Fish Town City: Day 1

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The First day of the TRC Public Hearings Proceedings held on Monday February 25, 2008 at the Fish Town City Hall, River Gee County. The Hearings session started with the Commissioners of the TRC being ushered into their seats. The field officer of the TRC River Gee office was called up to do a recognition of the Commissioners, government officials and partners of he TRC present at the opening ceremony of he TRC Public Hearings in River Gee County. This was followed by a speech presented by the superintendent of the County.

Welcome Statement from the City Mayoress Mrs. Martha Jarbo Dzianyo

Cllr. Jerome Verdier, Chairman and the Hon. Commissioners of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia (TRC) and party, the (TRC) County Officials, the Hon. Acting Superintendent, Hon. D.S. and, members of the county officials , others Agencies of Government here present, NGOs, UNMIL Civil Affairs, The General Public, ladies and Gentlemen.

I firstly want to express many thanks and appreciation to our creator for this day. On behalf of the citizens and residents of Fish town City, the Government Officials all Agencies NGOs and in my own name as the Mayoress of this beautiful City. I wish to extend to you our heartfelt welcome into the city of Fish Town and the County of River Gee as a whole.

We like to encourage you to feel very very free as long as you wish to stay with us. We promise you the City and County massive security protection.

Welcome! Welcome!

I thank you.

Introduction of the Guest present at the Opening ceremony:

This was followed by introduction of the guest by the Coordinator of TRC in River Gee County who introduced the Traditional Chief of the County, the women leaders of the county, Community based organizations leaders of the county, all the heads of NGOs in the county, student bodies in the county, the coordinator of gender in the county, authorities of schools in the county, the police commander in the county, religious bodies in the county, UNMIL Civil Affairs and Human Rights and all others present at this occasion. Having introduced to the Commissioners the audience, he then introduced the Chairman to the people of the county who then introduced members of the Commission.

Chairman's introductory remarks

We of the TRC are very proud and happy to be in River Gee County. We want to thank you for not only welcoming us, but the support that you have given us. Our country has gone through a difficult past and now it is the time of healing. To spoil is easy, but to build is difficult as such we have to go through this process to do what we are doing. We do not take pleasure in going through out this nation and take you from your work but this is a national duty for all of us, as such every citizen must take it as a responsibility. We have to look in our hearts and admit and to also forgive what we have been done to us. At the end of the process, no body will denied what has happened in this country. We have heard a lot of things that went on in this county and we are here to confirm it. We don't want to make mistake in the future that is why we must right what went wrong. We are few and we are fighting amongst ourselves. We have 15 counties and over 23 political parties, is this the source of the conflict? At the end of the TRC process we will know this and we will recommend what to be done to all that were affected by the conflict. So with this difficult task we feel console that we are not carrying the burden alone, with what you have proved. We spent seven days in Grand Kru and we are spending seven days here at the end of which we will find out what went on here and what you want to happen in the county. For three days we will hear from people what happened to them. This process is meant to show that you are not alone; at the commission we respect our task and take our job very seriously. At this time before I declare the process open, I will introduce the Commissioners of the Commission to you. (Chairman Introduced the Commissioners to the People of River Gee County), the Hearings Process in River Gee County is declared open.

Presentation from the elders of River Gee County

I am Old Man Twen and I am the speaker of the elders of the County. I am presenting to you this kola nut according to our Greebo tradition the first thing we do if we have a stranger is to present a kola before we ask of you mission. Mr. Chairman as you see the cola is a hole and so it is to show that we want to be one as we are here. The whole one is for you and the pieces are for all of us to eat. What you see attached with it is salt and not pepper because the pepper can burn moth but the salt makes it sweet and so we want to have sweet and not pepper. The water in the cup represents three creeks in this county which are very useful to the people of the county. As such the kola is for you and your people.

You will still spend few days here and so you will feel our tradition, what we are doing first is the civilization and you will see the tradition later. Here we have chicken the rooster and the hen, the roster is for the men on the commission. We know that you are the man leading the people, but here in Liberia, the women are leading us so they are here to make a presentation.

Presentation from the women of River Gee County

We the river gee women are here, for TRC to come in our land we are happy, the way the war give us hard time. During our old days we don't know about war, and when CT brought the war when we ran away the solders came were forced to marry them and for the TRC to come and say we should say what happen and that every thing is finish, we are happy. The hen we are present is a hen and it can lay eggs, so that we can lay eggs together. And as long as you are here we will put hands together to have a peaceful country. The rice in the fanner is what we the women of the county plant with all the struggle we are going through to plant. We do not have cutlass and tools and we are using our hands to plant this rice. Most of us are widows and we have to do this to survive. We thank you for coming.

Chairman: on behalf of the commission we want to thank the people of the count, you have given us a sense of belonging, and during the time we will spent here we will make this place our home and even after the TRC we will be able to come here to pay visit.

Remarks from the Acting Superintendent of River Gee County

Our development superintendent, city Mayoress, officials of Government here present, the Chairman and members of the TRC, the elders of River Gee, our Ladies, the Student bodies security Apparatus, ladies and gentlemen:

To day we have come to grace this occasion and to also thank these individuals and institutions that brought peace to this nation. First and foremost we want to thank God who is the supreme being who has led this process of bringing peace to this nation and to the United Nations whose effort has restored this peace which we are enjoying for which we are able to speak to those who had the super power and we could not speak to them. Thirdly we want to thank the government of Liberia through the effort of Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who is the first female president of this country and Africa as a whole and to welcome the Commission. Today we want to say that we have been reminded that the TRC is not a court and that what is said here will not be used against anybody and then we should say what we saw and what happened to us. We are also told that the UNMIL and the government of Liberia is supporting the process and so we are asking all to come and say what happened to them and not to lie.

There are two things that have brought this process: it is important to say what happened to you and those who committed these heinous crimes to commit that they did it and that lasting peace will be assured. Some time ago there was an argument between some fellows and I and they said the TRC will bring hurting feelings and I took an exception to this and said there is peace already and that those people who did these things to us we are living together with them, and so if we can come and say what they did openly I don't think this will bring a problem. In this light we will want to recognize these strong men and women who took up the challenge to carry out this great task. You know in the past it was not easy to say what somebody did and so if we can do this and put our bad feelings behind us, we will have lasting peace in this country. In this light we want to welcome all of our guest.

First Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Fish Town City River Gee County
Otis Daniel Ogunti
(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.

Chairman: good morning and welcome to the TRC public hearings and for taking up your time to come to the hearings to tell your story to the people of Liberia, River Gee County and the Commissioners of the TRC.

What is your name again?

Primary Witness: Otis Daniel Ogunti

When were you born?

Primary Witness: September 18, 1943

Where were you born?

Primary Witness: Kanweaken, Gbaypo District

Primary Witness: 1990 August 25 one Saturday when the rebel entered the city of Kanweaken right behind my house and not knowing better we were trying to move from one place to any a girl was killed she left her 2 months old baby after three days my son Emmanuel Ogunti they say he was a recruited they slaughter him right before me and my wife and they had a gun on that I should look on and my 14 years old son was slaughter after that they asked me what do I say I said thanks be to god they way you cant say think be to the rebels I say thanks be to god and one of took my hands of and I left for home. And I sat down and a Christian my friend consoled me.

Then I left on the bush to live better where LPC too met me and took everything that I had in this world and brought me in this town with load on my head.

Then the commander was smoking and I ask him for some and he said oh you can smoke I say yes, then he said I should go for one gross and I took tow parks. Then his men said they should get rid of me he was speaking Sapo then I say you cant killed me he said what do you mean I say you cant killed then he took his 45 and put it to my forehead, is ay you cant killed me I say if you want to from the moment you wanted to killed you would have killed you have kept me for three days now then he you move from here you foolish men let night come you will see and nothing happen to me we were 28 men that night, that is part of the sorry that I know.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: can you tell which faction you had your first experience with?

Primary Witness: Yes that was the Taylor freedom fighters.

What year was your exp with LPC?

Primary Witness: 1994

Can you record any of the names of the freedom fighters or both NPFL and LPC?

Primary Witness: Sea-never-dry for NPFL then No Bible - for LPC.

Commissioner Bull: did you have a brother called Jackson Quae?

Primary Witness: Yes, he is a cousin to me

It was your relative that identified your son to the rebels?

Primary Witness: Yes

Was there a sister in law of yours called Nunu Geplay?

Primary Witness: Yes from stray bullet

How old was she?

Primary Witness: When she was with he had a child but I can't tell how old she was. She had a child and the second was 2 months when she died.

Who was the command of NPFL in this area?

Primary Witness: He was See-never-dry.

What dialect LPC people were speaking?

Primary Witness: Sapo

Commissioner Stewart: beside the killings of your son and the death of your sister in law was there any other killing by NPFL in the town?

Primary Witness: Well I could say yes and I could say no because I heard but I didn't see it.

How many person you heard of being killed?

Primary Witness: One of my friend's sons was killed but I don't see him I was not in town.

Was there any act of raping or other wise by those people?

Primary Witness: Well that was a national anthem when they enter they take wives of people and do what they want to do.

So you witness these?

Primary Witness: It did not happen to me but it happened to my friend.

Did they recruit any child?

Primary Witness: I told you when this thing happened to me I went out of town.

Was there any looting of things?

Primary Witness: They took 250,000 from me and they broke into others homes and took mattress

Did they force people to carry their loads?

Primary Witness: Yes it happened with NPFL, MODEL and LPC myself I took loads for LPC.

What was your experience with MODEL?

Primary Witness: I was here when model entered, for they did not take any thing from me because by then I was in the bush they did not harm me or my family but they take other people property.

Did they kill some people?

Primary Witness: Yes the killed one Aaron Duoh that one I can attest to it anywhere

Commissioner Washington: how long LPC had you for?

Primary Witness: When LPC capture me we were 28 persons the capture but because of the ages of some of these people god talk to me to tell the commander that if you take any of these people they will did on the way and if he force them they would died on the high way, it was doing this time that I ask the man for the cigarettes. In fact people here know, they had three contains failed with cane juice, where they were drink and it was there they other man say they should killed me and they say they would gave the 28 persons some drink and after that they would slaughter them and I went from house to house and tell my people not to drink and I give them the information and each and every one that was brought here that night they all escape from here.

How many days you spent with them?

Primary Witness: Threes we were with them.

Was role was your cousin playing when he reported your son as a recruit?

Primary Witness: He was working with them he was the town commander.

Was there any family problem with your cousin that he had to show your son to the rebels?

Primary Witness: I am an Ogunti and he is a Quae on the mother side we have that relationship I use to place through his year to go to work when they killed my son he and I sue dot talk so I don't have nay problem with him.

Do you have other children?

Primary Witness: I have about 7 children I am a happy man yet.

Commissioner Dolopei: who the people that killed your son were there stranger or they were people that came?

Primary Witness: They were people that came in from Nimba County.

Were you able to bury him?

Primary Witness: No I don't know where they took him.

Commissioner Syllah: what was your son age?

Primary Witness: 14

How did they see him even though he ran away to Jakaken?

Primary Witness: even though my cousin was in Jakaken where my son ran and when my cousin saw him instead of securing him he give my son to the people and that I was around to see about the burial of my sister in law and people took me away because I was disturbed I left the body there.

How did they kill him?

Primary Witness: They slaughtered him and people in this county know.

Commissioner Coleman: Was the actions of the liberators or freedom fighters justifiable in a sense that you people welcome them or call on them?

Commissioner Coleman: A man who had never taking his hand to wash his face if he can take his foot to wash his face then there is a problem and that means a lot to me it is hard for me to change I can change but it is had so al the coming those people were coming I was still myself and I ask who is better, john brown or peter or Paul is not good then who is good so I did not care.

Did your find out that this happened in LPC time too like your cousin showing your son to the rebel?

Primary Witness: Yes that happened when these things are happened I don't stand there I don't like to see blood people us to carry LPC from village to village.

Was there any benefit attach to going around showing other people?

Primary Witness: I don't know those who use to do it I don't if the LPC use to pay them.

Was your son a recruit or it was a false story?
Primary Witness: Yes I was away in Cape Palmas and his mother went and took his uniforms from and that's when the people saw him and say.

Is your wife from here?

Primary Witness: Yes River Gee here

How the family relationship between people here?

Primary Witness: Well for I did not have enough time with the people here I spent most of time on the job.

Did you notice that system of showing people, some of the town people join willingly?

Primary Witness: I don't know what I can tell you is with city of Kanweaken where I am now the people were against.

Commissioner Konneh: did you know any Sea-never-dry?

Primary Witness: Yes the name I have been thinking about but he is dead now.

Can you give the name of those people that were freed due to your intervention?

Primary Witness: Lady big ma, Grace Willis in Monrovia, Varney now deceased, old man David Sloboh.

So five persons were released?

Primary Witness: Yes

Was their any one killed?

Primary Witness: They only killed one person but he was not with the 28 persons.

What is the name of your cousin?

Primary Witness: Jackson Toe but known as Jackson Quae but he died last year.

Do you know any other name of Sea-never-dry?

Primary Witness: I don't know his full name, One Charley Wonpea I think so he was a Gio or Mano man.

Primary Witness: Last word: when the statement taker went to me I say what is the need it has already happened my sister has died it has already happened it is finish even you will give me million dollars that cant being my son back, like today I can see now it is because of poverty, so I will the TRC, lets reconcile and forget about what happen even god when we do something to him he can forgive us if not we would have been on earth do.

Second Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Fish Town City River County
Solo B. Teah Sr.
(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: good morning and welcome to the TRC public hearings and for taking up your time to come to the hearings to tell your story to the people of Liberia, River Gee County and the Commissioners of the TRC.

What do you say is your name again?

Primary Witness: Thank you very much and I am very happy to receive you my name is Solo B. Chea Sr.

When were you born?

Primary Witness: I was on January 1, 1958.

What are you doing presently?

Primary Witness: I am a Revenue Judge of River gee County.

Primary Witness: In the first place, I thank almighty God for your safe arrival and I pray you go back safely I see that is total peace in Liberia so that why I am happy to receive you. Well ell, I have a long very long story to explain to you. Here in River Gee County, the Glaro people are peaceful citizens, right now as we are speaking, when you talked about receiving people, when the Glaro people arrive here, you won't have the chance to sit down. I think all the people that are sitting here know that the Glaro people are peaceful people, when it comes to culture and other things. But the massacre that went on in Glaro was very bad to us, to be specify me, because I was one of the corner stone of Glaro people. I was assigned in River Gbeh 2000 as Stipendiary Magistrate. There was one A. Suah Captain A. Suah and one Major Nelson Paye. Captain Paye Suah is the commander while Major Nelson Paye is the deputy commander that which I have not seen before but anyway that was their function. There in River Gbee my little brother William Teah had two houses in the same area, in the same yard. I was living in the back and this man was living in the front area. There was a military barracks in the area. While we there, certain time, Suah went to the Krahn people are in Konobo statutory district and killed and burned the people town, they called the town Glays Town. When he came from there, he went to Glaro Uboh and asked that those boys that are there in Glaro Uboh should go to the junction, there was a junction called point 4 junction and keep guide. The boys hesitated because there were no arms and he said he was gong to bring guns. Some of then hesitated, they got together and he collected those boys and brought them here. Some of them are dead, one of them is one Richard Martins, one Joseph William physician assistant to the county, he collected them and said that they were the hard headed people and he collected them and put them in prison.

When Suah came, I called him and told him you are caused us serious problem, there was no war at all, there was no war at all. That man just went in the people area killed the people and burned their town. I told him it was a serious problem because the Krahn people are a very dangerous people. And I heard that he has gone to Juboh to cause problem for our people there that was laid to rest.

After few days went I went to look one night I was sleeping my little cousin came and knocked at my window, when I got up he said come and see something and I said where is it? It is hard to say, there were seven cars and I really wanted to go and see and he
said no no the people will kill you and I said for what and he said if you go there they will kill you. Well I managed indoor because I've being an old military man. I pass around and I started seeing them. When I came out I saw a lot of people. The first person I recognized was Johnny Paul Kromah, Sam Bockarie, Benjamin Yeaten, Taylor's Junior, (Chucky) Soro Guillaume, Gay Robert Jr., William Sumo, Nelson Paye, Paye Suah, Capt. Nagbe, Mind Thousand and Dahn Moriah the Superintendent of Maryland County at the time. Dan Morris at think he is now an ambassador at large somewhere appointed by the president. As I am sitting here my security is involve, I went to town (Monrovia) I met the Human Right people and testified but it was dangerous for my security from there I was also called again by some International Security at the Temple of Justice. I mean that was a serious thing for me in Monrovia I almost got killed that is why I wrote this letter which copy I will share with the commission (a copy of the letter was given to the Commissioners). In this letter I have the names of all the people I just named. And there is no privacy my security is involved.

And those guys took off for Glaro, and before 3 to 4:30 in the morning they went to Glaro Fish town, off loaded the arms and ammunitions and they started forcing the Glaro people take arms across the river.

You see God is wonderful. God is above all. With all of these things that they were discussing for Taylor to pass through our area and enter Ivory Coast, for them to attack Ivory Coast they never told any Glaro person because if you cross the border the first you will see is the Glaro people before the real Ivorian people. So they said that if they tell the Glaro people they will tell the Ivorian people, so they hid the information from us and every one of us live in the same county. So they started forcing our people to go and fight and they were forcing our children to carry their guns.

See I tell you all this if I tell you Taylor passed through this town. It is difficult to believe. When those general passed through here they went to the border and launched a war to the Ivory Coast they started forcing our people to join them to fight, of which I was totally against to be frank and I said since you are military personnel you can go and do your thing and forget about our people. And I told them If you want to do you things, go ahead and leave our people alone, forcing them to carry arms and animations across the border in the Glaro area there. Even one of my clan chief saw them because you have to cross the Dugbe River before you get to the Cavalla River and he went there and they said get yourself from here before we kill you. That time there was no rebel war. When they collected our people and brought them here and pout them in jail here, they started collecting the Glaro people and said the Glaro people were hard headed.

The main thing that was our fear was the reprisal, for them to push back and the Ivorian people coming to over run us and kill every one of us here. That was our fear. They started collecting the Glaro people, intimidating them and doing all kinds of thing to them, harassing them and so on.

So I ran away from River Gbeh and I went to free town there where I was sitting. So while I was there, then the company started packing their things small small because they knew what was going to happen. so a friend called Nabie he was traveling to Glaro Fishtown, then the commission for Sapo district presently now is Regina Nympan he is my friend she came and told me you have to leave from here now because I was in a room when Suah said when are you going for that Solo man in Glaro. And Suah told her I am sending for him today, so you have to leave this place today. After that day I didn't go anywhere because of that my wife started hauling our belonging in the bush. While she was there, I saw a pickup with a lot of soldiers; I was sitting right in front my house cranking my legs. In that car the order they had was that I should be killed before they reach to River Gbeh. They were arguing among themselves, some said that I should be killed while others said that man is good and so they can not do that. And some said I am not able to kill him because he is a good man.

So while they were there drinking their cane juice, a little boy came and said put up maximum, put maximum, I heard him clearly, and when I went to look he came and said papie get out of here now, I just went down and went across. Before I could get there, my wife said she heard that car came, on the way, we looked back we saw our house set on fire. We continue in the bush and we were there for almost 2 months because from there to go to Konebo Statutory District to go to Tia in the Ivory Coast is not a small distance.

Prior to my escape, he came to Glaro and said there was something was going on that he wanted all the Glaro people to hear, that night he was given order by Sumo to send for us and execute us. That evening all the Glaro people went and unfortunately for him, Suah did not come so the people said we want to go back while the others were in jail and we talked to him to release them and he said no. I manage to my way and ran around the hill and went somewhere trying to find my way out, I went and met one captain John Teo and I said John, I want to get out of this place I want to make my way, I want to get on the main road and go, While we were talking, the boys behind John Teo were insulting me all kinds of expression. John said come shut up do you not know that this is our magistrate and they said what kind of Magistrate. He assisted me to pass through until reaching my place. While I was sitting there, my oldest brother Nathaniel is not here. And they said Suah just came from the road and they pressurize him and he gave a car which managed to carry few of the people back to Glaro.

Suah went to Glaro, my associate magistrate one of my uncle Joseph Watkins he was the paramount chief for Glaro and I decided to help him to make him associate magistrate for him to get little thing. He took him and said the magistrate has escape so let's go so that you can be the magistrate the proper associate magistrate escape so let's go so you can be the magistrate there. And the brought the man, after few days while he was there they said he should come Suah send for him, and he joined them but they killed him right on the road. Some of the areas right now we want to carry you so that you can see where they killed the people some Human right people came and carried majority of the bones, plenty of the bones from here. But we really want to show you that they killed our people here.

So after they killed Watkins Suah sent Nelson Page to Glaro Sallas, he went to Glaro Sallas with some soldiers the other one they called him Ganie the Devil and many other guys and there was one Joe a Nigerian. He came in when they brought the ECOMOG. He remained here because he married a Liberian girl called Sarah and in he is in Monrovia now he was one of the terrible men who killed a lot here. After collecting 21 persons from Salla, Toe turned around and collected one of the old man that was there they called him Kalivarney. I am calling his country name. I don't' know his civilized name, he shot that man almost cut his bone chopped on his head and now the man is not yet normal. He's there in Glaro; I thought that his people were going to bring him here. You see the people are ungrateful. I thought they were going say well, we are sorry for all we have done. Up to this time, they have not done this, well it between they and their Gods.

My uncle who I am talking about, Joseph William was killed in May. He was finding his way while he was finding his way, they killed him, the very people they brought here even though I was not here. But when I came here I was told be B. Willie and others from Lutheran Church. I was told my many how one Rev. Nyuohn who was assigned in Kakata but now he is here on convention in town here. If you want to talk with him you can even call him. He was the one who advocated for the people to go. He took them and carried them to his farm. They came back after the people have gone. They almost killed the oldman. So they started killing any body they see up to Kanweaken. Here is Daniel Zico, he is my friend, he is now here in this hall, he killed two of my brothers that I know. He knows what he did and it's between him and his God. Not knowing and say my man I am sorry, but because I never acquainted him about this issue. Like my man you killed my people and I know it. I say sorry. But he knows that he did some harm to me, I got nothing against him. This is why I am happy to see you that you are here that you will help to bring peace. By God grace I think there will be peace that the Bible says that if you do any thing to anybody and asked for forgiveness then you will be forgiven, but I am not going to say I will not forgive you. And so I will forgive you. The story I give you or going to give you I will like for you to give me a copy of the story, because in Monrovia, the other Grebo in Monrovia went to process their document to one solicitor.

In Monrovia, Dan Morris, went and put the other Grebo People together with one Steven Weah went to Clara town, Steven Weah came up and said that the Glaro people killed themselves. There where I got up and said look you are the main person that killed the Glaro people. Because at the time he was special assistant to the superintendent of River Gee County, you ran from here and in fact they people pass through and killed our people in here even in fish Town here they were killing our people and you didn't say anything. So you were the main person that killed our people. Dan Myer will come from Maryland County and say he's the Superintendent of River Gee County appointed by the president. Even though I know that at that time Major do not salute captain, if you are the best killer then you are the commander. And so Majors salute captains that which I know. My people I will stop this far, I say my security is involved. If you want more then that I will be with you anytime you want.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: We like to tell you thank for coming to the TRC and we are concerned about your security. TRC has a group to assist those who have security concerns. We reserve question with you.

Primary Witness: I said I stop this far because there are a lot of people still in government who were part of this that is why I want to stop this far. Before I escaped to River Gbeh there was something that Suah did, Suah grabbed one of my little brothers and tied him, while I was hiding myself, they tied his hands behind around a coconut tree and executed him, he was the president of this area.

Third Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Fish Town City River County
Elizabeth Brownell
(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. She was accompanied by an interpreter.

Chairman: good afternoon and welcome to the TRC public hearings and for taking up your time to come to the hearings to tell your story to the people of Liberia, grand kru county and the Commissioners of the TRC. What you are doing is the right thing because with peace and reconciliation our country will not go anywhere. And for us to reconcile we must first know what happened.
What is your name again?

Primary Witness: Elizabeth Brownell

When were you born?

Primary Witness: 1973

Whew do you live

Primary Witness: Kanweaken

What are you doing?

Primary Witness: Farming

Primary Witness: What I experience in the war, in 1995 May 7, there was a group of fighters that carry out fighting in our and in that time I was not well and before they arrived my people tied me because I was sick and while I was in the room they came and one of my sisters stood at the door and saw the fighters and said mama there are people coming with guns and they came and enter in the house and asked for my people and I said I don't know where they are and they met me with a three years old child and they loosen me and they tied me again and they said whatsoever we do you will see us and you will not tell anybody because if you do it we will kill you. While I was looking they killed my three years old daughter and they killed my brother and they killed my mother and while she was shouting my step mother came and they killed. I was pregnant at the time and they also killed my seven years old daughter and they said if I cry they will kill me. While two of my kids were crying and coming shouting don't kill us they killed the two of them with an axe and there was an old woman and she said before they kill her she want to say her prayer and after that they killed her. In my village they killed 16 people.

They took me and my brother wife and when we reach the people there escape and they killed all those they met and the scrip us nicked as we were born and they put the house on fore and they tied us and said when the fire go off they will untie us and when it went off we were untied, we left and went to another town and they kill 18 people there and threw one woman three month old baby away. I asked them to give me load so that they will not kill me and they said I will not die and they took 5 of us from there and took us to another town and they give us human grease to eat and I refuse and they said they will kill me and I said they should killed me and I said my prayers and the next day they took us to the water side and they called my brother wife and they said today you are finish and they killed her and she was killed and another woman was killed and we were three remaining and they went to attack.

On one of my foot they hit is with the bottom of the gun and it was swollen and I said oh God will you be here for me to die? And when they went to attack I escape just as I was born. I ran in the bush when I ran there I met up with a fellow who was killed and I cry and left and I did not know the location to take and I slept in a swam and the next day I arrived in a man village and he took me to Tiempo. That is what I know and again to tell you I was raped by five of them.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Commissioner Dolopei: on behalf of the TRC we want to say sorry for what happened to you. We want to say that you are a brave woman to be able to say this. What you have said will erase some of the they-say we heard and make true some of the experiences we went through. Families were killed people were raped and many other bad things happened, and so we say this story will help us in making decisions as to the recommendations we will make to the government.

Commissioner Konneh: sorry my daughter, what happened to you is difficult to understand. In as much as we love you, God love you more then us and as mush as these things happened, God was there and he is ever prepare to pay these that did these things to you. Do you remember the names of any of these people that did these things to you?

Primary Witness: No

Commissioner Coleman: to hear story in this recent time make us to know that we are about to face a judgment from the time of Jonah if we do not face the truth and reconcile our differences, so thank you for you to be able to come here and say what happened to you and to forgive those people who did these things to you. Which group was involved in that act?

Primary Witness: LPC

Commissioner Syllah: we want to say sorry for what happened to you and for taking the courage for coming to the commission to tell this story. Can you tell us where the father of the children is and what happened to him?

Primary Witness: Nothing happening to he and he is residing in Gbipo Jokwiken

Is there a good relationship between your?

Primary Witness: There no good relationship between us.

You talked of a sickness; can you explain this to us?

Primary Witness: What was really happening to me is that if I begin to experience a fever I will escape in the bush son they had to tie me that I what happened when they arrived.

Do you have children now?

Primary Witness: I have three.

Commissioner Stewart: sorry for coming to the commission to share your story. The people who did these things whether they are human beings and their leaders who sent them what can they say to the Liberian people? We can only say sorry and we hope that through this process they can come face to face with the people who they offended. This story is been heard around the world today, and those who are responsible can face the fact which they have always denied and that in the end God will reward you justice.

Commissioner Dolopei: you said you did not know the people who did these wicked things to you but which language they were speaking?

Primary Witness: They were speaking Krahn.

Do you remember the names of the people who died?

They are: Even Chea, Victor Chea, Lucy Chea, Hard-time Teh, Cecelia Teh, Precious Teh, Toe Teh, Jefferson Teh, Juty Teah, Patricia Toe, David Toe, Gerrud Chea, Doris Wah,

What is the name of your mother and the step mother who was killed?

Primary Witness: Lucy Chea is the step mother.

Commissioner Washing: you can't remember the name of the commander and any of the fighters?

Primary Witness: It took so long so I can't remember the name of the commander.

Is there any of the survival around?

Primary Witness: The remaining person who and I survived from this is presently in Grand Gedeh.

What is the name?

Primary Witness: She is Felicia.

Your story is a very serious story so if you can find the time today we want to talk to you in private for we want to get the name and how to get the person who survived. We need more information about the people who did these things to you.

Primary Witness: The survival is presently Krahn Jaobley.

Chairman: madam witness we thank you very mush, you are a very strong and brave woman, what you said today will go down in history and people coming after us will hear this. How is your farming?

Primary Witness: At times it can be fine and a time it can be difficult.

Are there people helping you to do this?

Primary Witness: If I have money I can pay people to help me.

Is there any last thing that you will want to tell the Commissioner and the people of Liberia?

Primary Witness: I need a help from you, the help I mean is that I don not have a house and all of my properties were destroyed, this is the help I need from you.

We thank you very, we hear the story and the appeal for help, that is why the TRC was formed so that they can go around and find out what the people need. At the end of our work we will submit the finding and recommendation and the recommendation will contain the needs and necessary assistances for the people of Liberia. The most important value from what you said today is that others can learn from what you went through. People can draw form your strength to survive also. We tell you thank you for being a part of this historic event.

Forth Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Fish Town City River County
Oretha Cholo
(Forth Primary Witness of day one)

The Forth 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: good morning and welcome to the TRC public hearings and for taking up your time to come to the hearings to tell your story to the people of Liberia, River Gee County and the Commissioners of the TRC.

When were you born?

Primary Witness: 1962

What are you doing?

Primary Witness: Farming

Where do you live?

Primary Witness: Kaedipo, Kanweaken

Primary Witness: When the war of LPC arrive in my area the first they did was that they killed my husband they use cut lass to cut him into pieces, before that I went somewhere to find food and left him with the children so when they came they killed and took tow of my child with them, one lady called Armod Kortei and Bettey Teah, Theresa and those ladies that I list some that were carried along with my child by LPC, when they carry them we taught they were all kill so we erase our thinking from them, so when the war went down the people came and the family tracing people found my daughter and brought her back and Armod Kortei came back when she came she told me that they did not killed you child one lady took her to the ivory coast and that how I know that my child survival the war, so when the family tracing team came in Kanweaken and I told them about my child in the Ivory Coast and this is all that I know about the war that's all.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: What was your husband name?

Primary Witness: Jerome Wesseh

You know any reason why he was killed?

Primary Witness: What I do know is that he was minding the children so he could not escape.

What year was that?

Primary Witness: 1995

Commissioner Coleman: did some thing like these happen when MODEL came?

Primary Witness: Nothing happened during the model war

What's about NPFL first coming did anything like this happen?

Primary Witness: Yes, it is true similar things like that happed they killed some of my family in Kaedipo.

Commissioner Syllah: did the lady give the name of the people that took your daughter?

Primary Witness: Yes the lady knows lady who really took the children to Ivory Coast.

Have you been able to get the name of the people in the Ivory Coast?

Primary Witness: Yes she called their names to me.

Can you call their names now if you want to?

Primary Witness: One person I can remember is Thomas Quiah.

Since then have you made any contact him Thomas Quiah?

Primary Witness: Beside the Red Cross family tracing union they were the one who told us about the child.

Did they give you any result on the child?

Primary Witness: There is no result from them yet.

Commissioner Dolopei: can you give us the name of the children they took?

Primary Witness: Ciphas Wesseh returned and the one in ivory coast Mercy Wesseh.

What were their ages then?

Primary Witness: The older one was 6 years and the smaller one was one month

Commissioner Washington: did you son come back on his own?

Primary Witness: It was the safe the children brought him back to me.

So it is your daughter in question now?

Primary Witness: Yes

But has safe the children said anything to you regarding the child?

Primary Witness: They said I should keep courage they are in search of the child

When last was that?

Primary Witness: The last time was last year, 2007

Did you give all the information to save the children about the children?

Primary Witness: I never told them about that

Is there any reason whey she did give the information the save the children?

Primary Witness: I never told them because I did not know the information of the people that have the child, because I could not record everything.

Can you remember the name of the fighters at the time?

Primary Witness: I did not lay eyes on any of them because I was in the bush..

Commissioner Stewart: who is Thomas Quiah you talk about?

Primary Witness: He is a Krahn boy, one of the fighters.

Is he connected with the child who is still missing?

Primary Witness: It was he who took the children

Where is he now him?

Primary Witness: He is in Tiamas town.

Have you made any contact with him?

Primary Witness: No I am afraid.

Have you given this information to the save children before?

Primary Witness: No

Is it Thomas Quiah who took the children to Ivory Coast?

Primary Witness: He gave the child to one his relatives in the ivory coast.

How did you get the information that it was he who to the child?

Primary Witness: One of the females that were taken from the town that brought me that information.

Was Thomas Quiah a fighter?

Primary Witness: Yes he was a fighter

Chairman: what is the name of the town where Thomas Quiah is?
Primary Witness: Tiamas town, Putu District in Grand Gedeh

Primary Witness: Last word: I am appealing to you to try to locate my child to bring her to me that just all I have to say.

Fifth Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Fish Town City River County
Hilary Nyenaoh Watkins
(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: good afternoon and welcome to the TRC public hearings and for taking up your time to come to the hearings to tell your story to the people of Liberia, River Gee County and the Commissioners of the TRC.

Please repeat your name

Primary Witness: I am Hilary Nyenoah Watkins

Date of birth please?

Primary Witness: 1958

Where do you live?

Primary Witness: Glaro

What is your occupation?

Primary Witness: I am the Clerk to the District Commissioner

Primary Witness: There was a commander for NPFL by the name Paye Suah who was assigned in River Gbeh at that time. One time he came to Uboh and gathered the people and said the rebel was in Payes town and the people should form defense force and he was going to bring arms and anybody who refuse to join is a rebel and the people agree and form the force. They were waiting for him to bring the arms and he never brought it. He gave order that they should go to 44 road junction. From Ubor there is almost 3 hours walk. He left and went back and in his absence my little brother advise the youth that going there to keep[ guide is very risky and so they should keep guide in the town and some of the boys agree and some did not and they went with their cutlass to keep guide. When some boys came calling for canoe to the water side Suah meet them there and asked why they are few and the said Amos Dweh and Richard Waking and Amos Nyoneh told them not to go there and he sent his boys to arrest them. The boys did not want to be treated as rebels and so they went to arrest them. To be frank if I explain about one and leave the other my conscience will not be clear. One of the boys who arrested my brother washing is here.

When MODEL came and has complete control of the area then my brother was killed. When war was in Glay town my father ran and came to Glay town and he went to Uboh and he asked him why he left his appointment and he said he was sick and he said no you should go back, and I learned that he killed my father. I went to Gbeh and I saw my father skeleton in his checkup board coat and his hat and the snickers that my sister bought for him, but I did not see the body of my brother.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: Thank you very much for the situation and please accept our sympathy for the lost of your brother. We are happy that you are sharing this with the TRC and the rest of the world. The Commissioners will ask some question. You mention the name Washing Moore, is any Washing Moore in here?

Primary Witness: Yes, but he went to the TRC office and there is also George gaye who is now in Monrovia.

What year did this happened?

Primary Witness: It was in March 2003, MODEL took over the same 2003 May

Did you mean government troop in 2003?

Primary Witness: Yes they were the NPFL and they capture people.

Commissioner Konneh: sorry for what happened to you and the others.

Primary Witness: I want to add another thing, when this incident was going on I went in the bush and the same Suah sent people to my town in Sallah and they went there and killed many of my relatives and even small children were killed.

Are you trying to say Paye Suah was a rebel commander, after the election he was transform and made into a commander?

Primary Witness: Yes

Can you give us the name of those who told the name of your brother and the others to commander Suah?

Primary Witness: The boys that came to town said they told Suah about the thing that boys said that they should not go to 44 junction and he ask that the arrest them. But I do not know the names of the boys.

Who told you that it was the NPFL who killed them?

Primary Witness: It was the Suah who killed them and I got to know after the MODEL took over the place.

Can you explain about the second group of people that were killed?

Primary Witness: They were killed in Sylla; he sent his boys there and the killed. I am sorry that the old man who was there did not come and he was there and he knows all those who came.

Commissioner Coleman: which group did you say carry out this massacre?

Primary Witness: The same Suah group, the NPFL

Do you know why it happened?

Primary Witness: He was packing the people the way the can carry the Guinea cow, they collected the people and brought them to Gbeh and they killed a lot of people. He said the people did not join him to fight so he considered them to be rebels.

Before the coming of the MODEL was there a base for them in the area?

Primary Witness: No they never had a base.

Commissioner Syllah: what happened in Uboh?

Primary Witness: The same people the collected, the three gentlemen who refuse to join him to fight he sent people to collect them and he killed them and he was collecting people and killing them. Then in Syllah they colleted women and children and killed them.

Commissioner Dolopei: who are the two perpetrators?

Primary Witness: Washington Moore and George.

Where is Washington Moore working?

Primary Witness: He is not working

How about George, where is he working?

Primary Witness: I don't know where he is working, I learned that he is in Monrovia but I don't know if he is working.

Was he targeting your family?

Primary Witness: No they were just involved in the trouble and he killed them.

Commissioner Washington: all these incidents that occurred, was it done by the NPFL?

Primary Witness: Yes the NPFL under the command of Paye Suah

What happened to the other children of your parents?

Primary Witness: At that time I ran with my mother and the other family and they are all in Uboh.

Besides the brother who was killed do you have brother and sisters?

Primary Witness: Yes I have a brother because by sister died in Ghana.

Do you know any other person who was part of the killings?

Primary Witness: Yes I remember one Tiger, Nelson Paye and others.

Where did they come from?

Primary Witness: They came from different place and they were assigned in the area. Suah and Nelson paye came from Nimba

You said you father was Associate Magistrate?

Primary Witness: Yes

Was that why he was targeted?

Primary Witness: No he arrested my father because he carried my brother who he wanted to join that is why he said my father was running from government job.

Do you guys know where the Suah guy is now?

Primary Witness: Yes he is in Monrovia.

Commissioner Stewart: when did this happen?

Primary Witness: 2003 March my brother was arrested.

Are the killings related to the massacre in Glaro?

Primary Witness: Yes that is the same massacre.

Where were you at the time?

Primary Witness: I was in Glaro, but when they arrested plenty people then I ran in the bush.

So you were in the bush when the massacre went on?

Primary Witness: Yes as I said when the MODEL took over before we got to know what was happening.

How long did you stay in the bush?

Primary Witness: I pass through and went as far as Glaro and I stayed there until they took complete control of the area.

Did MODEL carry on killing, looting, burning of houses, and raping?

Primary Witness: No, if was the NPFL who did that.

Commissioner Dolopei: what is the name of the brother who body was not found?

Primary Witness: Richard Wakens.

Chairman: we want to tell you thank you and want to appreciate you for coming to give your statement. It will contribute to our work. Is there anything last that you want to say?

Primary Witness: I thank you for inviting me to the TRC hearing conformation and want to thank the Almighty God who made me to survive the terrible things that were going on. The only thing is that I need protection and safety.

Sixth Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Fish Town City River County
Esther Tinneh Sokolo
(Sixth Primary Witness of day one)

The Sixth 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: you are welcome to the TRC Public Hearings, this is the opportunity fro you to tell your story to the people of River Gee and the people of Liberia.

What is your name again?

Primary Witness: I am Esther Timneh Sokolo.

When were you born?

Primary Witness: I was born 1947

What are you doing presently?

Primary Witness: I am a rice farmer.

Where do you live?

Primary Witness: I live River Gee fish town and married here.

Primary Witness: To explain sometimes people think, you can talk too much. When I work so hard some times I can feel pain. The war that fought in this county, my house was burned my first son house was burned. My son leg was cut. He was my only provider. Because of that we carried him from here to Ivory Coast because of the pains. When the war ceased they told us to come back home but he never came back to Liberia. The man who supposes to come and help me was killed. Because of this, I am suffering who will come now and help me? I have no where to live. Who is going to take care of the children? So this is how my story end.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: Sorry for the lost of your son and husband. We are happy to be friends and live together, this is why the TRC was founded so the Commissioners will now ask you some questions.

Commissioner Bull: You came with your story and it was a sad story. But thank god that you still get trust in God. Even although this these things happen, even the ear was cut, they killed your husband you still remain strong, to come and tell us your story. It is not easy to repeat your story. The story that you give it will not only be for Liberia, but all part of the world. You said it was a group of arm men that enter your village is it true,
Which one killed your son, was it LPC or defense force?

Primary Witness: I want to believe that it was the LPC.

Your other boys you talked about, did they come back?

Primary Witness: Only one. One came back. It was my son.

Do you know the names of those three boys?

Primary Witness: What I have to say is, there were five children, and they are presently with their parents.

Commissioner Coleman: Sorry for the lost of your husband I respect the character of you, you said you were sleeping one night and some thing hit your ear?

Primary Witness: Witness what I want to say is I was 4 months pregnant and I went to go gave birth, I noticed that air could beat my ear.

How about the seven children you talked about, are they health?

Primary Witness: Three children here with me and four in the Ivory Coast.

Commissioner Kafumba: What was your experience during Model war?

Primary Witness: When they entered at night in the village, they took all that I had. They came and looted all of our things.

Chairman: The son who was hurt, did he get hurt because of the war?

Primary Witness: The youth were on the foot ball field brushing and one of his friends cut his foot.

We say thank you. Is there any thing you want to say?

Primary Witness: What I really want to say lastly is, all of the children who suppose to be helping me, are all scattered away. Who is there to help me? If I go to clean my farm they will tell me that the land is not mine. So who will help me now? So I want you to help me. The next thing I want to say we had two power saw, and everything has been taken away. How will I managed to support my children? Who will help me? One is in 2nd grade.

We know your heart, we understand, as we said, sorry for the many troubles and the way in which you been treated. The superintendent is here and is hearing her. If they continue to harass her let her bring it to his attention. So let her know that we should watch the work of TRC. So what she's doing today is not just for her self or children and her children's children, but for every body. So when the TRC work finished she will hear from us.

Seventh Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Fish Town City River County
Obabah Toffin Kesseh
(Seventh Primary Witness of day one)

The Seventh 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 and welcome to the TRC public hearings and for taking up your time to come to the hearings to tell your story to the people of Liberia, River Gee County and the

What is your name again?

Primary Witness: Obabah Toffin Kesseh

When were you born?

Primary Witness: I was born 1981 January 29

What do you do for a living?

Primary Witness: I am a Farmer

Primary Witness: I can say thanks you to the TRC during the war time they say MODEL coming they Edward Teh they go in our town and called the older people and they say boys were to much so they much put the boys together to help them fight or form the citizen defense force the papay they say no they went the next day they came back and started shooting them the papay them say this thing is serious they papay them say we must take our cutlasses and when MODEL was coming we ran away and they came and collected people to go on the front my brother was among them he jump down from the car and he was in the bush until he reached to us.

When Model reach to us they carry some people with them On Sunday we reach they tell the papay them say we carry them to answer their own question and they took some of us to Talokan but before reaching one Krahn boy his name Santiago he was the commander in Swakan when we reached there they naked us and sit us down and the girls that were in the area started laughing at us, we were 19 in number my brother was there. They naked us and sit us in the down and from one thing to another they killed one of our friends. Then Junior say he was coming to kill us then he and one Ojuku started fighting on the arms until they took the arms form him and they put us outside and started beating us and later they put inside and we asked them for water and one boy ask let me see the Krahn person about you're here, he said who married Krahn woman here, and the boy say yes they say he must come outside when he was coming outside the pinch him and

They killed 5 out of 19.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: Where did all these happen?

Primary Witness: In Sawo Kalokan under certain plum.

Commissioner Stewart: who was responsible for what happened to you?

Primary Witness: MODEL

Who was the commander?

Primary Witness: Junior

Where is he now?

Primary Witness: Zwedru that Krahn boy

When did this happen?

Primary Witness: 2003

In what month?

Primary Witness: June

What else they did they do to the people in the town?

Primary Witness: Nothing

They beat people?

Primary Witness: Yes

They rape any girl in the town?

Primary Witness: They carry some girls from our town.

They force the girls to go with them?

Primary Witness: Yes big girls them.

They came back?

Primary Witness: Yes they came back but they spent 2 weeks there.

They force any anybody to join?

Primary Witness: No, nobody from our town join them.

They made people to tote their loads?

Primary Witness: Yes when they go, in your town, they take your things and you will tote it for them.

Commissioner Washington: do you have any experience beside that of 2003?

Primary Witness: No 1990 we ran to Cote D'Ivoire but the thing that make it we na run away is because they say the people was not excepting strangers again.

What happen to other members of your family?

Primary Witness: Yes, they are around.

Can you remember the name some of the five persons that were killed?

Primary Witness: Nimley Yulo, Emmett Kesseh. George Godfrey, Solomon Cooper, and Wolaf Fokan.

Do you think you can guess what age they were?

Primary Witness: They were my age except S
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