Zwedru City: Day 4

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The Forth Day of the TRC Public Hearings Proceedings held on Thursday March 6, 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.

Twenty-fifth Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in

Zwedru City Grand Gedeh County

Jessie Tuilar

(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: we want to thank you for coming to the TRC Public Hearings, what you have come to do is pact of the peace and reconciliation process we are trying to achieve. So we want to appreciate you coming this morning to tell your story.

What is your name again?

Primary Witness: My name is Jessie Tuilar.

What is your date of birth?

Primary Witness: I don't know my birth date.

Primary Witness: I tell your thank you. One woman had dream about my man. She said in her dream she see my husband was standing over her with leaves in his mouth. That why they called my husband to the town chief. When they called him and asked about it he said he didn't know anything about it. But they started beating him plenty. That was in Putu. They tied him. They carried in front of the town chief and came for my children and myself. In front of us they fired him and told us to laugh. Then we started laughing. The way they buried him I don't know anything about it. All the Tchienpo District got together and had meeting and asked the woman who had the dream my man died from why she had this kind of dream that resulted to the death of the High Priest in the town. To tell your the truth, since it happened my heart has been cutting whenever I hear someone talking. [witness weeps].

Questions from the Commissioners:

Vice Chairman: Sorry for what happened to you and your children. We the TRC commissioners say sorry. The talk where you talked here today is not for you alone, but for others like you and your husband can't talk now. So we say sorry. Commissioners will now ask you questions to know clearly what happened.

Commissioner Bull: Ma, I want to join the Boss lady to tell you sorry. The talk where you talked here today, you've got to cry. Me and my colleagues say today the victory day for because the people did it and told your to laugh. These people's names will be called and it will be written on paper and it will be on radio. Do you know the people who did that to you?

Primary Witness: That Gio people killed my husband.

But you said some of your own people assisted the killers. What were their names?

Primary Witness: Jacob Wesseh

Commissioner Washington: Ma Jessie, sorry for what happened to you. I know it is hard to understand what happened to your husband because we want to get to the bottom of the story. Was there fighting in the areas, and what group was fighting?

Primary Witness: Yes, they were called freedom fighters - NPFL.

Can you remember what year?

Primary Witness: It stayed long now I can't remember

It happened at the beginning of the war, in the middle of the war or at the end?

Primary Witness: At the beginning of the war.

Who was the commander at the time they killed your husband?

Primary Witness: David

Who all carried your husband to the commander following the dream?

Primary Witness: The town people took my man to the town chief.

How long was it between the time the judged your husband and the time they executed him?

Primary Witness: Three days

Were they doing similar thing to other people in the town or to him alone?

Primary Witness: They accused other people, too.

They killed the other people, too?

Primary Witness: No they just gave them sassy wood

Do you know where David and Noriega are now?

Primary Witness: No, I don't know where they are.

Commissioner Coleman: What was the duty of the High Priest of that village?

Primary Witness: The medicine house they build that the place he was.

Was he going to church?

Primary Witness: Yes, but that was after the high priest business before he joined.

What church?

Primary Witness: AG Church.

What was the culture in which the high priest was a member?

Primary Witness: That was Grebo culture.

Commissioner Syllah: Ma Jessie, thank you for coming to the TRC and sorry for the death of your husband and of your suffering. What was the name of the boy they beat until he developed sore?

Primary Witness: Timothy

What did he do?

Primary Witness: Because he said the should carry his pa to the big town instead of to the town chief

Commissioner Konneh: when they took your husband to the town chief did you go there?

Primary Witness: No, I did not go there

But how then you know that it was the town chief that gave the orders?

Primary Witness: Because my husband was in the hand of the town chief until the fighters killed him.

But was it the sassy wood that got him or he was shot?

Primary Witness: They sassy wood did not caught him, but they shot him.

The woman who had the dream that resulted to your husband's death is still alive?

Primary Witness: Yes she is still alive.

What is the rapport between you and here?

Primary Witness: We married to the same family we can eat together now

Vice chairman: thanked you for coming any last word?

Is there any last word that you have for the commission and the people of Liberia before you leave?

Primary Witness: I thank you for coming to settle between the people who did bad and the people that did the bad to let the peace come for we in the county.

Twenty-sixth Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in

Zwedru City Grand Gedeh County

Kowa Bah

(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 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.

Where do you live?

Primary Witness: In Zwedru

What is your name?

Primary Witness: Kowa Bah

What is your age?

Primary Witness: 70 years

What are you doing for living?

Primary Witness: Farming cassava and rice

Primary Witness: I thank you, what I here for war time. I was in Monrovia with my father and mother was in the bush, so I told my husband that was going to my parents in the bush. Before I came they said that parents are in the bush. So went to the village behind them. It not even pass one week self. General Gonda was killing our people. That everybody the gather and brought them to this Zwedru here. So my father and myself and all the oldma them, ran in the bush. I say I came from Monrovia, my pa and ma ran in the bush. So I went after them. So when I went the there we make 5 to 6 days, then everybody them they go Ivory Coast. Then my pa get plenty papay and oldma them. Some of them can't see, some of them crippled. Yes, so we went in the bush. When I went in the bush, then nobody was in Zwedru. Then Gonda, Gonda he is the big man he just gave order then they started walking in all the villages. So the place where we were egh near Dueh river that the place my pa village egh. So we were there, every man they make 5 day then they say the United Nation people here they say the war end oh. So let go to Zwedru oh. So the other men where behind my pa they ran away they go to Ivory Coast. So my pa and myself and the oldma them that all we were there, so what I will do my people? I can't leave my people and go to Ivory Coast. Some of them crippled they can't see. So we were there. When day brake now I say papay hurry let's go in town. The place where you and your people will sit down that the place we will still before the war could that the place we were egh me and the oldma. We were there when they bring my pa in town

When my pa was in the bush, then one girl there she ran away from Koma town way then they say, then her pa bring her among us. We were there, as soon the girl there and they brought my pa in town now, then they say this man that fighter he get gun to the village. So my pa say since I am in jail and you want lie on me that I have gun, I na no hunter. So pa when they leave there, they put pa in jail now. About six (6) men they came with the girl, they say we come to your all the things them, my valise and everything they started putting them outside. So while we see them with arms what we will do, so they carried them. When they go now, my pa was get some kind of tank fix with tarpaulin. They take the papay where can see where can't walk they put them in one house. Then they say, all of them they say let go behind there. I say what you want do to me? Then they lit matches on top of the tarpaulin. All the papay them that were in the house there everybody they burned them. None of them move from there. I say alright the thing where you find they started raping me. When they finished they sent me behind the house then I hide myself. And they looked for me almost through out they not find me. They checked all around and they left and they went. I was to that village they passing there asking people that get gun, I say I don't get and the people were going to Ivory Coast.

I was in the bush when I heard that they killed my pa then I left and went to Ivory Coast. I go Ivory Coast, that the place we were I was now all the things everything they take them and carried them. In the night round 6:00 in the morning when Yellow Jacket come, they tell the people that they say he said I want buy goat, I want buy goats. When we go look now in the morning 7 o'clock, when they come home now that Yellow Jacket that Genaral Gonda. I say oh I thought they people were our people, but before 7 o'clock then they started carrying our goats. When they carried them, they carried everything to Zwedru and then the other men them come and we started running away in the bush. So we told each other and we say the people them, the war coming back oh. So one woman her house on the center of the road. See the woman she not get no where to go. And the man went in the house with the woman the woman was crying, my people your come for me oh, I will die oh, I will die oh, when the people ready to go they go so that what happened. So we were there, when we make farm me and my children make farm so that we will eat and I want money to send them to school. That all I hear business I come to your. And that it we talk, and that it we came?

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: thank you for the story and we are very sorry for what happened to you and your family. What year it took place

Primary Witness: 1991

Do you know the people, the commander of the force?

Primary Witness: Gonda was the commander

What group was fighting for?

Primary Witness: It was not Model, it was Charles Taylor's people

How many people they burned?

Primary Witness: oldman Weah, oldma Matha, oldma Sarah, oldman Vahn and oldman Saweh

What was the town's name?

Primary Witness: Solo Town

Commissioner Konneh: You know the fighting that took place here, three groups were involved, the Charles Taylor- NPFL, George Borley- LPC and MODEL.

Which of these groups that came to your town?

Primary Witness: It was the Charles Taylor group

How did they kill them?

Primary Witness: They put them in one house and the put fire on it

Do you know the names of other villages that they burned?

Primary Witness: Sayee village, Dweh village and Doe village

Do you know other people that were burned too?

Primary Witness: John bah was burned with.

Was John bar was among the people that were burned?

Primary Witness: No, he was not there

When MODEL came what happened?

Primary Witness: Model killed all our goats and chicken

Yellow Jacket what group they were

Primary Witness: I don't know what group the come from'

They force your children to join them?

Primary Witness: No

They grabbed girls for their wives?

Primary Witness: No

Do they force your to tote their loads?

Primary Witness: yes

What about LPC

Primary Witness: I was in Ivory Coast, I was not here.

Commissioner Syllah: thank you very much for telling your story. We say sorry for what happened to you and your people. The burning of the people that can't see and the people that can't walk, even the oldmas and the oldpas was very bad and sorry once more.

Do you know why they killed them that way the burned them?

Primary Witness: I don't know

The place the burned what have you done about that place?

Primary Witness: Nothing was done

Where are their children?

Primary Witness: they are living, but no hand

Who killed your father in the village?

Primary Witness: it was General Gonda

Commissioner Coleman: thank you for you to join the others to come and tell your story to the TRC. From what I understand, my husband was he killed in 1991 by Gonda, is it true?

Primary Witness: Yes

What reasons they did this?

Primary Witness: I don't know

Do you know that they were looking for tribal people the Krahn people alone?

Primary Witness: No,

Anybody else died?

Primary Witness: My mother and my pa

Commissioner Dolopei: Do you come with your children?

Primary Witness: No, my brother carried them to Ivory Coast

Where is your husband?

Primary Witness: He died to Freeport with Doe

Which year?

Primary Witness: I think 1990

What is his name?

Primary Witness: General David K. Wright

At the time your husband died, were you in Monrovia?

Primary Witness: No, I was there

Commissioner Washington: What was his rank?

Primary Witness: he was General

Do you know any other thing about his death?

Primary Witness: No, my brother and others died alone with Doe

What were your brothers doing in the Mansion, were they soldier people?

Primary Witness: they were soldiers

What is your tribe?

Primary Witness: I am Krahn

How many of your brothers, besides your husband that died alone with Doe?

Primary Witness: 5 brothers

Was it September 9, (1990) right?

Primary Witness: Yes

Has anybody from the AFL or the government has come you to sympathy with you or to console you?

Primary Witness: No

Who was the commander at the Freeport that killed your husband and your brothers?

Primary Witness: that Prince Johnson

Do you know anybody from the Freeport incident who survived?

Primary Witness: No

How many children do you have?

Primary Witness: 7 children

When they were born or their ages?

Primary Witness: The first one was born 1975, the other one was born 82, the other one born 84, the other born 86, and the last one born 1990,

Can you name your five brothers that were killed alone with Doe?

Primary Witness: James Nyuanwlu, Moses Bah, Isaac Kanna, Dennis Freeman, Marvin Win-yon

What was their rank?

Primary Witness: Jame Nyuanwlu was 1st leut, Dennis Freeman was Warrant Officer, Marvin Win-yon was 2nd leut, Isaac Kanna was 1st sgt and Moses Bah was Private

Did you go to the barrack about their death?

Primary Witness: No,

Do you manage to contact anyone?

Primary Witness: No

Who was their overall commander of the AFL at the time your husband brothers were killed?

Primary Witness: General Alfred Glaye

Do you know whether he (Alfred Glaye) alive?

Primary Witness: No, He died

Have you had memory service for them?

Primary Witness: No,

No counseling from any program, NGO, or other groups?

Primary Witness: No

Commissioner Bull: when you said 70 that thought that you were born 1970, but when you said that your children was born 1975, then I know that you were older. You have given us the correct names and this will help us a lot in the historic of Liberia. Now we have got some of the names of those that die alone with the late President Doe. Sorry once again for the death of your brothers and husband.

Please say you name loud again

Primary Witness: My name Kawu Bah

What is the name of your husband?

Primary Witness: General David K. Wright my husband

Commissioner Dolopei: I want for you to cry the reason I want for you to cry is that you will receive inner healing. There all the other widows in Monrovia going and receiving their late husband death pay. But you are here left alone no one to help you with even the children's school fee and even a home as you mentioned earlier. I want for you to cry out all your grieves and let the pain go away from you. Sorry once again.

Commissioner Konneh: Students I want today to take it as an opportunity to hear the first hand story of what happened to others in the war. There are other students that would like to be here but they don't have that opportunity. You are your future, so you have to pay attention to this. What has happened to day is history that is in the making. And you should be glad that you are part or have the opportunity to hear or witness it. So you students must pay attention and be silent.

Chairman: anything you want say to us before go

Primary Witness: I want for your to help me

How many children under your control

Primary Witness: 8 children

Highest grade

Primary Witness: 4th grade, 10th grader in Monrovia, the one that is here with me is not going to school now. I want TRC to help me to send them to school. And for you to build a house for me to live in. thank your very much.

Sorry for what has happened to you. This is the reason why the TRC was established to look in all the bad, bad things that has happened to people. Whether Krahn or any other tribe in fact. It is wrong for any one to do such things to any one. It is against the Laws of Liberia and the International Humanitarian Laws. This is also why we are going to every county of Liberia to hear and even go some of the place these things have taken place. At the end of our work, we will make our reports and in that report we will make some recommendations from all these things we have been hearing and seeing in all these counties....Sorry ma, you can leave now.

Twenty-seventh Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in

Zwedru City Grand Gedeh County

Doris Wuludea Zleh

(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 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 Doris Wuludea Zleh.

Where were you born?

Primary Witness: I was born during President Tubman era.

What do you do presently?

Primary Witness: I am a farmer.

Primary Witness: During 1990 I lived at Sherman Farm, Bomi highway. When the approached Kakata, during that time I joined the other people to run. My husband went separate place. We went behind the train track. Later the rebels reached to us and attacked us. Two of my children died instantly. I had baby on my back. I ran to the other people. Then together we ran further and the rebels asked for my tribe. I told them I was a Bassa woman. But they paid more attention to the luggage we were carrying and that helped to escaped unnoticed. My son was in the pool of blood. While running we came across rebels on the road and my three sons ran away and the rebels captured me and they brought me to town (Kakata) and told their chief that this is the tribe woman we have captured, but Charles Taylor has passed law that nobody must kill any Krahn man any more. Then General Isaac Musa came and said that even though these people are Krahn but they are poor people. The rich ones have all left so we must not kill them. They freed us then we went to Bong Mines. There I lived until the end of the war before I came here. They killed two of my sons in my presence and the baby I had on my back also died of cholera and malnutrition. This is what I went through.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: Thank you for coming to the TRC and I want to extend our deepest sympathy on behalf of the Commission. The Commissioners will ask you a few questions just for clarification. Since your brother went his separate way have you seen him or heard of him?

Primary Witness: When we were in Bong Mines area we heard that they killed my husband in Bong Mines area, but I did not see the grave.

The two children that died on the spot what were their names and ages?

Primary Witness: Papay Dennis 7 yrs, Daye Dennis 5 yrs and Zaza Dennis 7 months

Commissioner Konneh: Were you able to reconnect the two boys that got missing from you at the time the rebels dragged their cutlass on the ground to scare you?

Primary Witness: Yes

Commissioner Syllah: Ma, sorry for the death of your children and may God console you. Thank you.

Commissioner Coleman: How are you managing now without your husband?

Primary Witness: I have been managing, but ain't been easy without my husband to take care of the all the balance children it's hard.

Chairman: We the TRC people say sorry to you for coming to the TRC. By you coming to the TRC you have demonstrated that the war is over. By your coming also the whole world now knows that you are ready for forgive. The suffering that the Krahn people went through just because they were Krahn people was wrong and against the Liberian law. The Krahn people have to enjoy their life as citizens of Liberia.

Is there any last word that you have to leave with us?

Primary Witness: I want the TRC help build a house for me and help my children to go to school.

We hear it. Thank you for coming to the TRC and shall take this request to the government.

End of day four of the TRC Public Hearings Grand Gedeh County

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