Bopolu City: Day 1

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The First day of the TRC Public Hearings Proceedings held on Monday April 21, 2008 at the Bopolu City Hall, Gbarpolu County. The Hearings session started with the Commissioners of the TRC being ushered into their seats followed by a display from the students and the women group of the county and the singing of the national anthem by the audience. The TRC County Coordinator for the county was called upon to introduce members of the TRC and the County Authority present at the occasion. This was followed by a speech from the Traditional Authority and the Superintendent of the county after which a chicken was presented to the Commissioners to show a sign of welcome to the commissioners in the county. The Chairman rounded it up with his welcome speech and introduced the Commissioners of the TRC to the audience after which he declared open the Hearings Process.

Introduction of Guest: by Mohammed Z. Kanneh TRC County Coordinator Gbarpolu County

We want to say thanks to God for the TRC process and to the office of the Superintendent, County authorities , Chiefs, Elders, UNMIL, Civil Affairs, Human Rights, Youth groups , Religious , Women Groups, Traditional groups, CHO,CEO, LRRC, (LNP) Judiciary , NGOs, CCF, SPIR, TEAR FUND AND ALL STATE HOLDIERS

Also to our statement takers, Dolly, Massa, Mo-Sirleaf, who have work very hard and because of this, we can see people here today for this program and for the level of support also from our citizens of the county. Lastly, I want to thank the Crusaders for Peace, Mr. Abalin Massaley and his group who have assisted us a lot.

We want to say thanks to every once again for coming.

Welcome Remark: by the City Mayor of Bopolu City:

Hon Madam Gertrude T. Lamine Superintendent of Gbarpolu County here present, our Dynamic Chiefs and Elders, Women of Gbarpolu, Hon Commissioners of the TRC and fellow citizens.

We are very much please this morning to welcome you to Bopolu city. The people of Bopolu are very friendly, kind and moreover, hard working. So we also use this time, to present the key of Bopolu city, and we say you are welcome and do have a pleasant stay here.

Presentation of the Kola nuts by the elders and chiefs of Gbarpolu County:

We want to thank you today for been here. Been in your home is better them been a refugee. Even if you are in a displace camp and eating cow milk every day is not still better then been in your own home. So in our tradition, when something happens, and you say it is over. But how can you know that war is over?

You have to see some thing like a kola or chicken to show that war is over. So as we are here today presenting this chicken and this kola, every one that is hurt, should consider this it as a sign of forgiveness. So this is a white chicken and a kola that we are presenting to the county superintendent and we want to say thank you and welcome to Bopolu city.

Chairman thanks the people of Gbarpolu County.

Superintendent of Gbarpolu County:

We are happy today to see you here. The citizens of Gbarpolu County welcome you here.

And to he citizen of Gbarpolu County I will like to ask you to please cooperate with these people. I don't want you to sit back and say I wanted to talk but I did not have the chance.

And I am sure my citizen will be glad to work with you. Because I was also in Gbarma and I had to run here. So we pray to work together for the betterment of Liberia. We all know the land space of Gbarpolu County and your statement takers had to walk 13 to 14 hours to cover these states to make this program a success. So we say you are welcome.

Chairman's Opening Statement:

Madam Gertrude T. Lamin superintendent, officials of government, Chiefs, elders, religious leaders, distinguished ladies and gentlemen. Today we are gathered here yet again, in continuation of the TRC public hearings, which began nearly 4 months ago in the county's capital, Monrovia.

The response of ordinary Liberians to these hearings has been overwhelming. Public support has remained high and there has been no shortage of witnesses' victims and perpetrators coming for ward to tell their stories and share their experiences. These hearings have developed a dynamics of its own and proving beyond expectation/doubt that the shield of impunity and the culture of silence can indeed be broken.

Madam superintendent, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, while the TRC process is about mending and restoring broken relationships, regaining the dignity of victims and helping perpetrators rediscover their lost humanity, it is equally important to understand that TRC process is undermined when victims are afraid to speak out openly against the bushes they suffered, when perpetrators continue to gloat over their exploits, and when officials of government, through acts of omission or commission abuse the public trust without reckon.

We take pride and solace in the fact Madam Superintendent, that despite attempts by some to cast aspersion on the TRC process and waylay its success, the Liberian people have remained resolute in their support for the TRC. Slowly but surely the veil of impunity is being lifted and the wall of silence has began to crumble. Healing is taking place whilst fellow Liberians, ladies and gentlemen, we shall remain unwavering in our commitment to see this process through its logical conclusion. We shall be steadfast and undeterred.

We remain grateful firstly to God for this kind blessing on this process, to our international and National partners, including the Government of Liberia for the support and to the Liberian people for their solidarity and continued support. We want to say welcome and this Hearing is officially open.

First Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in

Bopolu, Gbarpolu County

Annie Balma

(First Primary Witness of day one)

The First Primary Witness of the day was called to the stand and she was accompanied by the psychosocial officer and the protections officer of the TRC. The Primary Witness was then sworn to tell the truth and nothing but the truth by the TRC Hearings Officer.

Chairman: Thanks very much for coming to the TRC to tell your story and experience. Please tell us your name again.

Primary Witness: My name is Annie Balma.

How old are you?

Primary Witness: 46 years.

What do you do for living?

Primary Witness: Farming.

Where do you live?

Primary Witness: Gangba, Bopolu District.

You can now tell your story.

Primary Witness: When the war started in 1990 while in the town, we ran into the bushes but the soldiers followed us there and encouraged us to come back to town. When they brought us in town, they started separated the women from the men. They place all women in one room and the men in another room.

When the commander called Erickson came, he started giving orders to his men and they put me in one room and asked four men to rape me; each one of those gays did what ever they wanted and left. While they were raping the women, they were forcing our husbands and boys children to carry their load and beat rice for them. Since I was raped by these 4 men, I cannot menstruate and neither have child, I presently facing serious stomach problems.

Again the other group called ULIMO, when they came, we ran in the bush again but they followed us and arrested all of us and brought us back in town. When we got in town, they started forcing us to beat their rice and our husbands and boys were forced to carry their load to Salayea and other distance places. They started forcing us to feed them; I was in fact jailed for my own food because they said why I kept my food in the house for my children.

One day again, we heard of another group called LURD; when they came, they arrested all my children and took them to Salayea. I apologized to them but they refused and carried them; but as God would have it, they came back. They killed some of my relatives and threw them in the water, right now, my sister and her husband were killed in that Mahir bridge killings. Only child of their children live.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: Sorry for all that happened to you, it was wrong and against the laws of this country and any other country around the world. The TRC was established to go all around the country to let the people know that the government cares for them and as such want to know all the problems they went through. You are now speaking for the over thousand women who cannot not come to share their experiences. Which group raped you?

Primary Witness: It was Charles Taylor's people.

What time of 1990 this happened to you?

Primary Witness: I cannot remember.

What is the name of the Commander of NPFL at the time?

Primary Witness: Erickson.

Is that all the name you know?

Primary Witness: Yes, I only used to hear Erickson.

He had other big people with him?

Primary Witness: No, I cannot remember.

What about ULIMO?

Primary Witness: I used to hear about one Dorley who used to be the big man.

That's all the name you know for Dorley?

Primary Witness: Yes.

When ULIMO came to your area?

Primary Witness: I cannot remember the year.

What's about LURD?

Primary Witness: No, because we were hiding in the bush.

What happened at Mahir's Bridge?

Primary Witness: When the soldiers brought us to Bomi Hill, one day a truck came and they started telling that they wanted to carry us to Monrovia because we were suffering and so we should get in the truck; my mind did not lead to get on the truck but my sister, her husband and other plenty people got on the truck and the next thing I heard was that the soldiers killed all the people and threw them into the river.

Who did the killing?

Primary Witness: I cannot remember the name because they just came and started asking us to get in the truck to take us to Monrovia but I did not go.

Which group did the killing?

Primary Witness: It was the government troop.

Commissioner Syllah: Very sorry for what happened to you. How long NPFL kept arresting the people?

Primary Witness: It stayed more than 1 hour.

You remember them doing bad things to other people?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Please us the bad things they used to people.

Primary Witness: They used to nicked both men and women and beat them and as well as used them to carry their load to distances.

You can remember anyone of the soldiers involved?

Primary Witness: No, only Erickson who was giving the orders.

Did ULIMO pay for the food they were taking from your?

Primary Witness: No.

How long you stayed in jail?

Primary Witness: I spent one whole day and a night.

What is the name of the person who put you in jail?

Primary Witness: One Peter.

What are the ages of the children that were forced to join them?

Primary Witness: Some of the children were around 20 and some around 25 years.

Are the children that were forced to join still alive?

Primary Witness: Yes, they are in Bomi Hills.

What are the names of your families that were killed?

Primary Witness: Korpo, Hawa and Flomo.

Who is Flomo?

Primary Witness: He was my Uncle.

Commissioner Stewart: How was life during NPFL time in your area?

Primary Witness: In 1990, that was the main time we suffered a lot. We left in the bushes until all our cloths spoiled and many of our children died as a result of sicknesses.

How long your stayed in the bushes?

Primary Witness: We spent about 4 months and could not eat salt.

They burnt your houses?

Primary Witness: Yes, they burnt our houses and started raping all the young girls.

Do you remember anyone of the ULIMO commander?

Primary Witness: Yes, one Dorley a Mandingo man.

Since the war ended, have you seen Dorley?

Primary Witness: No.

But if you see him now, you will be able to recognize him?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Only your children were taken to Salayea?

Primary Witness: No, they carried several children with them.

The children came back?

Primary Witness: Yes, some came but many died.

You know the names of the other children that died?

Primary Witness: Most of the children from the other town so I do not their names.

Have you been to the hospital?

Primary Witness: Yes, but each time I went, they will just give me small tablets.

Which hospital did you go?

Primary Witness: Bomi hills and no good treatment.

You gave your contact number to the Coordinator?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Commissioner Washington: I joined the Chairman and other Commissioners to say sorry for all the wrong things that happened to you. You say which group raped you?

Primary Witness: Charles Taylor people.

Can you remember anyone of the men who raped you name?

Primary Witness: No, I was not paying attention; my concern was just my life.

How long NPFL stayed in your area?

Primary Witness: Actually, they just used to passed and go to Fassamah and when they are returning, that's the time they used to do all these bad things to people.

What happened in Fassamah?

Primary Witness: I said they carried my children to Salayea.

What happened to you father?

Primary Witness: He died a natural death.

During the entire, did you come in contact with ATU?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Please tell us your experiences with the ATU.

Primary Witness: They killed one when we came from the farm.

How you were saved at Bomi Hill when others were killed at the Mahir Bridge?

Primary Witness: When we got in Bomi Hills, my mind did not lead me to get on the truck as the soldiers were asking everybody to get on board.

Do you remember anyone of the fighters engaged in the Mahir Bridge killings?

Primary Witness: Yes, I remember one man they used to call Young Killer who was asking us to get in the truck.

What do you thing was the age of the Young Killer?

Primary Witness: I cannot tell, I thing he was around 20 years.

Did your children benefit from the DDRR Program?

Primary Witness: No.

Has anybody talked to you since these gays raped you?

Primary Witness: No, except the TRC.

Is your husband and other family members still supporting you?

Primary Witness: For my family, there is a great support but from the husband, there are some problems because of my inability to give birth.

Commissioner Coleman: Do your husband have another wife?

Primary Witness: No, I am the only person.

Who was Hawa that was killed?

Primary Witness: She was my Anti's daughter.

Who was NPFL fighting against?

Primary Witness: They were fighting ULIMO.

Commissioner Konneh: We hope that you will not feel bad because of the many questions; you are representing all other women who could not here to testify what they suffered during the war. Do you anyone of the children from your village that was forced to join?

Primary Witness: Yes, only one boy called John but he died in the war.

Chairman: Is there anything else on your mind you want to share with TRC before you leave?

Primary Witness: Yes, All I want the TRC to do for is take me to the hospital for proper treatment for this my stomach, if that is done, I will be very happy..

Second Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in

Bopolu, Gbarpolu County

Momo Dolley

(Second Primary Witness of day one)

The Second Primary Witness of the day was called to the stand and he was accompanied by the psychosocial officer and the protections officer of the TRC. The Primary Witness was then sworn to tell the truth and nothing but the truth by the TRC Hearings Officer.

Chairman: Good after noon and we say welcome to the TRC hearings, and also for taking off your busy schedule to come.

Where do you live?

Primary witness: I live Bopolu Pamo's Town.

When were you born?

Primary witness: I was born January, 8, 1961.

What do you do for a living?

Primary witness: I wanted to be a journalist but now a farmer.

Primary witness: Thank you. My share of experience started in Tubmanburg City during my assignment at Boewood. A security, his name is Cooper Wood, he started tailing me some friends came and told me say you get to be careful and mine your self. They said there was a signal that Tubmanburg could be attack. Some one went and told my sister that I should leave and go somewhere else. But I was already under protection of friends. But just within that time, he had sent some one to get ride of me. People put together to get me out so we went to Maladie Clinic and went to Maway and when they carry me to Danaway, they told me to find my way. Some one from the same group that brought me went to him and told him that I was running away. When he came Tubmanburg, he got the information and he came but did not see me again. And then, the next day, there was an attack, people came and told me to leave. I went in the forester for four weeks. My people used to bring me food, but I couldn't stand the condition, so I came back. He could not get back to me and after some times, I heard he was flogged and died.

From 1991-92, ULMO came and captured from NPFL to Te-nee and I told my wife to get ready for us to leave because I didn't want to see terrible things happening. We got to Ballaway, they did what they wanted to do. LURD came and captured Bopolu 2002. We were there then Government troop came to push LURD and told to us to come in town if not they will kill every body. The commander was Zigzag Massa. Few days, they collected 35 people took all both women and men, and they collected 35 men to go for training and told the women to stayed. Information came to Madena that Government troop was hiding somewhere that's how we were saved. And they told us to go and hid yourself and don't allow soldiers to see us. They went Government came before they went Makar. About 6 that morning, a brother heard a gun sound and they say your will see if your get soldiers men hiding here. They collected 15 men to go and see. I myself when I heard that noise, all I herd was, I am the Battle front commander. I jump through the window and soon I jump one man jump on me. We started fighting, he throw me down and I dropped over my grand mother's grave I knock him down and I kick between his legs he dropped and I run in the bush. They fired over 30mintes. I was near the burger boy hill and the Government troop started putting houses on fire.

We came out LURD sent reinforcement but they couldn't make it. We went to bury one of our sisters. She was hit in the chest. Her child was sitting besides her and saying mama, mama, let's go but she was already dead. There was a boy in the ceiling and seen every thing that was happening. He was also short in the legs. We buried the men in one grave and the women in one grave. They took my niece she was a virgin and the commander said that's what he was looking for. They took them in Sumo town and slaughter them. They were more then forty persons. The follow that attack and wanted to killed me, I asked for him waiting to know before he kill me but they told me he had die in Sawmill. We went one commander that saved most of us was Roland Duo. He ordered the soldiers not to be killing us. He told all of us to leave and go Monrovia for the fact that the war could intensify, and so we left and went Monrovia.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: Thanks for coming.

Commissioner Konneh: Thanks for your statement and to come before the commissioners to give your story. Do you know while this man was hunting you?

Primary witness: As I understood, it was because of the little opportunity that I had.

Which warring factions?

Primary witness: From NPFL

The name of the commander?

Primary witness: Roland Duo

Was he the one who helped to saved you?

Primary witness: Yes.

Commissioner Washington: Your niece who was virgin, what was her age?

Primary witness: 19-20 years old.

What is her name?

Primary witness: Yealo Karmara

Your managing director name?

Primary witness: Melvin Tom.

Where is he?

Primary witness: I learn he was killed.

The one who was chasing you, where is he?

Primary witness: He lives in Nimba County

Do you feel secure now?

Primary witness: Yes.

What was your position of NDPL?

Primary witness: Youth for the promotion of NDPL

What was the protection given?

Primary witness: There was some protection from the beginning but later, there was no control.

Was it because of your affiliation?

Primary witness: I think so.

Did any body died at the time they cross over your?

Primary witness: Yes. I am sure.

Who was the General of NPFL?

Primary witness: James Glassco

How long?

Primary witness: Almost a month.

How was life like?

Primary witness: Very tense, very rough.

Was it your mother or father's relative?

Primary witness: No just some relative.

Who was the Commander?

Primary witness: Zigzag Mazar from NPFL

What did he do?

Primary witness: Just to be destroying lives.

Is this the same group?

Primary witness: Larry Murphy - battle front commander

Who was higher?

Primary witness: Zigzag Mazar

They killed seven persons, was the one short in the legs included?

Primary witness: No.

Has there been a traditional burier?

Primary witness: Our old people had been having dreams. We are planning that.

Are there mass graves in the town?

Primary witness: No, because some died alone the road side.

Did they commit atrocity?

Primary witness: Yes, they toot load.

Did they tie-by?

Primary witness: Yes,

The food they asked for, did they pay for it?

Primary witness: No.

Did they force young people?

Primary witness: No. they were always on the run

Did they force young girls?

Primary witness: No, they use to ask them before.

Did they loot?

Primary witness: They were always in search for those things

Can you brief us on the difference between NPFL and ULIMO?

Primary witness: They met me in Tenneh

Did it happen once?

Primary witness: Yes, almost often

When NPFL came back, who was it lead by?

Primary witness: James Glassco

What was there inn?

Primary witness: To fight and win

You said your provided food?

Primary witness: Yes, they force us.

Larry Murphy, is he still alive?

Primary witness: I can't tell

How was your niece killed?

Primary witness: She was killed and took blood from her.

How did he discipline his soldiers?

Primary witness: I don't know their military functions

Chairman: Was there an attack on Baboe Town, which district?

Primary witness: Bapolu

How many persons?

Primary witness: Seven

The second?

Primary witness: More then 30 persons.

30 plus 7 equals 37 has there been listing?

Primary witness: Yes. I have it

Will you be able to share that with the commissioners?

Primary witness: Yes.

Is there any last word that you have for the Commission before you leave?

Primary witness: Thank you and thank for the time. People think they are trying to black mail but when you express your feelings, which can be a good thing. So I say to the TRC and the international world thank you.

Third Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in

Bopolu, Gbarpolu County

Janet McGill

(Third Primary Witness of day one)

The Third Primary Witness of the day was called to the stand and she was accompanied by the psychosocial officer and the protections officer of the TRC. The Primary Witness was then sworn to tell the truth and nothing but the truth by the TRC Hearings Officer.

Chairman: Thanks very much for coming to the TRC to tell your story and experience. Please tell us your name again.

First, can you please tell us your name?

Primary Witness: Janet McGill

What is your birth date?

Primary Witness: I don't know my age, but my father told me I was born in the 70s.

Where do you live?

Primary Witness: I live Gaygbe

Where is Gaygbe?

Primary Witness: Gbarpolu

What do you do?

Primary Witness: I am a farmer.

Primary Witness: Since this war start, LURD forces war, at that time my father was sick, it never took long my father died. So we went Bomi, the people say we must not leave the place. So the people attack the place, I ran and left my sisters there. I went in the bush. When I went in the bush, pains catch me, I stay there along, and I give birth. No body was there, I na know what do. So I cut the saw grass with my teeth and I did the work. So I stay there, the next morning, I came on the road, I saw my sister husband and I told him I deliver them last night oh, but the way the place cold, that how he take me and carry me and my sister make water for me. That how we stay there, I was used to be crying say I want my ma to be there. That how we stay there, but they were still fighting, so people were finding their way to come to Monrovia, I fight I came to Monrovia, when we came, they give us floor, the UN people came and give us food. So, I sold the food and try to go back, when we reach, they say your better go back, that how I go back. So we were on the camp, one day I went to the creek to wash I hear the woman talking say oh last night they kill plenty people in Bomi oh. One man who living in Gaygbei his name is Gbaei, they say they kill that every one of them the kill oh.

So when I heard it I left the cloths and I started going home crying, when I got home crying, my other brother say where you crying for? I say we are only three our mother born, you na know they kill our big sister? I started crying. Then secondly, the thing that catch my heart, when the soldier caught me in the bush, they rape me, that time there I just deliver. They point my sister's husband under gun point. But it was dark, I did not see there faces.

Then when the government troop entered in our town my ma was there, she was old and they rape her. Since that time, the old ma old but she can still receive, some thing he can be complaining that her stomach, say it hurting. Even the last time, her stomach was running, she leave small to die, so that the thing that happen to me during this war.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Commissioner Konneh: We want to say sorry for what you experience during the war. Where is the baby?

Primary Witness: He's in Gaygbe.

Is he in school?

Primary Witness: No, I don't have money.

The baby you had in the bush, was it your first time?

Primary Witness: No, that was my fourth time.

Which group forced you to work?

Primary Witness: NPFL.

You said two soldiers rape you, who were they?

Primary Witness: Government troop.

What is the name of the big man you remember?

Primary Witness: Benjamin Yenten

Did you see him?

Primary Witness: Yes, I saw them when they finish killing the people, we saw them coming to town, right to Brewerville.

Commissioner Washington: sorry for all the bad things that happen to you. You are a brave woman, I salute you.

Your mother do you know her age?

Primary Witness: Yes, she is 54.

Has she been to hospital?

Primary Witness: No.

What's about you been to hospital?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Do you think you can give us the names of the people that died? Your sister and her husband, and your own husband?

Primary Witness: Gorpu McGill, Alfred Ballah and Gbaei.

Do they have children, your sister and her husband?

Primary Witness: Yes, but they kill them, only one survive.

When is she now?

Primary Witness: She in Sinkor.

What is her name?

Primary Witness: Siena and she was born 1994.

Those that die, can you call their names?

Primary Witness: Papai, Ballah and she was pregnant, 8 months pregnant.

Who is Siane living with?

Primary Witness: Her uncle Ballah.

Do you have their number?

Primary Witness: No, they say the girl say she doesn't want to stay there again, and I don't have money.

Chairman: do you know how you sister's children were killed?

They kill them to Manhei.

We want to say thank you for coming, and we want to say sorry for all the bad things that happen to you. And we are happy for the contributions you just made to help us do our work. Today, it seems mall but tomorrow, you will be able to read it in the history of Liberia.

What is your last word?

Primary Witness: I want your to help me sent my children to school, and secondly, I want your to help me talk to the people them to give me zinc. Because this rain season coming, I worry again.

Are you going to school?

Primary Witness: No.

And you already have four children?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Your children have they been to school too?

Primary Witness: No, only the first one in school.

And how old is he?

Primary Witness: He was born 1995.

And what class is he in?

Primary Witness: He's in the 1st grade.

So we say thank you, you hear?

Fourth Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in

Bopolu, Gbarpolu County

Lasannah Sirleaf

(Fourth Primary Witness of day one)

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.

Chairman: Thanks very much for coming to the TRC to tell your story and experience. Please tell us your name again.

How old are you?

Primary witness: I am 31 years old

Where do you live?

Primary witness: I live in Geneamah

What do you do for a living?

Primary witness: I am a Farmer

Primary Witness: From 2002 when LURD forces came we were in Gbaopoi town we left from there we enter our town government troop was there they say we should not enter our town they took all our materials from there. We went on the Moulah and one old man saw me and my family I was used to go cut palm and go sell it and other small things. Then the same group that captured me first came again and took me. The little money that I had they took it from me and they put their load on my head and they started carrying us to DDI. From there they took us to Nama on the training base there. I was there for long time until one time I got sick and my commander, Gen. John Teah, brought me to Monrovia for treatment. He carried to me to his place to Coca cola factory and that's how I walked from there all the way to Jamaica Road to my sister place.

But still the fighters still used to go behind us in Jamaica Road so we went to Ricks Compound still they use go behind us. They will go for us and we will be taking the cassava bag them and that the things so what saw in the war.

Questions from the commissioners

Chairman: They used to pay your for the good your used to take for them?

Primary Witness: No, they will just force your

At Nama, they gave real training?

Primary Witness: Yes

How long were you there?

Primary Witness: I spent almost year there.

What were some of the training that you underwent?

Primary Witness: We used to do forward and concealment and jumping on barb wires and things.

Commissioner Konneh: which groups were fighting when you ran?

Primary Witness: That LURD and government troop

That was your first time to see the fighters?

Primary Witness: Yes 1990 part I was small I can remember small thing about it, the people use to come the Gio people they will catch the Mandingo people and killed them

When LURD enter your area?

Primary Witness: 2002

What happened then?

Primary Witness: We just ran away from here we did not see them here that in Monrovia I was with them in the port, first things were easy but later when we went to SKD food business was hard, so I use to go across to LURD base because most of my brothers were with them.

Did they recruit any boys in your area?

Primary Witness: Yes LURD did that mostly to our brothers were recruited.

What about the government forces?

Primary Witness: When LURD come like that and go back the government forces will start killing our people saying that LURD that our brothers.

Commissioner Coleman: how were you recruited?

Primary Witness: Forcefully

When was that?

Primary Witness: That going to 2003.

Did they put you in the field, give you assignment?

Primary Witness: Yes we were to the check point I was with John Teah when I got sick he brought me to town and I ran from him in town and went to my sister's place.

Did you join LURD?

Primary Witness: No but most of our brothers were part of LURD so they used to bother us.

Commissioner Washington: what did you do at the check point?

Primary Witness: We used to carry on harassment and things there to take food from civilians.

Was there any incidence where your hurt civilians?

Primary Witness: No they use feel hurt when we take their things from them.

Besides John Teah who can you remember again in your group?

Primary Witness: John Teah used to report to William Duo.

How did Duo react to complain of harassment?

Primary Witness: They never use to be there when we doing it and the civilian use to be afraid to give complain to Chief Duo.

How do classify yourself now, a victim or perpetrator?

Primary Witness: I am a witness.

Commissioner Stewart: where did they grab you before you join?

Primary Witness: To George Town in Bomi county.

What else they did to you there?

Primary Witness: They just slapped me and they took my cash money and they put load on my head first and carried to DDI we made two weeks and duo came they carried us to Nama.

Where is DDI?

Primary Witness: On the old road after Swen way.

How long your spent to Nama?

Primary Witness: Three months there and we graduated

What kinds of training you took?

Primary Witness: Gorilla training.

What kind of weapon?

Primary Witness: AK and 60 them

You ever went to the front line?

Primary Witness: Yes plenty time, we use to carry civilian on the palm farm to pick farm near the guinea border.

Did you ever cross into guinea to attack?

Primary Witness: LURD use to come from guinea way to attack us and some time we used to go there to go attack them too.

Who was your commander there on the front?

Primary Witness: That John Teah he was the chief for staff in the area.

Who was the company commander?

Primary Witness: I was the company commander.

How many men did you control?

Primary Witness: I have 12 men.

What kinds of things your men use to do?

Primary Witness: They use to take people things on their patrol and bring it.

Did civilian complain to you about the conduct of your men?

Primary Witness: Yes

What you did?

Primary Witness: I used to beat the person and jail them.

From when to when you were in this?

Primary Witness: 2003 to 2004 when I came back.

What brought you back 2004?

Primary Witness: I was sick and I never wanted the job again.

You said the load you took make you sick what kind of sickness?

Primary Witness: I got stomach problem from it.

Commissioner Dolopei: where were you staying when you went to Monrovia with John Teah?

Primary Witness: I was in Jamaica road.

Can you remember bursting any warehouse around he Jamaica Road area?

Primary Witness: Yes the Red Cross compound to Jamaica road.

When your enter the villages how your use to eat?

Primary Witness: We use go to the town chief

Every agree on that?

Primary Witness: Yes

In case the people did not agree or do it?

Primary Witness: We will discipline you.

What was your age at the time you were recruited?

Primary Witness: I was in my 21.

There was no incidence were you fought along with LURD?

Primary Witness: No

When did you stop going around your brothers that were in LURD?

Primary Witness: That was in august but I can't remember the day.

You know about the Guinean man who used to shoot the mortal gun?

Primary Witness: Yes that K-1 killed him.

Did you disarm?

Primary Witness: Yes, and I went to their program.

What you did with the old arm that you had?

Primary Witness: I left it at the house to John Teah place.

Where is John Jeah now?

Primary Witness: I don't know his mean location but he has his compound right to coca cola factory.

If you see John Teah you will know him?

Primary Witness: Yes

Can you see him in this hall?

Primary Witness: Ehn, no he is short

It is true that LURD carried their arms back to guinea before the disarmament?

Primary Witness: Yes they took most their arms back with the big trucks that they looted.

Where are your brothers now?

Primary Witness: They are in Monrovia

Why did you come to the TRC?

Primary Witness: This is not my first coming to the TRC they put people on the field and the way the people talk to us I feel that that TRC came to unite us.

Primary Witness: Last word: I want to thank your coming here that all.

Fifth Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in

Bopolu, Gbarpolu County

Sekou Gbassay

(Fifth Primary Witness of day one)

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.

Chairman: Sekou, we want to thank you for coming to the TRC and we say welcome. Before we start, we will like to know your name?

Primary Witness: My name is Sekou Gbassey

What is your age?

Primary Witness: I am 28 years old.

What do you do?

Primary Witness: I am a farmer.

Where do you stay?

Primary Witness: I live in Totokolleh, Bopolu District.

Primary Witness: When we were in Totokolleh, a troop came and enter in the town, ULIMO was around and they went Bong Mines, they arrested us, when they arrested us and they told us to keep praying. So they left us and went. And we thought it was finish, so that night, we were playing under the moon light, not knowing those man them had attack the town. They enter the town that night. So around 6 am in the morning, they open heavy firing that morning. But that night, some of the people ran away from the town, but we were still there. So the next morning, they put us out side. Some of us that left in the town they put us out side. They say our mandate is no baby on target. So our boss man says we should not carry any body with us.

So they put us out and started beating on us, especially my sister who had just given birth few days ago, because my sister was with me. So after they beat us, they told us they were carrying us. So I say when we follow this people them they will kill us. So when we got on the road, me and my family escaped and went in the bush. We stay there for some days and when we came back, after few days again, they came back and started shooting again and later caught me.

And their commander name was Nyanma kisley, he was their commander, they caught me and they want to kill me. They told me, you own you will lay your head on this stick and we will kill you. So I lay my head on the stick and all, I was crying and saying is this how I am going to die, with out you people knowing the truth, or the real story of how I die. I was crying and at the same time I was praying in my heart. So I lay my head down, but one man came, they call him Konah Barclay and said they should leave me. He say oh, I know this boy, he's my boy, and he's brilliant, don't kill him. They say, you know our mandate, no baby on target and dif you carry this man, they will get angry. Still he say I will carry him, and he promised to take care of me. So he took me, God just used that man. So when we were going, still wanted to kill me, he took the knife and wanted to strive me from the back, as God could have it, the same man that save my life turn again and said, why do you want to kill this man here? But if anyone kill this boy, we will open serious firing here and our enemies will catch us. So that how we went to their place. But I had my little brother with me who became very because he could not make it, he was weak as a result of the hunger. When we got a certain village, the soldiers said they should kill my little brother because he could not make it and I apologized to them and they let us go. Again, when the government troops came to our place, we went to Kaphai and they followed us and burnt all the houses in the town and later, they forced us and gave us human oil to eat and as a result, I got very sick and nearly die. As God would have it, me and my brother survived and he is currently living Finally, I went in Gbarnga and while I was in Gbarnga with one Mr. Konneh and his wife, she started hating me and saying all kinds of things about me to her husband; one day she told husband that I was not a good boy and Mr. Konneh took me to the Police station and luckily enough for me, the police people released me and I came back to people here in Gbarpolu.

My mother died last year as a result of the too much worries about my well being. All the things I passed through, I do not finance to continue my education and I have been out off school too long that is the serious problem I am faced with.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: What do you mean about suppressive firing?

Primary Witness: The soldiers were jus shooting in any direction.

Which group and when they enter Bopolu?

Primary Witness: NPFL in 1993.

Was it the same group that came with the word "No Babay on Target"?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Commissioner Konneh: Which group provided you security in Totokolleh?

Primary Witness: LURD and at the time they were providing security.

You experience ant harassing in Totokolleh when they were there?

Primary Witness: No, they were so kind to us.

Which group came around 6:00 am and opened serious firing?

Primary Witness: The NPFL.

You say which group followed you the second time?

Primary Witness: NPFL.

What happened between you and the man and he wanted to kill you?

Primary Witness: I do not know him from anywhere.

Why Mr. Konah changed his mind and started accusing you of been a bad boy?

Primary Witness: It was because of his wife, she was always against me; one point in time, a friend of mine gave me L$250.00 and said why I did give her all the money and she told husband to put me out the house.

Was that the only reason?

Primary Witness: Yes, that was the main reason.

Who burnt your village?

Primary Witness: NPFL.

What's about LURD?

Primary Witness: Because of the hard time we were facing at the time of NPFL, as soon as I heard about LURD, I took exit into the bushes.

Commissioner Washington: Can you remember the fighter who your to eat the human oil?

Primary Witness: No.

But do you know their commander?

Primary Witness: I used to hear about one Zulu to be their commander.

Other people got sick from the human oil your ate?

Primary Witness: Yes, some people got seriously sick.

There were boys with you people at the time you're eating the human oil?

Primary Witness: No, we were all boys.

The fighters used to respect each other?

Primary Witness: No, they were all always fighting one another.

Since the war ended, have seen anyone of the people who forced you to eat the oil?

Primary Witness: I heard that Zulu has died but I have not heard about Sorgbor.

Where is your small brother that was sick/hungry?

Primary Witness: He is alive and in our town.

Is he going to school and what class is he in?

Primary Witness: Yes, he is in the 8th grade.

Where is your mother and father?

Primary Witness: Our mother is dead but our father is still alive.

What is the last class you stopped in?

Primary Witness: 8th grade.

Commissioner Stewart: Were you around when they burnt your Grand Mother?

Primary Witness: No.

How many houses they burnt in your town?

Primary Witness: They burnt the whole town.

About how many houses was in the town?

Primary Witness: About 180 houses in the year 1993.

In which town they forced you to eat the human oil?

Primary Witness: Kpaiyeh, around Narmah area.

You saw the soup that had the human oil?

Primary Witness: Yes.

When you ate the human oil?

Primary Witness: In 1994.

What was your experience when Gbarnga fell?

Primary Witness: I was on my way to the market to buy food for us and I saw the whole up side down, people were just moving from one place to another; not too long, I heard the sound of guns from the Lofa road, and everybody started escaping towards Ganta; as we went towards Ganta, we took the road leading to Forkolleh and that was the place we were until the war in Gbarnga ceased.

Chairman: Thanks very much, but is there anything else on your mind that you would like with the TRC before you leave?

Primary Witness: Yes, I just want to tell TRC thanks very much for this beautiful program; the bible says when you say the truth, the truth shall set you free; so as for me, I have waived whatever wrong I went through during the civil war.

Sixth Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in

Bopolu, Gbarpolu County

Maimai Sumo

(Sixth Primary Witness of day one)

The Sixth 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: Thanks very much for coming to the TRC to tell your story and experience. Please tell us your name again.

What is your name?

Primary witness: Maimai Sumo.

Can you tell us your age?

Primary witness: I am 40 years old.

Where do you live?

Primary witness: Gaygbei

What do you do for living?

Primary witness: I am making gardens.

Primary witness: Firstly I want to thank the TRC people very much. At least, they have come to cool our heart, and they have come to ask us what has been bothering us. It all started during the 1990, war, when they came in our town call Gaygbei, and they beat our old people. And at that time I had just had my twin babies, and the commander was Harrison and so I ran I left the town, my babies were in the town, they follow me shooting. They went and arrested our people and torture them.

1994, ULIMO came, my father was in Wasuah. He did not do anything. They arrested him and they crucify him like the way the kill Jesus. The put him on the stick, and they fire him. And that really broke my heart, because he was the one taking care of me and my children. The hard time was not easy, so one of the twins had to die and the other one here in Bopolu going to school but right now, things are not ok with me. The four bed room house my father build, was burn down, it recently I started dubbing the other side. So that the thing that catch my heart especially the way they treated my father, so that all I have to say.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: We want to say thank you for coming to the TRC,

Commissioner Konneh: We want to say we are sorry for what happen to you. What happen to your husband during the war?

Primary witness: He was only beaten, but after the war, he divorced me.

Why?

Primary witness: For no reason that I know of.

Is it because you still wan to go to your old husband?

Primary witness: No, for me, I don't want man again.

The twins, you had, are they with this same man?

Primary witness: Yes.

But is e helping you to take care of that child?

Primary witness: No, he's not helping me.

The Krahn man that killed your father, do you know him?

Primary witness: No.

What is your father's name?

Primary witness: William Daniel.

Do you know why such brutal killing?

Primary witness: No, most people said that was because of his diamond creek.

Primary witness: What group was this man fighting for?

He was fighting for the Krahn group.

What time was it?

Primary witness: 1990, during ULIMO's time.

Primary witness: Can you please tell us something about it?

Did you see them recruiting children?

Primary witness: No, I did not see that.

Did you see them taking people's women by force, or people's daughter/

Primary witness: Yes, I saw them.

Which one of the groups?

Primary witness: NPFL

Commissioner Coleman: Besides your father who else die from you?

Primary witness: No body else, apart form my father.

Commissioner Dolopei: Maimai, did you see them kill a lot of people, they call it massacre?

Primary witness: Yes, I saw them kill a lot of people in Henry's town.

Please tell us?

Primary witness: During the ULIMO period, the commander asked the people to open the market ground. So when they were going to open the market ground, they saw smoke coming from the town, and then they realized that they had kill a lot of people. They were using spears and mortal pastel to insert it in the private parts.

What did they do with the children?

Primary witness: They kill them and put them in the wall.

Another incident, where they kill the children was in the Bayour way Mission?

Primary witness: I can't remember anything.

Commissioner Washington: thank you for coming, and I say sorry for the horrible death of you father. I can't say how you feel, but I try to imagine how you felt. You talk about the way they were inserting pistil into women, which group was that?

Primary witness: ULIMO.

Was it one ULIMO or the time they split?

Primary witness: That time it was one ULIMO.

You say they cross the water, where exactly were they coming from, was it from Guinea, or where.

Primary witness: They came from Gbayeakollie, the border between Gbapolu and Bong County.

Do you know any of those women they kill?

Primary witness: No, because most of them were strangers.

Do you also remember any of their commanders?

Primary witness: They first commander is call Sekou. And another commander was call Tamba, he's in Nimba.

The time this thing took place, who was the next commander?

Primary witness: I don't know the name of the name of the other commander.

At the time the massacre took place, who was there, was it Sekou or Tamba.

Primary witness: When they remove Sekou, Tamba was on duty in another town.

And you don't remember any of their names?

Primary witness: No, they were too many.

Sorry for the death of your father and your son. You say your father was a Krahn man or he was accused of been a Krahn man?

Primary witness: No, he was killed because he was controlling a diamond mine.

Which group did the killing?

Primary witness: ULIMO

Who was the commander when they kill your father?

Primary witness: I can't tell.

This massacre, did you go back to the town to see the people?

Primary witness: No, I never went to see the bodies, but they collected people to go and burry the bodies.

How many did they kill?

Primary witness: The people were many, more than 20.

Since that time, has there been any feast?

Primary witness: No, not to my knowledge.

But is it the wish of the people?

Primary witness: I can't tell what the people want.

Commissioner Syllah: Thank you for coming to the TRC and sorry for what happen to you, for the death of your child, and your father?

Primary witness: My son name is Moses Zinna, and my father name was William Daniels.

The twin that is alive, what is his name?

Primary witness: Agustus Zinna.

Besides, the twin you had, do you have other children?

Primary witness: Yes, they call him Nelson Slonteh.

Did you have any uncle by the name of Moses before the war?

Primary witness: No.

During the massacre, what did you see, were they pregnant women, or children?

Yes, there were pregnant women, even though I didn't see the bodies they told me.

Commissioner Dolopei: what was the name of your husband?

Primary witness: Kpelleh.

Chairman: Thank you for coming to help the TRC. And we want to say sorry for the relatives you last. At this time, you have come to the end of the hearings, is there anything on your mind to the TRC?

Primary witness: The major thing on my mind now, so for my children to be educated and for me to have a dwelling place.


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