Press Releases

Johnny Paul Koroma, Sam Bockarie & Others Attacked Ivory Coast

February 26, 2008

FISH TOWN (TRC)?Witnesses told commissioners of Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Monday that they saw slain RUF Commander Sam Bockarie and former Sierra Leonean junta leader Johnny Paul Koroma among several Ivorian dissidents in the town of Glaro, River Gee County in 2002 before they attacked neighboring Ivory Coast.

The witnesses said a long convoy of vehicles arrived at 4:30 am in the town and onboard the vehicles were Bockarie, Koroma, Gen. Benjamin Yeaten, Chucky Taylor, Solo Junior, Robert Gaye, Jr. (the son of former Ivorian military leader, Robert Gaye), General William Sumo, Nelson Paye, former Maryland County Superintendent Dan Morias and others.

Testifying on the first day of the TRC Public Hearings in Fish Town City, River Gee County, witnesses explained that following the arrival of the men, government militiamen under their command forced the local residents to carry arms and ammunitions across the Ivorian frontier.

The fighters, they explained, forcibly conscripted youth of the area to join them to attack the Ivory Coast through the Zor border crossing point.

Solo B. Chea, Sr. Revenue Judge of River Gee County told those present at the hearings that following the refusal of the local people to acquiesce to the Ivorian attack, the government fighters rounded up several prominent citizens of the area and took them to separate locations in the county for execution.

He said those executed included Joseph Watkins, Associated Stipendiary Magistrate of River Gee, Amos Nyenoh and Marcus Zuo. He explained that theirs ears were cut off before they were killed execution-style.

Chea said arms and ammunition brought into the town were shipped into Liberia through the Port of Harper and transported by road to River Gee County by Lebanese businessman Abbas Fawaz, manager of MWPI, a logging company that operated in the area.

Chea's testimony was corroborated by Hilary Watkins, Obada Toffin Kesseh, Esther Tenneh Sokolo and Martha Watkins?all inhabitants of the town of Glaro.

Meanwhile, a 65-year-old distressed father, Otis Oguntee, told commissioners of the TRC Monday that he and his wife were forced to witness the slaughter of their 14-year-old son, Emmanuel Oguntee, accused of being a recruit of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) by rebels of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) in 1990.

"My son Emmanuel Oguntee was brought before me and my wife and slaughtered as the rebels held us at gunpoint to witness the slaughter. They accused him of being an AFL recruit," the visually impaired elderly man said.

After the slaughter, Mr. Oguntee explained, the rebels compelled him to respond to the killing, saying, "I said, ?Thanks be to God.'" But he said the commander of the fighters told him to say "Thanks be to the freedom fighters."

The TRC is an independent body set up to investigate the root causes of the Liberian crisis and document human rights violations and other abuses between 1979 and 2003. The TRC mandate is to also identify victims and perpetrators and make recommendations on amnesty, prosecution and reparation.

The public hearings are being held under the theme: "Confronting Our Difficult Past for a Better Future."

Cclic This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This had been the official website of the Liberian TRC. The Commission ended operation
in 2010. This website is maintained by the Georgia Institute of Technology.