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ULIMOD Fighters Sexually Tortured Woman

Victim Explains Ordeal At TRC Gbarpolu Hearing

May 1, 2008

GBARPOLU (TRC)?Weeping intermittently during her testimony Thursday, a witness told commissioners of Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) how fighters of Alhaji Kromah's defunct United Liberation Movement for Democracy (ULIMO) sexually assaulted her using pepper.

Witness Termah Ballah said she lived in the village of Wayyama, where ULIMO fighters carried out killings and raped women. She said in language indecent to repeat that she was severely tortured via her genital parts.

Termah said after they sought refuge, they encountered a fighter called "Golafalee," who along with other fighters subjected her to severe humiliation and physical pains.

She was testifying at ongoing public hearings of the TRC in rural Liberia at the Bopolu City Hall in Bopolu City, Gbarpolu County.

The witness said the tortures inflicted heavy pains on her and others.

Termah testified, "We got to the village...I was tied, laying down. We cried, we cried, until later one soldier came and said you leave these people. We remained in the rope until daybreak. That thing we were doing?I had belly. I delivered the baby, but it didn't live. All these things happened to me."

She explained that the following month, the fighters again entered the village from Wayyama, and she was unable to walk. But she added, "They juke me with the knife in my back. Now I have no strength to walk. The rope that the soldiers took to tie on my waist was very long, but they say if I don't walk, they will drag me."

Drawing the emotions of the audience, she continued, "When we got to the village, they tied my foot on this side. They tied my hand. They opened my foot. They take the pepper...and put it down. When they cut the rope I fell down. They told me to go take bath; they put me in the water..."

The TRC is an independent body set up to investigate the root causes of the Liberian crisis, document human rights violations, review the history of Liberia, and put all human rights abuses that occurred during the period from 1979 to 2003 on record. The TRC mandate is to also identify victims and perpetrators and make recommendations on amnesty, prosecution and reparation.

The ongoing rural public hearings are being held under the theme: "Confronting Our Difficult Past, For A Better Future."

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