Voinjama City: Day 5

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The Five Day of the TRC Public Hearings Proceedings held on Friday April 18th, 2008 at the Voinjama City Hall, Lofa County. The Hearings session started with the Commissioners of the TRC being ushered into their seats, followed by a welcome remarks form the Co-Chairman of the TRC Commissioner Dede Dolopei, who then called on the Hearings Officer Pastor John Teayah to invite the first Primary Witness to give his testimony.

Thirtieth Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Voinjama City Lofa County
Sumo Arkoi
(First Primary Witness of day Five)

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: We want to say thanks for coming to share your story with us. The process is intended to foster the reconciliation process in Liberia.

Primary Witness: My Name is Sumo Acquoi

What is your age?

Primary Witness: I was born 1953.

Where do you live?

Primary Witness: Gboglama

What are you doing for living?

Primary Witness: Farming.

Now you can please tell your story?

Primary Witness: Yes, I want to tell you thanks for coming and welcome to Lofa. It was on a Thursday morning in 1990 when we heard big sounds of gun and everybody started making their way in the bushes. I ran to the house and took my father to the village I had my mother, wife and children. We managed in the bushes for almost a year and later came back to town when the firing ceased.

Unfortunately again in 1993, before we look, it was not easy and we started running in the bushes with our elderly people and families. One day I decided to go look for food and while I was on my way, I met one of my Nephews and he advised me not to go to John's town because the soldiers were killing people there especially men. When I heard this, I took my families and we went further into the bush; later, my brother sent for me but I was from the unset afraid to go but was convinced and I went to town with my family.

When we got in town, it did not take too long and we heard that one group they called Defense Force had attacked and so we were very careful. One day there was no food and I told my wife that I was going to look for food in the bush. When I got on the farm, I heard gun sound again, so we ran in the bush again and the next day we went to the village and asked the villagers concerning the attack. On the next day, I saw one of brothers body on the road and we all became very afraid; so wanted to look for my and children on the farm where I left them to go look for food. When took off for the village, I saw a group and they told us to go another village and not the village where my wife and children were. While this man was giving us the advice, one man who knew me came to me and informed me that that the soldiers had killed my wife and children and he saw the bodies in the village and the people that were around started talking to me and they took me to David's town.

From that time up to present, I am not to myself; that is the main thing that touched my heart to come tell TRC the story, presently, my heart is hurting me. They killed most of my people; in fact, my brother-in-law was also killed in the same village.

I had two wives and the other ran to Guinea and since that time, I have been talking to her to come back but she has refused to come. She is on the refugee camp with our son who fell from UN truck and is almost cripple now. Therefore, I am kindly asking TRC to talk to her for me to come back to me in Liberia; I also want TRC to help me because the children that suppose to take care of me are all now dead; I also want TRC to help me with money to go for my wife in Guinea.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Commissioner Stewart: You say your son fell from UN truck in Guinea?

Primary Witness: Yes.

He was walking before he fell from the UN truck?

Primary Witness: Yes.

So you mean he cannot walk again?

Primary Witness: He can walk, but can drag his legs.

What is the name of the boy?

Primary Witness: Tarnue Acquoi.

What is the name of your in Guinea?

Primary Witness: Zarbah Acquoi.

She get other children with her in Guinea?

Primary Witness: Yes, she has one girl.

You UN want to help her that's why she does not want to come back to Liberia?

Primary Witness: I think so.

What is the name of your other wife that was killed?

Primary Witness: Monco Kollie.

How many you and her had?

Primary Witness: 5 children.

What are names of the children?

Primary Witness: Tarnue, Yarkpawolo Sumo, Zubah Acquoi, Koryan Acquoi, Sao Acquoi and Maman Acquoi.

Did you see their bodies?

Primary Witness: No, the people who buried them told me and I know the spot where they were buried.

What is the name of your mother-in-law?

Primary Witness: Mama Torwo.

Commissioner Stewart: You say which group killed your people?

Primary Witness: Defense Force.

Who was the commander of the Defense Force?

Primary Witness: I heard Monamee.

What is his real name?

Primary Witness: I do not know.

Do you know the date this thing happened?

Primary Witness: It was during the raining season.

You sat what is the name of the town they killed your people?

Primary Witness: Janyanma.

How many persons that were killed?

Primary Witness: Besides my family, 1 woman called Ma-Kolu and one man.

They burnt houses?

Primary Witness: No.

They carried people?

Primary Witness: Yes.

You the names of the people they carried?

Primary Witness: Yes, they carried Darkai Borbor, they were three but they killed one.

Where they carried them?

Primary Witness: Towards Monrovia.

Was Lofa Defense Force working with NPFL?

Primary Witness: I do not know.

Who was backing Lofa Defense force?

Primary Witness: I do not know.

What is the name of the old lady they hurt?

Primary Witness: Saybah Kollie.

What bad things ULIMO did?
Primary Witness: They used to forced people carry their load, take people coffee from them by force.

Where Lofa Defense Force went at last?

Primary Witness: I heard that they went towards Monrovia.

Commissioner Dolopei: what wrong with your mother and father?

Primary Witness: They died as a result of sickness.

ULIMO killed someone from you?

Primary Witness: No, but they carried to Barkidu and she came back later.

How many people died in Kenebu?

Primary Witness: I do not know because I was not there, but one of my brother's daughter was killed there.

How many persons died in Janyanma?

Primary Witness: My wife, my 5 children, 2 women and one.

You did anything where they buried your family?

Primary Witness: Yes, I planted a tree there.

Commissioner Bull: Do you have another wife?

Primary Witness: Yes, but she is in Guinea and do not want to came back.

What is your tribe?

Primary Witness: Lorma

What's about your wife in Guinea?

Primary Witness: Lorma

You can please just sent a message to her on the TV and radio.

Primary Witness: Please come, I have come here to TRC to fix between us, if that transportation business, kindly sent message and I will sent the transportation,; please come back to me.
Chairman: Thank you very much; we understand how the Defense Force operated; so we say sorry for the lost of your family. You heard that ULIMO was doing bad things in John's town?

Primary Witness: Yes.

You saw some dead bodies in John's town when you went there?

Primary Witness: Yes.

You say they used to forced people to buy human parts from them?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Anything last on your mind that you want to tell the TRC?

Primary Witness: Yes, your please talk to all Liberians and let us all forget the past; let we all join hands and work together.


Thirty-First Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Voinjama City Lofa County
James Marwolo
(Second Primary Witness of day Five)

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: Thanks for coming and we want to say welcome. We been here for a week and talking to citizens of Voinjama. TRC is to go all over the counties and listen to al the bad, bad thing that happened to our people. So we say thanks for coming to share with us what you went through during the war.

What is your name again?

Primary Witness: I am James Marwolo.

How old are you?

Primary Witness: I am 54 years old.

Where do you live?

Primary Witness: I live in Salayea, Voinjama District.

Primary Witness: During the 1990 war, when NPFL came, we were captured. They came and asked us if we had Mandingo and Krahn, but they check the town and find no body. So we feed them and they come in Voinjama. During 1993, we heard about ULIMO, then NPFL escaped and ULIMO killed my brother, they burnt our town. Then ceased fire come. One Friday, we went to our town. After two weeks, LURD came and captured me again. Seventeen persons were killed. My father and uncle also died. Then ULIMO came and take care of us. I stop so far.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: Sorry for the death of your father and uncle. And also your suffering during the war.

Commissioner Syllah: Sorry and welcome. Can you tell us the commander and who kill your brother?

Primary Witness: Co- Pepper and Salt

Your brother's name?

Primary Witness: Zaza Quoi

Which factions captured you?

Primary Witness: ULIMO

Was he married?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Your father's name?

Primary Witness: Mulbah Quagba

Commissioner Stewart: Besides your brother, was there any body?

Primary Witness: No.

What other things they use to do?

Primary Witness: They used to take people to join them

Did they take people away?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Did they rape?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Who was the commander?

Primary Witness: War Kankan

When ULIMO drove NPFL, who was the commander?

Primary Witness: Pepper and Salt.

How they use to get food?

Primary Witness: They used to go on patrol in the bush.

Where did ULIMO kill the 25 men?

Primary Witness: Black Monday, Voinjama

How many persons?

Primary Witness: 75 persons.

Where?

Primary Witness: Mazata half way

How?

Primary Witness: They used to put them in truck and carried them.

Can you give us the names of those taken away?

Primary Witness: Tokpah Jallah, Augustine Zubah, Mulbah Kpada, Sonnie Jallah, Kuluba Jubah

Who was the commander?

Primary Witness: Pepper and Salt.

Who else?

Primary Witness: Captain One Eye

Have you seen any of them?

Primary Witness: No.

Chairman: He has one Eye?

Primary Witness: Yes.

The date?
Primary Witness: No I can not remember.

What weapon?

Primary Witness: They fire them

Have you heard about any survival?

Primary Witness: No.

Is there any burier ceremonies?

Primary Witness: No.

Any tree planted to remember that place?

Primary Witness: No.

You talked about LURD, how they took care of your?

Primary Witness: They take care of us more then the two factions.

The name of the LURD commander?

Primary Witness: 202.

Have you seen him?

Primary Witness: Yes, in Monrovia.

For disarmament, do you believe that people still have arm here?

Primary Witness: They turned it to UNMIL

Commissioner Bull: Thanks for given us the picture of what happen. What is your tribe?

Primary Witness: Loma

Are you married?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Any thing else happen to you?

Primary Witness: Yes, my daughter pass away from sickness

Commissioner Coleman: Where they killing certain group of people?

Primary Witness: The killing was on the Loma Black Monday

Chairman: NPFL came and ask your to feed them?

Primary Witness: Yes.

How many houses were in your town?

Primary Witness: 194 houses

And everything was damaged?

Primary Witness: Yes, nothing leave there.

Where?

Primary Witness: Salayea

What happen to the other LURD took?

Primary Witness: Sixteen left

What happen to them?

Primary Witness: They died from hunger

Was your father part of that sixteen?

Primary Witness: Yes.

What year was Black Monday?

Primary Witness: 1993. It was between dry seasons and raining season between Christmas time and January.


End of day four of the TRC Public Hearings Lofa County


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