Fish Town City: Day 4

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The Forth Day of the TRC Public Hearings Proceedings held on Thursday February 28, 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, 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 his testimony.

Thirty-First Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Fish Town City River Gee County
Mary Toe
(First Primary Witness of day four)

The First 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, this is the opportunity for you to tell the people of River Gee County and the Commission your story.

What is your name?

Primary Witness: I am Mary Toe

Where were you born?

Primary Witness: I was born 1979

Where do you live?

Primary Witness: Live in Fishtown

Where do you work?

Primary Witness: Voluntary health worker at Fishtown clinic

Primary Witness: Thank you to you my story it was in 1990 when I was living in ELWA, my son was with me. Somebody's ID card was dropped and my son found it. It was one Ruth Toe ID Card. I said to him maybe has drop the ID card by mistake and may one day ask for it. It took it and put it in my bag. We left and went to soul clinic way. To get to Fendell Camps, and that time we spent sometimes with one Papay. The papay told me to follow him to go to Buchanan with him. I was carrying my sister daughter with too. This girl mother is Krahn woman. But at time

When we got to Fendell, they were charging people load, they saw my husband and I introduce the papay to my husband. We were passing through Dusa, and the Soldier boy checked in my bag and found the ID card of Ruth Toe which was the member of NDPL. So the people caught me, and they accused of being a Krahn woman and I say no, I am a Grebo woman. But they did believe me. When they caught the little child that was living with me, when the girl was asked whether I was her mother and she said yes. They tied me. They tied so hard that I couldn't move. They tied me and my husband. They started forcing my husband to say that I am a Krahn woman. And they said that if this woman dies, you will still get another woman. Because after the war, there will be more woman. We were tied from 8 in the morning. They said that you we will kill you and so we carry you to our commander.

When they reached me to the commander he said, "adjurer" and they loosen me. When they asked me again whether I was Krahn and I said no. then they tied me again they put it on number one. The soldiers stood on my tabbied hands and beat me further. After that they loosen me and decided to treat my husband. So they asked me whether I could read and write. So they told us to write story about ourselves on paper and if the stories were not the same, then they will kill us. By God grace, we wrote the same thing.

They were not still satisfied; they took me to the rubber farm, where there two body. One the body was still fresh. And they are you better than those people that are dead. They tortured me with knife. They tied my feet. At that time, as God would fix it, when I was going to be killed now one girl, whom was the girlfriend of the soldier that was carrying me to be killed, saw me and said that woman is not Krahn woman and then, then some of the people say to her. If you want for her to be saved, then you to go the commander, she ran to the commander and told him that I was not a Krahn woman. That girl husband was the one that was going to kill me. And she went there and then they loosen me at last.

Then I told my husband and said let's go I can't sleep here, before tonight before these people kill us I can't trust them at all. But my husband told me that it was late to go. When we were passing, the same soldiers that tabbay me, said that this the oldma that was tied. Some apologized to me. And the next morning we departed that area and went to Smell No Taste. So this is my story

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: thank you very much. We are very sorry for that bad treatment. You didn't deserve to be treated like for the things you went through. For them treating you for being Krahn and you were not. Even the Krahn was not to be killed. Even there can be only one president and that person will be one of the tribes of Liberia. So it was not right to treat anyone because he or she is a enemy's tribe.
It is wrong

Commissioner Bull: Thank you very much coming to the TRC to tell your story. It reminds of the song that say, this is my sorry, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long. So that lady in Dusa that gave you that sore medicine, the sore would have crippled you.

Commissioner Konneh: what you explained here is a lesson to all of us that we must stand by the truth when you talking you talked one thing but that one thing remind me of what my religion tells me. What was the thing that God say that you did was to speak the truth. You said God what I am saying if is the truth, the save me.

What happened to the little girl and where is she now?

Primary Witness: Nothing happened to her and she is still alive

Chairman: again we want to say thank you what the other commissioners want to say
Before you leave, what will be you last statement.

Primary Witness: I say I just want to say thank for you to come here. I just say thank to the TRC. The way I explained even though we have even though we have suffered, but it is good for this TRC process. It was few days ago when we were on the farm, before I told my son this story and. He say mama you suffered oh.

So I tell God thank you for you.

Commissioner Washington: How do you feel now after expressing your story?
I feel good

Thirty-Second Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Fish Town City River Gee County
John T. Cooper Sr.
(Second Primary Witness of day four)

The Second 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, this is the opportunity for you to tell the people of River Gee County and the Commission your story.

What is your name again?

Primary Witness: John T. Cooper Sr.

When were you born?

Primary Witness: I was born 1930

Where do you live?

Primary Witness: I live in Kanweaken River gee county

What are you doing presently?

Primary Witness: I am a teacher in Kanweaken Public school

It Friday April 5, 2003. General John Garran at 4:45pm got to my town, to meet with the elders and myself. He was guided by his soldiers and they asked us to stand 15ft away from him. He took up his pestle and my brother son who came from Ivory Coast that could not speak English. He asked the boy about the Citizen Defense Force. The boy could not response I stepped forward to assist the boy. Then he asked what I was doing and I said that I am trying to help him. And he said to me whether I wanted to die, and I said I am an old men and I should be the one you should kill. But not this boy that is to replace me. And he told me to step back. And so I moved back. He was still knocking the pestle on the boy's head. While he was still knocking the pestle on the boys head, I went to him to beg and he said do you still want to die?

He left the boy and went to the next fellow and looked in the bag of that boy and found ammunition and said to the boy where do you get the ammunition from and the boy told him that when Suah men were running away they left the ammunition behind and we found them. They tied the boys, they tabbayed them so much so I pleaded with them to loosen the 50 boys and they did. So my brother he started for Maryland and I said what will become of the people. At the end of the 2 day another group from Glaro , said that the people coming to capture the town, it never still too long they capture the town

When they reached our town and looted everything belonging to the people and then
Whatever you have home they carried all. I am a fisher man other people net that I was plating they carried all. And they also took my mattress. I said I will use it even when I died they will rap me in it. They collected all that we had. Referring to them as officer was like an insult and they will rain all type of insults on you. They accused us of planning to attack them the next day then they tabbay 16 men that morning. Then they went to a pastor's band and they asked him to give them all his rice in his band (tank) I went there and beg for the pastor, but they still don't listen to me. Before 6:30pm, they have ordered people to cross them the river. Before 6:00 o'clock the next morning the captured the town I have being pleading for the pastor, I believe that you people have different things here.That morning I paid 400 dollars before the release us. They hid themselves in the bush and when we reached where they were, they said halt, and we halted. And they said put your cutlass town. And I refuse, and told them that my cutlass is my tool I can use to make my farm and the road that you are now walking on. Just like your arms is useful to you. I cut some plantain I give it to them. But they refuse to take them. But after they were going then one of them took the plantain.

When they got back to the village and caught my wife and they tabbayed my wife telling her tomorrow morning, they will kill her and send my little daughter and said go call your mother's husband I told my daughter that I am not going there. If they want to kill her, then let them kill her, and told my daughter not even to go back. And they later loosened her. The next day they went on Wesley Kollie farm and tied his nuts and the man cried just as an animal on a trap. The set the whole kitchen of rice on fire and he was not release until the fire was down. That all that happened to us during the war.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: Thank you for coming to testify. The commissioners will now ask you some question to get some clarity on your statements.

Commissioner Konneh: You did not call the name and age the son of your brother, what is the name and age of him?

Primary Witness: his name is Dedieh Nyepan, he was 22 years

The 56 persons that they tabby, do you remember their names?

Primary Witness: Yes, will write most of them down on paper to present the names to the TRC.

Did they kill any body?

Primary Witness: No

Were people were Recruited?

Primary Witness: No

Was any girl taken to be their wives by force?

Primary Witness: They were not forced. But these girls took upon themselves to the soldiers

Were some of the girls were under age?

Primary Witness: Yes

Do you know the name of any of the girls that were under age when they became the wives of these soldiers?

Primary Witness: No, but one of my brother's daughter married to one of the soldiers, Dadieh Nyepah, but I can't remember her name right now.

Commissioner Syllah: What was the reason for them to treat them?

Primary Witness: They said that the children created defense force and the second is that when he found ammunition in on of the children's bag

Commissioner Dolopei: Do you know the name of any of the soldiers that were there at the time?

Primary Witness: Only one, I don't know his name, but he married to my brother's daughter.

Commissioner Washington: what happened to your nephew from Ivory Coast that could not understand English?

Primary Witness: He too was tabbayed, but he was saved

Including the all the 50 boys too?

Primary Witness: Yes

What happened to the man which they tied his private part?

Primary Witness: he was also loosened and saved.

Commissioner Steward: which of the faction did this to them?

Primary Witness: It was MODEL

What was the year was it in 2003?

Primary Witness: Yes

You said the soldiers' tabbayed boys, men and your wife. Did they tabbay you too?

Primary Witness: No

Did they burn your town and or building?

Primary Witness: No, only on the village

How many kitchens did they burn?

Primary Witness: Only one

Did they force any one to tote their load.?
Primary Witness: Yes, for telling them to not tote their load, we the elders were threatened and they said that for using our children to tote their loads, if it was not good then they will do bad to us all.

Were woman including in the tabbay?

Primary Witness: No, they never tie any woman beside my wife.

How long do they still in the town?

Primary Witness: I don't know the length of time, but they stay long there.

Why do they leave your town?

Primary Witness: they used to cut down our plantains and picked our coconut, and we were feeling them, but May our food went low or other reason best known to them.

Commissioner Bull: Thank you for coming to tell your story. Were like that when the people came or you are physically like that?

Primary Witness: No, just from old age and that how I being, one night when I was visiting my children I got chloride, and after the treatment, I became like this

Chairman: Mr. Cooper, we want to tell you Thank you for sharing your experience with us. Your coming has added flavor to our work.

Before you leave is there your last words

Primary Witness: Thank you I feel happy so much the TRC. And for the time for me to be in such occasion in all my life I like to express what is the truth, so I pray that what has happened should be something in the passed. When I was swearing to the Bible I thought that I have always believed in truth telling. So that forgiveness as the Bible said we should forgive others for God to help us to forget the wicked pass and we will never revenge but forget the pass. So thank you.

Listing of those that were tied (tabbayed)
Gibreal Y. FreemanChristian K. BarleyJohn KessehPolee NyanawinIsaac C. WessehDanie Nyepah
Dardieh NyenpanStephen N. BarleyGbofia KessehMoses K. DardiehChea Wesseh
Jerry WeahJallah GbeahDaniel T. BayeeKwia TokpaBarley Nyanawin
Jackson T. SloponBarley B. MannieOratus Y. BarleyGarreston BoleeBryonoh Cooper
Dickson W. BarlayJohn Y. WessehSagen C. ColeeRobert C. BoleeIrvin Dweh
John Q. FreemanAuther WilliamsKlaa T. SegbeKuwie CropenJ. Kwie Cooper
Klaa CooperAmos WilliamsJeremiah WessenAnthony HneRancy Wesseh
Wesley D. CooperWesley N. ColeeKese NyenpahPhilip JesseyThomas Barley
Otabious JarpeeSamuel N. NyanawinNazolee Toe SoporWilliam YoloSlopor Williams
Chalatus BarleyPaul S. NattySylvester NyanawinJames HneDavid D. Yoweh

Thirty-Second Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Fish Town City River Gee County
Tiseray Quaye-Chair
(Third Primary Witness of day four)

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.

Chairman: Good morning and welcome to the TRC, this is the opportunity for you to tell the people of River Gee County and the Commission your story.

Do you know when you were born?

Primary Witness: I was born may 1st 1961.

Where do you live?

Primary Witness: I live in Jaroken.

What are you doing?

Primary Witness: I am a teacher.

Primary Witness: On September 2nd 1990, Sunday this incidence occurred. One Johnson Kunabo . He said something happed at Surobu but I can't understand it. He said I saw two boys who said they want to buy goat. I decide to walk them. I walked them half way and stopped and then and told them good bye. When I arrival one soldier tapped me on the back and he said you don't know you talking to the general? Then I said yes, sir. They asked me if rebels in the town. I said no. They said if we see rebels in town, you the first we will kill. So we started going with me leading them. When we were going, one of the them felt in the water /river. We reach and I was talking off my shirt a piece of chalk dropped and they believe I was a teacher. I searched of the LRA gun that dropped in the water and I found it, then we resumed the trip. When we approached the town, their commander halted and asked me four times whether there were rebels in the town. I said no. they said if it proved otherwise, they were going to make me the first to die. They said let's go to town. We went and they told me to tell all the town people to come together in our dialect, Krahn but these boys were Krahn, but wanted to see weather I could say something different so I called and all the people came the crow was large more then this. And the commander said, we are the remaining soldiers we are here to guard your, but if you allow any soldiers in this town we will killed all of you in this town. After that, they demand for rice and others. We brought the rice and they told us to escort them. We were there until Feb. 17, when we heard the gun sound Tutu: then I told my wife that shooting thing was coming. Then I say a bright light. It was a house on fire. Then they came to my house and the general said put fire:. They set fire on my house. My fathers cried out say oh, my son come and help me. I need help; when I went there it was late. They carried us. The next day we went to see the corpses. My father's body was burnt. There were bodies altogether including five children. After nine months we returned to build tents then they met us again and to us to give them food .and two goats. We give one bag of rice.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: We want to tell you thank you for coming to explain your tragic experience?

Commissioner Konneh: Thank you

Commissioner Syllah: Thank you

Commissioner Washington: Were the soldiers the same AFL soldiers?

Primary Witness: Yes

Commissioner Stewart: What was the name of the soldier who dropped the LAR gun in the river?

Primary Witness: Alex

How did they kill all those people?

Primary Witness: They were all shot only my father was burnt.

Commissioner Bull: Why was your father sitting in the house and could not come outside, was he tied?

Primary Witness: No, he couldn't walk. He was old.

Chairman: What were the names of the people that were killed - the five children, the three women, the three men?

Primary Witness: Names of father:
Henry Aeah _________ NO. Of children -2
Peter Waplo-_________ No of children _ 1
Henry The____________ No. of children _ 1
Simpson Suehn_________ No of children _ 1

1.Sarah Corwoh
2. Beatrice
3. Nancy Saypo

2.Quaye Chanico
2. David Watlo
3. Africa Tarwole

End of Day Four of the TRC Public Hearings River Gee County

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