say the truth of what happened.
Primary Witness: On May 15, 1993, in Belle Fassama, we were in bed when we heard the shouting sounds all near the town. The soldiers surrounded the town and attacked it and they were shouting all over. They put all the civilians outside and we should go to their compound. They were just killing, killing and killing. Then as I was coming outside, on my way I came in contact with one soldier boy, he said I am coming to kill you, so I stood up, I was crying he said sorry come pass, on my way going, he shot and the bullet hit the ground and the sand flash on me, right away I saw one soldier running coming towards me telling his friend don't kill that girl. He came and said I will rescue you, still his friend swear that he will kill me. So on our way going the boy rush me on their compound, before we reach there were lot of dead bodies along the way. In the compound, they put us on the side we the civilians. Then the commander came and pick among then people. First he took fifteen people and I was among that fifteen people. He took us and carry us and killed fourteen people and carry me back. They were continuous doing this and any time they called a new group, I will be among that group. When they carry us they will kill all the other people and bring me back. They were doing this from the morning up till the afternoon until the commander call me and say you girl come here, come and go stay among the dead bodies, your own will finish today. He carried me among the dead bodies, I was standing there, he asked me where your people and I called all my people who were with me there, and he told his soldiers "your listen to me, this girl is my wife and nobody should bother her again" so he told the soldier boy to carry me on the road to wait for him for us to go where we were going. They carry me and I was with them. They were still killing while we were going. In the evening they said we could not sleep there, maybe their enemies would attack them so we going straight to Belleh Yallah. So right away we got on our feet. While going they started killing old people. By the time that they know you are not able to walk, they will kill you. You old they kill you, you sick they kill you. We reached certain place my mother was holding my grand ma hand, they told my ma to gave my grand ma so that they can sit her down somewhere, and when they were going back, they took the Oldma to Bellah Fassama. So my mother left my grand ma hand and they sit her down by the road. Before we could look, hey fired her and she fell down and died. My mother wanted to cry and I begged her not to cry and they told my ma to laugh or they will kill her too, so she had to laugh. I told her to forget and continue walking. We reach certain place my father was in front and they did not even call his attention, they just shot behind his neck. He dropped and my ma wanted to cry and I told her not to cry because for me I was not even to my self, I said lets go. This kind of killings that was going on me I was not to my self. The human being blood was on my body so I was not to myself. I say what will happen, will happen. When we reach Bellah Yallah, they told us we were not sleeping again because if we sleep again their enemies will attack them, so we should get ready to go Bong County. We kept walking till we reached a village called Tumala and they said we were sleeping there. That whole they were raping small girls, young girls, oldma, pregnant women. That whole night there was no sleeping, soso (only) raping. Then the next day they said we were passing Bong County way, when we reach to one Kpelle town called Malakpelle, they stop us there saying that we were spending some time there. We were there for three days, then the commander who said I was his wife; I did not even lay eyes on him again. We were just going, no stop. From Malakpelle, they said we were going across St. Paul. So the other two soldier boys they sent to guide me started arguing themselves saying since our commander can not come, I will take the woman and the other one say no I will take the woman. Then the two said since we are arguing then when we get on the road let us kill the girl one time so that our confusion will finish. So one boy was there name Junior Belleh, the boy told my ma that old ma don't let your daughter to get among the group because we going across St. Paul river, so if you allow your daughter to go they will kill her. My ma said what I will do now; they said nobody should leave in the town. The soldier boy said let her go under the bed. After the people leave the girl will make her way back to Belleh Fassamah. So I went and lay myself under the bed when the people left I came outside my two sisters they killed them and I had their two children. When I was going back Belleh Fassamah, I carry them with me. While going, I jumped in the bush, I did not take the direct road because I was too scared and I took the two children along. We were in the bush for eleven days, I did not even know where we were going, no food to eat the children were just crying on me, luckily we reached a village, I saw one oldma coming from a distance, I asked the oldma for food and said that they had killed my brother, sister and father. She said she had only banana and I said I wanted it. I gave the banana to the children and one of them started vomiting. The old ma said we should sleep but I told her we wanted to go because I was too scary. Then one oldma there said the water was fill so if I go I will suffer, so I told the people to help me to cross me. So the people took us to the waterside crossed the children and came for me. He tied rope on the one side of the rive to the other and told me to hang on it to cross. I did it but when I reached in the middle I couldn't make it again and I started crying. So he told me to remain on the rope and he was coming to get me. When we crossed we thanked him and we started walking, it was in the night when we reached Belleh Yallah. I just bypass Belleh Yalllah because that time nobody was in the town, so I went to one small village and I slept in the village. The next morning I woke and the children were crying and I was week and hungry, I was not able to carry any of them. When we rested I took the girl on my back and the other in my hand and my feet were swollen up. Reaching Bellah Fassamah, we started seeing dead bodies. When I reach Bellah Fassamah I saw some ULIMO soldiers and they call me and the children and we went there. They interview us and asked us to go home, but I was crying because they had already burnt the town. I na get (don't have) ma, pa, brother, sister nothing what I will do now. What I will do, I just finding way o the farm with the two children. The other child self before we reach on the on the farm he died. So when we saw the condition, I took my way to Monrovia, that's how I came to town.
Questions from the commissioner:
Chairman: Thank you for your statement. We will now allow the Commissioners to ask you few questions for us to understand some other things. I will start: you said where did this incident take place?
Primary Witness: Belleh Fassama
Where is Belleh Fassama
Primary Witness: Belleh Fassama is in Gbapolu County.
Commissioner Stewart: thank you very much for sharing your story with us. My question is do you remember the name of the commander who was in the area you just mentioned.
Primary Witness: the first commander the one that carry, they used to called him Sah.
Commissioner Washington: I join my fellow commissioners to say never-mind to you. You talked about the soldiers were they government soldiers, NPFL, ULIMO or which group?
Primary Witness: they were NPFL
Can you remember the ages of the children, your sister children that you took after she was killed?
Primary Witness: the other one was 3yr and other one was 6yrs
Commissioner Coleman: the killings that you saw, were the soldiers fight other soldiers or they were just slaughtering civilians?
Primary Witness: No, on our way going that's the time they were killing, just killing, when I was coming back the time I saw the dead bodies. They were just killing innocent people.
Commissioner Kula: if you see some of those who were doing the killings would you recognize some of them, you know some of them?
Primary Witness: Right now the boy I remember right now is Junior Blah, that the boy that came and rescued me.
About those that did the killing, when you see some of them can you recognize them?
Primary Witness: No, because I was not to myself by that time.
Commissioner Konneh: you said one of the commanders took you as his wife, can you remember him or his name?
Primary Witness: Yes
What is his name?
Primary Witness: they used to call him Sah.
Do you know whether he is still living?
Primary Witness: No.
Since then you have not seen him?
Primary Witness: No.
Commissioner Dolopei: what I wanted to know from you is, you said they killed your brother, father and sisters, do you know who did the killings? Was it one person who did the killing or different people?
Primary Witness: No.
Can you recognize them?
Primary Witness: no actually to admit I was not even to myself. Because I would have been the first to be killed I was in like darkness.
How old were you at the time?
Primary Witness: I was 16 yrs old.
Chairman: can you call the name of your relatives that were killed?
Primary Witness: they used to call my pah Moses Konyon, my brother Charles Konyon, my sister Esther Konyon, and our ma last born Jangar Konyon. They were killed in 1993, March 15.
You said you saw dead bodies on your back, can you say how many were they?
Primary Witness: they were over three hundred seventy five bodies.
You just said they were parking the bodies, how? Who were parking the bodies?
Primary Witness: that the boys who were living in the town who survive.
Commissioner Washington: which fighting group you saw in the area?
Primary Witness: I saw ULIMO soldiers in Belleh Fassama...
Which one of the ULIMO, J or K?
Primary Witness: I don't know.
The two children you had, which one of them died and which one of them live?
Primary Witness: that the boy died and the girl lives.
Please tell the Liberian people how has your live been now as a result of what you went through.
Primary Witness: it is too difficult, I am facing real problem. Right no I am in school but I na get no helper. Even to help my ma I na able. I don't have anybody to help me.
Where is your ma right now?
Primary Witness: I left her to the house now,
How is she coming on?
Primary Witness: she is alright, sometimes she can sit down think and cry but I can advice.
Commissioner Syllah: how long did live in Fassama for or were you borne in Fassama?
Primary Witness: I was borne in Fassama
Can tell us why the rebels decided to collect the 15 persons and started shooting them? Do you have any idea on that?
Primary Witness: No, they just entered the town and started shooting and they put us outside so-so killing they were doing.
Chairman: thank you for being patriotic and coming to help us to achieve our goal in reconciling the Liberia people. Your testimony is surely going to help us in making our final report.
Fifth Primary Witness: of TRC Public Hearings Aaron Leroy Grimes
(Second Primary Witness: of day two)
The second Primary Witness 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 Verdier: Mr. Primary Witness:...Mr. Primary Witness: good morning and welcome. How are you today?
Primary Witness:: fine
Chairman Verdier: well I want to thank you for taking the courage to share your experiences with the commission and the Liberian people and foreign residents in our midst. As you understand this is part of our healing and reconciliation process and we value he testimonies of all who have come to the TRC to say that this is what happen I want to share it with you the Liberian people so that they can know. We trust that you will give us today the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I am the chairman of commission Jerome Verdier and the eight commissioners are here to listen and understand what has transpired and what you have to tell the Liberian people. so welcome again.... You may begin.
Primary Witness:: thank you very much. I am happy to be here to share with you my story and to tell you my fellow brothers and sisters of this commission, so that the truth can be said in the meeting that through this process, we can have a true forgiveness. As a clergy and this is the true and nothing but the truth in Jesus' name.
Primary Witness:: it all started in 1989, when I finish for vacation in Monrovia from Grand Bassa County and my school close, I came to my late grand mother and it was in Monrovia that I heard from my parents that the rebels were in town. It sounded funny. As a 17 years old child, I never knew what it really was. So it was like fun.
When we saw the things over the news and televisions were showing pictures of some Army people, but I didn't take them to be serious. Until when I got back to commence school in March 1990. 1990 I was attending in Grand Bassa County. While there, news of the death of one senior police officer.
This happened one and half week, to the fall of Grand Bassa County after several fighting for three months. At that time, no one could leave Grand Bassa to come to Monrovia; neither could anybody leave from Monrovia to Grand Bassa.
And we were living in Herbert Ville not too far from the flour's mill company. While there, one afternoon, I saw my father coming. He was serving as the Electrical Engineer at LIMCO at that time, when he came about 2:00 pm and said there was reinforcement from Monrovia to Gbarpolu. And he decided to come to see if we were still around. Unfortunately for him, he left everything at our side and fear grabbed us. We wanted to leave, but later decided not to leave.
And so we stayed there until the following day. It was calm. On the third day, things became worst. In the afternoon 3 pm precisely, thousands of people come running from the road side to Monrovia intersection. They kept running from around the flourmill company area. So they moved towards our side. So when my mother saw them coming along with my father, they were also afraid. And the crowd got so much that my father decided, we should leave, but my mother kept saying that we weren't seeing any firing, although people were leaving from Central Buchanan and coming.
So we said no, so we were there, we stay there until around 4pm and the crowd got, worst and worst. It was that time we decided to leave. Now, at that point, while we were leaving, before getting to the barracks, my brother said, we do not know where we were going, so we should go back.
When we got back home, all the people had left the area. We were few people left. We stayed by 5 pm to 6 pm the firing became worst. The rebels were already, coming in from the main road, outside of the city.
So we went indoor, the firing was too much some firing sound came from the main the road, some from the flourmill compound. So went indoor, the firing was too much. Some firing sound came from the main road, some from the flourmill compound. So we went in and others ran in the bushes. We went inside for 3 days. And the firing intensified not too clear with the date, but it wasn't easy. It was Friday morning when the rebels began to knock on our door that we should get outside. When we get outside, the first man that greeted us was a boy, a na?ve a black na?ve. He couldn't even talk, but he kept on giving signs. So my elder brother jumped out. When he came out, he pointed the gun at my brother to identify himself and ask if my brother can recognize him. He said no! It was live my brother and father were watching.
Because my father was assigned to the LUP and had been working there for some times. And the rebel said, I know this old pa. This is his son and he is not related to me. And they left us, and then we stayed back.
They went to search our father's house. They searched the other houses, in the community and they came back to my father, but they saw nothing. No soldier, nothing, nothing.
Then they left. The following day the fighting broke up in the afternoon. And the rebel came from Monrovia with reinforcement. And according to people that came, they were confused and it was like the story of Israel. And they fought up to 4 pm. By 5 pm to 6 pm, the whole area was filled with rebels and the commanders.
While we were asleep, there was serious shooting everywhere, but before that, one of our neighbors by the name Konneh who was the Deputy Managing Director of the port at that time. The same day, they sat there, before the reinforcement came, they tormented him, embarrassed him. They want to take some things from him but he gave them nothing. He had a Toyota Corolla the same car my father had, but his was green and he had just buy it. And he didn't use the car. My father own was taxis given to him by his retire money by the company. In the same month before the fighting, so they tormented him for the car and he could give the car. There we were three groups that were there. But he did not give his car but he gave them money and some drinks cause he had, a bar in his house. But the last group that went, there was second commander classify as the junior commando.
At the end of the day, after the man had given him some money, he by-passed his friends. And because the car he decided to kill the man. He tie them both together the two brothers: then they took them a few yards from the LUP. So it was, right by the road he shot the man and his brother. He took reinforcement came and decided to run away I got lost from my parents. And then we pass by people were dropping along the road side. Stray bullets were killing people. I can remember a soldier man was killed as soon as we got to the guest house of the flourmill on the dusty road, the stray bullet hit a man and when it hit the group, and everyone of us got scared and everybody got on the ground and we spent almost a minute, then we started running . As a little child, a 17 year old child. But we kept running and other children lack the facility. It was then I saw a senior police officer was killed as I said earlier. He was killed and put in his car. It was, the time fear grabbed me. It was the second body that I have seen on the road and then this time we took the bush route cause rebels were on the road recruiting and at the same time firing.
So civilians were taking the rubber plantation. I never saw or knew anybody. We were all able body young men of the same age on the battlefield. They were lying down. Ever lane we pass, there were many and I can remember we got at a scene where we got back. When we got back on the main road, because it was my first time getting in LAC. There were three types of people that were there some Doctors were attending to some wounded people. Soldiers were still around. We spent the night there. It was about 8 pm to 9 pm that night when the firing broke up, so we started running again leaving LAC. We were heading to a town called SDA. The headquarter of SDA. There was check point. When we got at the checkpoint, they said nobody should cross with load. And almost everyone that had load dropped their loads and some decide to stay back because they could not go without the food. Some had half bag of rice and other small, small things. I only had my school bag with a bible in it, a New Testament bible. With one Webster Dictionary that was the only thing I had in my book bag that was kept with me with a report card. That is the only thing I could remember that I took from the house and then we got to SDA, there at SDA we saw the third body which was a Khran man between the age of 63 to 65 years old. This man was never shot with gun but his throat was cut off. And when they were cutting his throat with the knife, I stood up and I saw what was going on because you could not say anything or do anything. So if you show a sign like you are so pity for the person, they will kill you. So you had to keep looking because it was like, you form a formation in SDA that's where they were doing inspection. This day a Khran man was identified. He was point out and they decided to kill him. I didn't know what it was. Me and those that were in the line. I didn't know a government officer. I don't know and we stood there and they slaughtered this man. And they took the body and carry out. There's an area in the SDA compound that was the killing ground. That area they dug holes. I can remember most of these areas that we went out of the town to wash because the water we there never got dry all the time we spent there.
When they grabbed the people, mainly the Khrans and government officers, and Mandingos, they will carry and they will stand closer to the hole and they will fire u. and the bodies will dropped in that area and at certain time, it was seeing like taking the sheep from among the goat. And fear grabbed me. I was there; I could not see anyone until a relative of mine who is dead now.
She recognized me and she asked me, but where is your father? And I said O! My father, I got missing from them. But I left them in Buchanan. And then she say Ah! But you alone here and I said yes and I was there. Later, a classmate of mine parents came who were Manos. When they came they were about to go to Nimba. And then the boy saw me and recognized me, and said O! What are you doing here? And I told him O! I myself came here from the wart and got lost missing from my parents. But I have not seen my brother, my sisters neither have I seen my parents. He said O! But my ma wanted to carry us to Nimba. So let me go and ask her if you can go with us. And later on now, he talked to his parents and they told me to follow a man by the name of john. One Mano man and the man's wife came and said, but then we can go and that how come we left SDA. While traveling, there were areas, some logging company areas, but I can't remember the company area now. I don't know whether it fall between Rivercess and Bassa because I was not familiar with the area, even up till now. And then when we got there in the afternoon, around about 2: pm as soon as we crossed the bridge we heard firing, the firing went on for almost three minutes. After that we saw a group of people, they were all not normal, then after that the same people say oh! They gone on the Chinese people, they are asking them for the car. The man did not want to give the car. He did not want to give the car key. The next thing we saw was they brought the Chinese man and place him on the bridge, he was fired and the body dropped in the water, and the water carried the body. Fear grabbed every one, even my friend parents that I was with, fear grabbed them too. And so the Papie (Father) the next morning told his wife that there was a need that we leave because the area was not a safe area. Anything can happen to anyone so there was a need that we leave. So he decided to go and talk to his country men that were also fighting. So his went to get food for us and they left us at the house. So why we were there a fellow by the name of Sam Doe, that's the only name I could remember, the son of late Jackson F. Doe he asked us, we were three boys not too far from the same area. He collected the first boy which was a Lorma boy who was too not normal in the head. He collected me with one other fellow by force to go and beat seed rice. It was my first time beating seed rice in my life. He brought two and a half (2.5) bags of and hen asked us to beat the seed rice, if we can not be it, we will not be allowed to leave until we can be it. So he ordered his body guide to mind us. As soon as he left, the body guide said oh! Your leave that man, the man that just big show. But you do what you can do. They left and said we going to come back, before we come back your make sure to do something because the chief will soon be coming. We beat the seed rice until my palm got red. My palm got so red I could not beat the rice again, and some girls came and helped us because they were form the area and they decided to help us. So when the boys came, they were afraid so they told them don't be afraid but you help them and beat the rice. So they helped us they beat the rice. And (fanner) sieve the rice for us. We did not end the two and the half bag of seed rice we were beating, we stopped half way. So when Sam Doe came he said "O! You people beat the seed rice now" they say "yes O chief the people now cooperated with us" He said "okay ajewel these people will be our small soldiers". So I say ah! I never shoot gun before, but the man talking about being small soldiers in my heart. So my mind I started thinking how to find a way to run away but my fear is I don't know the place. And then we were there later he released us around 4. we got back home and the man came I explained to pap john. That morning while I was thee firing broke out. There was an AFL soldier very hungry and he entered the town. So he was looking for food. Someone spotted him and reported the matter. After he took some food from the person house, everything, rice. So he decided to report the mater. So he was on his way going when the person decided to report the mater. They decided to chase him and he ran into the bush and they circle the whole area. They started fighting, started shooting from 12. They fired for almost three hours and then later the young man surrendered. He was very dusty up, his hair was brown when they brought him out. He had on red T-shirt under his army uniform. I can still remember when they bought him out. And they asked him whether he had friends with him. He said no, he had been fighting from Buchanan finding his way and he end up to that point and he was captured. They wanted to kill him the other commander said "no let wait for them until the overall commander can come" so I don't know whether they killed him or not. I don't know. It was while that was going on that they came and took us away to Nimba County. There was so many things that I saw along the way. So many things; I saw army cannon all along the road, war tank, soldiers' truck that were ambushed, bodies lying down, so many things. I saw along the road. I can still remember one time we were in Tapita while traveling. They wanted to take me to place me forcefully in the militia to fight, but the oldpap resisted and at the end being their country man they were able to allow us to go. Every where we went the family was very helpful me. They were very helpful to me. They protected me throughout until we go to the area in Nimba County call Teplay. When we got to Teplay it was not far from Butuo. The town called Gborplay and Butuo. When we got to the area in Gborplay there was a training area. They will come and grabbed young men every afternoon and take your to Gbirplay and carry your to the base fro the training...The how they call it Gborplay rather. When they carry people to the place after few training go on. After few time training go on. After few time they bring your and give your gun. So I told the oldma it will be better they take me on the farm. So they took me on the farm. When the commander of Gborplay got to understand that they took me on the farm for safety, he was vex over the idea why young men from Teplay will volunteering to fight, then we from different ethnic backing will come into the town and not willing to fight. So he became vex over the idea, but the people kept talking to him. While in the area I decided try make a final decision. So I had the opportunity to travel with the people I am with to go to the border town not too far from Ivory Coast to go and sell goods. They had liquor, they had small things that I used to carry and sell and buy salt, sugar and other things and bring them. So this time around I was on the team to go to Ivory Coast and when we got to the area, this same man who had been behind me all along that I should join, he too along with his boys carry goods to sell. When we crossed to the Ivorian Town, I can not really remember those Ivorian Towns, then an Ivorian lay (little) boy was playing, it was in the afternoon, he loose his manner in our midst and I decided to beat this boy. So the same man had this hatred for me already so he and he got annoy because it was a Mano Town. So the elder of the town sent for them to come and talk the case. Why I should beat their child. So the oldpa that I was with his daughter decided to beg on behalf of me, but the man got angry that when we get back Liberia you will see. So when I hear when we go back Liberia, I was afraid. Because of this I explain the situation to one Ivorian boy who help me and said I should go to the refugee camp in Danane. I slept in the town and early the morning 4:am I passed over the window and started going to Danane, but I don't know Danane so I was just going. I met some Ivorian police and the ask me who are you and I said I was a Liberia and they ask me where are you going and I said Danane and they ask me whether I know the place and I say no, they say I should go straight and ask people on the road I will see the place. When I got there the people registered me and did all my papers. And I stayed in the camp for some time and came back to Liberia. When I went to my house, my father ran away from me because one Tupee told my parents that I was already dead. But my mother said my son was not dead he is still alive, the body you saw is a different body. So they put me in the room for the whole day and later my father came, and that is how we got back together.
Chairman: thank you very much, now the Commissioners will ask you few questions for some details of what you have explained. Thank you.
Questions from the Commissioners:
Commissioner Bull: could you please tell us which group was in Grand Bassa for the three months?
The primary Witness:: AFL SATU
The group that came from Israel, were they Liberians?
The primary Witness:: Yes, they were the AFL taken to Israel for training.
Commissioner Konneh: somewhere you said people were lined up to be killed, are you willing to escort a delegation from the commission to see that are?
The primary Witness:: Yes
Commissioner Kullah: You said you were separated from your family for a long time what were your experiences at the time?
The primary Witness: It was all fear and worried abut my families especially my mother.
Were there positive side?
The primary Witness: Some areas there were fine reception from the people.
Commissioner Washington: did you say the people who killed the port manager are the AFL?
The primary Witness: No.
Can you clarify that?
The primary Witness: It was the NPFL.
You mentioned a Chinese man, who killed him? It is the NPFL. Do you know his name or identity?
The primary Witness: No I do not know his name and I just took him to be a Chinese based on his appearance.
You mentioned a Sam Dou who was he?
The primary Witness:: He was a junior Commander and fighting for NPFL.
Commissioner Syllah: you said that SATU lived in Grand Bassa for three months can you tell us who did the killings where they there or are you saying they were overran?
The primary Witness: Yes they were overrun by the NPFL.
You also said Konneh Daughter Dussou was raped, how close were you to them to know this.
The primary Witness: She is a Mandingo a daughter of Konneh and I was closed to them.
At the time of the incidence you were 17 do you know the age of Dussou?
The primary Witness: My litter her age mate was 16 as such she should be around that age.
Commissioner Coleman: you mentioned about a lot of bodies along the road, were they fighter or civilians?
The primary Witness: They were all young recruits.
Did you notice in these killings any targeted people?
The primary Witness: Yes, I mentioned an old man who was slaughtered, he was targeted.
Were there any other groups other then the two?
The primary Witness: No it was the two of them.
Commissioner Stewart: you mentioned that you were indoors for three days and came out on the third and saw a man, was he foreign or a Liberian?
The primary Witness: He was foreign, he was a Libyan.
How do you know a Libyan?
The primary Witness: His talking and his looks.
How did he speak?
The primary Witness: He spoke fast as though he was speaking Arabic.
Commissioner Washington: was it just the Gio killing other factions or NPFL fighters killing people?
The primary Witness: The group I came in contact with ware fighters and all Gios as such I know it was Gio people.
Commissioner Coleman: are you sure it was Korean, Japanese or Chinese were there any of them around that area?
The primary Witness: I only took him for a Chinese based on his appearance.
Chairman: this Gromogo you said was a Gambian, is there anything that you thing made him a Gambian?
The primary Witness: He was a special forces and they themselves disclosed who they were and their country.
Commissioner Dolopei: was the general manager of the port killed because he was Mandingo or on tribal basis?
The primary Witness: I don't want to subscribe to that of Government worker but due to ethnicity.
Commissioner Bull: you said in May 1990 you caught up with 3 boys who were identified as sons of Jackson Doe who were junior commandoes is that what you said?
The primary Witness: Yes.
Chairman: thank you for coming and sharing your story with the Liberian and I want to say what ever recommendation will be forwarded to government.
Sixth Primary Witness: of the TRC Public Hearings Amelia Dimsea
(Third Primary Witness: of day two)
The third Primary Witness 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.
The Chairman of the TRC welcomed the Primary Witness: and informed her that the Commissioners are all ready to listen to her story as such she should say the truth story as it happened.
Primary Witness: I am not too well I am admitted at Bomi hospital, I just came to attend this program and then go back for my treatment.
I tell the almighty God thank you. It was in 2003 me and my friends left from here to go do business to Gbar area. We left from here around May 14. We saw some soldier people on the road and they say no business here. We don't want anyone to come from Monrovia to come look for any market here. We said we are here already so we are looking for market, any market we see, we buy it. So one morning we were sleeping we heard heavy firing coming round 5: in the morning. Me I was not used to that side, I had one friend they called Bendu, that she the one carry me there. So the soldier people came they push the door and open it on us. They nicked us and put every one of us outside. When they brought us outside they asked me, they said what dialect you speak? I said I can't speak any other dialect besides English and Mano. Oh! When I called Mano name one of the boy was there called Boimah said Oh! That you people were killing the Mandingo people? So since you from Nimba County we will see about you. So they tied our hands and my friend, they say we should sing. And we were singing and they were dancing. We were there they started putting their pepe (urine) in cup giving it to for us to drink. They suffer us and suffer us, my fried that carry us they took her from among us and carry her, they said that you the one brought the people for spying, I say I don't even know anything about arm before you talk about spying . So when day brake, it was going to 3:pm the commander send for us. His name that time I can remember that time was general Bad Blood. When we came they wrote on small-small papers and wasted them on the ground. They told us that they will not be killing Liberians again since Taylor came and suffer you people. They told us to choose from the papers, anything that is on the paper is what they will do to you. Me I was lucky the paper I choose it was written on for them to design me. They put a paper in my mouth, they said go and carry it to Charles Taylor. I was bleeding throughout when I got in one village, the people there now-now (presently) so the people help and tied cloths around me. The people help me and pas me through to Monrovia. When I got to Monrovia, they took me to JFK Hospital; there was no doctor there so they sent for one Chinese doctor from Cooper's Clinic. So he the one try small to give me stitches. So since that time that how I have been, even from here now I am going for treatment to Bomi. It was band knife they used on me. Each hospital I will go to they will they will say I should bring US dollars. I even went to Jewel Taylor but still no help, even my children, my seven children, the smallest one always ask me about the marks on me, I say the LURD rebels. So he too say he want to join the army, I say no. we were living to Defense when the TRC came there they saw me, they say you don't have anything to say to the TRC? I say I coming, this thing I na (have) explain it to plenty people, and they don't do anything for me and the children. I explained the story to them and they said they will come for me. One of the girls, I took up my cloths for her to see the marks. Even now I ready to show the marks. I went Bomi Hills and the doctors said I developed Cancer. So my taytay (breast) is just swollen up. I am just begging the TRC and the Government of Liberia to help me children. Me I know I coming to die, that all I have to say.
At the end of her testimony the Primary Witness was taken into a chamber for the female commissioners to confirm the marks on her as a result of the design the soldiers placed on her body. After showing it to the female Commissioners, the Primary Witness: informed the Commissioners that she wanted to show the marks on her body as a result of the mad treatment to the public, which was allowed by the Chairman.
The Chairman thanked the witness for the testimony and informed her that the Commissioners will be asking her few question to get some details of what she had explained.
Questions from the Commissioners:
Commissioner Coleman: Thank you for the statement, I remember you talking about a kind of game that was being played and a letter giving to you for Charles Taylor, I want you to clarify on that were they doing this to innocent citizens and they were just locking your up and doing this kind of things to your?
The primary Witness: Yes! The cut my body because I from Nimba County they wrote the paper and put it in my mouth and tell me to carry it to Taylor, as I was moving I was just bleeding so the people who I meet on the road that them help me.
Where there any other government soldiers among your or your were just civilians?
The primary Witness: some soldier women then were among us.
You mentioned about six children, how are they today?
The primary Witness: the children are all suffering the same war; I don't have any hand to help them, they just scatter a scatter around, my sickness business I can't do anything for them, any hospital I go the people say I must bring US dollars and I don't have the money.
Do you know any of the names of the commanders or saw any of them
The primary Witness: when we came to Monrovia before I heard the name of one of the commanders and I saw him, he is General Sheriff.
Commissioner Bull: Marie, let us clarify you said the person who did it; but you came to Monrovia before you started to hearing the names of the leaders of the group that did it right?
The primary Witness: before putting the marks on me, the person that put their foot on me was called General Bad Blood.
Did you say General bad Blood?
The primary Witness: Bad Blood
Is he the one who marked you?
The primary Witness: No, but he was the one who put his foot on me while they were marking me. Last year I saw him here on Broad Street loading car and since that time I have not seen him again.
Commissioner Washington: can you tell the time this thing happened; around what time?
The primary Witness: the year was in 2003.
Do you remember the month?
The primary Witness: the month was in June.
Commissioner Bull: one last question, can you tell me where this thing happened; which area?
The primary Witness: the place where the happened, it happened in Gbar, the papie (old man) that rescue me they called him Willie and he is right now in Bomi.
Where is Gbar?
The primary Witness: when you be going to Bomi.
Commissioner Konneh: in your story you mentioned two persons, one General Cassell and one are they two separate persons or one person?
The primary Witness: they are two different persons, one General Bad Blood and one General Sheriff. General Sheriff that the commander.
Was there no Cassell?
The primary Witness: no I did not call any Cassell I sad Bad Blood and General Sheriff.
Commissioner Syllah: you said they caught you based on your tribe and did those things to you; were there people among from different tribe and what did they do to them?
The primary Witness: yes. They cut one other woman hand, one of my friend, they cut her hand they gave her long sleeve. Her name Gloria.
Chairman: thank you for telling you story to the TRC, this will help the press a lot and will contribute to the healing process of our nation.
Seventh Primary Witness: of the TRC Public Hearings Mohammed Oldman Teah
(Forth Primary Witness: of day two)
The forth Primary Witness 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.
The Chairman of the TRC welcomed the victim and urged him to say the truth and nothing but h truth as his story will contribute to the healing process of the nation.
Primary Witness: During the time NPFL was coming [and] as a marketer there were certain routes you could not pass on as a Mandingo man. I was in Monrovia but because of the sake of my mother I decided to go loaf county for my mother but before then normal days people used to credit good from me. When I entered loaf in 1993 ULIMO entered. Before then I used to go Bomi for goods like cigarette, salt, Mapo and other small things to go sell. So I asked some of my friends to credit me some money to do business because the money I had got spoiled at the beginning of the war. The first tow I got to the town the commander said I should credit him some cigarette and promise to pay back when I come back the next time. His name was Ghana boy. When I first went there he started encouraging me that e place was good placed to do business. So he said I should help t but some things for him in town and carry for him.
When I went there for the second time, while going I border with him. When I say him because he was the commander I gave him one pack of cigarette. I was traveling with one of my friends who volunteer to accompany me so I divided the money and give him some for all of us to go and guy. When I was the commander instead of me asking him for my money he asked me to give him something. He was the first to ask me so I told him to take the money he had for me. He said no let me, let me charge [search] the bag. I said but Ghana boy you know you [are] my friend. You welcomed me here, so he said my man you charge the bag. So, me and my friend stated searching ourselves. Unfortunately another group was coming about seven men. I could recognize one of those guys because when I was selling he used to be there. It looked like they were chasing me for that money. So when they came they joined and charge us and took all of my money. We used to use the money to buy caterpillar keys-starter and the money was up to $100,000.00. The money was not for me I had some money in there but more of it was for my friends. So I talked to him over and over but he could not agree to at least share the money with me. He said no. the group that entered no said that the same man were chasing.
The men say we had to feed them, I thought that was fun. They said they coming carry us to eat country bread, I thought that was really a country-bread not knowing it was real sand. Real sand that was packed they just put the cup under it and fill it up. I ate two and my friend ate town. They say we must crew it, crew it like rice at the same time they were slapping and kicking us. But one oldma was looking at us she immediately went to cook pumpkin for us to eat because she was really feeling for us. So after all of that the men said if they left us we were going to launch their complain so they jailed us to sleep and leave the next morning. So one Lorma man was there and I told him that my mother was a Lorma, so he said ok since your money is gone I will free you. After certain the oldma brought the pumpkin and I ate it but my friend could not eat it because he said it was his law. So the fellow who promise to help us asked us if we had flash light and we said yes so he found batteries for the flash light and let us to go and said we should not go straight because they were going to look for us when his friends learn that we broke the jail. And they he show us which way to go to cross the St. Paul river. So we started running we cross the St. Paul and at certain place my friend couldn't make it he gave up so I walked about 3 more hours and reach a village. I told the villagers what has happened and that my friend died on the way so the town chief send 2 man with me to go bury my friend. The pinkeye that I ate that what help me, I toileted two times. I ate the pumpkin. I even put some in my pocket.
So I manage to get to Voinjama where I was hospitalized and they said I had appendix. I took some treatment maneuver to come to Monrovia and even up to now I still have some serious illness. Sometime the doctors will say ulcer and some say chronic worms. Some of the people I took the money from don't up now believe that the money was taken from me. They say I did something different with the money. Some asked that I paid for their own. I have paid some but it is not easy.
Questions from Commissioners:
Commissioner Syllah: you said you have operation where did you have the operations?
The primary Witness: Kolahun City is where I underwent the operations.
So the operation was on appendix?
The primary Witness: they say I have appendix so the operation they gave operation.
Your friend that ate the sand and died, have you been able to meet his family?
The primary Witness: no, I border with him in the bush and he said he want us to do business so I don't know any body from him.
Commissioner Sheikh: do you know the names of any of those people that gave you the sand to eat?
The primary Witness: The men that free me, he was a Lorma boy his name was Kordu and the commander who did these things to us name was Ghana boy.
Commissioner Dolopei: The operations you took the mark is there can we see it?
The primary Witness: yes, I can show you the marks.
Commissioner Coleman: Please, there are few things that I want you to clarify. Where you were attacked and what group you met?
The primary Witness: the place was around Lofa Bridge and the group was the ULIMO group.
And this part5icular group was the ULIMO K or ULIMO J?
The primary Witness: yes. It was ULIMO K. it was in their control areas.
Commissioner Washington: Please tell how have all of these affected your life?
Primary Witness: I just continue to get sick. For the beating certain time can come I can still feel it and for the sand that I ate I have serious stomach trouble. Sometime my operation marks will come up and sometime it gets better. Any time I go to hospital they I have ulcer, you have ulcer. When I take treatment for ulcer once the medicine finish my stomach starts again.
The Chairman of the TRC Cllr. Jerome Verdier thanked the witnesses for their stories and thanked the audience for coming. He encouraged all to be part of the TRC and come forth to tell their stories so that we can right the wrongs that has happened in our Nation. He informed them that the process was for all Liberians and all should endeavor to be part of it.
He informed the public that the Hearings for the day was over and will resume tomorrow (Thursday, January 10, 2008) at 10:am.
End of Day Two of the TRC Public Hearings
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