Zwedru City: Day 3

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The Third Day of the TRC Public Hearings Proceedings held on Wednesday March 5, 2008 at the Zwedru City Hall, Grand Gedeh 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.

Nineteenth Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Zwedru City Grand Gedeh County
Amelia Zaye Zee
(First Primary Witness of day three)

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 madam witness. We thank you for coming we also want to announced that we have some guests so beg that you just wait small we will talk to our guest and introduced them, madam Deputy SRG and members of the working group ICGL and members of UNMIL security and civilian staff, on behalf of the commissioners we want to recognize your presence and extend complement not only for the previous support but for your traveling this far in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh to witness these proceedings is a show of your moral support to the process and we assure you that the commission is committed to the accomplishment of its mandate as established by the TRC acts we have done these process in Maryland, Grand Kru, River Gee and after this one Grand Gedeh, we will proceed at the end of the week to Sinoe County and then we take an official one week break as per the schedule initially released. We have been welcome every where we went by the citizens sometimes attendance is slow and sometimes overwhelmed with attendance but there have been no shortage of witness the people for whom these processes are intended as far as giving their testimonies and understanding the process. As you are here today you will hear from your first witness Amelia Zaye Sey. We have three days for individual hearings Monday to Wednesday and we have targeted 30 witnesses per county meaning an average of 10 witnesses a day expect for Maryland where we had 29 witnesses, we had more than 30 in river gee and Grand Kru, in river gee alone we heard 38 cases and there were other witnesses who were turned down because we were overwhelmed and the day was long. So tomorrow Thursday we will be having a seminar with the children where we dialogue with on the TRC process and their experience and we use that day also in the county to address a particular window case - a case that of particular interest to the entire county. We do visitations to those sites, visit hosts communities and dialogue with them and then on Friday we conduct institution and some thematic hearings. In Maryland County we heard from the youth, the women, from the office of the superintendent, we heard from the judiciary they formally come forward to present a formal partition highlighting the concerns in that particular sectors and their recommendation to the TRC. Fortunately we had a junior senator in Maryland who also had a formal presentation and a period of questions and answer followed like any other witness they take the oath to talk the truth and then in Grand Kru we had similar things but there was a spectacle where an ex-fighter came forward and eventually admitted and apologize and asked for forgiveness and the woman whose husband was killed because he did the initial arrest and took him over and was never seen until his body was found accepted his apology and spoke open heartedly on reconciling with him. Secondly, commissioners who dare brave the 5 hours drive to a village, because the traditional elders were there and they say the TRC ceremonies were not sufficient and that their have to some traditional ceremony, the community needs to receive him. So four commissioners braved the 5 hours drive from the capital city Fishtown to the village to explain the TRC process we got there around 7 o clock in the night we had to cross a river in canoe some of us it was our first time to ride canoe I was particularly encourage when Sheikh was the first to jump on the canoe we all follow and we went and have the ceremonies and the community was warm welcoming they presented a gift to us they asked us to stay but we had to come to Grand Gedeh so we could not stay we left by 9:00 in the evening and so far there have positive response from the community there have been no negativity towards the work. We are happy that - that had happened and we have come this far.

There have been media reports of what is a problem at the commission. We first admit that the commission is human driven and there are times where emotions flare which may amount to misconduct but that did not in anyway affect our operations and the work of the commission on that very day when the commissioners had their private meeting ended abruptly because tensions were high we went ahead and continue our proceedings at river gee and that was on Friday and on Saturday we proceed to the village and we returned on Sunday to begin hearings here in Grand Gedeh.

On the first day of the hearings we heard from 10 witnesses yesterday we heard from 9 witnesses, we hope to hear from 11 witnesses today and this the first of the 11 witnesses we hope to hear from today. We want to tell you thanks you again for coming to these proceedings, we try to make our process has natural as possible so we interact with the witnesses so we asked to be relaxed to understand the value of their testimonies, we may not rebuild their houses we may not fix the roads, but they know they are contributing to a national duty for healing and reconciliation. While you are I hope you will hear for yourself we hope your high presence will not intimidate them we will be as natural as possible thank you for coming thanks for the support, the commissioners are here and I hope they all appreciate that you can take up your basic schedule to join us to see what it is. We understand that you could not come to Maryland and Grand Kru perhaps because of the remoteness and all of that or you were giving us time to settle and get adjusted the more we do the more we get better our methods our procedure are improving and we are very satisfied with what we have accomplished up to date and that ordinary victims sense the value out of the process thank you very much- if you have anything to say we would appreciate to hear from you

Speech of the Deputy SRG of UNMIL: the Chairman, distinguished commissioners, distinguished members of the ICGL working group, senior UNMIL official, ladies and gentlemen. It is a great pleasure for us to be here today to insure our support for the work you are doing and to solidarize with you during these county hearings we know that it is when you move from your regular habitat to sit else where there are strains there are stresses we are glad that you are managing all of those and you are carrying on the processes for which the people of Liberia gave such massive trust we are glad that you have been able to give healing to some people, some reconciliation in some communities, you may not achieve all of that during your mandate but once you started the process it is a function of time people will heal and they will be able to go forward with their lives. The members of the ICGL working group are here because we don't want to be disruptive I wont say anything other than to urge you to keep up with good work I will let them if they would want to say anything to you so that you can go on because we don't want to disrupt your process. I must say I wont be able to stay here for very long because I have to visit other parts of the Rule of Law sectors that also waiting for the visit but I think some for the members will leave with you as long as they can....the ICGL members say the work you are doing is more important so that what they have to say.
Chairman: Thank you very much, Amelia thank you for bearing patience with us all of the people whom we have just spoken to are responsible for the peace process in Liberia the are here in Liberia to help us make sure that the current peace that we enjoy will last for long time and to assist us to reconcile us among ourselves and this the same reason whey you have come to the TRC to tell us what you know what you saw.

Primary Witness: During the 2003 war I was in Nimba county the place where the Nimba Krahn closer to the Gio in that time they say the Krahn boys then was fighting the war and they were coming from Ivory Coast then the Gio people that were near our town they will put our father them on the sun and put chalk on them we were in he bush we never had any soap we used to wash our clothes with hot water. So my friends say they found some kind of road to go Ivory Coast and I told them say if I tell my father he will not allow me to go so your lets go and we went. Then one Alfred Gbah he had his people behind him then he went to my father say oh I heard that your daughter go Ivory Coast so that your the conniver them then my father say oh my daughter not tell me any thing then he say your daughter here with you then she will go somewhere and not tell you then they took my father and his big brother and beat them blood came down from his nose and my father fainted then they put in jail then and he started begging them say your know I pastor I am not a conniver still they say they will kill him then he say if your still kill me then your carry me behind my church and that's how they carried him and killed him. My father his name Dennis Zaye Zee they killed him behind his church, he and his brother and my brother then the other member of our family scattered then those that went to Ivory Coast when they see me they can turn their face from me when I asked them where is my father they don't want to tell me then some people came and told me that they killed my father and other people.

Then after the war 2003, my brother went for my father bones because they burnt my family and they went to collect the bones and then the town people took cutlass for brothers again and started running behind them that how the UNMIL intervened and that I say thing is getting too much. Then my brother went to old town, so that I left from there because so long I there I will always be crying and that how I came back here to live here on my own I stop in the ninth grade.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: Where did this happen?

Primary Witness: A town between Grand Gedeh and Nimba called Yougbor.

Which faction they belonged to?

Primary Witness: They say the Charles Taylor group.

What is the name of your brother?

Primary Witness: Augustus Zaye Zee.

Commissioner Konneh: what was the reason they went to your town and started catching your people like your father?

Primary Witness: They say we were Krahn.

Was their any confusion before the war b/w the Krahn and Gio?

Primary Witness: They say during the 1990 war they say the Krahn and Gio had problem but me I don't know since that time anytime war come they can go for us.

How did you get the message that your father was killed?

Primary Witness: That the people who came to Ivory Coast and my mother too she came from the bush.

Where is your mother now?

Primary Witness: She is married in Nimba, she is married there.

Were you able to know the names of some of the people that were involved with the killing of your father and brother?

Primary Witness: I know their big man commander Alfred Gbah.

Was Alfred Gbah man a soldier?

Primary Witness: We used to always see arm with him they say he was ATU

Who were giving your people hard time when they went to collect your father's bone?

Primary Witness: The same Gio people the whole town they took up cutlass against my brothers.

What is the name of the town?

Primary Witness: Yoogborway new town.

Where is your brother now?

Primary Witness: They say he gone Monrovia.

What is his name?

Primary Witness: Habakkuk Zaye Zee.

Commissioner Syllah: did the people tell how they killed your father?

Primary Witness: They say the people sharpen the stick and juke the stick in him until he died.

What age were you?

Primary Witness: About 18 or 19

Since the death of your father how have that affected your live?

Since then I have not gone to school I am just sitting down doing nothing.

Commissioner Coleman: what was your father name?

Primary Witness: Dennis Zaye Zee

What tribe was he?

Primary Witness: Krahn

What was your mother name?

Primary Witness: Beatrice Zaye Zee

Which group she was from?

Primary Witness: Krahn tribe

What time did this happen?

Primary Witness: During the MODEL war.

They were fighting the MODEL people?

Primary Witness: Yes.

And they decide to attack the people in the town even though they were not fighting?

Primary Witness: Yes

Was your father fighting for the MODEL group?

Primary Witness: No he was a pastor

What was your people experience with LPC war?

Primary Witness: I just heard about them I did not see them were in Ivory Coast.

Commissioner Dolopei: when UNMIL talk the case what happen?

Primary Witness: My brothers collected the bone

What your did with the bones?

Primary Witness: They buried it.


Primary Witness: In old town.

How many people you think they killed?

Primary Witness: My mother brother and others that I don't know them but they were all Krahn.

How many people?

Primary Witness: They were more than 50 I can say.

What is your uncle name?

Primary Witness: Ndoh

Commissioner Washington: what happened to your uncle?

Primary Witness: They killed him too.

The man who killed your father was he living in the town before the war?

Primary Witness: He was there before the war.

You know him?

Primary Witness: Yes I know him; he was giving us hard time before we run away to Ivory Coast.

You know how long he was their before the war?

Primary Witness: They say he was there before the 1990 war.

Was he the commander of those that did this to you in the town?

Primary Witness: He was the commander of the government fighters there.

Did they have other commander in the area?

Primary Witness: They had other commanders in the area but I forgetting their names.

Did they tell you how many people were involving in the killing your father and others that died with him?

Primary Witness: I don't know their number in all.

You think they were one 2 or 3?

Primary Witness: Yes he has his body guard and all.

You know how long they kept them before they killed them?

Primary Witness: When they catch them first they carry them to their town and put them in jail , the beat him and blood came from his nose and that how he fainted and the next day the that's how they carry him behind the church and sharpen the stick and juke it in him.

Commissioner Stewart: who was the chief of this town?

Primary Witness: The old and new towns had their own paramount chief the Krahn people and Gio people had their own chiefs.

They burnt house in the town?

Primary Witness: Yes

They looted anything?

Primary Witness: Yes, they took all our things.

What all they carried?

Primary Witness: The carried my brother motto bike, and they carry my father money he was keeping to send us to school in Monrovia..

They looted other places too?

Primary Witness: Yes allover.

They force their selves on any girls on the town?

Primary Witness: Yes, that the thing that made us to run away he wanted my sister and my sister did not agree that's how we went Ivory Coast.

They took some girls with them?

Primary Witness: Yes plenty.

The people the carry did some of them come back?

Primary Witness: No they not come back.

Where were you when UNMIL talk the palaver?

Primary Witness: I was in Ivory Coast.

How many of them they carried?

Primary Witness: About 20 girls

You know their names?

Primary Witness: I was small but I can remember some of them like Judia, and Sehyenneh.

How big they were at the time?

Primary Witness: They were bigger than me

They did tell the UNMIL people were taken and never brought back?

Primary Witness: No

Where your father church was?

Primary Witness: He was the pastor for the old town for the Baptist church they killed him behind the church.

So how is the relating now between your town and the gio town?

Primary Witness: They say they reconcile the problem the gio people can come in our area to buy and do their little contract.

How they reconcile?

Primary Witness: They say that UNMIL people talk between them.

So boys and girls can make friends in the two towns?

Primary Witness: I don't know anything about it because I can't go there

Did the people of the two towns fight before?

Primary Witness: Yes in the 1990 war they came again and Alfred Gbah killed my aunty brother and that's how they been living from that time to the time UNMIL talked between them.

Where is Alfred Gbah now?

Primary Witness: Some people say he is in Monrovia and some people say he got sick and died.

What year the talk this palaver?

Primary Witness: I think that around 2004 or 5.

Primary Witness: Last word: I want the TRC to help go to school and my children I have two children my daughter is three years, and a seven months old baby, I am also facing food problem I am alone here and no one here helping me so that what I get to tell the TRC.

You have two children?

Primary Witness: Yes

Where is the father?

Primary Witness: He is here, but he is not working he is a student

Chairman: We want to recognize the presence of Dr. Shalon Abaka. Good morning and welcome. We extend the welcome to those who have come along with you the gentleman and the lady whom we do not know. This the third of the TRC public hearings in Grand Gedeh county we have the entire week from Monday to Friday then we have Saturday and Sunday as travel time to the next county. After Grand Gedeh we move to Sinoe County and the commission takes one week break. We have done Maryland, Grand Kru, River Gee and this fourth county. We say thank you for coming visit with us these activities in this interior part of the country we hope that you find your time pleasant. Thank you and you are welcome.

Dr. Shalon Abaka: Thank you very much, eh Mr. Chairman, distinguished commissioners, distinguished allege victims, indeed today is the day the lord has made as far as I am concerned. I have long been waiting for this day. My heart jumped with joy when I was informed in Ghana that indeed that the hearings have started. I have to report to the UN in Geneva about the human rights situation in Liberia. There is a lot of interest in my report on the works of the TRC of Liberia and therefore although I have a very short time to be back in Geneva, for it was utmost important that I come to Liberia to physically witness what is going here before I present my report to Geneva next week and this is the reason why I thank God for me to come here. Even at this stage I really want thank you the commission for having come thus far and this would have almost impossible without the team work because due to the collaboration of the international community and because of what we all expect the TRC to achieve, thank you very much and I can assure you that all that I am witnessing today will be part of my report to the UN, thank you very much.

Twentieth Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Zwedru City Grand Gedeh County
Tolbert S. Togba
(Second Primary Witness of day three)

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 public hearings and for taking up your time to come to the hearings to tell your story to the people of Liberia, Grand Gedeh County and the Commissioners of the TRC.

What is your name again?

Primary Witness: My name is Tolbert S. Togba.

When were you born?

Primary Witness: I was born 1971.

What are you doing now?

Primary Witness: I make my farm; I plant my rice and cavassa, plantains.

Primary Witness: Good after noon to all TRC family I am here to tell your what been affected me in the war. During the war time I was small but use to take some things in my mind. When the war started, we the Krahn people used to face hard ship under the Nimba people. So that time, we the Krahn people get to be under them. So I took my people in the bush. I went with my father. We were surfing never had any salt in the bush. So we the men in the bush decided to find some trees in the bush to make with salt. We were eating garbage. We were dying from this. So when we were there one commander called General Gonganu I was not there but went to go looked for palm. General Gunganu gave order that they should find any Krahn man around. So they came and tied us put us in rope and they told us to go with them. They took me and forced me to join them so I joined them I was part of them. Then I came back to look for my pa but he was not there. When I asked they told me that the commander who graphed your people is not here you have to wait for them. So I say if I can't fight for these people, then I will die at last. So I say I will run away. I went in the rubber bush. When the people came I was happy, so I was happy, that's how I join LPC. The LPC was not bad. They did not do bad things. During LPC war I did not suffered. That is how I join army.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: You left your family and went and since you have not seen then, what was name of the people you left behind?

Primary Witness: Yes.

What was your experience?

Primary Witness: Well, I thank God I did not get hurt.

What year was that?

Primary Witness: 1997.

Who was your commander?

Primary Witness: One Stone.

You stayed in LPC until?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Commissioner Bull: How old were you when the general came and recruited you?

Primary Witness: I was 19years.

After you went on the front line, who did you hit?

Primary Witness: I can't tell because on the front line you only know about yourself.

What tribe was in LPC group?

Primary Witness: Thank you for that question but the LPC people say they were not coming for tribe, they only came to fight those who were giving the Liberia people hard time.

Did any of you rape any girl, while you were with LPC?

Primary Witness: Well, I can say, because on the front every body goes their own way.

Primary Witness: Some times when the commander time reached they can tell you the time.

Did any soldiers say to any girl that they wanted them?

Primary Witness: Well I did not see that because we had different assignment.

Did you see any of them in your group who ask them to join?

Primary Witness: No. It was your own willing mind

Did you have any fighting name?

Primary Witness: Beer

Why Beer?

Primary Witness: Because I like to feel cool, I like to take beer for me to feel cool so I don't feel bad about my people who they killed.

Could you tell us if any of your colloquies took any other thing to feel good?

Primary Witness: No.

Commissioner Bull: Could you give us any other fighting name?

Primary Witness: Yes, I get Trouble in the back, Double trouble, Bullet control

Do you know their really name?

Primary Witness: No

Commissioner Stewart: Did they tell you what happen to your mother when you came back?

Primary Witness: No.

What kind of training did you take?

Primary Witness: No training

How many years?

Primary Witness: Two years

Where did you fight?

Primary Witness: Kakata.

1991 where were you?

Primary Witness: In Sinoe

When did you join LPC?

Primary Witness: 1994, I joined NPFL first then later joined LPC. Because I was in Sinoe County.

What kind of warpon did you use?

Primary Witness: LAR in NPFL.

Have you disarmed?

Primary Witness: No, I came and they told me it was finished and that they will come back to check.

Did you fight Model war?

Primary Witness: No I did not.

Commissioner Washington: Please tell us which area in Grand Gedeh you fight?

Primary Witness: Zwedru. Self, self.

What was your role and position in the war?

Primary Witness: I was operator

What was the relationship with the civilians?

Primary Witness: I did not like harassment.

What was your support when you fought for LPC?

Primary Witness: George Borlay.

Did he come by plan or car?

Primary Witness: Well I can't tell because you had to be on guard

Your commander was general Stone. Is there any other name?

Primary Witness: No.

Is he old or young?

Primary Witness: Yes he is old.

What were some other activities you were in besides fighting?

Primary Witness: I used to go on snake patrol.

Did you loot for food?

Primary Witness: No. Some people used to take upon themselves to bring us food

How did you get your supplies for NPFL?

Primary Witness: Supply use to be right behind us in car.

Who used to bring it to you?

Primary Witness: Gonganu the general

Which direction?

Primary Witness: From Nimba.

You said Charles Taylor used to supplied arms, did you ever interact with him

Primary Witness: No, only his general Guuganu.

Tell us how you're used to control civilians to avoid casualties?

Primary Witness: We used to announce that civilians must go one side, but you who not go then you want die.

So if civilian did not adhere to your commander then it means they were to be blame?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Did you also see some boys been recruited like you?

Primary Witness: Yes. One boy name Tolbert.

How old was Tolbert?

Primary Witness: 16-17

Did they have child soldiers fighting alone?

Primary Witness: Yes, plenty, plenty of them.

Did many of them get killed?

Primary Witness: Yes, many.

Did they have girls too?

Primary Witness: Yes because you had to do so for your own safety.

How is your relationship with the community since you were fighting for LPC and assigned here?

Primary Witness: It depends on how I been living with them.

How did you do this?

Primary Witness: When I hear any body say that the beer man this , I came the next day to tell you that it was not my fault, but when water waste you can't get it back.

Where there any other time you took assignment in any area?

Primary Witness: No.

Have you ever try to locate you family?

Primary Witness: No.

Commissioner Dolepei: Thank you for coming to TRC and have my sympathy for the death of your people presumed death. Did you say to the statement takers that your mother was missing? Have you found them?

Primary Witness: No.

How did you get in contact with NPFL when they abducted you?

Primary Witness: During the village attack.

What did you tell them to do with your parents?

Primary Witness: I told them to take care of my parents.

How long you stayed with NPFL?

Primary Witness: To give account is hard but I think is two years

Can you call the name of your father and your mother?

Primary Witness: Barclay Togba and Annie Togba

How long did you stay with the NPFL?

Primary Witness: About 2 years.

The general Gunganu used to go to war himself?

Primary Witness: Yes, I used to be close to him.

What are some of the things that he did to civilian?

Primary Witness: Bad. He used to tie civilian s to say they must show him where the Krahn people were.

When did you join LPC?

Primary Witness: 1994.

What was your rank?

Primary Witness: No rank, only those who join first, only when we captured Grand Gedeh before I got rank.

What was your rank when your entered Grand Gedeh?

Primary Witness: I was a big general for myself.

Can you explain snake patrol?

Primary Witness: Yes. When we used to see people with their things, we will say give me but when you act bad then my own of the bad will get there.

So it means you used to do bad to civilians?

Primary Witness: Yes. When you do me then I do you.

Where was your front line?

Primary Witness: Zwedru field, behind Doe's house.

Commissioner Coleman: I must say sorry for the lost of your parents. You said they were looking for the Krahn people, How come you did die where you special?

Primary Witness: I was not special, but some body will like you in any group.

While with LPC, did you ever come in contact with your friends?

Primary Witness: When LPC came they told us with there willing mind to fight and never forced us.

Did you ever tell the LPC people that you were an NPFL fighter?

Primary Witness: I did not tell until we captured the area. Then I told them I did tell them say oh gentlemen that it oh we the one who did it before.

What was the situations like?

Primary Witness: No, they were not burdening us.

Did you feel that Taylor coming was for good reasons?

Primary Witness: Yes but when he was going to take people and say or give every body their position back them it was going to be alright.

NPFL said they were coming to liberate your. Did you need to be liberated?

Primary Witness: Things were alright before 1990.

Did any of the two groups pay you soldiers for what you were doing?

Primary Witness: No, your pay that your death.

Was there any thing bad been done during Doe's time.

Primary Witness: No. 1988 I was going to school.

Was there any salary?

Primary Witness: No, there was no salary.

Commissioner Syllah: Thanks for coming to share your experience with us and have my sympathy for your parents. How did you join the people?

Primary Witness: They captured me during the village attack but I used to act smart like the small animal tabadu, when you touch me so I will go so.

Where did you take your military training?

Primary Witness: No, training them only showed us how to open the gun and close it back.

Now that the war is over, have you gone to somebody to apologize?

Primary Witness: But no body has ever told me that I did bad to them.

Where civilians well protected?

Primary Witness: Yes, civilians were protected.

Did you see them killing people?

Primary Witness: Yes, Doe remaining group.

How are your other brothers and sisters?

Primary Witness: They are in Monrovia.

Commissioner Konneh: How do you want the TRC commissioners to classify you as peppertrees or victims?

Primary Witness: Thank you, during the explanation, I told your that but its' left with you. But I feel I was a fighter.

What was the position, rank of both your leaders in NPFL and LPC?

Primary Witness: They were both generals.

What did you understand during your fighting as to the declaration of the both groups?

Primary Witness: When the LPC came they say they were only going to liberate the people, but NPFL people were bad and wicked.

Was NPFL fighting in patriotism?

Primary Witness: LPC was good, but NPFL was bad.

Do you feel proud as an old soldier now?

Primary Witness: Yes,

NPFL were National Patriotic front [appealing name]

LPC were Liberia Peace council [appealing name] but this fighting represents their names?

Primary Witness: LPC was good, but NPFL was bad.

Chairman: You said you had five children?

Primary Witness: Yes

Are you marry?

Primary Witness: Yes, clear, clear.
During your testimony, you say you want peace. But did you killed?

Primary Witness: Well on the front line I will say yes, but fire replay fire. But you say I killed civilian no, no.

Did you force any girl?

Primary Witness: No.

Did you rape?

Primary Witness: No, pappy no, 100% I do that one.

NPFL, LPC did they take any prisoners?

Primary Witness: Yes, LPC

You said you have not disarmed, and you were a general. Where is the arm?

Primary Witness: The arms were not enough. I did not have arms at last.

Did you have power?

Primary Witness: Yes.

What your did with them?

Primary Witness: Those who were good we left them to cut palm nuts etc but those who were bad, man [laughter] you bad man you meet up with bad man.

Is there any Last word you have for the Commission and the people of Liberia?

Primary Witness: I want to say thank you to TRC back I can look at my friend and say sorry because all fingers are not equal. But the war we fought like all bad gone be bad gone, so we say bring up our children.

Twenty-first Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Zwedru City Grand Gedeh County
Oliver Nyantoe Wah
(Third Primary Witness of day three)

The Third 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. 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.

When were you born?

Primary witness: March 19 1985

Where do you live?

Primary witness: New Zwedru

What do you do?

Primary witness: I am a student in the 11th grade.

Primary Witness: Since I was born though I was small 1990 but from 1995 I became to experience war. 1994 when the LPC entered our area in Gbeapo district in River Gee County they went 3 times they never did anything but on the 4th time our own brothers them joined the LPC and took the rebel to my pa village and that's the time they did the bad things.

They did the killings on May 5 1995 before the LPC could enter my pa village it is my own brother that we all live together in the same community it was on Sunday the people entered my pa village but that on Saturday when they went to my par village my mother cook food for them when they were going and they say because the war was coming so they were just passing around and they say from here we ourselves we will be going to Ivory Coast, then Sunday morning they went back on the same village then I ask them say but ehn your say your going then what your doing here now then they say maybe that Monday we will go now. Then I took rubber gun to go kill birds when while there I saw some people they were crawling coming with guns so I run away on the village I told the people what I saw and they say I was lying so I left it and move from side them before I could come to my self the people took over the whole village then I started running then one of them caught me then he say we not doing anything to your I will tell my friends not to do any thing to you, then myself I started creeping coming to the village before I came to myself my big sister that I next to they grab my sister and they cut her feet and hands and stated raping her. That day they killed 37 persons on my pa village then they left then among them that one person left in the village and he the one after he finish killing my mother he rape my mother and then he wrote on the door that I the Devil Son. When they left I was getting late then I started calling my mother say my ma I want eat but no body could answered me by then I was after eight in the evening but before the rebel came the were cooking in the kitchen so I went in the kitchen it was after 9 or 10 then I wanted to sleep so I went among the dead bodies and slept then the next morning I could not see anyone so I took cutlass and clean the bush and my little sister body that I could able I was there up to 12 then the information leaked and the people from the Taebo District came and help me to buried the people. Then the war finish I came here in 1996 then I came I see my friends going to school then I had two friends I told that I wanted to go to school so your help but then they give me cutlass and say since I can cut palm nut I should do so that I can support myself to school. And I supported my self to school until 2003 I was in the 6th grade.

So we were in class when we heard that MODEL was coming, then I say what they called MODEL then they say that war then I say ok the people that killed my ma I forget about everything then war coming again so I will see what to do. The uniform was on me from our school to the village was 2 hours 30 minutes so I say am going back to the village that Thursday morning I was there until the evening hours and I started sharing tears. Since it happen in this case I coming revenge those that killed my people we all the same family and we all in this Kaweakan and those that did this they are all my brother and sister so I will do it to them so every body will feel it then MODEL left Zwedru and enter our place but before then I say since Taylor people here I will join them and those that killed my people I will kill them too. The Taylor forces came from Maryland way. I was with them then the woman who I was stopping with her name Theresa Guweh and I told here I was joining to revenge for my people then woman started crying about two weeks I left from in front her she never saw me. Then in that process the government troop brought guns then they say ehn you want to join here gun here. That Sunday morning they put us in the pickup to come attack Zwedru, I was happy say when I come back those who did those things to me I will do it to them too. I think for long the person who did that to my ma he is my family brother and I saw his sister and mother passing I called and asked them where your going the woman for her she knows about the story her whole spirit died in her then I look at them and drop the gun, the government forces the big man the called Suah Debbleh he from River Gee from Putuken he asked what happen I say I don't want to fight something happen my stomach running I drop the gun and they left whether they go or not I don't know. Then I came back home then May 11 the MODEL entered our village they entered Kaweakan then my friends that were encouraging me to go to school they ran to their parent village myself I found means and went to them I spent three days with them in the village. The next day MODEL made announcement that we not here to killed so your come outside then we started coming then while coming the government forces were still on the road and ask us where your going we say since MODEL coming that's why we escaping, then the same Suah Debbleh man say ehn that you here ehn you say you not going to fight and that you here na then he say we will kill you they grabbed and tied me then I say I beg your. In my presence my friends that were encouraging me to go to school they slaughtered them like someone killing cow or chicken then I say what kind of business here they people here now killed my parents and now my friends then I think my self I have join the war then still they say they will kill me and your killed me the same way your killed my parents now me I loose hope I spoke our dialect to Suah because that Grebo man and the other man that took the people to my pa village they called his country name Emeh I say Emeh ehn that all of your went and killed my people so your kill me too no problem then he say my pekin it happen it happen that "saladoe" I say ok since that saladoe then your kill me. Then one Krahn boy was among them then he say my man that your country boy here I will be here you kill him and they started arguing among their selves and that how they left me and I went home. I never had any body so I walk from the village to come here in Zwedru I spent one week three days on the road walking I came here it was my first time I slept in the market hall for three days before one of my uncles called Jonas Sardin he was working with Merllin he look for me and found me he too I spent three days with him and he pass away too. I started struggle on my own and I started making friends in the school I was going and they are the ones helping me now.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: When your parents died?

Primary Witness: 1995

Who all died from your family?

Primary Witness: My father, sister, mother and other family members about 37 persons.

What is your mother name?

Primary Witness: Phebe Wah

Your father?

Primary Witness: Anderson Wah

All happen in Kaweakan?

Primary Witness: Yes the same day

Your sister?

Primary Witness: Dorris Wah.
How old was she?

Primary Witness: She was borne 1979

You know some of those that did this to your village?

Primary Witness: The main man I can remember they call him Emeh, the man who took the rebels to our village. The last time self I met him at the parking he is driving a bus but he only stop here he cant go Kaweakan with his car.

Can remember the particular number on the car?

Primary Witness: I can't remember because my temper was rising when I saw him.

What is Emeh family?

Primary Witness: His mother still in the village.

What is her name?

Primary Witness: Tete

What's about his sister?

Primary Witness: Teta

Who recruited you?

Primary Witness: Suah Debbleh

During the war Suah Debbleh was here?

Primary Witness: He used to move from Monrovia to come here.

You know where he is now?

Primary Witness: No since the model war I can't see him I heard he is in Ivory Coast.

Commissioner Massa: you said your parents were killed in the village attack?

Primary Witness: Yes

Can you provide a detail on how they were killed?

Primary Witness: They na use guns, they were slaughtered with cutlass

Do you have other close relatives alive that you can relate to?

Primary Witness: Yes I have an aunty but we far from one another.

Where do she lives?

Primary Witness: In Monrovia

Where do you live now?

Primary Witness: Here in new Zwedru

You don't have any other relate here to?

Primary Witness: Yes

Which tribe name is Emeh?

Primary Witness: Grebo name

Do you remember any other fighters that were on the village attack?

Primary Witness: They were many but that he recognized

What was his role there?

Primary Witness: He took the people to my pa village.

You think how many people?

Primary Witness: 27

Since you been in Zwedru have you seen any survival from your village?

Primary Witness: I have not seen any survivals

When you left from the village?

Primary Witness: Since January 2007 when the TRC people went there but I did not say anything because the faces that were around they could harm me if I said anything there.

Did you bury your family bodies?

Primary Witness: I was doing it my self but the next town people came and help me.

When did this happen?

Primary Witness: 95 may 7

Why you chose not to revenge?

Primary Witness: Because I felt to myself that I do it the war wont stop it may continue.

Have Emeh family ever tried to come to you and say sorry?

Primary Witness: She is my aunty sometime she can call me to comfort me but my temper can rise so I don't like to go to there

Was there any problem between your family and that of Emeh before the war?

Primary Witness: No we were friendly he the one who showed me how to cut palm nut self though I was small but I did not see any thing like that.

Commissioner Dolopei: which school are you in?

Primary Witness: Zwedru Montrolatral

How much the school fees?

Primary Witness: First semester is $500 and second now come but I don't have that so I make two days now I can't go to school.

I am really impressed by your vigor and ambition I know what it means I wish my children could be here now to listen to what you are saying. Some of whom have what they want and yet still they can be as serious as some of those who can't afford it. After here you should wait for me here we will see what to do your school business.

Commissioner Coleman: you were how many years old then?

Primary Witness: 12

You said your cousin was called Devil Son?

Primary Witness: Yes

What his real name?

Primary Witness: His country name is Emeh.

Tell me about the watch craft that you mentioned in your statement?

Primary Witness: They are all my mothers and sisters when I am sleeping sometimes they can take me in the night and beat me and mark me with razor blade and all but if I launch complain to the town people the can't talk because they know I don't have anyone to talk for me.

So how you been managing it?

Primary Witness: That one my teacher who had a contract and I did it and he give me $200 dollars that what I bought me cutlass and file and that what I can do my contract with.

When LPC came to your town what did the say?

Primary Witness: I ask them they say they are LPC, then I say since your coming to make peace then why your shooting gun then they say because rebel them around that's why they shooting so that they can clear the area.

Was it the same people that rape you sister?

Primary Witness: Yes

And same person raped your mother?

Primary Witness: Yes

Commissioner Syllah: you say you slept among the dead bodies?

Primary Witness: Yes 27 bodies

Do you have any older brothers?

Primary Witness: No


Primary Witness: I had sister but they killed her.

Where is your aunty husband that is Emeh's father?

Primary Witness: He passed away now.

Since then have you gone to Kaweakan?

Primary Witness: I left from there December 18, 2007 to go see my people

How do you feel when you go back to Kaweakan?

Primary Witness: I can feel happy because they are family people.

Have your aunty call you to say sorry?

Primary Witness: The time I went there I slept to her house for two days and when I was coming she give me some rice to bring with me.

Commissioner Konneh: the people who did these things to you they were related to you right?

Primary Witness: Yes

Where there any family dispute between your father and Emeh's father before?

Primary Witness: No though I was small but there was nothing like that.

Was Suah Debbleh present when your parents were being killed?

Primary Witness: Yes he was present

Where is Emeh now?

Primary Witness: He is in Monrovia

You know him?

Primary Witness: I was coming from school work with my cutlass then I recognize him and went and spoke our dialect to him.

Only your parents or the whole town were killed in the massacre?

Primary Witness: That the whole place.

They were buried in one hole?

Primary Witness: They not in hole I only clean the place and put the mattress down and lay them down it and put the bush on them.

Which group did these to you?

Primary Witness: The government force SOD, ATU and AFL they all were together.

Which one Suah Debbleh was in?

Primary Witness: He was in LPC first and later he went to the government.

Twenty-second Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Zwedru City Grand Gedeh County
Barway Billy
(Forth Primary Witness of day three)

The Forth 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, Grand Gedeh County and the Commissioners of the TRC.

What is your name once?

Primary Witness: Barway Billy

When were you born?

Primary Witness: I was born November 20, 1977

What are doing for living?

Primary Witness: I am only making farm

Primary Witness: Ok, during the war, after the war came, 1990 I was in Zwedru here, later it enters in Zwedru we ran away alone with my father and my mother in the bush. After we were there in the bush finding our way to Ivory Coast and there was no way to get to Ivory Coast. The whole place was sealed up with so so rebel. So we were in the bush from there they say the rebels are still in the town, I think they spent about one month in the town. And they started moving from village to village killing people. At that the time the war was still fighting my father make a farm in the bush, so we can leave from the village and come to town and come around the town where we have our farm to get some food. So when we go to the farm they can follow our food steps and see how we entered in the bush. They begin that how they used to enter from village to village begin to kill people. So that how they met and begin to hit our village they met my father and my mother. That how they start firing I went and escaped and I hide myself right behind the stick so that how they grabbed my mother and my father. Right in present of me, because I can't leave them like that and run but I want to, I really wanted to see what they will do to them. So after they grabbed them with other group, they begin to slaughter them, start firing them killing them. From there I just begin to escape, because if I try to retaliate, because I have nothing there and I was small at that time. So I begin to escape to join the other villages them, see how people run away to Ivory Coast, that how they begin to make their way by the way of the Dukpeh river to go all the way to Konnebo, that how we make our way there to cross to Ivory Coast. And after we got to Ivory Coast, we were there that how UNHCR came to repatriate us to Liberia that how we came. After when we came, MODEL came about, After MODEL hit I was really want to see that same fellow that killed my mother and my father. Because after they do the killing, the other people were running away they were calling him they called him Dan. His name Dan they were speaking that their Gio, dan nu zay dan nu zay, that how I manage to know that he was the one that kill my father and my mother. So that how I begin, the MODEL met us here, that how I want to see him and retaliate on him too. But at that time I couldn't found him. So it was not possible.

And after MODEL came that how everything was dissolved. And MODEL was not killing that how we were just around MODEL here enjoying. And UNMIL can come about. So is my story

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: so you join MODEL?

Primary Witness: After when they came, I was want to join them, but later the man who I was really seeking for was not around?

So when AFL came you join AFL?

Primary Witness: If I hear him around during that time, you know that was war now, if I hear him, I was going to join the MODEL forces.

For now they finished forgetting about it?

Primary Witness: Sometimes I get hurt because, at this stage now I don't have anybody to say or to comfort me. You know if I sit down some times I feel hurt I don't have mother and father nobody even self to help me. Just imagine how small I am. I have no way self to go to school for me to continue my school. Somebody look at how small I am and making farm to sustain my family and myself you see so there was the point

We want to thank you for coming; we say have our sympathy for what happened. It has happened you have to put trust in God before we can continue to carry on for the lost of your parents. Anyone for that matter, what more your parents is very very difficult.

Primary Witness: Yes

But thank God that we survived to making this so have our sympathy. And thanks for coming.

Primary Witness: ok

Primary Witness: thank you sir

The way you have come thank you that how the faction operated, in the case of MODEL they didn't do much. But these factions went around killing and doing all the bad bad things but you did not tell us that which faction that did these things?

Primary Witness: It was NPFL

Who was their commander?

Primary Witness: Commander Dan

Who was Dan Boss man?

Primary Witness: I don't know

What was your father's name?

Primary Witness: Father Moses Billy

And your mother's name?

Primary Witness: Rebecca Billy

What was the name of your sister?

Primary Witness: Mamie

Was she your smaller or older sister?

Primary Witness: she was my older sister

Do you have other sister?

Primary Witness: Yes
What is her name?

Primary Witness: Famata little sister, cousin instead, and she is still living

Why was she given the name Famata?

Primary Witness: I don't know, it just a name

Do you have other brothers?

Primary Witness: yes, Alphonso my older brother, he was older than me 10years

Where did these things occur?

Primary Witness: In the bush Kadayayee around Dukpeh river

Commission Washington: By the way it is good that the TRC is here. And we have the opportunity because you came and told us your story. There were others that among them and I know they were calling each others by names, did they call any other names?

Primary Witness: Primary witness: No,

When they doing the killing do you hear any other dialects?

Primary Witness: Only Gio

How many people did the village attacked?

Primary Witness: I can't tell, there other people that were killed, but was small by that time.

Do you know about the other name of Dan or other person's name?

Primary Witness: Well, I never hear that people say any name

Since that time you never hear about them?

Primary Witness: No, if I could hear about them then I could know

When they did the village, what do they used to kill them?

Primary Witness: they used gun

How long the shooting last

Primary Witness: About 45 minutes

Do you know how many persons killed along with your parents

Primary Witness: Oldman Totaye, Papay Saye Totaye, They were cousins

Have you being able to see other survivors?

Primary Witness: Yes, after we came here and some in Ivory coast

Do you mean wife and children?

Primary Witness: yes

How many children?

Primary Witness: Three children

Can you give their ages?

Primary Witness: 7years the older one 5years and the four months old baby

Commissioner Dolopei: thank you for coming and for telling your story about how your parents were killed by these people. We all want to tell you sorry. The children that you have I hope that you will name them after you mother and father.

Commissioner Coleman: thank you for your testimony, and we say sorry for what happened to. Those that did that thing to you are coward.

How many people were massacred in the village?

Primary Witness: 2 other persons were killed alone with my mother and my father

Commissioner Sheilkh: we say never mind for the death of your mother and other two old persons that were killed in that town. You said in your statement that when they were calling this Dan man that how you got to know that he was name Dan.

Primary Witness: exactly so

And that you don't know his where about

Primary Witness: yes

You don't know but God knows

Primary Witness: Yes God knows

And he will not free from what he has done, because he killed civilians. Not only civilians but unarmed civilian and ageable people who get nothing to do with the Liberian politics or get anything to do with this war. So we say never mind to you and we want to encourage you to continue to work hard so that the children that you have born and you continue to born will be educated so that they can take their rightful places in the building of Liberia tomorrow. I thank you.

Chairman: we want to tell you thank you coming and telling you story and for you not to hold arm. And we know that the war is over and we have done away with war related action. Is there any thing last that you will want to say to the commissioners and the people of Liberia before you leave?

Primary Witness: I have many to say. Here I am, when this happened I begin to struggle, I came here, here I am I have no hand; I have no father to help me. Even if I have any money there is no one to reach it. I want the TRC to help me.

When was the last time you were in School?

Primary Witness: 1999 in Ivory Coast in the 11th grade

What do you want to do after high school?

Primary Witness: I want to do criminal justice

Twenty-third Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in
Fish Town City River County
Albert Bolekay Mowem
(Fifth Primary Witness of day three)

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. We fell it is the obligation of every good citizen to contribute to the reconciliation process of our country.

When were you born?

Primary Witness: May 12 1968

Where were you born?

Primary Witness: Gbarson town

Primary Witness: I will like to recommend to the TRC to try and reach to our end because the statement takers did not reach my area, there were a lot of things that happened there and the people could not afford to come here because it is expensive to go there. That is why they are not here today to tell their story.

Thanks for the recommendation you are right I think is the limitation of funds that is why the statement takers were selective of where to go.

Primary Witness: Sometime in November 1991 we were in Zaza town, after they burned my town ion Kwelbo we ran and went to Zaza town ands the NPFL rebels attacked the town and they did not kill anyone and they asked us to leave the village and go to town. They said they were ordered by Charles Taylor not to kill anyone but that we should go to Nimba; the troop was headed by Gborplay. When we got there, they asked who could read and write and when the asked I knew most of the guys so I did not show myself because the Krahn were targeted and they recognize me and said are you trying to hide and the embraced me and gave me a book and told me to write the names of all that were present there and later to told me to follow them to the next area to be an S1 and I refuse and Gbasse told me it is war time so I should go with them and I can run away. At the time my brother was with me Toman Mowen and my fianc? and my brother fianc?. After that they told us to carry their and after we carry the loads my brother his fianc? and myself ray away and we came to my home town and when wee reach the commander of the AFL forces Moses Gbayeh asked me and I explained to him what happened and one David Toyeh said they should killed because we were rebels.

Moses then told them that it was time for us to celebrate because we were capture and we are free and so that other guy asked my father to pay a cow and L$900 but he begged and pay some and they free us. 1992 the rebels attacked Gbason and the rebels captured my brother and he yelled and everybody started running and those that were slow were captured by the same rebel Gboplay. He said I am not here to kill but to carry your to Nimba. With in that process David Toylah came and attacked the rebel and the people scattered. Through out the process the rebels did not shoot and the only person who was killed was one Third World. The next day the same soldiers came back and said we told you that these people were rebels and we wanted to killed them then you said no. they hit the commander with gun and two of his teeth drop and they caught me and tied me. They did not catch the women they were cooking for them.

They first beast me then they started to be my brother. They told the forest two people to beat us and they refuse and one of my cousin was told to beat us and he hit the cartage belt on my brother private part and he died instantly. We were crying and they told us not to cry. My father left out of frustration and he went to the Ivory Coast where he died and my mother died after three years. I was told to join and I refuse and while trying to escape again I fell in ambush with the others some people died for there and my fianc? was in the forest for four days so I ran and came back to the town. Then I was told again to join then I joined them and I joined and I was made an S1 man. Later the David Toglah man was killed because he use to put people on the dryer and the Commander Kannah Sagbeh told him top stop but he was still doing it and when they wanted to arrest him he refuse to surrounded, that is how he was killed. But my cousin after the war in 1992 he came and asked for me to forgive him because he said if was an order that he was following but I told him that the other people refuse to beat us but he was the only brave one so he killed my brother. But I forgave but my sister said even if I forgive him I should come to the TRC to tell the story so that every body will hear it. That is the story.

Questions from the Commissioners:

We want to tell you thank you for coming to tell the story and say sorry for what happened. Can you describe Alex Yabo?

Primary Witness: He is tall with long teeth and he is not too bright he is light skinly.

And he is your cousin?

Primary Witness: Yes he is my first cousin, my mother bigger brother son.

Commissioner Konneh: thank you very much; we want to express our sorrow for the death of your mother and your family. I hope you will be able to worship your God. Thank you.

Commissioner Syllah: where is you cousin Alex now?

Primary Witness: He is in Gbason.

You said he came to you and said sorry?

Primary Witness: He came to me in 2004 and apologized to me for what happened and I said okay.

Prior to the war did you have any problem?

Primary Witness: No there was no problem, but he said in the army you have to follow orders but he was not an army.

You talked ab
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