Gbarnga City: Day 1

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The First day of the TRC Public Hearings Proceedings held on Monday May 19, 2008 at the Administrative Building, Gbarnga City Bong County. The Hearings session started with a Parade of the students and officials of the county joined by Commissioners of the TRC throughout the principal streets of Gbarnga City after which the Commissioners of the TRC traditional chiefs and county administrators were ushered into their seats followed by the singing of the national anthem by the audience. This was followed by a welcome from the City Mayoress who then presented the keys of the city to the Chairman of the Commission. The traditional leaders then welcomed the Commissioners to the city of Gbarnga information them that if ever they have a problem while in the county, they should be informed so that they can solve it for them. The TRC County Coordinator for the county was called upon to introduce members of the TRC and the County Authority present at the occasion after which the Representative of the Office of the Superintendent was called upon to make a comment. This was followed by a speech from the Chairman of the TRC Cllr. Jerome Verdier after which he introduced the Commissioners of the TRC to the audience before declaring open the Hearings Process in Nimba County.

Welcome Remark by the City Mayoress of Gbarnga City, Bong County

Madam Esther C. Waubay.

Today is the day that the lord had made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Our hard working chairman Cllr. Jerome Verdier, our dynamic Co-Chair Mrs. Dede Dolopei, Commissioners and the workers of TRC here present, our chiefs and elders of Bong County, the United Nations Missions In Liberia (UNMIL), student Body, well wishers, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am please this morning; I want to whole heartedly welcome the chairman and his entourage of the TRC to the Gbarnga city, Bong County Republic of Liberia. Today is another important day here in Gbarnga City. When I was walking down the streets of Gbarnga city this morning, and my citizens were asking me, where are you going with the big key? And I said I am going to open the door, to the TRC in Gbarnga, Bong County. And I want to tell you all that the TRC is not a court, so I want you all to come and tell your story. Again I will like to say to our honorable Chairman, and the Commissioners of the TRC, on behalf of the Superintendent Office, the development Superintendent, Citizens and Residence of Gbarnga City, Bong County, we want to whole heartedly welcome the TRC to Gbarnga City and have a happy stay. I will take this time to present this key to the honorable chairman of the TRC.

Presentation of the Key to the Chairman by the City Mayoress of the county: So this is the key to the beautiful city of Gbarnga, and when you are going please give my key back to me. Thank you very much.

Traditional Chiefs and elders of Bong County to welcome the TRC traditionally: Eh na Yoooru Your, (4times)


Those belonging t the areas here present, we want you people to stand up so we can give the honor that you deserve. I want you people (commissioners) to come forward.

Presentation of Kola Nuts to the chairman of the TRC: You have come here; thank you very much for coming, this county is yours. Anything possible you want us to do for you while you are here in our county, we will willingly do it. This is the voice of every one here in Bong County. Even though, I am speaking, but I am speaking for the whole county. I am the chairman, the superintendent, development superintendent while you are here, the way you are here, we have proven to the Liberian people that we are all one there is no different tribe. And we believe that too. I am the chairman, while you are here, this is the white fine kola; accept it and you are welcome, you and you entourage traditionally, this is the voice and thank you very much.

Introduction of Guest and partners by the TRC County Coordinator: The guests present were introduced by the Coordinator of Bong County. Appreciation and acknowledgement were made to those who were very supportive and cooperative to the initial TRC process in Bong County and for making sure that the Hearings Process be conducted in the County.

Representative of the Office of the Superintendent: Chairman, commissioners, elders of Bong County, the International Community, citizens of Bong County, Ladies and Gentlemen as we have come to tell you our stories, let us note that the TRC is a dawn a new day in the history of our beloved country Liberia. Fellow citizens, we have to learn how to forgive and forget the past. We all know that at times it is not easy to forget the past but we cant continue to hold on to the past and lived like enemies. We have to join hands to build Mama Liberia.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we don't want to fight no more by the grace of God we will find total peace.

Chairman of the TRC: Gbartee oh Gbartee, (3times) Follow Citizens and the residence of Gbarnga, we at the TRC are very delighted, very pleased, and much honored, by your warm reception into this City. We have started a journey some 3, 4 months ago; we are going through the 15 counties. And we commence this exercise in Bong County; this is the 13th of 15 counties. As we continue an experience that told us that they are very, very serious. While as an individual, that the wounds of our people be healed and that we can move ahead, and we will continue to move forward. Our nation Liberia can not continue to blind eyes on the past and ignore the pains of this nation. We started the TRC as a commission back in 2005, with a little or nothing to start or work with, how to start and where, with no understanding of what the TRC was about, but today we are on the 4th process of the TRC which is the public hearings. And this is the significance compliment of the TRC. And after this public hearing, the TRC will be making its final report and as to how we can rewrite our country history. The experiences of the Liberian people, your supports, in outs, and your feelings and then make recommendations as to how our country can be a different one and move ahead. With out preparing ourselves, to understand, our past, why it happened, whom, it happened and how it happened. And who committed some of these things.

Then indeed, our reconciliation and reconstruction process can go on. Our leaders, members of the International community came together and felt it was necessary to conduct a truth searching and reconciliation process. And they made no mistake to form this forum here in Liberia. Reconciliation as we must emphasized is a process and it must take time, but the foundation for recommendations and truth are what we are digging out and establishing the fact of what happened, to know the reason of what happen before we can reconcile. You can not reconcile when you can not understand the conflict. You can not reconcile when you don't know who you are reconciling with, you can not reconcile when you do not know what you were reconciling. That the TRC at the end of its work will establish that indeed our country had a cancer and that we are the medicine that will cure that cancer and move forward. Now we are here in Bong County, we thank all of you, our honorable Mayoress, our Superintendent, who in his absence was very supportive, elders and chiefs of Bong County, our international guest here present, UNMIL Civil Society and the citizens of Bong County. We want to thank you for the welcome you have given to us here in Bong County. We are here today to rescue our country, and in during that, we have to and as the Mayoress has given us the key, we pray that you open your hearts, learn to forgive, and prevent trouble, and let us learn to respect the rule of law and to make a new Liberia. It is not easy to come and retell our experiences, but this is the time. We can not repair your experiences, we can not change it, but we can share your experiences.

First Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in

Gbarnga, Bong County

Momo S.B. Masaquoi

(First Primary Witness of day one)

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. She was accompanied by an interpreter.

Chairman: Welcome to the TRC this is the forum were we come to share our views of what happen to us during the Liberia crisis.

What is your date of birth?

Primary Witness: I was born June 1970

Where do you live?

Primary Witness: I live Gbatala and sometimes spend time with my sister in Gbarnga.

What do you do for a living?

Primary Witness: I did Machinery but because of my body now I can't do anything.

Primary Witness: The year 2002 October 4, I had a girl friend with me and we had a conflict she left and went. And when I look the general town chief sent an arrest for me. One man name Kpateekee, I told him that they arrested me and he say it was on a Sunday and not even a summon but a rate of arrest and he ask the megastar to make it on Monday but he said no. and I told him say let go and we went and the same general clan chief who sent the rate of arrest I met him on the flood. And because of the tension that I saw, I decided to go to one of my friend, while going, some guys saw me and call me back and asked me while I did not speak to them and just pass by them. And they told me to sit on the ground and again told me to get up and when I got up they told me to take off my shirt and I took off my shirt and again told me to take off my trousers and I said to them oh but what kind of hard play it was, because I thought it was a hard play. It was one man sitting on the bench and one man given the order and while there, the only thing I saw behind me was the arm on his chest but he shot and the shot went in my stomach and my whole intestine came out and every body that was around became to run away. And the chief came out and say if they don't take me to hospital, any thing that happen to me they will be blame. And they took me in a blanket and rub me in it while going; I took my shirt off and tie my stomach. The man who did this to me was Peter Wontee. I was not to myself but my sister will explain.

Sister of the Witness: I am Mrs. Martta Massaquoi Bieele: On this day I came from Kakata, I was ridding a Firestone car. We got to this village and they stop us and told us that they had some one wounded and the driver should please take the person to Phebee hospital. The driver said that it was part of Firestone law that they don't put other people on their car and he said no. I was sitting in the car not knowing it was my brother. And the driver said he was coming to explain to me , he said if any blood sticking on the rubber they will say I was doing some thing else. So I said what should we do, I will take him to the police head quarters and report the case and he said yes, and we went and reported the case to the police and the police agree and I went and told my husband the story and told them that the same thing I was telling he to find some where and go. They had carry him to Phebe and the blood all on him was dry. While there, I heard my sister shouting and when I ask her, she said they short our brother and they were carrying him to Phebe but what he did he had written my name on a paper and my address and I said oh, it was my brother they were carrying. And I went running to Phebe but when I got there, they had not done any thing so every body saw me and said oh that Mrs. Bieele brother and everyone was given blood one Doctor Henry he was a visitor and he call for 7units of blood I did not pay any money. My husband was all around for the case and we wrote even the superintendent. And they did the operation and he said he give brother from 12 if he breathe, he will live by 12:30, he babe his eyes. And one women we all knew one another she came and told me that she was begging us it was her nephew who did it but infect the same boy has just shot one boy in the village, but if any thing we will talk. And since then no one has come to tall to us even authority. They took his pennies and put it aside.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: You said it was 2000 October 6?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Was there any conflict at time?

Primary Witness: Yes, but to that particular clan there was no fighting here.

Which district?

Primary Witness: Jukula district, Jukollie clan Jukollie district

They were how many men?

Primary Witness: Three with one arm man.

They were members of which factions?

Primary Witness: NPFL and GOL

They had Military uniform?

Primary Witness: Of course

Have you seen him?

Primary Witness: No, my brother use to see him in Jawaykollie

Clarification from sister: By then he was at the hospital and we wanted to find out how it happen and so they took statement from the town chief.

The rate of arrest, they did mention your girl friend's name in it?

Primary Witness: Yes, and she said I beat her.

Was the clan chief involved in the rate of arrest?

Primary Witness: No.

Commissioner Syllah: So how is the wound like?

Primary Witness: Pus can come from different, different side.

Since then have you had medical attention?

Primary Witness: They said they will give me medical advice.

Do you go to lateen freely?

Primary Witness: Yes.

The chief what is his name?

Primary Witness: I don't know his name

The girl what is her name?

Primary Witness: Korto

Where is she?

Primary Witness: In Gban

Can you remember any of the family members of the follow who did this?

Primary Witness: Yes, the sister behind my house.

Where is the boy now?

Primary Witness: Gban town now.

Commissioner Stewart: Was this Wontee arrested?

Primary Witness: So they said and they turn he over to the police commander.

His name?

Primary Witness: Isaac Raylley

Is it the same Isaac Raylley involved in the shooting?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Who was the Superintendent?

Primary Witness: Domba

The military commander?

Primary Witness: Joseph Brower

You said there was no fighting?

Primary Witness: They were fighting in Lofa but not on this side.

Which weapon?

Primary Witness: AK47

Which day they did arrest him?

Primary Witness: On the 7th they operated him was the same 7thCC copy was even given to Daniel Chea

How was the situation like for civilians?

Primary Witness: It was not easy, especially when they came from war front. to admit, Gbarnga was fearful.

Commissioner Dolopei: Will you be willing to show these scares?

Primary Witness: Yes

Commissioner Bull: Thank you very much. You know we say when you do good, you do it for your self. When you do bad, you do it for yourself. Your story has find part of our documents and records and we say thank you.

Commissioner Konneh: You said the town chief issue a letter of arrest? Under our system of Law weather that can happen. So TRC will take that issue seriously. And secondly, taken off the town chief trousers it means there was no rude of order. All these things will be putting into our records.

Chairman: We will do the inspection of the wounds. Inspections report by commissioner Syllah

Recommendation form the Inspection Team: We recommend immediate operation, the wound looks fresh since 2002, and so he needs attention. We still see openings with pus from three different areas; however, the original scar has healed.

Anything before you leave?

Primary Witness: Yes, we are appealing to government and NGOs so that they can show some concern for especially as regards to jobs , I am unable to do anything , infect, after Dr. Hurries operated , he said I would have use for only four years, but God's willing, I have live additional two years.

Second Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in

Gbarnga, Bong County

Sampson Quanneh

(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: Once again welcome to the TRC and we are pleased that you have come; you have acted as a good citizen to come to the TRC, as you speak here, you are speaking for several thousand persons who are unable to come. Please tell us your name again.

Primary Witness: My name is Sampson Kwennah

When were you born?

Primary Witness: I was born 1969.

Where do you live?

Primary Witness: I live in Guata.

What do you do for living?

Primary Witness: Farming.

Please tell us your story.

Primary Witness: When we were in Guata in 1994, we heard sounds of guns from Grand Bassa way and we went into the bushes. While in the bush, a group came and arrested us and that group was the LPC group. After three days, we escaped from them and went father on our farm in the bush. It did not take long time when the NPFL came and arrested us again.

After they caught us, they asked as to where we were coming from and we told them that we were arrested by LPC and after three days, we ran away from; when they heard this, they said that we were enemies. They beat my friend and broke his eyes and buried him alive and they wanted to cut my hands and legs but they said that they were going to release me to tell the story.

They took us to Bassa and we spent 4 days and they arrested everybody from the bush to join them. After three days, we ran into the bush and NPFL took our women and children to a village.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: LPC treated your bad for the three days?

Primary Witness: Yes, they killed two of my friends.

What is the name of your brother that was killed by NPFL?

Primary Witness: His name was Daniel Kwennah.

You say they killed him?

Primary Witness: Yes, they killed him right in my presence.

What else they did your?

Primary Witness: They forced us to beat our own rice they took from us and they forced us to take their loads.

What is the name of LPC bosses that were in the area?

Primary Witness: John Garam, and Modesco.

How many of you the NPFL arrested?

Primary Witness: We were three.

Which groups that killed two of your friends?

Primary Witness: It was the LPC.

How the first boy was killed?

Primary Witness: They cut his penis and he bled to death.

How the second person was killed?

Primary Witness: They broke his eyes and buried him alive.

Commissioner Syllah: Do you know the reason why they killed your brother?

Primary Witness: After they arrested us, they said that we were enemies.

You identify the place where they buried the boy alive?

Primary Witness: Yes, I still know the spot.

The two men that were killed, they left any families behind?

Primary Witness: Yes, one of them had a wife and child but the other one was not married and never had children.

What is the name of the commanders of NPFL in your area?

Primary Witness: General Steven Wontoe and Col. Dede of the artillery division.

Since the war finished, have you seen any one of them around?

Primary Witness: No.

How has the death of your friends affected?

Primary Witness: The condition I was in at the time was very bad, I was not to myself, I was confused and feeling miserable.

Commissioner Stewart: Which group was in control of Gbarnga at the time?

Primary Witness: It was the NPFL.

Which group was in control of Guata?

Primary Witness: The same NPFL.

In which year?

Primary Witness: It happened in the year 1994.

You came to Gbarnga after the elections?

Primary Witness: Yes, I am here almost everyday.

The NPFL looted from the people?

Primary Witness: Yes, plenty.

Your women were raped?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Was it Steve Wontoe group that was doing that?

Primary Witness: Yes.

They burnt any houses?

Primary Witness: Yes, they burnt my house.

You say they forced your to carry their loads and what kind of loads?

Primary Witness: Yes, it was the same rice and other things they took from us.

How the NPFL soldiers survived?

Primary Witness: They were just surviving on us, they took all our food and other materials.

They forced any young boys?

Primary Witness: I cannot tell.

They forced any of the young girls?

Primary Witness: Some of the girls followed them.

Do you know the names of any of the girls they carried?

Primary Witness: Yes, her name is Gormah Togbah.

What is the name of the girl parents?

Primary Witness: Her father name is Togbah.

You say the soldiers tied you?

Primary Witness: Yes, they tied me and wanted to cut my hands and legs.

Commissioner Bull: Thanks for the information you have given us in your story; we will take the appropriate recommendation to the government.

Commissioner Konneh: Which of the two groups that were engaged in raping, torturing and looting?

Primary Witness: It was the NPFL forces.

What NPFL did to your town people including you when you were accused of been an enemy?

Primary Witness: From the beginning, when we were called to town by them, they used to force us to beat our own rice for them gave it to them.

Chairman: Now that you have completed your testimony, is there anything else on your mind that you want to tell the TRC before you leave?

Primary Witness: Yes, the only thing I have to say is that my friend that was killed left behind his child and so I want the TRC help me sent the child to school and again, I want the TRC to help me with zinc and nails so as to rebuild my house that was burnt.

Where is the child?

Primary Witness: He is with the mother in the village and his name is Junior Kolleh and he was born in 1992.

Third Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in

Gbarnga, Bong County

Mallah G. Kerkulah

(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: we say welcome to the TRC. This is the time, where all of us come and sit down and talk about the things where happen under the palava huts. We want to talk these things so that they will not happen again and our children will have peace tomorrow. What is your name again?

Primary Witness: I am Mallah Kerkulah.

Where do you live?

Primary Witness: I live palala.

What do you do for living?

Primary Witness: I bake and sell bread

What is your age?

Primary Witness: I was born march 21st 1971.

Primary Witness: That was 1993, some group came in our town, they call them ULIMO K. when they came, it was raining and there was no heavy rain, and every body was sleeping when they came and started knocking the door. So they came and started forcing the door to open, and they put all of us out side to the palava huts. The whole town was pack because some people came from different towns and they were with us in that town. So they told us to sit down. When you want to take chair to sit down thing they will say no, nobody shall sit on chair we should all sit on the ground. And it was raining and the ground was wet. So they say that Charles Taylor send them. So we started thinking, that what they want tell us that they come wake us up. So they say you sit down we coming. So when we were sitting down, one of the man came and said, do you know who we are, then we say no, so the man said we are ULIMO K, we are coming to kill every body in this town here. The place we were air, I started crying, I was wanted to run away but no way. That how that people them speak in the dialect and they started killing us, they started shooting us. Everybody was there, and one huge man was sitting side me, they shot the man, and he fell down, so one of my sisters was there, when they shot her, she started crying saying, here me here oh, your just kill me once and for all because your na spoil me. So one boy was there, he was having flash light in his hand, he was looking around, when he see the people them shaking, he will kill them, so I was just lying down looking at them. So the boy came and took the bend knife and juke my sister with it 2 times and then the girl shut up and became quiet. Then they started going and singing their song. That how we stay there in that blood, until in the morning, when Charles Taylor people them came, they put their guns down, all of them started crying, and they took us and carry us to the hospital in one town but there was no doctor there, that how they took us and carry us to LAMCO hospital in Yekepa, Nimba County. We were there, they started treating us, one doctor was there, that how come my hand was getting rotting, the thread na want get rotten, so, the doctor said they should cut my hand.

Witness Breaks Down in Tears

So that how come they cut my hand, and before the war, I was having four children, when the war came, they ran away and went in the bush, and three of them die, and now I just having one child left. So that all I get to say.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Commissioner Konneh: we want to thank you for coming and we want to say sorry for all that you went through. It is painful to see an able body woman been in capacitated. And it is also painful to see not only your family members, but also your community been eliminated before your eyes. We are sorry. You said when these people came that night, they first said they were NPFL, but later they said they were ULIMO K, can you remember any of them?

Primary Witness: I can remember one of them name Kangar.

Since that time, have you seen any of them?

Primary Witness: Yes, only Kangar.

What was the dialect they were speaking?

Primary Witness: They were speaking Mandingo.

The people that they kill can you remember their names?

Primary Witness: Yes, but only my people names, they are my aunty Kuinu, her daughter, Klura and her son Mouralo. Then my mother Naipay and my father Sammy.

You said the doctor said that your hand will not be useful again, will your mind for our photographers to take the photo?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Commissioner Bull: we want to say sorry for what happened to you. You are a civilian, and you were an innocent woman, there are rules of law, internationally and locally. We want to thank you for coming and we say sorry for the terrible experience.

Commissioner Steward: we want to thank you for coming and sorry for the injury. When these things happen in the morning, were you to yourself?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Can you tell us how many bodies were there?

Primary Witness: They were 100 bodies.

How many houses were in your town?

Primary Witness: There were 8 houses in the town.

You said what is the name of your town?

Primary Witness: Gaygbai camp in Sanoyea district.

Did they burry them in one hole?

Primary Witness: Yes, they dug a big hole and burry them there.

Can you show us if we want to know the place?

Primary Witness: The place that big forest now, nobody living there.

Who was the town chef that time?

Primary Witness: That was my pa but he died.

Who was the next big town there?

Primary Witness: They call the place mason town.

The child that you had, the bullets hit, what happened?

Primary Witness: The baby died.

What happened to the other children that die?

Primary Witness: They die from hunger.

Where were they?

Primary Witness: They ran in the bush.

What were their ages?

Primary Witness: The other big one was 8 years old, and the other one was 6 years old.

What are their names?

Primary Witness: The Maitue Koleh-6years old, Biggerboy Koleh -5years old and Small Daniel -2 months.

The children who die, they burry them?

Primary Witness: No.

The one who survived, what is his name?

Primary Witness: Samuel Kerkulah.

Commissioner Syllah: thank you for coming. Can you

Remember if any other people survive?

Primary Witness: Some people ran away in the bush.

And since that time, you have not seen any of them?

Primary Witness: No.

Chairman: we want to thank you for coming and we say sorry and have our sympathy. You see, when war comes, people can die and people can live, and we who living are he ones who can tell the story of how they die. And that's why the TRC was founded, and we know that your didn't do any wrong, your were innocent. Sorry for the terrible experience. Do you know where they burry your children?

Primary Witness: No, I didn't go there.

What happen to your sister they juke?

Primary Witness: She is in Grand Bassa with her husband.

What is her name?

Primary Witness: Her name is Vicky Kamara.

Do you know her age?

Primary Witness: At that time, she was a small girl and she was staying in Monrovia with our other big sister and she only came to visit.

So do you have any other thing to tell the TRC?

Primary Witness: Yes, I am appealing to your to help us build schools for the our children them and I want your to help me, because just imagine when a man taking care of a woman, you don't know what thing in his heart, so I want your to help me.

Fourth Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in

Gbarnga, Bong County

Daniel Wesseh

(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: We say good afternoon and welcome to the TRC to share your experience with us. What is your name again?

Primary Witness: My name is Daniel Wesseh.

Where do you live?

Primary Witness: I live Bohn town, Kokoyea District.

When were you born?

Primary Witness: I was born December 20, 1961.

What do you do for a living?

Primary Witness: I am a farmer.

Primary Witness: It happen during the year 94, September 4. While in my home town, Bohn town I saw group of civilians running and I question them why are you running, they say they saw some factions that why they are running. When I heard this, I started escaping with my family because my daddy was too old. He could walk with walking stick, although my mother was also old although she could walk. We started moving after we went, but before leaving not every one left the town, so after we left, some people left in the town. Unfortunately, those who remain they were capture by one General J.Y Wongbo from NPFL and he said where are the rest of the civilians? And we said some run away and we don't know their location, and general J.Y said those who run away I don't believe that they have gone to live with LPC. But dispirit those of you who have been capture by me, your live will never be spared due to the fact that you have link with LPC. Immediately they were order to be jail by General J.Y Wonbgo of NPFL.

They took them in the church house after they were jail, general Gongo order his men to loot and they started looting the zinc away. And to those who were jailed in the church they were there whole day until at night. At night, he told them he was going to massacre them the following morning. General J.Y order some of his arm men to guard the church house and none of them should escape. After the soldiers felt asleep, the late Mr. Gboe Wesseh, he and his wife may his soul rest in peace he told his wife, my wife since the people sleeping let find our way to escape. Weeseh said if we do escape, while escaping if we are caught these murderers or these arm men will kill us so I do advise that we should stay. But I cannot stand the tension. So Wesseh escape but he did not gone far from the church he sleek in the bush and lie flat on the ground to observe everything happening. Gargbo was lying in the bush to observe every thing that was happening. When general J.Y came, he start releasing his order that the civilians should be murdered and one of the soldiers said to general J.Y that we should not used our weapons to sound out, by murdering these civilians, when our weapons sound is heard then our enemies will move on our position. So let us use silent weapons to massacre these civilians and it was agreed upon. They use your silent weapons, axes, cutlasses stick to massacre and some were beaten bitterly. And the late Rachael Wesseh may her soul rest in peace she was the very first to be murdered by those arms Personnel.

And we immediately, started to move forward and upon the arrival to where the others were we had already cross river Jah. I said my children let us try to escape back because our civilians that remain, they were massacre and some were badly beaten by J.Y Gongbo of the NPFL. So let us maneuvered and I had a old person to escape with, and I couldn't leave him, so I put him on my back my mother could walk a little bit. I say so since you cannot walk let move in front and we started advancing and escaping. After we got to a town call Zoul when we got to Zoulow people were escaping. I said dad, this thing will never save our lives but we need to advance so we started moving. A man by the name of Zewoe was again capture and was massacre by General J.Y. people were moving and we kept on moving. And when we went those civilians that remain in Zoulow were again massacre by General J.Y of NPFL. After we moved, we got to Tekpah town, there we drop in the hands of other factions as LPC and they said LPC was headed by one General Wesseh in collaborations with one Robert he was the battle group they ask us to give our point of view on why we were escaping. And I told them that our positions has been attack by some arm groups and our sisters and mothers have been massacre by the said arm groups that what we are escaping and said you people should be at the back and we started going and LPC which was headed by general Wesseh started moving with his group. When they carry us weather they kill General due to the fact that at last bullets did not sign behind us is not to my knowledge. After we drop in the hands of LPC to be frank, LPC did not kill, but we were mid-treated some of our civilians were beaten that resulted them to serious sickness today. I stop so far.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: You said they kill your three brothers and uncle's wife, Can you name them?

Primary Witness: John Wesseh-44years old, Joe Wesseh-22, Amos Wesseh-18, Ragah Weeseh uncle's wife.

The general J.Y, was he a popular general?

Primary Witness: Yes, very popular.

What was the name of the church?

Primary Witness: Holy Church of Christ

You said five persons killed in the church?

Primary Witness: Yes.

You give us four persons?names can you give us the fifth name?

Primary Witness: Yes, Alfred Kagbo.

Do you have idea of how they were buried?

Primary Witness: Their bones were buried.

Commissioner Konneh: Where did it take place?

Primary Witness: Bohn town here in Bong County?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Did you say LPC came there?

Primary Witness: Not in Bohn

Was Wesseh your relative?

Primary Witness: No, I don't know him.

How was civilians treated?

Primary Witness: Some civilians were beaten and they toot load and you could' not say you are tire.

The massacre was it done in the church?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Any destruction?

Primary Witness: Yes, church was looted and they took the zinc.

How many houses?

Primary Witness: Ten houses

Commissioner Coleman: The effect of the war, where are your father and mother?

Primary Witness: My father was old I toot him and he survival but he die on sick bed.

Are you married?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Where were you doing NPFL attack?

Primary Witness: I was in Kokoyea.

Before 89 and 90 how were things like?

Primary Witness: I was not in problem. From the beginning when NPFL came they say if you want to join you join but you are not force, they said they were freedom fighters.

What is the name of the church?

Primary Witness: St. John Holy church of Christ.

When LURD came, was there any problem?

Primary Witness: Upon there arrival, they use the civilians because they did not know the bush and they took cattle and people cocoa. They mad-treated people they came with the intension that they put people in houses and set it on fire, but when they got here, it was cease fire.

Commissioner Bull: Thank you for participating in this forum.

Commissioner Stewart: General J.Y Gongo, where is he from?

Primary Witness: According to people he is from Bong County.

Do you know where he is?

Primary Witness: No.

The people killed in the church, were they bury?

Primary Witness: Only bones were bury

Was it one place?

Primary Witness: No.

River Jah, how many of you cross?

Primary Witness: We were about 100

Did they burn houses?

Primary Witness: Yes, after they took the zinc form the church they burn house.

Your belongings, did they take any?

Primary Witness: Yes, every thing

How long you stayed with LPC?

Primary Witness: We stay long

How long in Buchanan?

Primary Witness: About a week

Commissioner Syllah: Your parents, where are they now?

Primary Witness: My mother is alive but my father died

What is your father's name?

Primary Witness: Gunsah Wesseh

Chairman: Anything else?

Primary Witness: My request to the TRC is we are homeless to please provide zinc for us. And provide education and roads.

Fifth Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in

Gbarnga, Bong County

Yassah Z. Duana

(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: welcome to the TRC, we want to thank you for taking up your valuable time to come and share your story with us. When you do this, we are taking the first step to our reconciliations process in Liberia. Maybe I know what happen in Monrovia, and some body knows what happen in Maryland and you can tell us what happen here in Bong County. We say welcome again, and I want you kindly repeat your name?

Primary Witness: My name is Yassah Duana.

Can you please tell us your age?

Primary Witness: May 9th 1960.

Where do you stay?

Primary Witness: I stay in Sanoyea town, sanoyea district.

What do you do?

Primary Witness: I see food.

Primary Witness: We were in Sanoyea 2001, while we were there, a former counselor who they call Richard K. Flomo, we was internal affairs minister. He ahead and put some boys together, we use to call the bandies in another town call Nyanquelleh. The NPFL soldiers that were residing in Sanoyea town, so he use to go to President Taylor, and say he will be responsible for the boys in Sanoyea. When he go and they give him the children food he will by-pass and carry the food to his boys on his farm. So while doing it, one day the soldiers in Sanoyea decided to go to the Commissioner one Joseph Mulbah and they said, if we na get food to eat, we will arrest Richard Flomo's car because he is the one that can give our supply. I don't know what the commissioner told them, because my shop right on the road, one day the boys said they were going to deal with him.

So one day we saw Richard's Driver in the car, but he Richard Flomo was not there. So those boys said they will not let the car go until they see the man. While they were making the argument, we told them say no, since the man na in the car, and the driver say he na come, wait for him, when he comes then you will talk. Then when the driver left, the next day, the boys came, that was Richard's men them, they use to wear Red T-shirts, and they had on it Strike force and they had the dragon on it. They printed it and give it to them. The soldiers that were in Sanoyea, they grab some of them and they started making argument, so we ran away. So those buys open fire, when they open that fire, from 6pm to 4am.So they started shooting the whole night, they were shooting, that night, we all ran in the bush that night. So when we were in the bush, we decided to come to the town to collect our things, then we started running back again, then my son, they use to call him Baby. When the soldiers were giving hard time to the civilians in the town, they went to the commissioner.

Then I told him say commissioner because we are strangers here, we don't know who is who. When they ask some body, before they make up their mind, they have killed the person or beat the person badly. So we said your give us some boys that will recognized all the strangers that will come in this town from the nearby villages. So we agree, and we appointer those people them that will do it. So when they got in the town, they started showing who all are the civilians them in the town. Then my son came from inside and got out side, and they said where is your commander that here? When you na show your boss man we will kill you. So the boy said, I na know anything about the boss man, I am not a soldier. I am sick, I lying down inside there, I na know any thing about the commander. So they say if you na tell us who is your commander, we will kill you. So they say where your boss is. So while they were talking, the boy turned his back, that how they fire him from the back, when they fire him from the back, that how his brother came to help him, that how they fire him too. So they kill the two of them. So we all left, we went, so they kill the two of them. So when we went in the bush, then the other rebel them came back they wanted to take the body, so one other brave boy was there, he said no, we should not allow these people to take these bodies, lets go take them, so as soon as we got on the road, we saw Richard Flomo men, they say Richard say they must go get the bodies to burn the bodies to destroy evidence. So they fought over the bodies, so they children from Sanoyea took the bodies. While they were there, the president heard about it, and he sent Bull Dog, one of the commanders of the ATU to come and rescue us. So, after Bull Dog came, they took the body and carry it to Totota, from Totota they carry the body to Kakata, one man was in Kakata, he took the bodies to the president. They went and took the bodies to Sokosakor; they called me and some other people. They say what they want for the president to do with the body? I say let them just embalm the body and give it back to me. Then they said yes. They talk to Francis Galawolo, Emmanuel Lemax and some other people to come and enquire from us how these children died. The people explained the president took money and give it to Francis Galawolo and Emmanuel Lemax to embalm the body, and bring them back to Sanoyea. Galawolo and Lemax sat down there, because the money was too big for them, they never see it in their lives they took the money and never embalm those children. I ran behind them, ran behind them, I even went to Sokosakor I saw my children bodies getting rotten, it made me vex. I said I was going to meet the president face to face. Just in that time, they were having the funeral of Kerkulah Kpoto. Then I went, when I went I sat down under the bridge there, where the bodies were, there where I was waiting for the president. So when the president came, I wanted to run behind the car so he can be concern about what Lemax them did. Emmanuel Lemax security them grab me, they didn't allow me t see the president. They say I should go wait for Lemax to his house so we can talk.

I went to the commissioner house; I was there for 2 days, that how he gave me money he say he was going to bring my children body back to me. So when I went to Sokosakor, he told the people not to give me the bodies. They took the children them bodies and throw it away on the beach; I did not see my children bodies. Because I can remember when I went for the bodies, they say they can't give my children to me. And it was not only my children they kill, they kill other people children. The thing when it happened, the other 3 boys they fire, they other one cripple self in Sanoyea the other one survived. So when they finish burying their own of children them, when I came, I told all the citizens of Sanoyea, they came and call every body and in the meeting, they say that we should reconcile, that what that happen to you in Sanoyea, we must forget it. Other people reconcile, Emmanuel Lemax got up and begged me, and I consider it.

When he came after 3 months, he came in Sanoyea to have a meeting, I went to the meeting, he did not see me, I was way in the back, he got up and started busting about it, ahn they say I can't come here in Sanoyea, but here me here, I sitting here. So I got up and said, you Richard Sumo, you kill somebody and then you busting about it? But those children you kill, that na my one children, if to say I was having gun I was going to kill you. That just what I said and so help me God, Richard Flomo and I for it.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Commissioner Konneh: madam witness, we know how painful it is to carry pregnancy for 9 months, suffered behind the house in child birth to bring them in the world. We also know when a person suffers in the other human being hands; it is a victory for the victim, because God will not let it go unpunished. And even before the judgment seat of God, Satan will say I don't know you. And as merciful as God is, he has the power to handle it in his own way.

The Richard Flomo you are taking about, is he the same Richard Flomo that serve in the internal affair?

Primary Witness: Yes, that's his name.

You think if Richard Flomo was call here, will you talk to him face to faces?

Primary Witness: Yes, we have been judging cases.

What is the real name of your son?

Primary Witness: his real name is Daigai Smith, he was 21years old and the other one name is Lerpo Mulbah, he was 18 years old.

You said you son was in a group, what group was that?

Primary Witness: The town people form the group to check the people who came from the different towns, because we didn't want the soldiers to come and say we have strangers.

Who was Galawo?

Primary Witness: He was the one the president sent to investigate the children's death.

Was Richard there that day?

Primary Witness: No, Richard Flomo was not there.

Do we also understand you to have said that he was a commander of a particular group in Sanoyea?

Primary Witness: Yes, he use to come wearing a hat, call himself a five star general. And everybody that lived in Sanoyea knows about it.

Commissioner Bull: I want to thank you for coming and I want to say sorry for what happen to you. I am o mother, and I know what it is to loss a child, and I lost a child during the war, but I always pray that God help me continue. What was this Emmanuel Lemax?

Primary Witness: He was one of the big men in Taylor's government.

Where is he now?

Primary Witness: He is in Monrovia.

Was he the one at GSA?

Primary Witness: Yes, he is the one.

Commissioner Coleman: we want to say sorry for the lost of your children. I will like to understand something about your family. Besides, your son, did you loss any hen he during the war?

Primary Witness: Yes, I lost my father, my brother an my father took in medicine and die. When he saw the body of my brother, he fell sick, when he went to the hospital, they give him chloroquine and he took all ten of the medicine and die.

How did he die?

Primary Witness: He was killed by ULIMO K.

And what happen to your mother?

Primary Witness: She cried until she died.

What happen to your other children?

Primary Witness: The first one die 1990, and he was 5 years old and the other one die and he was 2 years old.

Where did they die?

Primary Witness: They die in bong mines prince Johnson capture.

What are their names?

Primary Witness: They 5 years old name is Junior, and the 2 years old is.

Commissioner Steward: thank you for coming and sorry. When this thing happened was there any fighting in bong County or Sanoyea?

Primary Witness: No, there was no fighting, Richard Flomo had a group and those Charles Taylor boys said that he was stealing their food.

Who was the superintendent at that time?

Primary Witness: I can't remember.

Who was the commissioner at that time in Sanoyea?

Primary Witness: It was one

Was there any police there?

Primary Witness: No, and up to this time, there is no police.

So who you said came to the town to you?

Primary Witness: It was only the ATU that Taylor sent to rescue us.

And what did they do?

Primary Witness: They only ran behind those boys out of the town.

You said that Taylor give money to Lemax to burry the children?

Primary Witness: Yes, Taylor give him the money to embalm the body, but he didn't, and he just thrown them on the body on the beach.

Who told you he throw the bodies on the beach?

Primary Witness: It was the people at the morgue and him self apologized to me and told me he burry the children on the beach.

When did this happen?

Primary Witness: It happened in July 2002.

Since that time, has Richard Flomo come back to Sanoyea?

Primary Witness: Yes, I saw him some part of last year, I was his car going to his farm, when I got up to go to the car, we started going.

Can you remember any other person in the group?

Primary Witness: The commander use to call his self Big and Bad, he is from the other town.

Do you know his real name?

Primary Witness: Yes, but I forgetting it, but I know his ma.

Besides, Big and bad, can you remember any other person name there?

Primary Witness: They other boy name is Ketela, but his real name is Gbandoe he is still alive today. The other boy who kill my son I saw him in my house, he was lying down, and when I came, I saw him, I said, here you here, now lying down in my house, suppose I take gun and kill you now? Then one of the boys said forgive him because he did not do it on his own, that was order. So I say but let him get out of my house.

But did they disarm?

Primary Witness: yes, they all disarmed during the process.

But did you see Richard Flomo disarm?


Primary Witness:
No, I can't tell because I am not a soldier and I was not there.

But did he have arm, did you ever see him with arm?

Primary Witness: No, but he sue to have body guards and he use to have a pestle.

You saw him with the pestle?

Primary Witness: Yes, I have seen him.

Commissioner Syllah: thank you for coming and sorry for the death of your son. You said you went to the morgue, how was the body like?

Primary Witness: The children bodies were wrapped up in a plastic and the bodies were decaying.

Can you remember any of the people at the morgue?

Primary Witness: No, my sister by that time, I was not to my self so I can not remember any of them names.

Thank you very much, and as the other commissioner said, it is not easy to lose a child and that she lost a child during this war and it is painful. So we want to say sorry and take heart. We know it is not easy for one person to carry all of s and we are sharing it with you and we say sorry.

Chairman: we want to thank you for coming and sorry for the death of your children. The man that did the main shooting what is his name?

Do you have anything to say to the TRC?

Primary Witness: Yes, I want you people to help us to recondition our community. And I want your to help us, because the road to Sanoyea, is so far, when some thing hurt you, before you reach on the road, it cant' be easy, and secondly, the security. There is no security, no police in Sanoyea. The other time there was a land dispute, when they went ahead and burning down towns. Before police could get there it was worst. So we need security in Sanoyea.

Were you boys in school?

Primary Witness: Yes, they were going to school.

What was their level in school?

Primary Witness: They were in the 8th grade.

Were they good boys?

Primary Witness: Oh, especially my son, he was very helpful to me.

Witness burst into tears.

Sixth Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in

Gbarnga, Bong County

John Kennedy

(Sixth Primary Witness of day one)

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

Chairman: Thanks for coming to the TRC, your presence means a lot to the process. Please tell us your name.

Primary Witness: My name is Rev. John K. Kennedy.

Who old are you or when were you born?

Primary Witness: I was born 1952.

What do you for living?

Primary Witness: I am Rev. for the Methodist Church in Gborlokpalai.

You can now please tell us your story.

Primary Witness: In Gborlokpalai, I was present on a Sunday and I saw a woman running towards me and she said that she saw some men coming with guns and they were many; at the time many people had left their various areas and came in the town for refuge. It did not take too long when I saw strange movement of men and not known that they had already surrounded the town. Before that, they already put many in a house at the other end of the town and I did not know, when I got to realized that, they came in the town and arrested everyone and they opened suppressive firing and the bullets wounded some people and in that process, one of them called me and asked why I was still in the town? I simply told him that I could not leave my people and go anywhere; I also told him that I was not going to die in the war but could suffer to some point. At that time, they had already my daughter and many others in one of the houses at the end of the town.

After they left, A boy and myself started packing the bodies of those who they had killed and I asked who these gays were that killed people without small thinking? Few of them that were in the town came to me and I asked them the same questions and they started introducing themselves as Dudu-boy, Nasty
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