Cestos City: Day 3

Back to List of Transcripts

The third Day of the TRC Public Hearings Proceedings held on Thursday April 3rd, 2008 at the Cestos City Hall, Rivercess County. The Hearings session started with the Commissioners of the TRC being ushered into their seats, followed by a welcome remarks form the Chairman of the TRC Cllr. Jerome Verdier, who then called on the Hearings Officer Pastor John Teayah to invite the first Primary Witness to give his testimony.

Twentieth Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Cestos City Rivercess County
Lucy Vonciah
(First Primary Witness of day three)

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: Welcome, thank you for coming to the TC. We are happy that you are here, it is for the good of the country; once you come, you have come to promote the peace we are all seeking.

Please repeat your name:

Primary Witness: My name is Lucy Vonciah

Where do you live?

Primary Witness: I live in Morweh

What are you doing now for living?

Primary Witness: Farming

Do you remember when you were born?

Primary Witness: No, but I remember my eyes opened during President Tubman's administration

You can now tell your story

Primary Witness: The reason for I came here is when LPC came to Rivercess in 1993; when LPC came in 1995, we were planting rice on our farm, when we were planting the rice, Zoh and his group came on the farm where me and my husband were working.

The soldiers grabbed me and tied me and I was seven months pregnant; they grabbed my husband and cut his neck before me; they opened his stomach and gave me some parts of his to eat. The commander came and said no, I did not tell you to give her some to eat. After they killed my husband, they took my son who two years old and carried him away. Since then, I have not seen my son; if I can see my son, I will be very happy since they have killed my husband. That's all I have to tell you, I cannot go further because my heart is burning.

Sorry for what happened to you, it is very wrong. That's why TRC is here, what they did to you was very wrong. We know what happened to women was wrong, so we say, very sorry for the death of your husband which you were not responsible.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: What is the name of your son?

Primary Witness: His name is Arthur Tuaway

The name of your husband?

Primary Witness: James Tuaway.

They took your son alive, they ever harm him

Primary Witness: No, they took him alive.

Commissioner Konneh: Have our deepest sympathy, it is painful to see the husband that you so love and the child that you born for nine months and went through the pains, to see them take him away for no reason.

What was the age of the child?

Primary Witness: Two years

Did they tell you why they killed him?

Primary Witness: No.

They brunt houses and looted things?

Primary Witness: They brunt the various villages and towns before coming to our farm.

They took people along?

Primary Witness: Yes, they took two persons, my son and a girl.

Are the commanders still alive?

Primary Witness: I think so, Gen. Zoh.

Where is General Zoh?

Primary Witness: He is dead.

Besides Gen. Zoh, who else?

Primary Witness: No, I don't know anyone of them because LPC came from Monrovia.

Commissioner Bull: Thank you for coming. Although the man who killed your husband is dead, but whatever bad he did, will live after him, I am sure that he left behind a wife and children. History will tell us in the future what General Augustine Zoh did. Your children will make contribution to you and Liberia.

How many children you have now?

Primary Witness: I have 7 children.

All the children are in school?

Primary Witness: No, no helper.

You don't have any friend to help?

Primary Witness: I have a friend, but we are living in the interior, so thing are not easy.

Commissioner Washington: No questions, but I just want to say sorry and may God continue to bless you and your children.

Commissioner Syllah: What happened to the child that you were pregnant with, because you said you were 7 months pregnant when the soldier tied?

Primary Witness: The child I was pregnant with is at the house.

What is the name of the child?

Primary Witness: Konedah - which means "Rest in Peace".

Is the child a boy or a girl?

Primary Witness: A girl

Can you remember the names of those who carried your son besides Zoh?

Primary Witness: Gen. Zoh was the one who took my son.

Commissioner Dolopei: Thanks you for the courage that brought you here today. I say very sorry for the death of your husband.

Have you heard anything concerning the where about of your son?

Primary Witness: Yes, I heard about him; I went to Monrovia to look for him. When I went to Monrovia, I went straight to Gen. Zoh house and met his wife called Marconee. When I asked Marconee, she said yes, but Zoh left the child in Grand Gedeh.

She told you the name of the woman who Zoh left the child with?

Primary Witness: Marconee said Zoh left the child with the Chairlady of LPC.

Where is Marconee?

Primary Witness: She lived in Monrovia.

You know the main place in Monrovia where Marconee lived?

Primary Witness: Yes, ELWA, there is a dusty road, that is the place where Zoh's house is.

What is Marconee's last name?

Primary Witness: I do not know.

How she looks?

Primary Witness: Bright in complexion with opened teeth.

What is the name of the LPC Chairlady?

Primary Witness: No, she did not call the name.

What year you contacted Marconee?

Primary Witness: January of this year, 2008

You put you contact number on your form when the Statement Takers came to you?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Chairman: We have come to the end of your testimonies, what you did is very big because you have placed your husband name in the history of Liberia. The way you talked, you talked for all the widows. Anything else you want to say?

Primary Witness: I have something to tell the TRC, I want to tell you all thank you. I want the TRC to help me educate my children because education is very good.

We say, thank you very much, we take note of it, so you can leave.


Twenty-First Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Cestos City Rivercess County
Stanley G. Wehjue
(Second Primary Witness of day three)

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 and the TRC. What we do and say today will go down in history and generations long after us will get to read about what happened in this county.

What is you name again?

Primary Witness: Stanley G. Wehjues

What is your date of birth?

Primary Witness: Dec 25 1959

Where do you live?

Primary Witness: Cestos city

What don you do for a living?

Primary Witness: I am a carpenter

Primary Witness: In the year 1990 June first on Sunday when NPFL came to this city at that time I move from across to live here to do my job. When they arrived it was Noriega who brought the troop, Dominica was the next and one Junior who was the general adjutant and other were Dead-body Bone, Super Killers and the others.

At six in the morning when they came the only time we woke up was when we heard the big gun sound and they kill one man in the town after 30 minutes we started hearing the small gun sounds the they halted us and they say we should take out our shirts off and they say we should go to the city hall and one of them hit on my shoulder with the gun butt and dragged me. They say we should single file ourselves and they we should lie on our backs and look up to the sun and we were until when the rain stated falling and they took the women and brought them in the city hall land they say they never came to fight you people but only the soldier people we came for. They went around and to burglaries our place and we when came back they should go back but before we reach home they took everything. Before I could get home my money I was keeping to build my house $7,300 USD I did not see my money. I was off then one old ma came and took me to her house my shoulder was swollen as you can see one of my bones here is outside you see here so at that time I was not feeling find my hand was hurting so I want to the old ma house one ma Woway. The next Friday they came again. Then one of them called Nyah asked why I was looking like this I say I am feeling bad my money was taken by one of them, then he say the person who took the money he divided it among and he give me one hundred and one bag of rice and that how I went in the village then after some time they went and they told us to come in the city again and how I came back here.

Then LPC came and we were living here with them. But what took me from here was when my brother son Paul Weah by one Black Devil and that's why I finally left for the bush. And Feb 26 I fled to Buchanan.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: What was your brother's son's name?

Primary Witness: Paul Weah

What was his age?

Primary Witness: 19 years

What is your brother's name?

Primary Witness: James Weah.

You say what happen to your bone?

Primary Witness: It is protruding from my body you see.

How did that happen?

Primary Witness: The soldier hit me with the gun

Would not you mind if you can display the marks for our photographers to capture it?

Primary Witness: Yes no problem

Who beheaded your nephew?

Primary Witness: Black devil

Who took your money?

Primary Witness: NPFL

Is Nyah is a citizen of Rivercess?

Primary Witness: No from Nimba

Commissioner Konneh: do you remember if any of these people are stay alive?

Primary Witness: No only I can remember I saw Noriega passing through from the diamond mine besides I have not seen any of them

Commissioner Bull: what recommendation would you make that you want us to do in terms of amnesty and institutional?

Primary Witness: I am appealing to the TRC to help us to bring training center like vocational centers in each county, school hospital and etc

Commissioner Dolopei: when did they kill your nephew?

Primary Witness: That 2003 by LPC

Commissioner Washington: was the LPC around in 2003

Primary Witness: No that 1993

Can you identify if you can remember those who were involved?

Primary Witness: No I can't remember

You know them by names?

Primary Witness: That black devil killed him he was deputy to ?thick go'

Any one else?

Primary Witness: ?Thick Go' put 5000 together and to beg the town people that he did not mean it he was not the person who sent his deputy to kill the boy but the town people refuse the money and sent it back.

When did you see Noriega?

Primary Witness: Some part of 2006

Where was he coming from?

Primary Witness: From Sinoe county from the diamond mine.

Which part of River Cess you saw him?

Primary Witness: Here in Cestos and he said he was going Nimba .

Can you describe him?

Primary Witness: He is tall and he black.

What is his age group?

Primary Witness: He is in his 50s.

Do you know where he is now?

Primary Witness: I heard that he is in Nimba County but one of my friends told me that they saw him abound the BTC barracks sometimes last here.

Who was Dominica?

Primary Witness: He was the deputy to Noriega

Do you know their real name?

Primary Witness: No I don't know

How long they stay here?

Primary Witness: From 1990 they were here until LPC drove them from here in 1993

What is the mark under your face?

Primary Witness: No this not part of this thing here

Did you bury your nephew?

Primary Witness: Yes the town people came and buried him

Commissioner Syllah: how long did you spent in the sun facing it?

Primary Witness: About 30 minutes

Beside that can you tell us what else NPFL and Noriega did you to your?

Primary Witness: The rain met us there and Noriega say they should leave us and besides that they killed five persons.

Can you name those five persons?

Primary Witness: One Smith, Bruce Nelson, Joe Thraw one John Bestman, and one person that I can't remember now.

The fellow who gave you money did he encourage you to join?

Primary Witness: No they say since I carpenter I should fix all the house that they spoil and when they brought the food they will shared it with me.

Did you see MODEL?

Primary Witness: Yes

What you experience?

Primary Witness: We were afraid when they were coming they were in yellow t-shirt and NPFL was retreating so we went in the village.

They did any bad here?

Primary Witness: Yes they beat people here and looted that beating and looting they did.

Did you hear of Kofi Zah?

Primary Witness: When the Gio people were here Kofi Zah was the one who ran the Gio people from here.

What year was that?

Primary Witness: It was between 1994

What you mean when you say Gio people?

Primary Witness: That the NPFL fighters.

So he organized his own group?

Primary Witness: Yes he had is own

Chairman: is there any last word you have to share with us before you leave?

Primary Witness: I have been enjoying the counselor they took good care of us for t he time we spent with them. So I say a big thank you to the TRC family.

Twenty-Second Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Cestos City Rivercess County
Wilson Woryonwon
(Third Primary Witness of day three)

The Third 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. She was accompanied by an interpreter.

Chairman Verdier: Good Morning Mr. Witness, we want to say thank you and welcome to the TRC to share your experience with us.
Can you tell us your date of birth?

Primary Witness: I am 59 years old.

What do you do for a living?

Primary witness: I am a farmer.

Where do you live?

Primary Witness: I live across the river, in Gor.

Thank you very much for coming to the TRC to share with us your experience. So we thank you for coming to help us to do our work.

Primary Witness: I thank God for you people. I know you people care for us. In 1990, when rebel captured Rivercess, my father goats and cows were in the town, they catch them and kill everything because we left everything and ran away. In 1993, when Augustine and Ziway came in the town, they arrested my sister and took her to look for her father because our pa was a paramount chief. When my father saw them, he ran away. The rebel burst my sister eyes and later on, they kill her.

1994, they came back because my father was a chief, they came, they catch him, they shoot him three times. And he die. Then the next time they came back again, my wife was under the kitchen, they when there, they started beating my wife. So because we were afraid, and we decided to run away from the town, so we went to look for a canoe, and go to Buchanan. While we were in the canoe, crossing, the canoe capsized and my mother got drown in the ocean. So that the thing where happen to me during this war here. That all I know.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: Mr. Woryonwor, we want to thank to thank you for coming to the TRC today to share your story with us. And we say sorry for all that you went through during this war. So we the commissioners and the whole Liberia say sorry. The people that die, can you give the names of the relative who die?

Primary Witness: Karma Woryonwor-father, Saturday Woryonwor-sister, Kwabo Wessin-sister and Yarvoe Woryonwor -Mother

Commissioners Syllah: Thank you for coming to the TRC today yeah? And I want to join my colleagues to say sorry for the death of your.
Your sister that they burst her eyes, did she have any children?

Primary Witness: Yes, they are in Monrovia.

How many children does she have?

Primary Witness: She was married before in Monrovia, so I don't know how many children she had there. But she had 3 children.

But where are they?

Primary Witness: Two are in Monrovia with my other sister, and one here with me.

When you were in the canoe, how many where you?

Primary Witness: We were seven.

How many of them die?

Primary Witness: Only my mother die, the captain save the other people.

Commissioner Washington: Mr. Witness, We want t say thank for coming and sorry for the death of your sister and your mother.
Your daughter who was killed, can you tell us her age?

Primary Witness: She was 8 years old.

Was she killed by LPC?

Primary Witness: Yes.

What was her name?

Primary Witness: Her name is Kwabo.

Do you know the names of the fighters that kill your people?

Primary Witness: I only know the commanders names, I don't know the other fighters name.

Can you give their commanders names?

Primary Witness: Their names are Kadafi, and Nawey.

So you can't remember any other person's name?

Primary Witness: No, because when you see them, you just have to escape

Commissioner Dolopei: the people who kill your people, you na call the one from NPFL, can you call the names of the ones from LPC.

Primary Witness: The one I can remember is Crazy.

Commissioner Bull: Mr. Woryonwor, I want to say sorry for every thing you went though; we want you to take solace and be comfortable in your heart. Although they kill your father, but they did not take what he did for his country? He was a paramount chief, and for you to be a chief, the people have to like you. And those people who did it, most of them must have been dead now, or, if they are alive, they are cowards. They don't even want to hear their names today or read it in Newspaper. So thank God, for coming to share your story. I want to ask question, what do want for us to tell the Liberian Government to do for the Liberian people. Just think if your father was here, what would he recommend to day?

Primary Witness: Thank God. I know that you people care for us. What I want to say is, the Bible say, we should forgive. So I have forgiven them. But I want for TRC to help us sent our children to school because if you don't go to school you will be no where in the society.
Commissioner Dolopei: Is there any thing, you did not say that you want to say?

Primary Witness: I want to say thank you people for coming; I know you people care for us. You people truly care for us.


Twenty-Third Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Cestos City Rivercess County
Philip Manti
(Fourth Primary Witness of day three)

The Fourth 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. She was accompanied by an interpreter.

Co-Chair: we want to say thank you for you to come to the TRC to tell your experience to the people of Liberia. The TRC was formed to look into the experiences of the people of Liberia that is why we are here in Cestos city. What you are about to tell us will help us bring peace to this County.

What is your name again?

Primary Witness: I am Philip Manti

Where do you live?

Primary Witness: I live in Monwe Boutuin Town in Sawpu Clan

When were you born?

Primary Witness: I was born in 1932

Primary Witness: I first want to say thank you to God for all the citizens gathered together here. The past war carried most of my families. The LPC I have not seen them and I don't know them, but it was one Sunday in 1995 I left and went to service and when I came back home the food that they left for me, me and my children were eating and when we got through, the LPC capture our town. We don't know them but I was on the village, and when they got there they called me and said who owned this place and I said it was me. Then they said Charles Taylor gave them letter that they should carry body in the town and they asked me for food and I gave them five cups of rice and two bottles of oil and they said thanks.

After that they said we should go to town and I went in the house to change my cloths and they went with my children. On their way they got to a town called Gbahni and they started tying two of my children. When I got there I met two of the rebels and I asked them why they were tying my son and they said I was abusing them and I said if I am abusing them they should loosen him so that we can go to the town master. They said I should pass in the front of them. Those that were there was one Krahn boy and a Bassa boy and they gave me gunshot bag to carry and while we were near the town on the foot ball field they started shooting and one of my uncle son was shot. In the process I threw the bag down and one boy and I ran in the bush and they killed five people on the spot. We slept in the town and when we came the next day they had burnt about 86 houses in the town. Only one house was spared, that is what happened. When day broke we started burying the people that were killed. They killed two of my children and they were the ones that use to take care of me. Zoh was the one that led the group.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Co-Chair: on behalf of the TRC we want to say sorry, it is not easy to come and talk about the death of your children. We know it is a whole lot of courage that brought you here today so we say sorry. The story you told us now we all heard it but we want to ask you few question so that we can understand the story correct.

Commissioner Syllah: thank you for coming to share your experience with us and we say sorry for what happened. What are the names of the children that were killed?

Primary Witness: Junior and Daniel Manti

Do you have other children?

Primary Witness: Yes I have two other little girls.

What were their ages when they died?

Primary Witness: The oldest was 21 and the youngest was 19 years.

You said they burnt 86 houses in the town, do you know why they did that?

Primary Witness: No

How is the town now?

Primary Witness: God bless us and we have rebuild it

Who had the house that was spared and why did they do that?

Primary Witness: They actually left 6 houses and they were the ones that had zinc on them.

Did they kill anybody?

Primary Witness: Yes five people, Junior and Daniel Manti, David, Mongi and one Othello a Kru boy.

Commissioner Bull: I want to say sorry for what happened. we thank God for giving you the strength to live this long. Some of the people that were killed are they buried on the field in the town?

Primary Witness: Yes

We want you to gave us an advice for the government

Primary Witness: I thank God for you to ask this question, as for me I am old and I can't do anything, but God give me life for me to be eating. What I want for the TRC family to do for me is to help me to build my house, that is what I want from you people so that if I come from under the house then they can burry me. The children that suppose to take care of me are the ones that were killed.

Thank you, I hope God grant you the request before you die. How much do you think it will take for you to build a house?

Primary Witness: I do not have the idea.

Commissioner Konneh: you said two of your children were killed, do you know how they were killed?

The first one that was tied, they fired him right at the waterside and when we reach the town when I heard the gun sound I knew he was dead and the other one was mobbed in the night between the football field and the creek. In the process he was yelling and calling my name and I wanted to go there but one little boy held me so that I will not go there to be kill.

Besides your two children do you remember others that were killed?

Primary Witness: Besides them, extra three people were killed.

Do you remember their names?

Primary Witness: Yes, Daniel Ben, Mongie and Othello

After they left and your saw the bodies of the five people what did you do with them?

Primary Witness: We buried them.

Did you bury them in one grave?

Primary Witness: We were afraid during the war so we dug one hole for them.

Do you think if the TRC go there we will see the graves?

Primary Witness: Yes

Can car reach there?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Co-Chair: you said you can not remember the people who did these things, but did you hear of their commander name?

Primary Witness: The only person I can remember was their commander who was Zoh

The places your buried the people, the football field and the creek is there any decoration there to know the areas?

Primary Witness: Yes we put flowers around them.

We want to say thank you for the information you have given us

Primary Witness: I thank God and you people. Your brought us here safely and nothing happened to us. Your feed us good and we are satisfied with your work.


Twenty-Fourth Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Cestos City Rivercess County
Sammy Darway
(Fifth Primary Witness of day three)

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. 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.

Your name again please?

Primary Witness: My name is Sammy Darway

Please tell us your date of birth

Primary Witness: I was born on March 15, 1968

What do you do for living?

Primary Witness: Farming

Where do you have the farm?

Primary Witness: In Logan town

Where is Logan town?

Primary Witness: In central Rivercess district.

That's where you live?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Now you can tell your story.

Primary Witness: I first want to ell God thanks; it came a time in 1996 December, I came from Monrovia. In February 1997, I went to Church Mission to help with other activities and I went to the Deacon and he said that we were going to establish farm. When we were on our way to Gboglo's town where we were about to start the Church farm, we saw some soldiers in one curve and the other people that were with me asked and said, who are those soldiers? Hen I looked, I saw the soldiers with Nigerian batches on their uniforms and so I told the people that it was the Peace Keepers and nothing was going to happen to us and so we must continue our trip.

When we got close to them, they said that our President had asked them to come and check the town as it was a military base. The soldiers then firstly took all of our cutlasses we were carrying to do our work. After they took our cutlasses, I asked and said I thought that you people were Peace Keepers and why you people behaving like this? One of the soldiers said I was a military and if I do not tell him the true, he was going to kill me. I told him that if he wants to kill me, let him kill me but I was not a military man. The Nigerian soldier said they have been asked by our President to come and disarm us and that we were all soldiers.

After searched the entire houses in the town and did not see arms, they started to brutalize us. One of the soldiers saw my muscles because I used to go to the gym to build my body, he oh, you are a soldier and he started to beat me with a plank. They rounded about persons and asked to put our head to the ground and legs into the air; if you made ant mistake and put your feet down, they seriously hit you the planks they were using to beat on us. So one of my friends made a mistake and put his legs on the ground, as a result, he severely hit by one of the Nigerian soldiers with the plank on his back and because of that force from the plank, he toilet right away on himself and started to ask me if he will survive.

The same soldier came to me and asked me for my arm and I told him that I did not have any arms, when he heard this, he became angry and he slapped my ear with the plank and as I speak to you, I have a problem with this my ear. After that one of the soldiers said to us that our President was nobody but Jonathan Bannie and they have arrested General Oba and so everybody in the town were military personnel; from this moment, the other soldier kept forcing me to tell him the true if I was a military man, and I said no, right away, he began to hit me with the plank again and wounded on right on my fore-head.

The other Nigerian soldier said you people see white rolling all on the ground, then what about you black people? They started beating on all the women and men present with the planks they had. They said we were soldiers that had looted all the people properties. When we look, we saw a man and the soldier said this your President Jonathan Bannie, he came and stood by the army truck and later left. As soon as he left, they started dragging all women.

When I looked, they said they have arrested General Debbah and they were going to kill him. They put General Debbah in the truck and took him away. When we looked on the evening of that same day, we said General Debbah in Wlobo's town again; he said he disappeared from the Nigerian soldiers; and so that was my experience. Your treatment indicates to us that even the Peace Keepers violated the rights of the civilians and that's why TRC has come for all of us to share our experience so as to avoid us from going to that same bad behavior. You say 500 persons?

Questions from the Commissioners:

Primary Witness: Yes.

Commissioner Syllah: They got other people who survive from this?

Primary Witness: Yes, plenty people survived.

Where is Superintendent Jonathan Bannie?

Primary Witness: I know that he is in Monrovia and is presently serving as the Senior Senator for Rivercess County.

Does he Jonathan Bannie visits here?

Primary Witness: No, he cannot easily come here.

Does he go to the town?

Primary Witness: No, it is very for him to go there.

What's about after the elections?

Primary Witness: I say it is hard for him to come here.

What is the name of the ECOMOG commander at the time?

Primary Witness: No, I do not know because we were under serious problems.

Can you remember some of the people who were also beaten/survived?

Primary Witness: Yes, we have Solomon Koduo, Morris Koduo, Junior Friday, my own brother Andrew Darway, Arthur.

The Chiefs were there also?

Primary Witness: Yes, they were there but could not do anything.

Commissioner Stewart: Who was General Debbah?

Primary Witness: He was NPFL fighter.

He fought for other factions?

Primary Witness: No.

You say in 1997?

Primary Witness: Yes, February, 1997

What was Jonathan Bannie's position?

Primary Witness: He was the Superintendent for Rivercess County.

You say he brought the soldiers?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Was Wrobo's town a soldier barrack?

Primary Witness: Yes, the soldiers then used to be there.

He had weapon?

Primary Witness: Yes.

The village had arms?

Primary Witness: No, they searched the whole place and did not see any arms.

You say they arrested General Debbah?

Primary Witness: Yes.

You say you saw General Debbah in Wrobo town again?

Primary Witness: Yes.

The same day?

Primary Witness: Yes.

And what did he say to you people?

Primary Witness: He said when the soldiers were carrying him to kill him, he disappeared from them.

Where is General Debbah today?

Primary Witness: He is dead

When he died?

Primary Witness: In 2003

You say the soldiers were beating people?

Primary Witness: Yes.

You people carried any complain to the Superintendent?

Primary Witness: No, because the he was already on their side.

Has Supt. Bannie apology to you people?

Primary Witness: No.

Did General Debbah come back to Wlobo town?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Where are they today?

Primary Witness: Some are in Monrovia and some are in Buchanan.

Did somebody die from the bating?

Primary Witness: No.

Somebody got hurt?

Primary Witness: Yes, I was one of those that got seriously hurt.

Nobody sent complain to ECOMOG?

Primary Witness: No, nobody.

How long did ECOMOG stayed in the village?

Primary Witness: Almost two hours - 9:00am to 11:00am.

The ECOMOG soldiers gave your cutlasses back?

Primary Witness: No, they carried all.

Commissioner Washington: People got seriously injured?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Describe the injuries:

Primary Witness: Yes, they wounded me right on my fore-head and some people said the same

You say you have problem with your ears?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Describe the plank they beat your with

Primary Witness: It was flat and long.

They had more soldiers, ammunitions and training there?

Primary Witness: There were soldiers but they never used have training.

In which war did General Debbah died?

Primary Witness: I think it was the war between the MODEL and NPFL.

After Nigerian soldiers left, Bannie was still Superintendent?

Primary Witness: No.

Commissioner Dolopei: The attitude of the Peace Keepers sometimes violates our rights; a soldier is just a soldier.

Was Debbah a Bassa man?

Primary Witness: Yes.

How long it took you when you came from Monrovia?

Primary Witness: About 2 months.

You were associated with the fighters?

Primary Witness: No.

Was that your first time to see General Debbah?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Commissioner Bull: Is this mic on? I want to say thank you for coming to be part of the process the peace process sustaining the peace process. The role of the TRC is not only to hear or listen to the atrocities committed our mandate dictates and that's what your mandate dictates we will looking at the roles of various institutions and organization in the civil war we are look to look at them mandated and look at the role of ECOMOG the role of the foreign troops, the peace keepers. We will also be looking the role of people in power the abuse of power that's what we will looking at and you have brought this out with your testimony your testimony today was cooperated the testimony of April 2nd 2008 that was given by Elijah Wrobone I don't he still here, who testified that in 1994 there was massacre by LPC who went to Wrobone's town to say that to retaliate because they had one the fighters the NPFL fighter Debah and we ask the question "where was Debah?" and he did say Debah was dead so this another person who has substantiated the death of someone because we supposed to take account of everyone who died and that's the reason whey the TRC was founded we know the people around here who allegedly committed atrocities but this country would want to be a country of law and order that why we not going around grabbing people we want for their people to come identify people give them the opportunity so that when they hear their names the come to defend themselves. The role of the peace keeper, Liberia was part of the OUA and contributed ECOMOG came here based on that. The supreme court in the case of Peter Bona Jallah Vs the Interim National Government under Sawyer stated and you found that in the late 30s LLR - Liberia Law Report stated under this opinion was given by former chief Justice G. Garrison Bull stated called on Liberia to sign a status of forces agreement between ECOMOG and the government of Liberia to spell out what the role of the ECOMOG will be as a peace keepers stating what the government should do as peace keeper or not so in view of the status of forces agreement signed between the Government of Liberia and ECOMOG would be able to look into that agreement and determine whether that ECOMOG perform according to international standards for civilian to the status of forces agreement. I can say thank god that I too did my service to my country to draft the status of forces agreement between Liberia and ECOMOG. Now December 3rd 1997 we had had a constituted elected government we will look into the role of the government abuse of power or violation of international humanitarian law and also the role of the superintendent. Today we heard the name of the superintendent Jonathan Bennie and we also find out that you have substantiated that he is a senior senator representing this country [county]. According to our mandate everyone who is accused coming any not crime or any offense of action shall be called before the TRC irrespective of where they stand first branch, 2nd branch or 3rd. by calling my Jonathan Bennie's name in this hall this city hall it will not just remain here because we have the radio and the TV and I am certain that you will hear his name and he will able to remind his self and research is memory on what happen with in the period December 3 1999, ECOMOG soldiers have gone but they represented an entity I want to say to you that you call the names of Solomon Kotoe, Boye Gaumei Botoe, Junior Friday, Andrew Danny, these are other people who are alive who would be able to substantiate the allegation which you have just stated and that you were able to cooperate the statement of Elijah Wrobone I want to tell you that you have contributed to history and god save you that you will be able to tell your story thank and you and you will be able to serve your country in what ever manner you can.

Commissioner Konneh: You said you did not know the commander name?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Do you remember which Nigerian contingent?

Primary Witness: No.

How long they stayed in this area?

Primary Witness: I do not know.

You cannot identify, but they stay long here, were they here for too long?

Primary Witness: I think 10th December 1996 to January 1998

December 10, 1997 was when Jonathan Bannie was Superintendent, is that your statement, when you experienced war?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Did you see ECOMOG here after the incidence?

Primary Witness: Yes, I saw them but I cannot remember

Why you did not go to the Superintendent to find out why you all were beaten?

Primary Witness: Those that went to him, he said he was going to meet somebody.

How will we identify the ECOMOG group?

Primary Witness: I do not know.

Chairman: Thank you very much for your contributions, we appreciate it. You have been here since?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Anything else that could be recommended?

Primary Witness: I want to thank the TRC for coming here to allow us express what all that happened to us. I am kindly asking the TRC to build a clinic here in our area. Thanks also to the Counselors who helped us to overcome our misfortunes.

You say you were born in 1960?

Primary Witness: No, I said 1968.


Twenty-Fifth Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Cestos City Rivercess County
James Gbotoe
(Sixth Primary Witness of day three)

The Sixth 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. She was accompanied by an interpreter. She 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.

What is your name?

Primary Witness: JAMES GBOTOE

Where do you live?

Primary Witness: KAMPALA, Joe river district

What are you doing for a living?

Primary Witness: I am a farmer

When were you born?

Primary Witness: 1975 July 24

Primary Witness: During 1993 when LPC came in river Cess they were Yappas town and we were in our area when they went in our area I myself I ran too and came on the road because I was thinking of going Buchanan. One man was called Old Pa Diggs we were living together before but when he saw me now he said I was NPFL man so when I cam when he was me he say I am a soldier I say but I have not joined soldier before I say no I am not a soldier he say my brother was a soldier and luckily one of my man Sampson Gboya say this man is my man and he not join soldier before then he say dress here then he say if you not say the truth I will kill you in fact take out your shirt then he went inside for his gun and shot on the ground in front of me and he say I must lay on the ground over the hole and he say I must fuck the ground until I do something there then five minute he say I must get up then he say oh you not doing anything there then go back there then I went back and I was fucking the ground until he came and say I must get up then he say from now on you soldier so join us. I say I don't want to be soldier he say if you not join I will kill you then he went inside and brought one gun and say here is your own of gun then he went to the brigade then my man say since you not want to join then try to move from here he say if night meet you here man like ?Cow Pupu' then down there so just leave the gun here and go then I left the gun with him and went. Then pass through the bush and went to Tamos Town and I went all the way and went to Number 4 and I beat it beat it and got to Buchanan. And that's how I got from those people so that is my story.

Chairman: When this all happened?

Primary Witness: 1993 when LPC came

Who was the commander at the time?

Primary Witness: They called Gen. Wesseh in Yappa's town

Who was the main person who humiliated you?

Primary Witness: Old Pa Diggs

Did you witness them doing similar to any body?

Primary Witness: No

Commissioner Konneh: how long you were with Old Pa?

Primary Witness: I did not even sleep

More than an hour?

Primary Witness: Yes

How the civilians were treated by them?

Primary Witness: My heart was not even on different person so I don't know their condition

Where were you when NPFL fighting started?

Primary Witness: I was in my area

Did you experience anything?

Primary Witness: No

Did you see them doing anything and other persons?

Primary Witness: No

Were you here when MODEL came?

Primary Witness: I was not even near here.

Commissioner Bull: how old were you and old pa then?

Primary Witness: He was in his 40s and I was born 75

Where is Old pa Diggs?

Primary Witness: He is dead

How did Old pa look that day, was he normal or under drugs?

Primary Witness: I don't know

You got children now?

Primary Witness: Yes

How many?

Primary Witness: Three

Commissioner Dolopei: what was the name of your friend who saved you?

Primary Witness: Sampson Gboyah

Is he still alive?

Primary Witness: Yes

What are they ages?

Primary Witness: One 9 the boy is 7 and the last one is 4

Have they been in school?

Primary Witness: Yes the girl going to school in Buchanan in 2nd grade.

When was your last time in school?

Primary Witness: Before the April 1996

Which class?

Primary Witness: 6th grade and since then I have not been in school.

Primary Witness: Last word: I thank the TRC that what all the came to do it is truth so I myself who here before the war could take place I was in class but since that I have not sat in class and now I have three children and I am not in school so I am appealing to TRC to help me to go to school or my children. I myself who here I still want to learn because education has to end you can be 50 or above I can go to night school while my children go day school.

Twenty-Sixth Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Cestos City Rivercess County
Oretha Thompson
(Seventh Primary Witness of day three)

The Seventh 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: This is where all of us who survive the war meet to discuss, when we do this, we realize that we are not alone so that all of our brothers and sisters will know, and in that way we can overcome our past experience; that's why we tell everybody to come and tell their experience.

Primary Witness: I thank the almighty God because it is war and we don't know how God can express it, you're the TRC people that have come I thank God for you people. The number of people that died from us we can't get them anymore. God have counsel us and you people are the God. I thank God for the young girls and boys that are working with your. They make our hearts to come down and we are talking before you people.

During the 1993 when the LPC entered the town we were in at that time I had a two months old baby and they capture the two months baby and I including my mate. At night the general came and the person next to him is called Sinoe and she saw the baby and she took it from me and said the CO do not have baby and you have one, so she took the baby and carry it and I started crying and one of the soldiers came and said the rebels you see, so he hit me with the gun and because I never had power I could not do anything, I stop crying. My son was with them, they went and gave the young baby liquor and the baby died. When that happened we left from behind them and went to Bassa, and my father left here in the bush. The same group went to him in the bush and they beat him until blood set in his stomach and he died. That is what happened to me in the war, I say thank you for you people to come. (the witness burst in tears)

Questions from the Commissioners:

Commissioner Syllah: how many day your baby stayed with Sando?

Primary Witness: One Month

When Sando took your baby you went behind her?

Primary Witness: I went behind her but her commander Tito say I should not follow them.

Then how did you know they the baby dies?

Primary Witness: When the carry the baby and the baby get week that the time Sando bring the baby back.

Do you have any idea how the baby was eating?

Primary Witness: When I born my children they can't eat, only breast milk and water I can feed them with.

When Sando brought the child did you take the child to the hospital?

Primary Witness: There was no hospital at the time

What was the name of the child?

Primary Witness: The name of the child was Emmanuel

You talked about your father which group killed him?

Primary Witness: That is the same rebels, but I don't know the difference between them.

Commissioner Stewart: where did this happen?

Primary Witness: George Cheo Town in Grand Bassa County

Which rebels were in charge at the time?

Primary Witness: It was the NPFL

The time they capture you was there any fighting in the area?

Primary Witness: At that time they were not fighting but they just came and capture us.

How many people did they capture?

Primary Witness: We were 50

Can you tell us how they killed the people?

Primary Witness: All of us were running and they were firing between us and that is how some people died on the spot.

The NPFL rebel did they tie anybody?

Primary Witness: No they only told us to take our things and go to the other town

The women among your, did they forced them to be their women?

Primary Witness: No but the pregnant woman that was with us they were delivering on the road and the soldiers were taking the children and throwing them away.

How many women did they do that to?

Primary Witness: That only one woman who deliver and she had twins and they killed the boy and took the girl

Do you know what happened to the girl?

Primary Witness: I don't know

Did they burn any house?

Primary Witness: The time they say we should the town they put all the houses on fire

So how did you escape, was it the time your baby die?

Primary Witness: Yes that time my baby na die

So how long you stayed there?

Primary Witness: Two months they catch us January 1994

Can you tell us how life was there?

Primary Witness: Yes when day break the old cassava farm them that the place our husband them will group and dig cassava one big pan the Mandingo people use to sell that that pan they use to put under the ground and that there we use to beat the dumboy and eat it.

While in the bush did anybody fall sick?

Primary Witness: God was with us and nobody got sick in the bush

So where your use to sleep in the bush?

Primary Witness: We use to sleep in the bush and when the rain come it will fall on us and when the sun shine it will shine on us. We were there and nobody got sick. Even myself the place I slept worms were there in the morning the worm died and turned green.

Commissioner Bull: we are sorry for what happened to you and thank you for coming to tell us what you went through, it was the lord who save you. And I will want to tell you that your baby Emmanuel who died, his name will be recorded in the history of this country and everybody will come and read it and get to know that your two months old baby was killed in the war by wicked rebels. So we thank you for coming and we say sorry. Are you still married?

Primary Witness: Yes

Do you still have children?

Primary Witness: Yes but ling time I never have children.

Commissioner Konneh: we know it is painful to loose a child you carry for nine months and somebody just come and killed it like that. But we say sorry. Do you know anyone among that group that took your child from you?

Primary Witness: I don't know any on them.

Are you saying they were fighting for the NPFL?

Primary Witness: Yes

Commissioner Dolopei: the woman who had the twins, did she survive?

Primary Witness: Yes me and her went to Buchanan together

That the boy or the girl that survive?

Primary Witness: That the girl

Is there anything last you have to say to us before you leave?

Primary Witness: Thank God as I explain that God send your people. I am asking the almighty God and you people the TRC family to help me from the beginning we never took education serious and we know now that in the society if you do not go to school you will not go anywhere. So I want you people to help me and send my children to school so that they will have a better future tomorrow. So thank you for coming.


Twenty-Seventh Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Cestos City Rivercess County
Victoria Vigbay
(Eighth Primary Witness of day three)

The Eighth 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.

Primary Witness: It was one morning in the month of December, on the 28 when two NPFL boys came to our village, at that time there was fighting between them and the government forces, there was one man from our village in front of them, before he could talk then they appear and they say we are NPFL and we are here for your we do not want the LPC to take your life. They put all the families together about 20. So they carry us from that village to Polumsuia Town and we spent 2 nights on the road. When we reach there the boys started rapping and they rapped my two sisters.

When went and lodge the complaint to Marris Brown at that time Mosquito was not on the ground. It was Winston who took Derris and they started shouting around the house and they we were afraid, they said we brought enemy and they took us and carry us out and they collected Dorris and Viola Bestman and at that time they wanted to rape them and they told the others to go. The next day they came and they were crying and they brought two bunches of rice and said this is your food.

So we went to Marrie and told her and she said she will make a way for us to go to the next town and she gave us slip and we left to the next town. At that time I had two brothers who use to give us food. We were there when harvesting time reach and a lady took my brother to go and help her to go and cut her rice. When they went there the NPFL collected Jerry with the woman and they asked her who is the boy to you and she said he was a stranger so they said he was a soldier so they collected him.

Then the group came from another town and they came and they fought and we were happy because we thought we were free. So they carry the boy and we were crying for him. Then one old ma came and said your hear about Jerry and we said no then she said we meet Jerry head in a drum on the compound and we started crying but no body to pet us as the TRC has done today. So we left the placer.

Then this MODEL war I was in Gblosey Town and they came and burned the town and my house and every thing I had was burnt, but I am not worry about all this, what I am worry about is my brother jerry and the baby who was small and she died.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: thank you for coming to the TRC to tell your story, we are very sorry fro what happened to you. The commissioners will now ask you few questions.

Commissioner Sylla: Where is your mother?

Primary Witness: She died.

Where is Viola and Dorris?

Primary Witness: hey are in my home

How old is Dorris and Voila?

Primary Witness: can't lie Dorris was 15 and Viola had two children

You were present when the killed Jerry?

Primary Witness: No

Who told you?

Primary Witness: The people that were feeding the soldiers

The two years old baby was sick?

Primary Witness: Yes

Your brother wife never went to the hospital?

Primary Witness: No we were in the bush

Commissioner Stewart: sorry for the death of your brother, your brother two children and your mother. When did it happen?

Primary Witness: December 28, 1993

In which town?

Primary Witness: In Yani Town, Calwell where my mother was living.

LPC went in Yani Town to attack?

Primary Witness: No

Was it NPFL in the Town?

Primary Witness: Yes

NPFL rapped your sisters?

Primary Witness: Yes

They use to rape other women in the town?

Primary Witness: Yes

What they were doing with the head of Jerry?

Primary Witness: Just to show wickedness

Did they eat the head?

Primary Witness: I don't know

You think they berry the body?

Primary Witness: I think they eat the body, soldiers like Tuttle-wear goggule always use to say they can eat human being.

Who was the commander?

Primary Witness: Christopher Vambo known as General Mosquito little brother

Are these people alive?

Primary Witness: Winston died, Jonathan also died as people told me.

How long your stay in Boloway Town?

Primary Witness: Two months

General Mosquito came there?

Primary Witness: Yes

Did you tell general Mosquito about the people the soldiers killed?

Primary Witness: No I was afraid

If you see Mosquito you will know him?

Primary Witness: Yes

When he was going he left his brother there?

Primary Witness: Yes, Jonathan Vambo use to act as commander when his brother leaves.

What they did with all the human heads?

Primary Witness: I think they buried it because I was not there

Who was Rolland Duoh?

Primary Witness: He was the chief of staff

What is Turtle-wear-gorgu real name?

Primary Witness: Joseph that is all I know

Is he alive?

Primary Witness: Yes

Where is he?

Primary Witness: Somewhere around Webo's Town. He was infact loving to my sister daughter

Since that time have you seen him?

Primary Witness: No, since MODEL war I have not seen him.

Your experience during the war?

Primary Witness: I was living in Webos Town when I came in town some people say they coming put MODEL and Government forces together. I left and I went to Yarkpa town and later extended to thinker's village behind me, they burned the whole town.

You mean MODEL and government forces were together?

Primary Witness: Yes, they were not fighting that time.

MODEL killed anybody in the town?

Primary Witness: No

They burned the town?

Primary Witness: Yes, after I left

Commissioner Bull: thanks for remembering most of the names of the soldiers who were around that time. If you are here and your name was mentioned please come and clear yourself and do not wait for us to go to Monrovia because everybody will gave account of all the bad they did. Thank you.

Commissioner Dolopei: anything else or recommendation please tell us, this will help us to bring the peace and security we are all looking for.

Primary Witness: I have come here to tell the TRC many thanks. Like in 1990 nobody could pet us like this so my main thing is that I want your to build schools in Bassa. All my children them are big big now. When you wrote A big like this house they will not know it. So your please help build a school so that the children will go to school. I tell ou all thank you.

Your did any ceremony for your brother after he died?

Primary Witness: No


Twenty-Eighth Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Cestos City Rivercess County
Martha Brown
(Ninth Primary Witness of day three)

The Ninth 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.

Date of Birth?

Primary Witness: 1971, November 3rd

What do you do for a living?

Primary Witness: I am a business woman

Where do you live?

Primary Witness: I live in Zoryou's Town

Primary Witness: In 1995, LPC capture Zoryou's town and he killed my father oldest brother who read me, and they went and kill my sister's husband. When they were catching him that Sunday I was not in the town but I hear say nobody in the town again, but that LPC where there, when I entered in the town, I see soso bodies. My uncle who read me they put hem in one big house and burned it. My sister husband they put him in another house and burned it down. When I saw it, I was not to my self so I jumped in the bush and I ran away, because I was a woman and I was afraid to stand to see. So that is all I get to tell TRC.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: we want to say sorry for the pains you went through in the war, these were not your doing, but some bad elements in the society we found ourselves at the time. Your coming here has given us some useful information that will make us to bring peace to this nation. The commissioners will now ask you few questions so that we can clarify some issues. Can you tell what town it happened in?

Primary Witness: Zoryou's town

What is the name of your sister's husband?

Primary Witness: James Garyou

What about your uncle?

Primary Witness: Dorkin Gbloryeah

They said it was the LPC, did you see them?

Primary Witness: No but I heard it

Did you hear some of their names?

Primary Witness: Yes I heard the commander' name, his name is Zoh

Do you know any reason why they did that?

Primary Witness: No, I just saw them entered, when they entered there, they tied all the men them and told the women to get one side.

Do you remember how many people died in the town?

Primary Witness: When I got there the dead bodies were too many so I was afraid and I went in the bush. But the ones I could recognize was my sister husband and my uncle. Because I am a woman, I was afraid and the bodies were too many I could not look at their faces.

But the people that died can you remember their names?

Primary Witness: Yes, Friday Garmoyou, Seah, Isaac that all the people I can remember plus my uncle and my sister husband.

Commissioner Stewart: what time it happened?

Primary Witness: 1995

Was it on a Sunday?

Primary Witness: Yes

So the people just came and started killing people, tell me what happened

Primary Witness: I was not present when they enter; I was in the next town when people told me soldiers entered the town. My sister husband was the first I saw when I entered.

You say that LPC who did it?

Primary Witness: Yes

Do you remember any other person?

Primary Witness: No I can't remember them.

You talk about burning huts.

Primary Witness: Yes they burn the whole town but that only the dead bodies I talk about.

How many houses?

Primary Witness: Plenty.

You think it is more than 500, 600 hoses?

Primary Witness: Yes they were more than 100 and some more.

Do you have any final word? Some thing you get in heart to tell TRC?

Primar
Back to List of Transcripts