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Cllr. Richard Flomo's Men Killed My Two Sons...Aggrieved Mother Tells TRC

Gbarnga, May 21, 2008 (TRC): An aggrieved witness told commissioners of Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) that government militias under the command of former Bong County Senator, Richard Flomo in 2001 killed her two sons and he attempted to conceal the evidence.

Testifying Monday at ongoing public hearing of the TRC in Gbarnga City, Bong County, Yassah Duana, said Counselor Flomo, who was then Minister of Internal Affairs organized and commanded a group of government militia fighters in Sanoyea, Sanoyea District who shot and killed her two sons one Daigai Smith, 21 and Lerpo Mulbah, 18.

During a raid by Flomo's militiamen for food, Yassah explained, the fighters seized her two sons and commanded them to show their commander. But the witness said, the boys denied they were fighters resulting to threats by the militiamen to kill them.

"We were in Sanoyea in 2001. While we were there, a former counselor who they call Richard K. Flomo, who was Internal Affairs Minister went ahead and put some boys together. We used to call them "bandits" in another town call Nyanquelleh. They were government fighters residing in Sanoyea Town. So he used 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 bye-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. Richard Flomo had a group and those Charles Taylor boys said that he was stealing their food," She explained.

She testified that following the threats the fighters fired shots at the two boys killing them instantly.

Madame Duana: 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 was 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 and they fired him from the back. When they fired him from the back, that how his brother came to help him, that how they fired him too. So they killed the two of them."

Following the killings, the witness explained, the fighters acting upon the orders of Cllr. Flomo attempted to remove the bodies and burn them to destroy evidence but other militia fighters from Sanoyea engaged them in a battle before then President Charles Taylor sent in General Momo Jibba to restore calm to the area.

She said during the period Flomo visited his men frequently, referring to himself as a five star general.

"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. Let's 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 the 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," she added.

She said General Jibba took the bodies to the Soko Sackor Mortuary at the Barclay Training Center Barracks in Monrovia before Senator Francis Galawolo and Emmanuel Lomax were appointed by President Taylor to investigate the killings.

But the witness claimed that funds provided by the president to Galawolo and Lomax for embalmment of the bodies were misapplied and the bodies decomposed. She said they were later buried unknown to her on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean in Monrovia.

"I went to Soko Sackor but they told the people not to give me the bodies. They took the children bodies and bury them 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 killed. They killed other people children. The thing when it happened, the other three boys they fired, the other one cripple self in Sanoyea," she recounted.

The witness said during a reconciliatory meeting later in Sanoyea District, Mr. Lomax apologized for the incident but Cllr. Flomo expressed no remorse for the killings.

Sounding revengeful, Yassah said: "When he came after three monthsto Sanoyea for a meeting, I went to the meeting. He did not see me. I was way in the back and he got up and started boasting. Ehn they say I can't come to Sanoyea, but here me here sitting. So I got up and said, you Richard Flomo, your kill somebody and then you boasting about it? But those children you killed, 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."

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