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The First day of the TRC Public Hearings Proceedings held on Monday March 3, 2008 at the Greenville City Hall, Sinoe County. The Hearings session started with the Commissioners of the TRC being ushered into their seats. The Superintendent and the Mayoress of Greenville 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 Greenville Sinoe County. This was followed by a speech presented by the Chairman of the TRC.
First Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Greenville City Sinoe County
(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 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, Sinoe County and the Commissioners of the TRC. We have fought a lot and we want peace now so everything you tell us will make our country a better place.
Where do you live?
Primary Witness: I live in Douson
What are you doing for a living?
Primary Witness: I am a farmer
When were you born?
Primary Witness: 1959 April 13
Primary Witness: The war came and that time we were living Duason town, the rebel enter through the OTC area and we went in the bush and we started running from bush to bush running to palaces we never went and they were always after us. The first person they killed from me that is my big son. The rebel started running behind us in the bush and if you build your tent they will come and burn it. They came to our village, when my grand ma was going she na tell anybody and the rebel came and we ran then they grab the old ma and they tie her and they started beating her. They say if we finish we will kill you, then after eating they started killing the oldma. The next day when we went there they killed her. From 1993 she died and I who sitting down here I don't have anything we are suffering there I have six children. The way I am sitting down here I have chest complain and in 1994 the Charles Taylor forces killed my own father. In 1997 I deliver in the bush and the child did not live. We passed through a lot of things during the war and a lot of things happened to us, all the things we have spoil. In Douson 1993 they killed a lot of people before they left the place. If they put you in the fence they will kill you, they kill plenty people in the fence.
Questions from the Commissioners:
Chairman: we want to say sorry for the lost of your father and others that you lost during the war. Which faction killed people in the fence in Douson?
Primary Witness: It was the Charles Taylor forces
What was the name of the commander?
Primary Witness: I don't know
What was the name of your father?
Primary Witness: David Weah
When did he die?
Primary Witness: 1994
He was killed by the rebels?
Primary Witness: Yes the same rebels NPFL.
Commissioner Konneh: on behalf of the commission we want to say never mine. What happened was a very serious thing. We want you to put your trust in God for he has a reason of making you to survive. Today you are testifying not only to us and those that were killed, but to the people of Liberia to tell them how senseless this war was in this country. Do you know the people who did this?
Primary Witness: That the Charles Taylor rebels, in 1993 and 1994.
Were they the same people who put the people in the fence?
Primary Witness: Yes
Can you tell us the kind of weapons that were use in killing them and were they fighters the people killed?
Primary Witness: No they were not fighters they were all civilians
How were they killed?
Primary Witness: I do not know because when they kill you they will throw you in the water.
If the commission wants to see the place can you accompany them there?
Primary Witness: Yes.
Commissioner Syllah: We want to say sorry for what happened to you. You talk about the old lady that was left by you people?
Primary Witness: They pass on the farm way and when they reach the tent nobody was there and when we went to look for her we meant her body on the farm.
How was her body looking?
Primary Witness: She was chopped up and lying on the ground.
You were pregnant during the war?
Primary Witness: Yes I born 1994, I born five children in the bush and I have seven children and six of them are living.
Why did the other child die?
Primary Witness: The child was sick and there was no medicine,
Do you know why they killed the people in Duason?
Primary Witness: We were in the bush and when we hear the gun sounds we started running.
Commissioner Coleman: we are sorry for what happened to you and your family. Have you done anything for reconciliation since the end of the war in this county and in your towns?
Primary Witness: The people why die in the bush how you will burry them, they died in different bushes so no way to burry them.
What place they were bringing plenty people?
Primary Witness: That was Duason.
How many people were killed there?
Primary Witness: They were plenty.
So where is your husband now?
Primary Witness: He is there and we have six children now he is not working and I am not working.
Commissioner Dolopei: sorry for what happened to you. You are not working but you are making farm, is that not a work?
Primary Witness: We are not making money from it, farming work that suffering work.
So your can't get money to sent the children to school?
Primary Witness: No we can try to send them to school.
Commissioner Washington: Names of your children?
Primary Witness: Lucky Boy 1988 April 9, Jefferson Tarnue 1991, Caroline 1994, Catrene 1999, Ezekiel 2001, Ellen 2006.
Has there been anybody in the community to talk to your about the war?
Primary Witness: It is only the TRC that came there.
Commissioner Stewart: sorry for the lost of your relatives. When the rebels came did they called the name of their big man?
Primary Witness: That Noriega was the commander for the whole county.
When they came to your town how many person were killed?
Primary Witness: I can't remember because I was in the bush.
Did they burn any houses in the town?
Primary Witness: Yes when they come in the bush they can burnt the houses there.
Did they carry anything?
Primary Witness: They houses were burned so what thing you will find.
Did they carry some people with them?
Primary Witness: Yes they carry some people but some of them came back.
Where did they carry them?
Primary Witness: The place where they living that is the place they carry them.
Where were you when the LPC came?
Primary Witness: I was in the bush.
How was your life in the bush?
Primary Witness: We use to eat potatoes leaves and mix it with palm butter.
How long did you stay in the bush?
Primary Witness: I stayed more then ten years in the bush and that there I have my children.
Commissioner Bull: thank you for your story.
Chairman: Oretha, thank you plenty, you just told us how the rebels behaved when they went to your area, and you told us who they killed. The way you have told us we will put it down and nobody will say not did not happened. Is there any last word?
Primary Witness: I thank you people and I thank my sister because I did not want to come here that her tell me to come so I thank God and all of you people.
Second Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Greenville City Sinoe County
(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, Sinoe County and the Commissioners of the TRC.
What do you do?
Primary Witness: I am the Paramount Chief, Bogor District
When were you born?
Primary Witness: 1942
Primary Witness: The time war was coming let me start with the NPFL time. When the NPFL came we ran in the bush for one day after that they call us to back to the town. Before then some Sapo people came to us and when we heard that NPFL was coming and they say they were looking for Sapo people I carried the Sapo people and hid them. I use to give them food and everything. So while we were in the town one of the NPFL soldier came to me and say that I was the one keeping Sapo people that I have Sapo, and they started giving us hard time by that time one of my little brother called Yepan came from Sass town with his cattle he had enough cattle like cow and goats. Then every time the NPFL soldier them come they will take one of my brother cow when they asked for Sapo people when we say we don't have and any Sapo people around us then they will take one of my brother cow just like that and that what they were doing until they almost finish all cattle. Then when the war finished small the Sapo people now starting saying that we will pay our debt, they will see we will pay our debt. Then few times pass later the peace council entered. And when they entered our Sapo people that were living together with us joined them and they say where is the Harrison man he will be the first man that we will kill.
That morning when I woke up I say ah that kind of dream here so then I went to the farm and came back home then the sent three boys to me in the village then they say I should show them the road to where my people were having the meeting. I say for what they grab me by my trouser they say I must show them the place then I say ok your pass in front when we reaching to the place I will point to the place and come back. Not knowing that my little daughter because I left my family in the town the mother too left her in the tent and went somewhere they took the little girl and knock her on the wall and she died when I came now I just saw blood coming from the girl nose. So from there strict I went to my brother village and I told him that we should leave the town and he say that no oh the people say that you they behind not we the other people then I went back and put my people together and we left put my family together and we left then. Then after some time like three days I decided to go see my brother because I did not see him for long. Then while I was going I heard the rebel coming on the same road that I was using to go to my brother village, you know when they going to fight they came cause noise so when I heard I hid my self and they were saying that they were going for my brother from there they will come to me when they went get to my brother place they kill him and his family of six then they cut his head and put on their chest. Immediately when I saw it I ran back to my town and told my wife that we should leave the area and everything that we had and leave and that how we left and they came to my place and the burnt everything that I had. Then all of the town people escaped and were going across the river to go to Tatod but the Tatod people say since the Harrison man say he get medicine know medicine so let him remain there he will leave there al the people left me and my one was there. Then I told my wife that the people were coming and she say you every day you will say the people coming today part I not going anywhere so I say ok I will go so while I was going the rebels came again but my wife get sense she know the people will not catch me so she just yell with my name and the people started shooting behind me she know that gun part that nothing to me so while the people were focusing on my she just escape with the children. Then the rebels came and they were just killing in the town they killed about 13 persons just that day in the town. And when we came back later we started collecting the dead bodies and one old man one papay was in the gutter they cut his neck only small part of it remain when he heard us he said oh my people I here I na died oh then we took him and put his neck on the other side and tie until we left that town now - now self the papay will come here your will see him he will come and testify he here.
My own people too now showed the place where I was hiding myself to the rebels and they went there but before then one man here he was the chief. The people told him that I was in the bush and used to give the rebel to go in the bush and we will bring Harrison Sleweon here then man give the rebel money to bring my head to him so that he can drink in my skull the there now. So that morning the place I was hiding my friend say we should go look for food in town I say my man the people in town so lets go different place the next day I told him say lets go in town now then he say ehn you say the people there I say no lets go the people na go. So as soon as we got in town by then the rebels na leave the town and they were gone they had made a fire that was there that the fire self I used to light my tobacco. Noting they could do to me because they could not catch me because if that gun part forget it that one cant do anything to me may be if you catch me that is the only way. Then my own people told the people they burnt my house I say everything so of hose that did these things to me are here they took my building material that I was about to build with before the war, they took some of my things to Grisby Farm to go and build their own place so all if I say I must explain all we will not move from here today.
Questions from the Commissioners:
Chairman: what year did the NPFL do all of these things to your town?
Primary Witness: They entered Sinoe May 6 but entered my town May 7.
What is name of your town?
Primary Witness: Tusunny
What was your brother's town name?
Primary Witness: No all lived together he his village not far from my own we all live together.
That which faction killed him and his family?
Primary Witness: That the peace council ( Liberia Peace Council-LPC)
Can you remember the head of NPFL in the area at the time?
Primary Witness: Yes that's Noriega
You know any other name for him?
Primary Witness: We have another one they called Paye.
Who Paye, what was his full name?
Primary Witness: That people that Gio people I don't know oh!
What are some of the LPC people do you know some of their name?
Primary Witness: I know the people from my town they are among us here, the people lived with us in my home town.
Why they had something against that all of the people had to go for you like where as you helped them earlier?
Primary Witness: I don't know, may be because anything we do I will be the head and thing I put my hand in Harrison will be the hard.
Who were the Tassu people that you mentioned?
Primary Witness: Tassu people then self killed more than the Sapo that Tassu self killed my people they killed the people and put them in the gutter scatter all in the area.
Who was the commander Tassu defense force?
Primary Witness: Alfred Payne, and Dragon.
Commissioner Stewart: was any member of your family killed beside your brother and his family?
Primary Witness: Yes my one daughter, Alberta Sleweon.
How old was she?
Primary Witness: 6 years old
Did they do anything to you?
Primary Witness: I was always running the only thing gun part can't anything to me the only way except they catch if not no way.
You said they cut somebody head and you put his head back?
Primary Witness: Yes the papay here we lived together that the next time people came and started killing people and they cut one papay head and we put it back and we will come here
They burnt any houses?
Primary Witness: Yes even my own self.
They took any property from people?
Primary Witness: Yes they carry everything; they even carried my radio one ten batter radio and other small things.
They take any of the women to be their wives?
Primary Witness: One fine day they bother with my wife and they took my wife to be their women even my daughter Alberta was their woman too if you talk they will point the AK gun to you so you say anything that what we were in here?
What happened to your wife?
Primary Witness: She here now when I am going back self I going meet my food to the house
They carry some people by force?
Primary Witness: No in my town all the people ran away.
What happened in 1923, you mentioned something about 1923 but I did not get it?
Primary Witness: The Sapo people entered in our people town they came to live with us and except them we lived together for sometimes and after they grew they started opening their arms.
Since then was their any problem between you and the people before?
Primary Witness: No we never had any problem in fact my first married was Sapo woman.
What is the relationship between your people and Sapo before the war?
Primary Witness: We the Kru, even now I am behind them to go back but they say they will get together we pack them together in belleh yallah in Grisby Farm area.
Why they call it belleh yallah?
Primary Witness: That is the name, way back, our grand father went to war with other people and they had to use one three year old girl they cut into two before they can fix the palaver that why we call it beelleh yalala.
Have you people tried to reconcile with the Sapo people?
Primary Witness: Yes one time we calla football ball game and they beat us but it ended in fighting then one time again we call them and when they were going the they nailed nail on a stick and they went they went and there they were running behind the people again.
So there is problem still?
Primary Witness: No now there is no palaver I don't think so only their mind not clear yes for us we don't hold anything again people.
Commissioner Washington: Do you remember any names of the Tassu General?
Primary Witness: McDonald Tarpeh or chief dragon, he was the defense force.
Where are some of those people now?
Primary Witness: Some of them are living with us in my home town now - now.
Can you give us some of their names?
Primary Witness: Anthony Payne, Alfred Payne, MacDonald Tarpeh, Kartey, one Alboneh, they plenty.
How long you have been paramount chief?
Primary Witness: About 10 years now but we were fighting over it before at the beginning ahn because of some of that thing that they people were behind me.
You know some of those who raped your daughter?
Primary Witness: That was LPC but I don't have their name, I only came and saw here on the ground.
How long LPC stay here?
Primary Witness: When they came we went in the bush and we were there for 3 years.
Can remember their names?
Primary Witness: Jessey, Sam Monroe, Sondoe, and one Garteh.
Did you burry your daughter?
Where you will get place to burry I put her in one hole and cover here.
What about your brother and his family?
Primary Witness: No way no way
So where are their bones?
Primary Witness: I just went and collect all the bones I don't know who all bones were there I just collect all and buried in the hole.
Can you estimate how many people were killed in the town by the Tassu forces killed?
Primary Witness: Jessey Doma and his two children his father, Teah, they are plenty I cant give you.
Ho many people in all you think?
Primary Witness: They killed 12 persons that day.
Which day of which year did this happen?
Primary Witness: No I can't remember but that was 1993
Commissioner Dolopei: did they catch you?
Primary Witness: No I am hard to catch oh you can't catch me like that. That my own cousin made the people to catch me and they beat me and every time they will beat me and they had one sharp cutlass and what they use to mark my head and my foot I have the mark now self.
Commissioner Coleman: where they Sapo came from I heard you say they came and join your?
Primary Witness: Some from Louise town, Dagben town, Saywan town they from different areas?
Why did they come to your place?
Primary Witness: They ran from war.
Why did they fight the war they ran from?
Primary Witness: They fought war not all the Sapo came they the Tajozon people and the fighting was hard for them and that how some of them came.
Do you know why they fighting?
Primary Witness: They say that for land business they were fighting for.
Before the war came your were together?
Primary Witness: Yes we were together and they use to like me the women use to fight for my business because I sue to play football.
What was your reaction with the NPFL was not killing your but the Sapo what did you do about that?
Primary Witness: The Sapo starting having meeting saying they will pay their debt, and we were together before the war then I don't know what happened.
What about LPC?
Primary Witness: That the same Sapo people did the planning and they came from your side there in Monrovia and started raiding hell with the Kru people they came they were sit down here, but when LPC was coming NPFL did not stand they were running away.
Do you have different kinds of Kru like the Grebo do?
Primary Witness: We have three Kru, Tassu, Bugur man we speak the same thing as Kru.
Did the Kru people had any defense force too like the Tassu people?
Primary Witness: No it was not our mind to fight so we never had defense force.
Commissioner Syllah: what kind of medicine the Tassu people say you get and that you should pass to their place?
Primary Witness: I was just between the people the Tassu people say I have Sapo and the Sapo say I Tassu so I was just in between them. You know it started after they cut the old man neck I called all the people and made something for them so that gun can't do any thing to them and they say since I get medicine I should not reach to their place.
Did you your brother had protection too?
Primary Witness: No we were not living together.
Can you tell us what LPC did to the people too?
Primary Witness: My first cousin George Nyeman and other came and killed our won people they came and killed people that particular day they killed seven people when they killed you then they will divide you in to two and carry you the plantation and hang it.
Commissioner Konneh: this is not funny how will you and some live together eating and doing thing together and went something come then you go against them most par of the war some people joined to accomplish their own gains; but what I don't understand from what you said is what debt that the Sapo say they will pay the good debt that you give them or the bad debt would tell us what is the problem what debt they say they want to pay to them? Let have a special meeting with the paramount chief Mr. Chairman so what he can better address himself.
Do you have any relative who has served in the House of Representatives before?
Primary Witness: No that just the same name.
Primary Witness: Last word: what I plan that everything scatter everything I have my children but there is no way to look for something event eh little house that I have nothing to do for my children. And gain I am afraid again the people who name I have called here before I go home now I don't know what I am going to meet there.
Third Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Greenville City Sinoe County
Maraline N. Nympan
(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, Sinoe 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 is your name again?
Primary Witness: My name is Maralyn Nyepan.
Where do you live?
Primary Witness: I live in Bitau.
When were you born?
Primary Witness: I was born 1980.
Primary Witness: The thing that I pass in the war. 1993 LPC, they killed my ma and few of my sisters then the worst one now they finished my people. Then they followed us again. They killed our pa and our ma. The people who they suppose to give us food, they killed them. Them I was small girl they starting chasing me and they catch me and they run behind my brother them they caught earlier. They did not kill him. Then I saw him and told him they killed all our, our people them. So my brother went to the commander and begged them to leave me. So then the commander says they were going to free me but they were going to beat me first. So they beat me first then they sleep with me three men I na even think I was going to born self. But thank God I can born. So da me here now, I don't even have any body to go to spend time just my one. So that what I went through during the wars.
Questions from the Commissioners:
Commissioner Konneh: We want to tell you never mind for what happen. Since there is life, there is hope. Who give you this belly?
Primary Witness: My husband.
Is this your first belly?
Presenter: I born five times now, but two died and three (3) living plus the belly.
The people who killed your family what faction they belong to?
The man who die what is his name?
Presenter: Bad child.
The time LPC caught you how big were you?
The man who raped you what is his name?
Presenter: General Whisnant
Commissioner Syllah: When your first man was killed what was your age?
Presenter: That time I was small, about 8years.
How many people you lose?
Presenter: They plenty
Name some of your relatives killed.
Presenter: Malvin Nyepan
How they killed your people?
Presenter: They put them in the fire and burned them.
Commissioner Coleman: Maralyn, sorry for the death of your people.
Commissioner Dolopei: The man who did raped you. What is his name?
The man who free you what he did to you, he married you?
Presenter: No, he just bring me to my people.
The solder who raped you, what is the name of their commander?
What was your mother name?
Presenter: Thank God for your life and we will pray alone with you.
Commissioner Washington: Maralyn, sorry you hear? Your people they killed, who they killed them by burning the whole house or what?
Presenter: They put them in the house and set it on fire.
How they tie you?
Presenter: They put me in the drum and lit fire under the drum. The drum was the jail for where they take you and execute you.
Commissioner Stewart: Maralyn, thank you for coming and sorry.
Commissioner Bull: Maralyn, sorry for every thing that happen to you.
Chairman: Thank you very much for coming to the TRC. If there last word you can say it now.
Presenter: I don't have any thing to say.
May God give you children and grant you save delivery.
End of day One of the TRC Public Hearings Sinoe County
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