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The forth day of the TRC Public Hearings Proceedings held on Monday January 14, 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.
Eleventh Primary Witness of the TRC Public Hearings Joseph Miller
(First Primary Witness of day four)
The first 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, we want to welcome you to the Public Hearings and this also goes out to all Liberian in and out of this hall. These Hearings are meant for us to right our past as such we welcome the courage of all that are coming forth to give their stories to help the process. What is your name again?
Primary Witness: Joseph
Chairman: are you employed?
Primary Witness: No
Chairman: where do you live?
Primary Witness: Logan town
Chairman: All the Commissioners of the TRC are here and will be listening to your story.
Primary Witness: It was 1990 when the rebels started harassing us. So my aunty used to work at the Mansion said we should move to Lutheran Church compound. We spend almost five months. So one night the soldiers came and put everyone of us together. The soldier people were just speaking Krahn and Sapo. Anybody among the group that could speak Krahn or Sapo then they will call you out. Only Krahn and Sapo they were taking out. Whether you Bassa or Kpelleh O any tribe they want know. So they cut the light off and just opened fire, they just shooting, my mother was shot in her stomach and they bullet passed through her and hit my little brother that was on her back. Another one touched her and aimed my finger, here is the mark. My little brother started crying for water I started calling me, Millier, I want drink, I want drink he call me three times.
Luckily for my aunty she did not die so she woke up all over her was blood along with her little daughter patience. It was already late so we came from the bloody church building and we slept in one room. That night, soon in the morning my aunty took me and we started leaving the Lutheran church area while coming we saw a jeep full of government troop again, they asked me aunty where she was coming from she said some armed robber attacked her family and killed her husband last night so they left and we started coming. My aunty husband was working with one Lebanese man so we went in the man's fence. But that night the Lebanese people left the are and in the night the army attacked the area and brook into all rooms in that house, but they did not touch the room we were in. they fired for a long time and looted a lot and they left that is how we survived that night and the next day we left that area. still the soldiers came again but because I used to be very hard headed and playful, so when the soldier came other people were running but I didn't care so my aunty took me to one of her friend because her husband was complaining that he will not be keeping all kind of people in his house. But they place where they carried me I started doing work that I na used to do, going on the farm, driving birds and all kinds of thing. I used to cut woods and sell before I can eat. So the woman I was living with met my aunty one day and started telling her about me but the woman never knew that it was my aunty she was talking to, so that haw one time when I was carrying my wood then one woman stop me say how much for the wood. I say $10 then she said ok I will give you the $10, and she went inside and called my father who came and called my country-name, I answer and he started crying. He brought one album and asked me to show my mother and I pointed to my mother photo and then he knew it was me.
[Interruption by the Chairman: "would you please restrict your testimony to the statements that you gave the Commission. I mean the Lutheran Church Massacre.... Witness: oh the Massacre, I finish with that..... Chairman: What's about 2003...Witness: ok for 2003....? In 2003 I use to go sell in red light but this day I told my father me and my sisters that we should go red light to sell. But I said I was not going so my father and my sister them left. It na stay long the people started firing, I mean heavy firing all over the place so while we were running, the bullet hit my side, I dropped, I started crawling so some two older men saw me crawling and they carry me in one house in Carpet street and they managed to take me to the Redemption Hospital so I started taking treatment when the government troops came and said that let all the wounded soldiers should come out so I was afraid so I woke up and wore my shirt because my house was not far from there so I went and get my bag. And I started walking coming to town. When I came to town I told my father that I almost died, he said yeah, you suppose to die because you this time children you can't hear people. So he started talking care of me until I was getting alright small-small. That what happen to me 2003.
Questions from the Commissioners:
Chairman: thank you for telling us your story from 1990 to 2003, is there any other thing you would want to add from the Lutheran church incident?
Primary Witness: the only thing is that the bodies were too plenty and I was walking over a lot of bodies.
Chairman: What is your date of birth?
Primary Witness: 1982.
Commissioner Bull: You have been a victim of the Lutheran church and that of 1990 is there any mark on you from the bullet you sustained?
Primary Witness: yes.
Could you please show the marks to the person near you?
Primary Witness: Yes! The marks were shown to the psychosocial officer of the TRC.
Can you remember the leader of the people who attacked the church?
Primary Witness: I can't lie, I did not see any of them, but my aunty told me that the President was in that attack. He wore white shirt and white short.
Commissioner Stewart: can you remember anyone beside you and your aunty and family who was affected?
Primary Witness: I can't lie; I don't know any body who survived from in the building.
Commissioner Washington: you said those people who attacked are the government soldier, were they wearing uniforms?
Primary Witness: yes they were wearing government uniforms and were carrying guns.
Commissioner Kulah: You said the people were calling Krahn people out of the groups, were they targeting any other group?
Primary Witness: once you speak Krahn, they will take you out of the group and the Krahn people were not plenty, they were only taking the Krahn people and killing all the other people.
Commissioner Konneh: you said the people who killed the people in the church were asking for money to allow the people go out of the church; did they allow those who pay the money to go out?
Primary Witness: no my aunt even pay money and she was not allow to go out all the people who pay money were killed.
You also said when they shout your mother, the bullets pass and killed the baby, your brother, how old was the baby?
Primary Witness: I think he was two years old.
Was he sucking your mother breast?
Primary Witness: no
You said your aunty told you that the late Samuel K. Doe was in the group, before that day if you were to see the President, would you recognize him?
Primary Witness: no, I only use to see him on picture.
Commissioner Syllah: you said you live in the Lutheran compound for six months, and you were playful, have you seen any of the friends from the compound?
Primary Witness: no, since I left the Lutheran church I have not seen any of my friends.
Were there any survivals beside you and you aunts at the time?
Primary Witness: no
You had two aunts, one working at the Mission, where is she now?
Primary Witness: she died in the Lutheran Church.
Commissioner Washington: you said soldiers enter and killed, do you remember them calling each other by name?
Primary Witness: no, they did not call each other they just said fire or cease fire.
Did you hear any other person saying that the president was at that Church?
Primary Witness: nobody survive from that church besides us as such no one ever said the President was there beside my aunty.
Commissioner Konneh: you stayed in the church about five months was it before the incident or after?
Primary Witness: before the incident.
You say your aunty said the president was in the compound was there any survival who also saw the President?
Primary Witness: there was no survival to even know whether he was there, because every body died.
Chairman: thank you again Mr. witness we appreciate you coming to tell your story which has conform that a massacre went on at the Lutheran Church and this has contribute to the work of the Commission. Is there anything you want to finally say to the people of Liberia and the Commission?
Primary Witness: I don't have anything to say, the only thing is for you people to help me with my school because night school is not good but no money that is why I am going there and the man who is helping me is a good man he na no me from anywhere he just helping me.
Commissioner Bull: one last question, are you willing to forgive those that did these things to you, and how is your health condition?
Primary Witness: I don't know the people who did these things as such who can I pay debt on? I only depend on god to help me; I can't do anything to anybody.
Twelfth Primary Witness of the TRC Public Hearings Ugin Gray
(Second Primary Witness of day four)
The second Primary Witness of the day was called to the stand and he and his brother were 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 Mr. Witness
Primary Witness: good morning
Chairman Verdier: how are you today?
Primary Witness: I am fine. I tell God thank you
Chairman Verdier: yes indeed you look fine and want to thank you for coming to join us the commissioners, the audience here and the rest of the Liberian people who are not here but are listening to you on the Star radio. What you are about to say is very important for the change we want in our country so that lives for all the Liberians can be better than what we have experienced, so that we can not have war any more . We urge you as you have taken the oath to speak the truth nothing but the truth. Anything you know that has happened you can tell us about it, you just have to speak the truth. Okay!
Primary Witness: okay!
Chairman Verdier: okay you may proceed
Primary Witness: I was in Yekakpa, normal days going to school my family and my self were doing fine. When the war was coming 1989, my aunty brought me to Monrovia. While in Monrovia, war started coming to Monrovia, she decided to carry us in Cape mount to live there. She felt that they were not going to reach us that far. We were in Cape Mount living there struggling. On time we were coming from on the farm, my brother and my self, my twin brother and I was standing with me, we went to the creek to take bathe. We were arrested by One man One and Gbaray. They said "but wait now you did not hear that we passed law that no one should come to this waterside to take bath?" we said O! Chief! We beg you, and he said "your tie these people" and they tied my brother and myself. They said they wanted to put us in the water because that time they were throwing people in the Lofa River. We started crying, as for one, I started crying. They say "oh, but this other man is a women and the other man is a real the man." So we beg them, Chief, we beg your O!" we said "lets go to out parents they will pay your the fine for the things that we did. They said "okay let's go" and God spoke to them, they never did any bad things to us again and they loose us and they decided to carry us to our parents to pay the fine, and we took them to our uncle we were stopping with. On our way to our uncle they said; let's stay calm until we get there. Do you have any sister that we will take? And we say yes we get our older sister" then they said, your will be our brother-in-law them. We "say okay we get our bigger sister, you can marry our bigger sister" they said "okay". Then let go to the check point. We went to Madena check point in Cape Mount. We were to the check point all of a sudden the commander himself forget about our sister business and he said my pekin (little boys) them, you can go home yah! We say "okay". That was how we came home; our uncle was even waiting for us. Then we explained to them what happened. The next day Gbaray went to our house because we were selling palm wine to our house. When he came to drink palm wine, then we reminded him of the story that happened yesterday. Then he say "that my pekin they caught yesterday?" we say yes, we are the ones. That's how we became friends and we were there. He even wanted to initiate us, they said he wanted us to be soldiers, but our uncle never allowed it. Our uncle said we were too small to join the soldiers at the time. After that thing everything, the war was coming, our uncle got scared and said lets go back to Monrovia. Because we heard that certain people coming called ULIMO. And he found means, he found car pay and we came to Monrovia. We started living in Monrovia; we started attending the Barclay Training Center (BTC) in the barracks called Gray D. Allison. We were supported by our mother, that time she just came back from Guinea, we were living fine. When ULIMO came to Monrovia, they were in Poe-river. One time, our mother went to Poe-river to buy her market things, cassava and other things them. She was arrested by ULIMO soldiers; they said she was a spy, she went to spy for NPFL. They put her in jail. She was in jail and she slept there. My father got concern, he said but what happen your mother went to buy her market we can't see her. The next day she came and she told us what happen, that she was arrested by ULIMO soldiers. They say I went to spy for NPFL. I slept in jail. I slept in jail and that's how they free me. So we waited, my brother and myself now said, why will they take advantage and take all our market money. So our hearts started judging us. While we were there one time, I use to help one of my big brothers called Saye, he used to cut hair in the barber shop. One ULIMO soldier, came to cut his hair, he came and say the man should cut his hair. After the man cut his hair, he said the style the man cut was not what he wanted to put on his head and that the man should put his hair back on his head. If the man did not do it, he will execute the man. He held Saye by the trousers. He started carrying the man in the barracks, he started beating Saye. Because that time, ULIMO was in Monrovia, they used to go to the barracks to do everything. He said, if the man did not put his hair back on his head, he will kill the man. He held the man by the trousers, he started carrying the man in the barracks, and he said he will kill the man. People started running behind him, started talking and begging him to forget about the man. So, he left Saye. After he released Saye, that's how Saye came back, then I said but this thing is getting too much now. First, they arrested our mother and took her things from her, today, today she's not able to support us, to pay our school fees. Then, today again, they came and did this thing to our big brother, but this ULIMO here, myself got to join this ULIMO. That how, one general, called Faleku Donso, he was our big brother. But he's not here now but he came, he talked to us, he convince us, he said, I want for two of your to be my body-guard, we were with him. We join ULIMO right on Clay and Johnson streets there, in one upstairs there. That's how we join ULIMO. We became his body-guard. The first bad thing I did was when one girl went to her friend; they arrested her and said the girl was on reconnaissance for NPFL. We catch her, they said, your put fire under her foot, we tie her two legs, we started torturing her to confess but she never confessed because she said, she never went on reconnaissance. At last, we released her. So while there in combat camp, because that's where we were at that time. We were there doing all king of bad things, all kinds of bad activities, the soldier activity. So, it was one time, the general left us in his room, he say he was going Bomi to come back. I was in his room; he left the whole house with me. I was in his room. I did certain things which he disliked. When he came back, the same general told them to tie me up. My own big brother who carry me to join that him say they must do me like this? I started crying, he say my man, are you "mama baby", you suppose to be in your mother house washing your ma dishes. You are not supposed to come to us. They tortured me and that's how I left from behind him. I said, I can't be with this man that will treat me like that. I went on my own, started living on my own as a ULIMO. I started fighting and doing all kinds of bad things. Up to the time the split came. The split came 1994, I went on the Krahn people side, which was the ULIMO J and that how the ULIMO J and ULIMO K started fighting. And that how we started fighting with ULIMO J. We were with ULIMO until through out until last minute to time we went to Kakata and Toe Gate and we got to Bong Mines. They took us there. Every one of us was in Monrovia on 19th street to Roosevelt Johnson's house. There where all of us were sleeping there seeking refuge in the Johnson fence, harassing people on that 19th street, people could pass there, I think some people here present can attest to the story. The whole 19th street, we were there, we were the second in command. Amah Ulolu came and one night they went in the fence, Johnson say your arrest these men, what did these men came to do here? These guys, were with Amah Ulolu and was with Alhaji Kromah, so what do they want in this fence here? It means they are coming on reconnaissance. We arrested them that night, and killed them that night on 19th street and we throw the body on the beach. Their body was on the beach, the people went there to go see. Then Taylor said but wait now, why this man here, who is he? Let's arrest him. That how Taylor said they should arrest Johnson, for the two men whom they killed. That's how the April 6th came about. For that two men business, Taylor said they should arrest Johnson, that how Johnson said, you rebel leader, then you want to come to arrest us. Who are you to come and arrest me? We were on 19th street that night, around about 3:30 that night, that's how they came to arrest Johnson and that how we resisted them, we said he can't go. That's how we protected Johnson and took him to the Barracks that night. It was April 6, that how the April 6 war started. On our way going with Roosevelt Johnson in the Barracks, we met one General, called General Domingo, he was a general of the NPFL, and we arrested him that night, right in front of the barracks. We caught one ECOMOG man. We killed him in front one supermarket, we throw his body on the floor and we took his car, and we were using it. We were in the barracks, we were there the same day, the other ECOMOG them in the barracks, their friends them came to carry them, with Mowa and said they came to rescue them. So the late General Nouwan, from ULIMO J, he say no, we can't sit down here and allow these man to carry all these weapons from here, we will be armless, so gentle men your arrest these men and take these guns from them. That's how we started beating them, started jucking them with knife. We started jucking them and we beat them mercilessly and we took them to the barracks. We took their arms and ammunition of and we even took their Mowa from them. We brought it in the barracks, we started using it. The same ECOMOG we use them, when we say go so, they left, when we say launch here, they will launch there. After that first two weeks, the first weeks of the April 6, we use it. From there after the two weeks, Taylor, Alhaji Kroma and this guy, Wilton Sankawolo, we went to the Mansion to talk about the first cease fire. We were in the barracks, we saw them, we say, but who are those guys in the barracks? War is fighting and they are in the mansion? They say that Charles Taylor. That's how we went back again, our boss say but you go there, your attack the man them and your stop them from going into the Mansion. That's how they sent us. By that time ECOMOG finished taking their man from the barracks, we never had any ammunition again, and from there people started dying in the barracks. They started Launching, heavily, because the ULIMO K and NPFL at that time. They started throwing rocket in the barracks. Killing people, it was one Sunday, there was launching the whole day. My own aunty, they called her aunty Musu in Lakpazee, was afraid so I say no, I can't stay here. So General Dumuyan was in the barracks, and even the honorable Konneh was there at the time. We were all seeking refuge there, even my uncle was there. We were in the barracks at that time. We can sit down here, and people be dying like this. We need to get some good, there are good people here. That's how we said lets go on that man there, on a Sunday. That's how we went there that Sunday, right at the intersection of UN Drive and Center street there we went, and we disorganized him from over there, we capture him and Dumuyan and that how we arrested him and brought him to the barracks and butcher him into pieces and everybody came to cut piece of his body. Because of the people them he destroyed. The balance of his body was thrown on the beach. After the April 6 everything, the cease fire, the war was over, ECOMOG called for cease fire. People started working and people started going on normally, and 1997 they called for elections. We were on camp Johnson road there with our Chairman Roosevelt Johnson, we were with him, Taylor said, he wanted to see Johnson that day; they should bring Johnson to the Mansion. And that time, to tell you, let's be frank, Camp Johnson road was dangerous. No one could pass camp Johnson road. We use to call it Republic of Camp Johnson Road. We said that our own area here, government troop can't come here. That how we were on Camp Johnson Road there, in the night, we will go and harassed people there, all on McDonald Street. Then those man them sent the delegates for Johnson and we said he's not going anywhere. Because you want to sell us, if you go there Taylor will arrest you, then who are you leaving us with? That's how one of our friends they call him Ansu, that's how he came to stop Johnson from going in the car, he had the stick in his hand, and he went and knock the car door with the stick. That how some Ghanaian ECOMOG fired him on the spot and he died right there. When that whole thing happened, by stopping Johnson from going to the mansion, that's how we were dissolved. So Taylor say but this Roosevelt Johnson here, he can't control his boys, he can't control his man. Then in fact, we will put together and get rid of them on that camp Johnson Road since he can't control his man. This thing is getting too much. That's how the September 18 came about and that's how we carry Roosevelt Johnson to the Mansion. We were trying to protect him thinking that it was going to be like the April 6 but we never made it, we couldn't stand the tension from the government troop. We couldn't make it. That how we carry Johnson to the American Embassy and we maneuver, and we our self we were not thinking about our selves. We were only there, to protect some one else's life, Johnson and his family. And they left they went, they were in the embassy, we that was protecting him, we were standing across the road to the UN building. Later on, when we go look, we saw Joe Taye coming in a convoy. At that time, Johnson, and the late Uhh....I'll get back to his name. okay, Johnson, George Dweh, and Malison Gwewon was there, the late Malison Gwewon. Malison was unfortunate, when Joe Taye came all of them were rushing to enter. Roosevelt Johnson, George Dweh and Malison Gwewon were on there way inside the embassy, he was the last. When the man them open fire, that how right at the embassy gate there, he dropped and his one leg was in the fence and he dropped there. At last, the people came, the SSU came, that time Taylor has time SSU, they started checking among the human beings for us, people started showing, but some of us were fortunate, God said it was not our time. Even one of my friends they called Ofuri, that time he was with Johnson, in my presence they arrested him put him in the pickup and brought him on Benson Street to the Gas station and the executed him. Two or three days after, we left that compound and went to my area and started living normally like civilian. I maneuver my friends helped me and I started doing my business, I said to myself sine this war has finished and did not die and the Johnson man is gone, let me focus on my business. I started selling my cloths; I was selling on Gurley street right under the old Transport Ministry. After forgetting about the war and selling our cloths, the SOD started embarrassing us, taking our cloths and money everyday. I had my woman, after she deliver, I spent some money on her and the last money I had I put it in goods and the SOD came that day and clear my whole goods and I had nothing at all remaining again. They arrested me with my goods and put me in jail. One of my friends they called him Vanie Massalay, he was with the police and think he is still with the police, he fought hard and he release me, because he use to buy from me, he fought hard and he release me. Then he said my man I can carry you to join, and I said I am ready to join, because I have decided to forget about gun, but the way things are going, I think I have to go back and hold gun. That is how he carry me and I join the Taylor government and I join the SOD and some of my friends who and I use to sell saw me and started saying this our friend who use to sell here is now a police, and I started doing things out of the way. Excuse me for the expression, we started forking cat, we started forking cat with the SOD, at that time they use to call us the sons of the devil. They sent us in loaf at the time the LORD was coming at that time our commander was called Sampson that is where I saw police going to the battle front, I said this is not just police, but they are fighters. We started fighting in loaf, we fought throughout and when LORD was coming we couldn't making, I maneuver and I escape and came to Monrovia and when they saw me they said is this not the man we sent to Lofa to fight what is he doing here, they caught me and jailed me. They freed me and sent me to Bomi again to fight and we had one commander called Patrick Thomas his war name was One Foot Devil and one night he took us to a catholic compound where they had civilians seeking refuge in Trumansburg we started taking away the people things, there was one white man called father Gerick, he put the man under gun point and made the man afraid and the man open the compound and said any thing you like you can take it and we started away the people things. We took some NGO motorbike and other things and brought them on our base. Then late the commander started taking our things we took from the people, the same Patrick Thomas man, he took all our value away from us and it is the money he used to build a Gas Station on the Old road which he is living on today. He frustrated us after making us to look ugly before the people and started beating us for the materials, if you refuse to give in your own he will beet you under your feet for he do not want people to see the beating marks on your body. He did it to one of my friend as such I had to give in my own. He used to take the things to Monrovia, put it in the police pickup and bring it straight to his house. So when the Moi Jebo heard that this Patrick Tomas man sent in Bomi is coming to Monrovia every night, to come sleep every night in Monrovia and go back but he did not know that it was the looting things that he was bringing to Monrovia. That is how Jebo took the man for the assignment and told him to turn over the government properties and he was happy to turn over the government properties because he new what he already had, he was happy to turn over what he had for the government. Myself I got annoy and I left the assignment in Bomi and came to Monrovia, saying I can not go to Bomi any longer. I came in Monrovia here and the last thing that we dad the last forking cat that we did was on LU campus, I think some people can bear witness to that effect, I think it was 2002-2003, Taylor said the university students were talking against him, so he wanted us to go on the campus and disorganize the whole campus that day. They went and bought rockten (whips) that was my first time seeing a pickup filled of rockten. They brought the rockets to us at central and tie it three and four together, and asked us to sing and they put us in zeal and at the time the Commander was Sah Gbolie, he is a honorable man now, he was the Deputy Police Director for Operation. He came there day down the basement, he came to brief us, he said all those that can bend elbow and all those that can wrap white paper should be separated that is those that can smoke and those that can drink alcohol. He provided them for us for he did not want us to spare anyone on the campus and that is how we went on the campus and beat the student taking there properties from them. And there is a lady that I met and which is the main reason I came to the TRC to confess, If the lady is here I want her to forgive me because of what I did to her. I don't know her in person but she talk to me one time and I knew she was the one. I try to talk to her but there was no way. It was not my own way it was order we were going by at the time. When I met the girl she said fine boy didn't beat me she said she will give me something I should not beat her while talking Sah Gbolie came and met us and said what are you talking there and he kicked me and that annoyed and I started beating the girl mercilessly, I beat her too bad and step all over her and the next day she went on the media and I heard it the next day. And after the war I met her at the time I came from the hospital and my hand was in cast and she said you are lucky, your hand was suppose to cut. The thing your did to us on the campus that it come back to your, I was trying to talk to her but she was annoy as such I left her. She met me on one or two occasion and said the same thing and it always embarrassed me that is why I came to the TRC so that she can forgive me, and to all the Liberian people we want you to forgive us, it was not our own doing. It was the work of the devil and other people influence and also to the TRC that they should still talk to the people to forgive us, I think it was not our own will.
Questions from the Commissioners:
Chairman: thank you very much Mr. Witness for pouring your heart to the Liberian people and asking for forgiveness, the TRC appreciate you coming forward to tell your story. The commissioners will ask you few questions. What is your date of birth?
Chairman: what is your date of birth?
Primary Witness: September 6, 1979
Commissioner Syllah: you were discouraged for joining and later joined what was you age at the time?
Primary Witness: I was 13 at the time I joined.
Where is you mother now?
Primary Witness: my mother and father are dead. My mother saw me with the arm, but she could not say anything to me because she was afraid of the gun.
Commissioner Konneh: you said when you joined ULIMO you use to killed NPFL soldiers was it on the battle front or anywhere your saw them?
Primary Witness: we use to kill them on the battle front and anywhere you met them.
How did you treat the civilians?
Primary Witness: we never use to kill civilians, we use to treat them fine, and we use to kill only soldiers.
Your never killed civilians?
Primary Witness: in my presence there were no killing of civilians, maybe my friends use to kill them but I never witness that
You said you were among those that went to the university campus did any body died or was raped in the incident?
Primary Witness: no, nobody died and nobody was raped. We beat people and took items from them.
Commissioner Kulah: we are happy to know that there is a sense of remorse in your voice. I want to know how many groups you fought for and what tactics you used in moving from one group to another.
Primary Witness: I was with ULIMO before they split then I was with the J, the Krahn people and later went to the SOD
I want to go back to the University of Liberia, are you willing to go back to say sorry for what you did there to the students on the campus?
Primary Witness: yes I am wiling, I did not do it on my own I am willing to go there and tell them to forgive me for what I did on the campus.
Do you know of any like you who is willing to apologize for what they did to the Liberian people?
Primary Witness: I don't know of any, but if I know I will tell them to come and say sorry for what they did during the war and ask for forgiveness.
Commissioner Dolopie: I want to ask on the Bomi issue, you said your commanded took the things you looted and have a gas station from the money he got from those things?
Primary Witness: yes, the man now has a gas station on the old road. His name is Patrick Thomas
Commissioner Coleman: as a child you did not want to join but as time went on conditions made you to join as you grew up you still continue would you want to explain how you fell when you look back at what went on?
Primary Witness: I do not feel good at all because I did not gain anything from the war.
You join a group that was killing instead of protecting, how did you feel about that?
Primary Witness: I feel very bad about that.
Commission Washington: you said at the time one Sah Gbolie encourage your and give your drinks, do you know where he is?
Primary Witness: he did not give us the things, he briefed us and he handed these things to our commander
What was his exact briefing?
Primary Witness: that we should go under the palaver hut and disorganize students
Do you know where he is now?
Primary Witness: yes he is here and he is working with the government. He is a representative of Margibi.
You talked about a Catholic Church in Bomi which one of them?
Primary Witness: it is the one with father Garry, St. Dominic.
You talked about a gas station build as a result of what you looted, what is the name of the station?
Primary Witness: I know the station and where it is, but not the name.
My last question is if there was a conflict again, will you be tempted to take part?
Primary Witness: no because the last one I took part in, the people were just fooling us, and I sustained injuries
Who do you think should be responsible for the war?
Primary Witness: the people that brought the war.
Commissioner Stewart: you said you were 13 at the time you join ULIMO, from the time you join to the time you became and SOD were you told about human right and how to fight?
Primary Witness: yes were told how to take care of civilians
So your leadership knew how civilians should be treated?
Primary Witness: yes
What did they do about the killings and looting and rapping that went on with civilians?
Primary Witness: when you are caught, you will be beaten and executed at times.
You also said you were divided into groups about what you could do, was Sah Gbolie aware about this
Primary Witness: he was not aware about this, it is our commanders who did this, and give us the materials and the drugs and liquor.
For the operation that went on at the university, was any of the police officer disciplined, you or any other person?
Primary Witness: no
Can I now say they were all aware of what went on?
Primary Witness: yes
Did they give any award?
Primary Witness: no
Commissioner Bull: did I understand you say you were recruited on the DUMANU base for three months?
Primary Witness: I was trained for three months, but I did not go to Sierra Leone
But there was a ULIMO base in Sierra Leone
Primary Witness: yes
Before ULIMO split, there was one ULIMO; do you know the leader of the one group?
Primary Witness: he was Alhaji. G. V Kromah
Do you know for sure that he is still alive?
Primary Witness: yes, he ran in the last election and I am sure he is still alive
You also mentioned Domuya who was killed on Sunday, what was a position?
Primary Witness: he was a chief of staff
For which group?
Primary Witness: ULIMO K
You also mention Ama Ulio what happened to him?
Primary Witness: 2 of his body guides were killed
When talking to Commissioner Stewart you said when you people killed they will kill you also, is that true?
Primary Witness: yes
Commissioner Konneh: which of the group warned you against harassing civilians?
Primary Witness: ULIMO
Before joining the SOD did you undergo training?
Primary Witness: no
Commissioner Dolopei: you said one of your brothers assisted you, is he still alive?
Primary Witness: yes
Is he in this country?
Primary Witness: he is not here, he should be somewhere in Spain
Commissioner Coleman: have you stayed out of Liberia?
Primary Witness: I went to Ivory Coast but did not stay long there.
Comm. Washington: you said you chap Domoya, what happened to the pieces?
Primary Witness: we chap chap him to pieces and throw it on the beach
Commissioner Coleman: Was there any burial sight for the soldiers?
Primary Witness: no
Commissioner Bull: what is your tribe?
Primary Witness: my father is a Krahn
Chairman: How did you leave the SOD?
Primary Witness: I sustain injury and was in the hospital throughout and no one came to me as such when i came out i decided to sit down.
Chairman: did you take part in the DDRR?
Primary Witness: I was undergoing treatment at the time
Chairman: you spent a lot of time with factions did they take war prisoners?
Primary Witness: no
So if any body was capture what happen to them?
Primary Witness: no body was capture in my time
How did you get your arms where were they coming from?
Primary Witness: we did not know how the guns were coming; we just use to get them.
Is there any other big name other then the names you have given now?
Primary Witness: Alhaji G.V. Kroma, Jungle Jabar, but he is not alive now
You talk of soldier's activities what are they?
Primary Witness: soldier activities is to go and fight
Can you name any of the people with you at the campus and those giving instructions?
Primary Witness: the
Chairman: do you have any regrets?
Primary Witness: I regret taking part in the war because i did not benefit from it.
Chairman: thank you for sharing this valuable information with the Commission for they have contributed a lot to our work. It will help in having a truthful report in the end of our work. You talk of the university and other important things we are investigating. is there any last thing you want to say?
Primary Witness: I want to say sorry to the Liberian people and thank the TRC for bringing this program.
Chairman: ladies and gentleman the commission will recess for five minutes.
Thirteenth Primary Witness of the TRC Public Hearings
(Third Primary Witness of day four)
The witness that just left from here is my twin brother Eugene Gray, during the revolution; we did things together so what he just explained is the same thing I was going to explain. But certain time of the year after September 18, 1998 when we finish escorting Roosevelt Johnson to the Embassy and we came back me I was till afraid so I decided to go Ivory Coast fro rescue.
In Cote D'ivoire, I was in Giglo people came three where we were, the refugee that left from Liberia were so-so ULIMO J fighters. So after some years 1998 to 1999, they wanted us to come back in Monrovia say because Charles Taylor men were still giving us heard time. It was in Ivory Coast we founded MODEL. We had our commander they called Miracle billboard they put us together because every one of us knew about arms already they only gave us small tutoring. We left from Peace camp from there we came to Tholoplay. That Tholoplay we had our base. The first time we came to Liberia was when we hit Toes town, they say we should come and test the man power. So they first pickup that fell in our arm bush was one ADRA pickup certain NGO and all the NGO worker in the pickup we kill them. Then we retreated back to Tholoplay and get to our main base in Giglo. When we were Giglo NPFL cross and attack Tholoplay where you can cross to get to Liberia, so our chief went and told us that oh gentlemen the man then finish crossing (they have already crossed). So they put us together again to repel the enemies. So we started from Gbono camp we started pushing them from Tholoplay all the way to the border then we hit them again and we reach all the way in Liberia. We pass through certain sawmill in Grand Gedeh that the place we stop. We were there for one or two days and when we reached toes town we say one Kia Moto coming from Zwedru they had soldier people and business people on it, but they were bad luck and they felt in our arm bush right to the video club in front one Papay Vasayku video club. It was about 8 in the night from toes town we went Toe's town and when we reach Zwedru we went strait back to Guiglo, then our commander said gentlemen this time when we cross we not coming back to Ivory Coast we will be in Liberia until we reach Monrovia. So we started coming again, we hit toes town from there we headed for Nimba County. We crossed the Cestos River by then we were in Nimba already, we fought in Tappita and still long there and made it our base. We used to go to Grand Gedeh and come back to Tappita. We push the government troop in Tappita and started planning how to get to Grand Bassa. So they put us together and we waited for our commander Billboard who always used to go to the Ivory Coast to the chairman and come back. We fought through the bush road from Nimba and bulldoze into Bassa. In Buchanan self-self there was heavy fighting between government troop and us, it was not easy, that the place where myself I sustain injury you can see here chairman, I still get six (6) round in me here, 3 on my hand and 3 on my chest here. I say real fighting but still we make Buchanan our base then the government troop retreated all the way to Compound #3 or #4, and they came back on us with heavy attack. That is where some of our General died, the man who brought us from Guiglo there were he died, one Miracle Billboard, that Tuesday was not for small thing we fought there and it was where he died, one Miracle Billboard. So some of the generals said we should go back to Nimba because our men are dying here too much, your let go to your base in Nimba. Right in front of the police station in Buchanan there are town holes that is were we buried over 50 men. They put all the wounded men in the pick up. So one of our big men came and said but gentlemen the same way was entered Nimba County the fighting was heavy and we make it we can still make it here so we must not retreat. So we left the town with government troop and went in the bush and put ourselves together. We had certain weapon they called turtle. That one it can blast three times, that's the one we put together. That's the one our commander brought from Ivory Coast. That's the weapon we used on government troop and they run away from Buchanan, we capture gunboat and all from them the one Charles Taylor was using. We launched them for three days we captured the port, OTC hospital and all over Buchanan. In OTC hospital so - so government wounded soldiers were there. There were no way for them blood smelling, they were leaking so the commander say what will you do with these people then so some of our friend said we should blow all of them up, so then we blow them up because they were already finished.
We went in the LUP. Every one of us had our houses in the LUP. Our battalion was called "fire-return-fire" the commander was Junior Gbaigba he gone back self in Grand Gedeh now. When billboard died then, we, excuse me, one representative in the House now, Kai Fallay to be our commander. He was controlling the men in Buchanan when the main died. Then Kai Farley was controlling us. We were taking order from him directly. We were there and as God could have it, it was ceased fire so the first contingent we saw was Bangladeshi and Kai Farley said gentlemen, you put your arms in door there is no fighting war finish. By that time the buffer zone was in Compound 4, so he said we are expecting UN so you put your arms down until we can receive the people then your will disarm. So that's how we waited and disarm and we came back to Monrovia and up to now I still have six
Questions from the Commissioner
Chairman: Mr. Witness, you are welcome to the Public Hearings.
Primary Witness: thank you Chairman
Chairman: thank you for the short and clear statement. The commissioners will ask you some questions. Did you say you have six bullets in your body?
Primary Witness: yes
Chairman: did you participate in the DDRR program?
Primary Witness: yes
Chairman: did they not do anything about that?
Primary Witness: during that time it was inside and they could not do anything about it
Commissioner Bull: what's your name?
Primary Witness: Emmett Gray, and my brother Ugin Gray
What is you age?
Primary Witness: presently i am 29
What was you age when you join the war?
Primary Witness: at the time i join ULIMO i was 13
What was you position when you escorted Roosevelt Johnson to the American Embassy
Primary Witness: it the time I was his bodyguard
Who were those you took?
Primary Witness: Roosevelt Johnson, Madison Gbayon and George Dweh
Did you enter the compound?
Primary Witness: they entered, we did not enter.
What year did you go to the Ivory Coast?
Do you know where these people go when they were taken to the American Embassy?
Primary Witness: they traveled to Ghana
Another statement was that he founded MODEL who is this person that founded it?
Primary Witness: the only person i know is Miracle Beblo
Where is this Miracle Beblo?
Primary Witness: he died in Buchanan
You talk about one Kai Fallay who was you commander in Bassa was he the commander when you capture the OTC Hospital?
Primary Witness: Biblo was the commander at the time and when he died Kai Fallay took over
When he took over were you controlling Buchanan?
Primary Witness: he was controlling that time and we were all wearing camouflage
You said your base was Guiglo, was it in Liberia?
Primary Witness: it was in Ivory Coast
So model was founded in Ivory Coast
Primary Witness: yes
Commissioner Stewart: as a soldier in MODEL, did you receive salary?
Primary Witness: from the beginning we got salary
Can you say how much you were given?
Primary Witness: 20,000 Ivorian money
Was it on monthly basis?
Primary Witness: yes
You also said your soldiers were in uniform, do you know where they came from?
Primary Witness: from Abidjan
You talk of your chairman who was he?
Primary Witness: the only person I knew at the time was Miracle Bilbo
You did not care about the chairman and you were just fighting
Primary Witness: until I came to Liberia before i knew it was Tomas Namely Yahya
Can you tell us how your weapons use to come?
Primary Witness: They use to come form Abidjan
Did you have regular supply?
Primary Witness: we never use to run out of supply we use AK 50 and Torture.
Were those weapons turned over to UNMIL?
Primary Witness: yes every weapon were turned over to the UNMIL
Did you take prisoners of war and if you did, what did you do to them?
Primary Witness: we did not take prisoners of war.
Commissioner Washington you keep mentioning Miracle Beblo is that his real name?
Primary Witness: his real name is Author Beblo
you mentioned Kai Fallay where is he presently?
Primary Witness: he is a representative, he is representing an area in Grand Gedeh County
Were all the people fighting for you Liberians?
Primary Witness: we had some Ivorian whom we recruited
Fourteenth Primary Witness of the TRC Public Hearings
(Forth Primary Witness of day four)
The forth Primary Witness of the day was called to the stand and he was accompanied by the psychosocial officer and the protections officer of the TRC. The Primary Witness was then sworn to tell the truth and nothing but the truth by the TRC Hearings Officer
Primary Witness: It was an old man who was in our town who died and the town people decided to have a town fest. I was preparing to go for the fest when I met a leady who said she wanted cassava. So I went on the farm to get cassava for the lady. While I was digging before I look, I saw RPG over me when I stood up I saw a group of people. One old man was among them he asked me you what your tribe? I said I via man and he said via people heart is sweet. So they tied me and ask me if there were soldier in the town. I said no, they said if we meet soldiers then you will die. I said yes, so they started going to the town. They went and line up every body and headed them in the direction they came from. There were three older women with their grand children on their back. They shot these older women and their grand children and they said your lets go and we started going again. We reach a monkey bridge and we asked them to loosing us so that we can be able to pass the bridge, they said that this is the bridge if you fall here your own finish. God help us we manage to cross. We reach somewhere there was a fallen palm tree than they put some woman and their children on their back too about seven of them. If they shoot you they shoot the child too and after that they said again your lets go. Then we continued until we reached another village, when we reach there they put the women one side and the men one side and they said we should take off our clothes and every body men and women were naked. They carry the woman to Gbesay and they told we the men to carry the load of foods they took from that town people. Some people took 2 bags of rice, beans and other took 3. While the load was on our heads they shot one of us again. And ask one person to climb on a palm tree. While the man was climbing one soldier went under him and tried to cut out his private part, he did it three times and it was ended up with laughter and we started going again. We reached some where they had women cooking for them. When we reached we put the loads down. One man was among us. As soon he was carrying his loads inside they was wound on his foot so they say he was a soldier, right there they hold him and slaughter him. Three old men were there who were usually praying so they killed them because they said the old men were praying for themselves.
They gave me their whole surrounding to cut by that time I was already naked. So I cut all around their huts they were in. after I finish cleaning, I went to the women who were cooking and said oh but you cooking and you na get wood. Let me go find wood for you. She say it look like you want to run away. I said no how will I run away when I don't know the place I am even you show me the place I don't know it. So she gave me one cutlass by that time most of the bushes around that place was already fallen by me. So I started cutting woods small-small until I reach the edge of the clean area and I jumped in the bush and started running. Less than 5 minute later, I hear guns firing behind me so I started running in the bush. I walked through the bushes until all over my body was cut but I did not even know. I walked through until God reached me to the three bodies of the old men they killed in Gbesay. From there I started finding my way until I found my town Miangor road. While going I saw some members of my family and when they saw me some of them run away but my father's wife could not run because the way she saw me she just stood and say that I was a spirit. I said no and I started explaining some things what happened to her and she said one of my brothers just drown and the ULIMO J was there in the town to investigate. When I entered the town every body could not believe it because they said they already heard about my death. The ULIMO J people even said I was blessing, because I was taken by rebels and they allow me to come back.
Questions from the Commissioners
Chairman: thank you very much, your testimony is very useful to our and we thank you for coming to testify. The Commissioners will ask you some question. Firstly what years did all of these things take place?
Primary Witness: I can't remember the exact year, but some people in the town know the date.
Where did it happen?
Primary Witness: the incident took place in Memkpor on March 5,
Did you remember any of the group in the attack?
Primary Witness: yes, ULIMO K
Commissioner Syllah: you said the ULIMO K boys treated you bad and you were nicked how long did it happen?
Primary Witness: they arrested on Sunday and I ran away from them on Sunday so it was one week.
Do you have any idea as to how many people died?
Primary Witness: yes, 39 persons were killed
Besides beheading them were there any other way in which they were killed?
Primary Witness: yes
Could you explain to the commission and the public?
Primary Witness: The cut majority throat and shot them with guns.
Commissioner Kulah: where there any women and children?
Primary Witness: yes there were women and children.
What did they do to them?
Primary Witness: they nicked the men and the women.
Did they not kill any of them?
Primary Witness: mainly it was the women that were killed and the men were taken along with them.
Commissioner Dolopei: were your families also part of the process or only you?
Primary Witness: my father born me along, my mother left in the Charles Taylor war and i was the only person. During that time they carried my father, but took him somewhere else.
Is he still alive and you mention some one with sore is he a fighter?
Primary Witness: he is still alive; the man with the sore is not a fighter.
Commissioner Washington: can you remember the name of any of their commanders?
Primary Witness: I can only remember 2 names; one was Prophet Mohammed and the other Jahanama.
In your statement you mentioned one Senegalese; can you still remember that name?
Primary Witness: yes he was there with the rebels.
You also give the statement takers the names of some of the people who were killed, is it the same Mekpo massacre?
Primary Witness: yes.
For clarity, he give some of the names to the statement takers and so we want someone to read out the names he gave. The names were read by the interpreter thus: the Chairman came in to say the witness should confirm that he give names to the Statement Takers and he said yes and was asked by the Chairman to give some of the names which he did, but could not say all because they were many and the Chairman asked the interpreter to read out the list for the sake of all Liberians.
Were all the people killed Vai?
Primary Witness: yes
Were they killing all the people?
Primary Witness: they said they were killing all of us because Vai man heart is very sweet.
Who were the people that were celebrating when you arrived?
Primary Witness: it was ULIMO J; they were stationed on the Courta road. From where the town it to ULIMO J is 20 minutes and from there to ULIMO K is about 2 hours.
Commissioner Coleman: Were the ULIMO K battling with any other group at the time or just taking people away?
Primary Witness: No.
So there was no real fighting, only people coming and taking people away?
Primary Witness: that all they were doing, they were no fighting.
The group that capture your were they ULIMO K?
Primary Witness: it was the ULIMO K the Mandingo soldiers.
Were they in any time forcing people to join them?
Primary Witness: from where our town is I could not tell as to whether they were doing this and when we were caught they did not force us to join them.
Majority of the people killed were old people, were they killing people that could not move? What were they doing to young people like you?
Primary Witness: for the stronger ones it was their intention for none of us to come back, it was the attack of ULIMO J that made us to escape.
You mentioned Taylor war, how did you know it was Taylor war?
Primary Witness: the reason I mentioned this is that I was told that it was the Taylor war that carry my mother that is how I was told about the Taylor war.
You talk of men and women been scrip nicked; in which town did it happened?
Primary Witness: since they arrested us in the morning and we travel till the evening hours it was in the town that they killed the three old people that they nicked us and we remained nicked until I escape.
Did the entire incidence happen in different towns or the same town?
Primary Witness: all the incidence did not take place at once, it started in the town where majority were killed and it continue.
In the last you give the name of victims you yourself give to somebody give it to you?
Primary Witness: I give some of the name and some of the survivals and some of the people who went with us also give some names.
How did you people determine the ages of these people?
Primary Witness: we got to know the ages by predicting their ages.
Were you the one who imagined the ages of the people or their relatives?
Primary Witness: even myself I can't determine the age of the older people, it was the other older people who survived that give their ages
Were you not alone when you give the statement to the Statement Taker?
Primary Witness: it was not only me.
The three older people that were killed do you know their names?
Primary Witness: yes
Can you call their names?
Primary Witness: one is Old man Zina, Sando Joy and Bai Kau.
Which place did this took place was it in the town or in the forest?
Primary Witness: the incidence took place in Gbesse the first town we arrived on our way.
Commissioner Stewart: you said it was ULIMO K fighter, who committed the act, how did you know it was them?
Primary Witness: I got to know it was ULIMO K fighter because where we were situated ULIMO J was in front and ULIMO K were behind and when they arrested us they said they are Mandingos and their headquarters was in Macca and that was where they took us.
Did any of them speak Mandingo?
Primary Witness: yes they spoke Mandingo and they were speaking it to us, but we could not speak it.
You talk of prophet Mohammed and Jahannama were they the only names you knew?
Primary Witness: it was not possible to know their names; the ones we knew were those who introduced themselves.
Which religion do you belong to?
Primary Witness: I am a Muslim.
Do you have any believe that the man who called himself Prophet Mohammed was a Muslim?
Primary Witness: he was not a Muslim for he was not working the Muslim way.
Were they involving in gold and diamond mining?
Primary Witness: I can't really tell for they did not take me to any of these fields.
Commissioner Bull: You said that you are a Muslim and you said the man who called himself Prophet Mohammed is not for he did not act like a Muslim is that what you said?
Primary Witness: Yes, I believe that he did not act like a Muslims for Muslims are not to kill.
What does that Jahanama mean?
Primary Witness: according to my religion that name means hell when you called it I think of hell.
You told your story to the TRC and all Liberians, how do you fell now that you have told your story?
Primary Witness: I am feeling fine and very thankful, to the TRC who are trying to investigate what happened to us at Mempko, even though it was on air but the TRC is trying to know how it happened.
Commissioner Coleman: what was the kind of load that the people were moving all the times as you stated?
Primary Witness: we did not carry ammunition and guns but food items that were taken from the town.
Did you notice any foreigners among them?
Primary Witness: I did not notice any foreigner in the group.
Could you tell us about the battle that freed you?
Primary Witness: I left and came and it took one week before ULIMO J went to attack and it took the ULIMO J one week to go and attack as such when I escape before they went to attack.
Did you see any of your relative that was treated differently from you?
Primary Witness: We did not have another person among us as such they treated us the same.
Chairman: Can you say whether the ULIMO K soldiers wore uniform?
Primary Witness: I saw them with cloths just like us.
All of those that were killed, were they buried?
Primary Witness: we did not burry them for we do not berry people like that.
At a particular place?
Primary Witness: Where they killed the majority is where we put dirt on them.
Is it still visible?
Primary Witness: yes the place is there, most especially where the majority was slaughter, and when the Statement Takers went there we took them to the spot and some of the cloths they wore were there.
Commissioner Coleman: how did the people of ULIMO J treat you the town people?
Primary Witness: the only interaction we had with the ULIMO J is when they wanted us to do a service for them they call on us; they did not harm any one in our town.
Chairman: Thank you Mr. Witness for coming, the Commissioners empathies with you for the grieve of you people and love ones. We want to thank you very mush for contributing to our work. If you have any last thing to say to the Commissioners and the Liberian people you can please say it.
Primary Witness: the first one is I thank you very mush, if you had not called us here, the country will not know what had happened to us. The trouble that happened to us, we are God fearing people, since Taylor brought war to this country, i have never held arm, and I can go anywhere. Our people that were killed, you make the country to know about them. Since that happened, the other war that came none of our brothers have held arms.
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