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The seventh day of the TRC Public Hearings Proceedings held on Thursday January 17, 2008 at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion. The Hearings session started with the Commissioners of the TRC being ushered into their seats followed by a welcome remarks form the Chairman of the TRC Cllr. Jerome Verdier, who then called on the Hearings Officer Pastor John Teayah to invite the first Primary Witness to give her testimony.
Twenty third Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings
(First Primary Witness of day seven)
The first Primary Witness of the day was called to the stand and he was accompanied by the psychosocial officer and the protections officer of the TRC. The Primary Witness was then sworn to tell the truth and nothing but the truth by the TRC Hearings Officer.
Chairman: you are welcome to the TRC public Hearing. All the Commissioners of the commission are here to listen to your story. We want you to say the truth and nothing but the truth.
Primary Witness: Thank you sir.
Chairman: what is your name again?
Primary Witness: James Kaba.
Chairman: you can go ahead with your story.
Primary Witness: It was on Saturday, March 2002 the Taylor forced came in Bomi, they call us to the Parking and divided us in two groups and said the general wanted to see us. And we should not go anywhere. They gave us farina and sugar for us to eat and put music on for us to dance. So while we were there, one solider boy came and said the general said we moh [must/should] go. But before then, I was sitting on my bag of seed rice that I was taking with me because they said they were carrying us to the refugee camp. So when the boy came he say papay that seed rice you fighting for the place you going you going eat real butter rice then you thinking about seed rice, get up lets go.
So the general they carried us to was General Duo, I mean Roland Duo. Mr. Duo asked us say what sacrifice you people made in this area, I hear that you people made human sacrifice here. I say no oh, I don't know anything about that so he said ok you will know just now. So about 350 of us were collected and put in one room. Then they started carrying us by group. The pickup came and collected the first group of 10 persons, I can still remember that one, they carry them, they came for the second group, the third and I was among the fourth group. When they carry the first and second group, one old man was there he said Papie they are going to kill us oh, then, kill us for what, I said ok you will see. When they took our group in the same pickup we started going then we reach to the Marhair Bridge then the pickup stop. Then I say oh so the true that old man was tell me, I started thinking about my family straight especially my little daughter I say oh I will not see my daughter again.
So they put the first person up, one man and his wife, one Mr. and Mrs. Mosses Brade. They told the woman to stand up, just one small boy not that small but he small, soon the woman was standing up he just shoot the woman and push her in the water because we were already on top of the bridge. Then the second person was me. When I was getting up he shoot me too but on my foot then myself I just jump in the water. Then I hear one ?pop' sound behind me in the water then I acted like I can't swim so I just went down the water then started using my foot to swim small - small until when I spread my hand I felt the river bank so I just climb easy from the water.
So the old man who was talking with in the room that they were going to kill us I saw him too crawling in the bush. So we started talking about the people then I say my man let walk side the bush here until we find the road. So we started walking but it was getting late so the place where the night catch us I say my man let find place to sleep so we just manage it. When we were there in the night we hear one girl crying my people your come for me oh, but ha we will go we ourselves we were hiding.
In the morning we started swing again we got on show and we reach somewhere we saw one old man in the sugarcane. so we told the old man say papay we want you to help us and we explain what happened to us please let us be with you and we will work for you any work you get just tell us will do it for but the papay run away from us. So I tell pa Kollie say let trace the old man the road he pass on and we want and saw on village by that time the village people find found one lady who was thrown in the water. So we explain to them and that how we started living with them.
We were there again then they came for us again carry us to the same bridge and we started working for them, doing porter work for them without pay. We were on it until one of their commanders liked my business so one day I told him I wanted to go back to Bomi hills. And that how one day he put me on can and I came back to Bomi hills. But my family was already on the refugee camp so I was alone there in Bomi hills.
Questions from the commissioners
Chairman: thank you for coming and to share your experience with the Commission and the people of Liberia. You can rest assure that your story has added more information to our understanding of how the Marhair massacre occurred. Thank you. The Commissioners will now ask you few questions for clarity beginning with Commissioner Syllah.
Commissioner Syllah: please tell us which group was responsible for that Marhair killing.
Primary Witness: That the Taylor forces.
Who is the Mr. Duo you just talked about?
Primary Witness: General Roland Duo, he was one of the Generals.
Since then have your heard of him?
Primary Witness: I hear that he is in the University going to school.
You think how man person were killed?
Primary Witness: I was the second to the lady in my group. And our group was the forth group but I don't know where they carry the other people.
So they were always bringing the pick up back empty?
Primary Witness: yes, the pick up was coming empty.
Have you ever seen the old man since the war, old man Kollie?
Primary Witness: yes he is in Bomi now.
Commissioner Konneh: when you came back to Bomi Hill, were you able to see your daughter?
Primary Witness: Yes, she is still alive she's on the refugee camp.
Tell us which on of the group they carry you in?
Primary Witness: the forth time the pickup came back, I was in the forth group.
You were how many in your group?
Primary Witness: we were nine people in that group, yes I think so.
Were you able to see some of these people?
Primary Witness: right now old man Kollie and the Kpelle woman are in Bomi hills.
Who was the commander of the group that allowed you to go back to Bomi?
Primary Witness: that the same Roland Duo group.
Were there young people among the group they took?
Primary Witness: every body was there, pregnant women, people older than me, people I older than small boys every body.
Was there any reason for which they did all of these things?
Primary Witness: no, the only thing they asked us was on that sacrifice but I don't think there was any reason.
Commissioner Kula: Beside Roland Duo is there any other person you can remember?
Primary Witness: no, no I don't think so.
Was there reason why they give your farina?
Primary Witness: they said we were suffering but they had come to take us from that suffering and carry us to the refugee camp.
Do you have anything to say about the church because I am seeing a father with you?
Primary Witness: yes, this Father Jerry, he has been very helpful to me especially with providing us with all of our basic needs.
Commissioner Dolopei: what year did this incident take place?
Primary Witness: I say July 20, 2002.
Commissioner Coleman: what did you mean one party house in your written statement?
Primary Witness: that one political party house but I don't know which party.
What was the situation before they came? Was there a battle or what sort?
Primary Witness: No, there was no war, but LURD was coming.
What did they come to do?
Primary Witness: they say to free us and make us enjoy.
You mentioned that the bullet pass in your arm?
Primary Witness: yes, but just that I get good skin.
How was the situation at home when you got there?
Primary Witness: nothing, nothing bad was there, my family was already on the camp.
Did they have special uniform?
Primary Witness: no, all of them had color clothes on.
Commissioner Washington: which group controlled the area at the time the killing took place?
Primary Witness: that Taylor forces was there.
Who was controlling the group there at the time?
Primary Witness: I say that Roland Duo.
Was he with the government forces?
Primary Witness: he was with government forces, he was the overall boss for them but they left one Kanga in charge of the Bomi hills area so they only use to come and go.
How long did the killing last for?
Primary Witness: I can only tell you about my own.
Can you remember what time of the day?
Primary Witness: I think it was round 3 to 4 in the day because when it happen it did not stay long it started getting dark.
Can you remember the person who shot you?
Primary Witness: that so - so Sierra Leonean.
How did you know they were Sierra Leonean?
Primary Witness: from the way they talk, even the time we were in the room, when you even ask them to go pepe or for water to drink, from there talk alone.
Which group you were doing the porter work for?
Primary Witness: the government forces, Roland Duo people.
What kind of person you think Roland Duo is?
Primary Witness: he is a Gio man by tribe, but he is bad. I have one of my friends who told me one time for us to visit him, my friend was his relative, I say me, I na going there.
Commissioner Stewart: who you said was Kanga.
Primary Witness: Kanga, just a short little Bassa boy, who used to control Bomi hill when Roland Duo leave from there. But for him, he was very easy going.
Was he at the bridge when the incident was going on?
Primary Witness: no, he was not there.
Was he there when Duo gave the orders?
Primary Witness: Yes they all were there, all of them were there.
Were there other people that you can remember?
Primary Witness: on that day Benjamin Yeatin, Roland Duo and many of them were there.
How old was the small boy who shut you?
Primary Witness: he was around 10 to 12 years old, small boy.
Was there people floating on the water?
Primary Witness: I did not check but again the water was too filled.
Which group was in Bomi when you got to Bomi?
Primary Witness: that the same group was there.
Are there man other survival that you know in Bomi from the Marhel bridge incident?
Primary Witness: yes, many people there but I know oldman Kollie and the Kpelle woman.
Chairman: thank you once again. We want to tell you we appreciate the courage it took you to come here and since you did have the opportunity to talk to Amos Sawyer like you said but now you have talk to the TRC do you feel any better.
Primary Witness: yeas I say thank to the TRC, for me I appreciate the work, I say thank you to them.
Chairman: ok thanks for coming to the Commission, you may leave.
Twenty forth Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings
(Second Primary Witness of day seven)
The second Primary Witness of the day was called to the stand and he was accompanied by the psychosocial officer and the protections officer of the TRC. The Primary Witness was then sworn to tell the truth and nothing but the truth by the TRC Hearings Officer.
Chairman: Good morning Mr. Witness how are you
Primary Witness: I am fine
Chairman: could you repeat your name again?
Primary Witness: I am Philip Zodou
Do you live in Monrovia?
Primary Witness: No. I live in Grand Cape Mount
When were you born?
Primary Witness: I was born June 25, 1976
Are you employed?
Primary Witness: No
Chairman: thank you very much; we want to welcome you to the TRC to give your statement. You can feel free to give your statement and you may choose to sit or stand.
Primary Witness: Thank you very much. As I once early stated, I am Philip Zodou. 1984 we were living a town called Kahn Grand Cape Mount Count 8 miles away from Sanji, but it is on the Corta road (Paved road). Due to the arm incursion between ULIMO J and K, they had to collect every one of us to take us to where ECOMOG resided. We came to Sanji 1994, by the time the Sierra Leonean army was back by the Nigeria NIBBAT 17 headed by one Captain Okeke. After some times by early 1995, the SL army decided to leave from the area and left the Nigerian Army. But the area we came from we normally referred to it as the Jungle because in Sanji there was no food so we had to go back to our area to struggle for food and come back to Sanji. But before collecting us to bring us to Sanji they use us as Tambaja in that if you do not want to take part in the revolution, you have to work for them as such they used us as Timbaja. We carry load for them from one town to another, and when you are luck they find another person then they take over from you, if not you continue. We did this for a long time and were feed up with it. I am a victim of it, I suffer neck pain from this and the doctor said it is the beginning of other health problems, and I was told it is due to the straining i underwent.
when the Sierra Leonean contingent left we went to the jungle to a town called Konne, we met up with seven dead bodies in the Town and it is ULIMO K who did the Killing of those people and even sent a letter to Captain Okeke that afternoon that the Nigerian Army should evacuate for Sanji effective immediately for they were coming to take over the next day. Since the Sierra Leonean had left they should also leave. At the time we had about ten thousand people living in Sanji fed by the WFP. They asked all the people in Sanji if anybody could take a report back to them and out of the ten thousand people, no volunteer. Those guys went by their words and the next day at six o'clock while we were preparing for morning prayers, we received the first attack. Some of us had to escape to the next town called Madina and ECOMOG remain on the ground. They killed some of those guys and the next day we went back and they asked some of the civilians to burry them. Early 1996 we started getting the rumors that they are changing the batch of Nigerians in the area NIBBAT 17 to 18. By the late 1995 up to the mid 1996 the population had increase to 18,000 people with in the various camps A-L. May of 1996 WFP give us the report that they were feeding 18,000 people in Sanji. This was from the various camps, from camp A to camp L. after giving the new population, ECOMOG had to change their Battalion and the new commander of ECOMOG NIBATT 18 was a tyrant. His relationship with the civilian and even his colleague was so hash, and he asked that the population in Sanji could not be controlled by ECOMOG and so they had to go to Tennie one of the largest towns in Cape Mount County. And that is how they left, while on their way to Tennie, some of the group followed to Tennie but we left in Sanji. By the time they were in Sanji they were the only faction there and when they left few ULOMO soldiers came and said the grass has been free for them and they had to take over.
By September 28, WFP had to lift four 40 feet continuer of food in Sanji to feed people there. When they got there, they off loaded and carry on the distribution with the intention of going back the next day top continue. September 29, 5:30 am- 6am there was a heavy firing all over Sanji. Some people were fortunate to leave especially for those living at the out sketch of town, but those that were not fortunate we were caught in the process. They said every body should pack at the centre of the town and we went there to take instruction and if you fail to do that your heart is involved. They packed a group between the mosque and the paved road, there was a free space and there they put the group of people and asked them to sit down and another group was asked to sit at the foot ball field. Those by the mosque were executed, all of them. That morning the sun rays begin to come out, but the world turned dark as if it was approaching 7pm. I do not know as to whether they were afraid, they enter the mosque collected the prayer mats and cover the people.
We moved where they asked us to go, leaving from Sanji, there is a route from Sanji to Lofa bridge and they asked us to gather at the intersection and one of the soldiers asked my uncle to get him water from the hand pump and another came and said this is not a civilian, he has a wide chest as somebody who fought against us before and he was fired immediately and he died. By then no body could talk, you must accept what ever happens. one of the soldiers came and took another boy by the name of Clarence Zulu and one girl shouted in the group then another soldier asked her what was the problem, and she said it is my brother and the soldier went to protect him saying anybody touch that boy, the two of them will die. When he got up water started rolling and he was asked if he had urinated and when he touched his trousers it was wet, to show you how terrible it was. They then asked us to go to the warehouse where the food was kept and they loaded us all with food and we headed to Gola Konneh district, a town called Mecca. On our way we were monitored by the soldiers and fortunately for us one of the soldiers said if you have the opportunity to escape, you can go he has not seen you, but we were afraid, who to go first, and he continue to make the announcement. That is how we saw a group moving into the bush, he turned around and looked at them without taking any action and we got brave to follow suit, we did not reach Gola Konneh, and we escape. We went to small Bomi and spent the whole day there, in the evening time we saw Save the Children jeep passing and the amount of dead bodies that were collected in Sanji and its surrounding were 570, which is referred to as Sanji Massacre.
After the massacre and the war, during ECOMOG time they carried on disarmament and we finally insisted that those guys from Gola Konneh can not pass through our territory because of what they did to us. This brought another conflict because they had to take a long route to come to the market and go back to their territory. As a result of this Action Aid had to collect few of us as family members to have a conflict training workshop which I have a certificate from. So that we can come back and talk to our people that we can not live as such, you must learn to live with somebody that wrong you, and you must be patient minded, for this was as a result of the war. We came back to our people and told them that what happened is the way of God and from that day, there was a free movement in the both areas. That is what I know about the war. Most of those guys who fought are cannibals they use to live on Humans and they use to cut people from the back and take their hearts to eat. One Senegalese was the main person who was involve in this act a strong fighter for Alhaji G.V. Koroma. Bility was one of them who suffer us a lot, a Mandingo. One Sando Jackson commonly called Battle front Jackson citizen of Mecca, Gola Konneh District, Zigzag, Massa, Sinoe Ray is one of them and the list goes on. These were all living on Human beings. I thank you.
Question from the Commissioners:
Chairman: thank you very much now the commission ill ask you few question to throw lights for detail. Now you said when all of these happened?
Primary Witness: It was 1994 in the raining season. By then the Sierra Leonean batch was there and they left and the NIBATT 17 came in. 1995 Sinje was densely populated up to 18,000 according to WFP report. September 18, they left food there but we don't know how these guys know that food was there and ECOMOG was already out of the area. And September 29 was the exact of the Sinje massacre.
Commissioner Bull: for the benefit of the listen audience would tell us who was the WFP said they were feeding 18,000 human beings?
Primary Witness: Yes WFP is the World Food Program and the implementing partner called the LIURD.
You mentioned the September 29, you said everyone was executed, who executed every that day?
Primary Witness: ULIMO K
Do you know within your knowledge you was the leader of the ULIMO K at that time?
Primary Witness: ULIMO K the entire group all the particular group that came to Sinje?
It will be good if you know who was the head of the entire ULIMO K at the time and the head of the particular group that was in Sinje?
Primary Witness: Alhaji GV Kromah is the organizer of ULIMO K and for the batch of rebel that move to Sinje was Sando Jackson who was also known as Battle Front Jackson.
Do you know in your knowledge where this Alhaji GV Kromah is if you know?
Primary Witness: Alhaji GV Kromah works with the University of Liberia but I don't know his residence right now.
So Sando Jackson was among the three families that took the conflict management training that you just talked about?
Primary Witness: Sando Jackson did not take training with us I said his father was with us.
Could you tell us the name of his father?
Primary Witness: Well I don't remember his name, the only we use to call him by was Mr. Jackson. And presently he is in Mecca in Gola Konneh district.
You that evening save the children and collected dead bodies you said five hundred and eleven is that correct.
Primary Witness: No, five hundred and seventy
And that is considered as the Sinje massacre.
Primary Witness: Yes that's the Sinje's Massacre but before then save the children asked us to go to Sinje for burial, but considering the situation we escaped under from Sinje I could not risk going back there.
So that means they collected the bodies and have them buried?
Primary Witness: Yes they said it was healthy for those bodies to be exposed off so they asked the commissioner and some able body men to dig those bodies and have them reburied in a mass grave.
So that means there must be some mass grave in that area?
Primary Witness: Sure
Quoting, you said nobody from somewhere must not pass through your born town, who were those some bodies you were referring to?
Primary Witness: It was people who came from the next district to carry on massacre in our district that how we were looking at it, it was those from Gene brown and Mecca.
Why was it that those who carry out the massacre in ULIMO K came from Gene brown and Mecca?
Primary Witness: As I said early, a young boy at my age was sent for water and they just look at him and said his chest look like a commando so immediately he was shot in my presence.
Did I hear you say that your uncle was shot dead?
Primary Witness: Yes.
What was his name?
Primary Witness: Varney Zoedua
Commissioner Steward: the Zigzag Massa man you mentioned which group was he part up?
Primary Witness: One Zigzag Massa was in NPFL and another was in ULIMO K.
Have they shown any actions of regrets for those things they did to you like you just said?
Primary Witness: No, but I don't think rebels have anything like regrets.
Commissioner Washington: Do you think Sando Jackson is still around?
Primary Witness: After the war I was Sando Jackson and when Action aid took us for the training his father told us that he was still around and his father kept begging that though that his son but he did not born his heart. So after LURD war I haven't seen him.
When his father said he was still in the area, what is the name of that area he was in?
Primary Witness: Mecca in Gola Konneh district.
Can you describe Battle Front Jackson, you think what might be has his age group?
Primary Witness: He is a huge guy with bib-big eyes just like crocodile, he appears like one trained with iron, fair in complexion.
What's about his age group?
Primary Witness: At the time of 1996 he should be in early 30s.
Commissioner Coleman: what I am understanding is that when WFP delivered the supply of food, ULIMO K came to take them over and they use some of you to carry the foods to a particular location is that correct please clarify that. And where the massacre took place was it along the road while you people were going or to an exact location would you please throw light on that.
Primary Witness: Yes, I told you 570 bodies were found that is in the heart of Sinje and its surrounding, but on our way one of the soldiers said I don't know my be god spoke to him, that if you have the chance to escape you can do it I don't see you. I I say anybody die on the way I lie to you.
They didn't tell you where the food was going?
Primary Witness: They told us that the food was going straight to Mecca and they were going to keep some in Gene Brown.
The group ULIMO was it of any particular ethnic group, did you notice that?
Primary Witness: The ULIMO group was founded but later divided into ULIMO K of Alhaji Kromah and ULIMO J of Roosevelt Johnson.
Was there any particular ethnic group making up each?
Primary Witness: Well ULIMO K had all tribe but dominant of the Mandingo tribe, ULIMO J comprises of all tribe but authorities were the Krahn tribe.
Did you notice yourself any thing like cannibalism that you mentioned, did you see them eat human parts?
Primary Witness: In fact the boast of it like Senegalese when ever you knock you chest, your heart is in trouble. In fact according to a story form the people who took part in the workshop there in Mecca said one fast month Senegalese said he was holding fast. Senegalese sent the imam for bundle of wood and told the man that it was the beginning of the fast month and he needed meat so he pointed out the imam's 16 year old daughter and took her heart off and then in the middle of the fast month he sent the imam for wood again and this time it was the man's wife and ate her heart too then at the end of the fast month he sent the imam for a bundle again, when the man brought he said after the man come for the prayer he wants to see him when the man came he took the man on the road and say he want the man heart so the imam said he should allow him to pray and when he got through praying he laid the man down flat on his belly and butcher him from the back while doing that the imam blood flash on his[Senegalese] foot and created an itch and later turned to a wound they try all over mail, guinea but no way the wound still on him.
So the Senegalese is considered out of the country somehow?
Primary Witness: After, at the time of the first disarmament of ECOMOG time I have not seen him.
Commissioner Dolopei: how old were you at the time?
Primary Witness: Well just do the calculations now form June 25 1976 to 96.
These boys you mentioned were they recruited in Cape Mount or they came in with ULIMO?
Primary Witness: Some of them came from Sierra Leone with ULIMO.
So Sando Jackson is a Sierra Leone?
Primary Witness: No a born Liberian.
So he was recruited from here?
Primary Witness: Yes.
Commissioner Kula: did you at anytime participate I the war?
Primary Witness: No.
We understand that most of the atrocities committed in Sinje and other parts of Cape Mount were done by people around these areas was there any reason for that?
Primary Witness: No
Was there any ancestral war or hatred?
Primary Witness: Yes, from some oral story, there was a Gola and Vai war and it is said that the Gola were defeated and so that grudge continue to exist. And there is a Gola Konneh - Gawula land dispute which I think still exists.
Commissioner Konneh: was it ULIMO K that committed the massacre or the children of Gola Konneh?
Primary Witness: I can't tell you the children of Gola Konneh - they children did not just sit and commit such atrocities but they incorporated by ULIMO K so in so doing ULIMO K is responsible.
If so then what was the rational behind stop the people of Gola Konneh from coming to your area and your people not going to their area, since it was not the responsibility of the Vai and Gola but rather children that were beyond their control?
Primary Witness: Yes, we all people of the same county if you are incorporated in a group are you suppose to vent your anger at your brother that was one reason.
According to you there was a Gola - Vai war and the Gola were defeated the Gola might have taken an advantage of the coming of ULIMO k to take a revenge, is this the reality or what do you think?
Primary Witness: That's why I said as for me that was way back I cant consider that but somebody made mentioned of lad dispute partly I may listen to that which is still existing.
Is Sando Jackson a Gola or Vai?
Primary Witness: Sando Jackson is a Gola.
At the time of this incident did you observe any Vai in the ULIMO K?
Primary Witness: Well when ULIMO k fire everybody was speaking English. It was not written on any one face Greebo or so.
Are those people still alive?
Primary Witness: Well for Senegalese I have not seen him but Sando Jackson father told us that he was still around during the time of our workshop.
Commissioner Syllah: Were there any specific age group targeted during the massacre?
Primary Witness: Well is hard to say, except that some survey but bodies the well counted were 570.
How did they get the 570 person together in Sinje alone or other parts?
Primary Witness: I said up to 18,000 persons were in Sinje but due to the tyrannical head of the ECOMOG commander that come he said some people should be evacuated so some left and other remain.
Are our mother and father still alive?
Primary Witness: My mother is alive but my dad is dead after the 1st disarmament
You said they referred to the civilian as timber jack why?
Primary Witness: You know timber jack lifts heavy-heavy load. So if you refuse to join the revolution they use you as timber jack to carry their loads.
Do you know Senegalese by another name?
Primary Witness: Senegalese has been Senegalese.
Twenty fifth Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings
(Third Primary Witness of day seven)
The third Primary Witness of the day was called to the stand and he was accompanied by the psychosocial officer and the protections officer of the TRC. The Primary Witness was then sworn to tell the truth and nothing but the truth by the TRC Hearings Officer.
Chairman: Sitting in front of you are all nine commissioners of the TRC. You are welcome. Good afternoon.
Primary Witness: Good afternoon.
Chairman: What your name?
Primary Witness: Mannah Massaley.
Chairman: Are you going to school?
Primary Witness: Yes.
Chairman: What class?
Primary Witness: Right now I in the 10th grade.
Chairman: What year were you born?
Primary Witness: February 18th 1988.
Chairman: So take your time, if you want to stand, you can stand, if you feel comfortable sitting, you can sit and narrate your experience.
Primary Witness: Thank you. It was July 16th 2002 as I can remember, when government forces, decided to attack in Trumansburg Bomi County. They attack the first day, the second day, but they never capture the town. So, on a Thursday, which was the 19th of July, the commander of LURD rebel, sent a messenger to pass in the town to make announcement for all civilian to assemble at the united Pentecostal School Mission. So all civilian gather to the place and he said O! Now we are fighting for 3 days, but presently now, our ammunition finished. So we will be retreating back to Lofa County. If any civilian will to go with us to Lofa, you can join us, if you are not willing, you can leave here. But your just know that your own brother them coming to attack, and anything happen to your, that's not our business O! That your own brother them O! So, we came back, and I reach it to my father, my father said O! Manah, let us trust God. We can not go to Lofa; we don't know anybody on that side. So the only thing we will do, we will leave here, if the other group come anywhere they want to carry us, to Monrovia, it will be ok. So I say no, everybody leaving this town, lets leave this town and go. He say, though they gone, but God will make everything possible. I say ok. So they left, on the 19th which was Friday in the evening time, when government troop got closer to the town, they launched two bombs. Nobody never fire or reply. So when they enter the town, they started going in the community, they started, looting door to door, firing and arresting civilians, and started taking all our things. So they put the entire civilian outside, we were about 300, as can remember.
They say that General Jugbeh wants to see every body at Bomi parking station. They say you people should go there, so all the civilian should assemble at the parking station. When we reach there, they call the general and the general came and say, so that you people who were leaving from here going to Lofa County bringing ammunition for LURD rebel to attack we the government troop. So that how you are, in fact self, the attack we come here on, "No baby on target". So to my own knowledge, which means, if they meet young baby, old person and all they will kill them, because all of us are the rebel. So when he said this, he look at the 300 people, he divided us into groups, say we should pack all our things them, then they sent some people to their houses. So they give us small, small things like farina, sugar, and other small, small things. They say, its time for war, so we should eat and make our selves comfortable. So my mother them who they give farina, should be eating while we be working. So, all who were working now, started going. So they took me, my father, and two of my brothers them, started coming from working. By 6pm, we started coming to the parking, when we got there, my father say O! Where is ma and where is small Joseph and where is Bobby? So I said but those people were here with mama O! I don't know where they are. The other man say, but I hear say, they were going to carry some people Monrovia on the displace camp O! You Na think so? Then I say, I don't think so. But let wait, let's sleep, the next day, we will search, and we will know where those man them are. So my father began to park our thing then the other soldier guy came and said O! The other people them, we already carry them to Monrovia, but your pa, to Goodrich, but first all of your should assemble up the hill for the general to talk to your. So all of us park our things them. We went up the hill, they put us in a big house, lock the door, and say, nobody must not make move, if anybody make move they will shoot at us.
In my presence, they were trying to force my father's bag from him, started taking his money from him, my father started crying, he say when my father open his mouth, he will kill him. My father just forgot about the crying sat down. So we sat down in the house the door lock, people passing around with guns and whole lot of things them. Then I say how they acting so, I don't think we coming go Monrovia O! He said no Manah, let's trust God. I say, but you sure that, mama and small Joseph them gone Monrovia? He said yes. I said I am not too sure. Because we just here that why, the treating us like this. My, father leave there say, lets trust God. They put us in the house, nobody talked to us, and the general can't come to talk to us. So later, they bring pick up and put us outside, when the pick up come, because we who in the house, I estimate, we were about, 150 to 160 people in the house. They started taking like 20, put they in the car and carry them under the bridge. The car make 1st trip, 2nd trip, 3rd trip we were in the 4th trip me and my father them. And the 5th trip, the brought them and they put all of us on the bridge. All the people the carry they did not killing anybody yet. They put us in line. So I was the last person on the line. So they started kill from the front, coming back. So I stand and in my presence, they started taking, can you imagine, a young baby who was not a year yet, they started throwing the baby in the water saying the baby that rebel. They were looking at pregnant women, saying they were toting arms for rebel. Started, jucking them with knife throwing them in the water. Looking at old people, saying that, they can walk from Trumansburg to Lofa to bring arm for LURD rebels.
They started killing that old people. They kill, kill, kill, in my present the guy that kill my father, I can still remember, they call him Conan Livingstone. Up to now, he and I are in the same height because; he was small at that time. So, they carry the gun for the other guy. They kill the man. They reach to me now; I was the last person on the line. When they reach to me, they point the gun at me, when they shoot, the gun cant fire. When they shoot, the gun can fire. You, we have killed everybody with this gun, why the gun doesn't want to fire. I coming let me go bring the knife. They started arguing say, my man, I will kill this man. They started arguing among them self. But to be frank, I was not to my self. Because when I was on the bridge standing off, already thinking say I coming to die now. So when they were on that argument, a man they call, Vamuyan Sheriff, I think he was their division chief of staff. He was going to Bomi county, soon as he was going so when he get to the place, he flash the light straight on me on the bridge, naked just how my mother born me, standing to the end of the bridge. So when he brought the light closer, all the bridge, so, so blood, O! The entire soldiers started saluting him, he say no, I don't want for anybody to salute me. The things you suppose to be doing here you are not doing it. But you here, killing all this plenty people on the bridge, but, I was not here, if I was here, you were not coming to kill this entire people. And your see the whole water fill with blood, your really kill here today until one person that leave. Who is that person standing over there? They say that the last person that leave. O! No, nobody should touch that man, that man that my own of son there. So Vamuyan Sheriff was angry say, if he was there, nobody was going to kill anyone on this bridge. No body should touch that man. In fact self, he tell two of is man them to put me in his car. At that time, I was not to myself. So the two man them, grab me, they swing me they put me in the pickup. He took me to Bomi, took me to his house, show me to his wife and all, he say this man here, that my own of son. He treat me fine, talk to me good but still when I sit down, that thing I saw, when I sitting down by myself, it will appear to me. See people crying, people calling my name, Then I will start acting like crazy man. That thing happen to me for more than three weeks, I won't be to myself, I'll only be passing around like crazy man. So the man, he notice me one, two times and he said no, the way this man here can be acting like crazy man, he cant stay on this side here. Because when he leaves here with us, mistakenly he can die. So what I will do, I will give him money and pass, he will not even ride soldier car, I'll find taxi to take him to Monrovia, let him find anybody to live with. That's how on the 26th, the 27th he gives me LD 2,000 and a pass and put me in a car to come to Monrovia. He brought me and put me in the pickup. And God help me, the time I was coming, there was, 30 check point on the road. But anywhere we reach, when I show the pass, they will not even stop the car. That is just how; I got save from that place there. When I come in town here, I did not stay long here again, I went back. So that what happened to me at the Mahir bridge. Thank you.
And then, after the war was over everything, my little brother, name, Joseph Massaley, its only I and him who survive now. I always use to think that he had died, and he use to think that I had died. Not knowing, during that time, as the way he explain it to me. The first people they say, they were carrying to the displace camp; they were the one they carry to Sonyanle. When they carry them there, he too witnesses the killing of my mother, my big brother, and my other brother name Solomon. As he was crying, he just jump in the bush, and that how he left on that side, he survived and then some one turn him over to this same Roland Duo man. He was with this Roland Duo man, from, 2002, when I saw my little brother, was 2005 to 2006 the ending part. O! I was lying down on the campus, so I was lying down, I saw my uncle coming in the dorm with happiness. Manah, Manah, guess who here? This small child you see standing here, you know him?
O! I see my own small brother, I don't know him. I say no. He said you don't know small Joseph. That your brother small Joseph standing here. Because the way, my brother was dressed, his hair all bushy, looking dusty up, I couldn't make my brother out, because, he was looking like vampire, dirty, and all that. I say no, I don't know who here, he say this is your brother small Joseph; I say I don't know this person. So, just in that time, he came and hugs me. He say Manah, where is papa, I say where is mama? He say mama die O, I say papa die O! Just how he explain to me how our mother die, me too I explain to him how our pa die. So myself, I wasted no time, the place I was staying I took him to go see the person for his own self to explain it. I took him to the person; he explained how the thing happened, who he was staying with and all kinds of things. From there, the person decided, since that the person you living with, we will not keep you here before he come looking for you. So they decide to carry him to where my grandmother is.
Question from the Commissioners:
Chairman: thank you very much; your story is very clear and to the point. The commissioners will now ask you some questions
Commissioner Konneh: did you see Roland Duo with your own eyes?
Primary Witness: Yes
And you said he is the one who give order for these killings to go on?
Primary Witness: Yes, he was the one.
At the time your were taken to which bridge?
Primary Witness: Mahir Bridge.
Do you the name of the person who was the head of the group that time?
Primary Witness: No I am not aware of leader.
What did your brother say was the treatment they give him and your mother?
My brother said he was standing as they were killing our mother, and he begin to cry and why crying they remove him from there and they killed our mother. Secondly my little brother was staying with them here in Monrovia from 2002 to 2005.
Do you know whether this colonel Livingston is still alive?
Primary Witness: He is alive and is here in Monrovia. People said they have seen him alive.
Commissioner Bull: young man, we thank God for you, and you represent those Liberians who were secretly killed, you were spared by God for the Liberian people to hear the story. This was the miracle of God, you are a blessed child. You mentioned Vamuyan Sheriff who saved you when you were about to be killed by Roland Duo, did you sat that?
Primary Witness: yes.
You also said your brother was with Roland Duo from 2002-2005 until he escape and the same people came after him is that right?
Primary Witness: yes
Why do you think they went to look for him?
Primary Witness: I think they wanted to kidnap him and killed him so that the story will not be heard by the Liberian people.
How about Mr. Sheriff, do you know where he is?
Primary Witness: I don't know where he is, I have been wishing to see him since that time, but I don't know where he is.
Chairman: we thank you fro your courage and we say we represent all Liberians who have realize that war is not good. Since your brother escape we have been keeping him and I can assure you that he is in safety and good hands. Your testimony has added to the TRC investigation and has given us more information. We thank you for giving you story to the Liberian people. Before you leave, is there anything you have to say to the Liberian people.
Primary Witness: Finally ion my mind I will say I do not have a counselor to council me and when ever I think about the incident, I feel worry and I get dry. So I will like for somebody to talk to me so that I can forget these things so that I can move forward with my life. That is what I have to say.
Chairman: Thank you very much, the TRC will work with you; we have a professional team of psychosocial team to assist you. Ladies and gentle men, the Commission will recess for 45 minutes and will resume at 2:pm.
Twenty six Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings
Name Withheld (for security reason)
(Forth Primary Witness of day seven)
The forth Primary Witness of the day was called to the stand and he was accompanied by the psychosocial officer and the protections officer of the TRC. The Primary Witness was then sworn to tell the truth and nothing but the truth by the TRC Hearings Officer.
Chairman: we want to welcome you to this public forum, this is a patriotic work and we expect every body to take part in it. We expect people to come here and say the truth so that we can be able to put the past behind us.
Primary Witness: thank you very much.
Chairman: Your name is been withheld and so if anybody asked your name; you do not have to respond. The Commissioners are all here present and are ready to hear your statement. We all appreciate you coming and we al want you to say the truth.
Primary Witness: Thank you. One day I was sitting at my resident where I live, Paynesville, I saw a little boy, he is not too small, and he said he is a Statement Taker for the TRC and he came straight to me and said do you know me, I said no I do not know you. We are asking people to explain what happened to them during the war and I said oh yes, I am from the Zoh-bue Clan where General Thomas Quowonkpa carried out an attack. First he asked me about the Nimba raid and I said that raid was actually not easy on people who live in Zoh-bue town in Nimba County. Zoh-bue is a town between Saniquallie and Kahnplay and it is where Quowonkpa mother came from, closer to it is Zoale where his father hailed from. When Quowonkpa coup failed and they were looking for him and actually they will come in the morning and call everybody in the centre of the town and they will threatened that if anybody go in the bush and they see you, they will kill you. So they will line us up and ask us one at a time. But the first day they did not do anything to us, the next day they caught us again and said you people still have General Quowonkpa her and you are fooling us. We will deal with you people in a way that you will tell us where he is and if you don't do it we will kill you people one at a time. They started beating people, forcing us to show them where the general went. We told them that we don't know where he is, they were all AFL soldiers. Some of them were speaking their dialect, they were speaking Krahn. They beat us a lot and latter it was announced that Quowonkpa was killed and they left our area, but they left one AFL soldier there he use to call himself blood sucker, he was boasting all around about what he could do. That particular group burned about seven houses and one school and they also burned Quowonkpa father's house and some houses in Zoale.
So doing December 24, 1989 war, we heard that there was a rebel attack in Butuo, we didn't know and around January we started hearing firing sound around Khanplay not knowing it was the rebel advancing towards Zoh-bue. Myself at the time I was a student in Sanniquille, so when I got down from a car to go tour house and there was nobody, they had all fled. But there were some gentlemen in the town so when I got down I went in the house and changed and headed for the farm. There were some other gentlemen, six in number, they came form another village and the will going to the next village called Zoh-bue Town. As I was going to the farm, I saw a truck with few AFL soldiers in it, they got down and they called those gentlemen and after that I started hearing firing sound and they killed four persons. Then they started looting and they burned about ninety houses in Zoh-bue including the clinic, the Clan house and a Palava hut which was build by Samuel Gahn who was then Clan chief and it was in that Palava Hut that he use to meet with his people. They said it was in that palava hut that the meeting to overthrow Samuel Doe was held. They also went in the school building and started shooting and even put it on fire, nut it did not burn. The next day they killed another four persons. The first group of people they killed were Patrick Lethel, Carton Duo and Jeremiah Tuo, those were the three gentlemen I saw behind me that I know they are permanent citizens of Zoh-bue Tapar. And then the next day the superintendent told the chief of the area not to go anywhere. The next day the chief came and said Peter Miatta along with some other boys that were digging diamonds they also killed them and they were buried at Kweah road. So up till now there are two mass graves at Zoh-bue town. If you go there now you will fine the place very clean, people always volunteer to clean the grave. The children that were born after 1997 know about that grave, besides that my brother who was taking care of me and paying my school fees was killed in Kahnplay. When the boy came, this is the story that I gave him.
Questions from Commissioners:
Chairman: thank you very much, Commissioners will ask you couple of question to get some clarity on what you just explained. To begin with, what year did this thing take place?
Primary Witness: this think happened in 1983, it was the Nimba Raid.
And you said the soldier involve were the Arm Forces of Liberia?
Primary Witness: yes
Commissioner Syllah: thank you very much for giving us this story, when the people entered the town, you remember how many days they stayed there?
Primary Witness: it was three days, some times they use to go to Yeakapa and come back. At that time they were under the leadership of Charles Julu, he was the only head of the all the security people in the area. Charles Julu was the PPF director in LAMCO.
So Charles Julu was the head of the group in that area?
Primary Witness: Yes, he was the head of all the security.
Do you remember people were killed when they attached the area, for you said four were killed in their first mission?
Primary Witness: The first time they killed four and they buried them in the same hole and the place they were buried is always cleaned by the citizens of the area. If you go to the town right now you will see what I am talking. There are two mass graves that are always cleaned by volunteers.
At that time where was Quowankpa's mother?
Primary Witness: She was in the bush, she fled to the Ivory Coast 1983 and she was there up to the time the rebels came and capture the place in 1990.
Commissioner Konneh: who was the commanding officer of the AFL in that area?
Primary Witness: Actually I didn't know who commanded that group, but what I do know is that Charles Julu was the joint security leader in Nimba.
So was he the one that send them?
Primary Witness: Well to say he sent them I can't say, because it is the government who sends them, but they were under the leadership of Charles Julu.
When they got to Zoh-bue did they informed the chiefs and leaders in the town?
Primary Witness: When war was approaching Kahnplay, the superintendent told the people not to go anywhere, that they should stay there and give the government soldiers a rousing welcome, so the clan chief and other chiefs were all in town that particular day.
Commissioner Kulah: you keep referring to the superintendent, who was the superintendent at the time?
Primary Witness: The superintendent at the time was Colonel J. Bonah Workie if my memory can serve me right.
Did you see him when he came in the town?
Primary Witness: I did not really see him when he came to the town. He was in Saniquellie and he and the Town Chief was working together.
How did he pass the message to Zoh-bue that the people should not go out?
Primary Witness: The town crier goes around and passes the message to the people.
At the time what were you doing in Zoh-bue?
Primary Witness: I was a citizen there and I was attending in Saniquellie.
Commissioner Coleman: thank you for coming; I want to know whether there was AFL in the area prior to the incident?
Primary Witness: yes, actually I can not tell if it was the group that was assigned in Saniquellie that came, but there were a lot of different people among as such I don't know who they were.
How did the people of that town respond to such a situation?
Primary Witness: Actually there was no form of response; the people were jus fleeing, especially after the December 24, 1989 attack.
Commissioner Stewart: can you state the year it happened, the incident?
Primary Witness: Actually the Nimba raid happened in 1983 and the other one happened in 1990.
The three persons who were killed behind you was it in 1983?
Primary Witness: No it was in 1990.
Were there any killings in your area in 1983 by the AFL soldiers?
Primary Witness: Actually I did not see them killing anyone, but they suffer and tortured the people in the area a lot.
So can you say this is just what the AFL was doing in other parts of Nimba where they were?
Primary Witness: Yes, my elder brother was killed in Kahnplay, they killed in Kahnplay a lot and continue killing along the way as they came to Zoh-bue. If you are a Gio or a Minor, I am sorry for you.
So these forces were under the command of whom?
Primary Witness: Charles Julu
Did you see Charles Julu in the area?
Primary Witness: Every thing that was going on was over radio, and we use to hear him giving command and he was even the head of the joint security at the time.
Commissioner Bull: you mention one General Charles Julu; do you know his where about, whether he is alive or dead?
Primary Witness: The other time I learned from the radio that he had planned a coup against the government and has been arrested.
Which government are you referring to?
Primary Witness: It is this present government. This news happened at the end of last year.
You talk of government in 1983, which leader was in power for the Nimba raid incident
Primary Witness: At the time Samuel Doe was the president.
So if you referred to AFL, Arm Forces of Liberia, it was under the leadership of Samuel Doe?
Primary Witness: Yes
Commissioner Coleman: I was just concerned for you mentioned two incidents 1990 and 1983, what did your people do in assisting the government forces in stopping the Charles people from entering the country at the time; do you know anything about this were you in the country at the time?
Primary Witness: When the attack took me and my father went to Ivory Coast, but while there when Charles Taylor came we heard that people from our side were going to join the rebels of Charles Taylor from our town.
So what did Taylor say to the people for which they were joining?
Primary Witness: He said they came to redeem us so we should join him to remove the government.
So what did the leaders in your area say about this; did they encourage you people to join?
Primary Witness: The youth at the time decided to join, actually people were not together, but there were some elders who encourage the youth to join.
Commissioner Bull: why do you think the mass graves are always cleaned by your people, what is so special about it?
Primary Witness: Two of the boys there were very special to the people of the town, one was a great footballer and the other was a great singer who was admired by people of the town.
Chairman: thank you very much for coming, do you have anything finally to say?
The only thing I have to say is a recommendation for me and the people of the town. The school building and clinic have been build by an NGO and the only thing we want now is the Palava house and assistant for the houses that were burnt to be repel by the government and NGO and since my brother taking care of me was killed, I want the TRC to help me with my school.
Chairman: thank you very much for your testimony, as you may know the TRC was set up to find out what happened and make recommendation in the end that will affect everybody and not individuals so that we can put the war behind us. There are many in the situation that you find yourself as such the TRC have to cover everybody so that in the end all will be affected by the recommendation of the TRC and we will all be satisfied. Thank you very much for your contribution.
Twenty seventh Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings
(Firth Primary Witness of day seven)
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: Mr. Witness, you are welcome to the TRC Public Hearings.
Primary Witness: thank you sir.
Chairman: The Commissioners are all here to listen to your story. We want you to say the truth and nothing but the truth.
Primary Witness: I am a Cape Mountainian and in 1991 one morning while we were sitting down, some men came in the town, they put all of us together and said they were freedom fighter so in that town we accepted them, then they toke our old town chief that was there and they put their own town chief. So after that the first group left and the next group came after two weeks, they called everybody at the centre of the town. They called themselves the same freedom fighters. So they came in our area which is a Manor area and they were asking for two Mandingo boys and we told them there were no Mandingo people in the town, and they said if we lied to them they will kill every body in the town. So some people were among them and they knew the two boys so they took them from among us and the carried them down the hill and killed them. After they killed those two boys, they said we should go and burry them, they said if we can not burry them we should throw them away. After they left they were going to the next town the called gold camp, that village was for the Krahn people, they went there and they killed all the people in the village. Every body died in that village because if anybody had survived, we would have seen them, but we saw nobody from that village. After they left the next group came and that time my father had goat because that the goat and sheep we use to live by. I was small; I had not married by then. So when they came, they started catching the goats carrying them, they were catching them one after the other. They were carrying my Papie goat and he wanted to talk so they asked him if he wanted the goat or his life, because if you talk they will kill you that is what they did until they finished all the goats in the town. So that is how it was and we got use to them, they never use to rape they were only killing our goats. Certain time came we was sitting with one NPFL fighter and two other one came and they asked us where is the gold machine that you people have here? We said there was no machine and he called everybody centre of the town, he divided us, the women on one side and the men on one side. We talked from one thing to the other and it was getting dark, so they took us the men out and the women they started rapping them. they beat us and rape the women but nobody give them machine and they left, after the left, the town commander and the single barrel commander were all together so now we were all there and if you get something they take it from you, but with all they were doing we were used to them. We were there 1992 and we heard of ULIMO crossing from Sierra Leone way, they crossing from Bamala way. When we heard the news, NPFL started leaving and we the security then had no where to go so we decided to go on the bush and we made tents that is where we were living. So after NPFL left, ULIMO came and they took all over, from the bush we used to come in town to survive on the banana in our town, so one day one Papie came to town they called him Momo Sata, and they caught him and they said we are all here together and we do not know you? They told him if you people are in the bush, you should come to town so that we can live here together. So the old man went in the bush to his part of the village because we had different villages and he carried the people in his village to town. When he took the five of them to town, the people caught them and took them to the next town and killed them. After those people were killed we heard the new in the bush because some people from the bush use to come to town to look for food and they saw the bodies. There was nothing we could do in the bush, we were forced to come to town and they caught us and took us to another town called Tawoh. so in that town all the women we had the people started taking them, if they ask you about any woman and you say it is your woman they will kill you and take the woman, the only thing that save me I told them my women was my sister so the man who took her, I was his brother-in-law. Most of the men in our town were killed by ULIMO from Salayea. We were there and the killing was too much and we had to run in the bush and from that bush something hit my eyes and I am having problem with my eyes now. We had to walk from Salayea to Tawoh and the Papie who was with us died on the way. So the things were too hard because nobody was there and they killed everybody on that side. That's how I decided to come to town and when I came to town I started selling for people small small to survive. So I took my own place and I and my woman started living there. Then I heard ULIMO was coming and I was afraid of the same thing they did to us, that's how I left and went to Salayea.
Questions from the Commissioners
Chairman: Thank you very much fro sharing your story with us.
Commissioner Stewart: Mr. Kamara, thank you for sharing your statement with us. I like to ask you if you can remember the names of any of the commanders of ULIMO under whose command the killings were executed?
Primary Witness: the commander who was there was Cape Mount Trouble, but his main name is Morris.
Is there any name you know?
Primary Witness: the other name they called him Bushy Heel, he is a Gbandi they called him Momo.
Is that all you know?
Primary Witness: no the other man they called him Pupu Scatter and Senegalese.
Since you came back from Sierra Leone following the problems of the war, have you seen any of these people?
Primary Witness: No.
So you know the leader of all of these people you named?
Primary Witness: what the people were saying is that their leader was Alhaji Koroma, and the commander was Colonel Bobo.
Is that his only
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