Bopolu City: Day 4

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The Fourth Day of the TRC Public Hearings Proceedings held on Thursday April 24th, 2008 at the Bopolu City Hall, Gbarpolu 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

Bopolu, Gbarpolu County

Habakkuk Gayflor

(First Primary Witness of day four)

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: we want to say thank you for coming to the TRC and you are welcome. We appreciate that you made your own contribution to the peace process of Liberia. So thank you for coming. So can you call your name again for the record?

Primary Witness: I am Habakkuk B. Gayflor

Your date of birth please?

Primary Witness: I was born 1969 August 18.

Where do you live?

Primary Witness: I live Farwon's town

What do you do?

Primary Witness: I am a carpenter.

Primary Witness: 1989, I was living 72nd; all my brothers were in the army. Emmanuel Gayflor who just died, we use to be there. So when the things was getting hard, he told one of my brother lets go to our town, that how we came to Belleh, because Belleh is my home but that this war make me to settle here. We walk until we get to Belleh. You know because of that walking, my brother got sick and die. In 1990, NPFL came to Belleh, the kill one of my uncles, the late Beyan Jallah.

While we were on the farm, we saw two soldiers they say you are under arrest because they were looking for one man. So the took all of us to the town. So all the people that were in the town that day, they took us and they carry us to Fasamah. So when we came back, I told my sister, I can't stay here, I want to go to my mother in one other town. Then my sisters say, how will you leave me in this condition? I say I am leaving, I can't stay here. So I left. I went to my mother, it na stay long, when ULIMO came, I thank God for ULIMO, when they came, they say we all should put our names down. So we put our names down.

So we were in that town, it na take long, NPFL attack, so we all ran in the bush, because the boys from our town they say we that never join, when they came back, they will kill us. So I ran in the bush and I said, before you kill me, let me hide my self. So they man them attack. When the NPFL men them came we all started running, but my father was not able to run, so we ran and left him behind. Those men them captured him, I was standing right behind the rife bush looking. They caught him, and they split his head into two, I was standing looking at them. I wanted to come out side, but I was not having nothing in my hand, even if I was having a stick, I would have come out side, because it was hurting me. Imagine me, standing up, looking at them killing the man that born me like that? Then it better for me to die with him. So that day they kill plenty people in the town that night including the one kill in the other village, they were 21 people that night they kill.

So we were in that town, when ULIMO captured the place from NPFL. So we were there, we were in the bush for some time, so one day I say but this thing, we cant stay here like this. So I told my people them, but we can't stay here and things na ok us, lets go in town. That time we were plenty, the people that was hiding in the bush, we were more then hundred but who to take the lead. So I say I will lead the group, then I started going and they follow me, as soon as we bounce there, we go see the man them, they will all my friends. That how they recruited me and I join LURD. But they told me say we are LURD, Liberia United For Reconciliation and Democracy. I say oh, how can some one say to want to reconcile and they come fight war. So I say ok. I join them, but all the time I stay here in Bopolu, you can ask all the people in this place, they tell you about e. the place I was living across the river, any body cross and come there, you are save. That one the thing where any soldier come do there na, then that your own problem you looking for. So all the people here know about me so that how I became the trainer for the LURD forces, so that what I have to tell the TRC.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Chairman: thank you for telling us your experience. What you just told us, is a lot t help us do our work because part of our responsibilities is to find the root cause of the war from 1989 to 2003. But we are happy that you have come to tell your story. You said how many people you lost during the war?

Primary Witness: I lost 3 persons. John Gayflor, Gormai Gayflor and Musa Gayflor.

What did they use to split his head?

Primary Witness: They use Cutlass.

Which faction?

Primary Witness: NPFL.

Was he a member of AFL?

Primary Witness: No.

Were you a member of the AFL?

Primary Witness: NO.

Who was in the AFL?

Primary Witness: John Gayflor, he was my brother in law.

Commissioner Syllah: thank you for coming to share your experience with us today and we say sorry for the lost of your family. When they kill your father, was it 1990?

Primary Witness: Yes.

How old were you?

Primary Witness: I was 22 years old.

So when you saw it, what did you do?

Primary Witness: I left and went to my sister's place.

Where was your sister?

Primary Witness: She was in Voinjama.

So where is your mother?

Primary Witness: She's here and alive.

You say when you join LURD, the civilian that were carrying your good, were you presents?

Primary Witness: The civilians I talking about, it was people who use to beat rice, but the amour system, I was not the one.

So what was the field commander?

Primary Witness: Iron jacket, Chief Ofori.

So how was life like?

Primary Witness: It was not easy, because I was the only boy left.

The people you brought, did they live?

Primary Witness: Yes.

What can you say about the time, NPFL was here and the time ULIMO was here?

Primary Witness: I don't want to lie, their behavior was the same.

Commissioner Steward: Thank you. Did you at any time go to guinea?

Primary Witness: Yes, I even went to Voinjama.

What was the reason?

Primary Witness: When I got to Kolahun, I went there.

At that time, were you with LURD?

Primary Witness: Yes.

What did you go to guinea?

Primary Witness: Because of my Brother.

Were you going for arms?

Primary Witness: Yes.

So how did you people bring the arms?

Primary Witness: Sometime, Ofori will go.

So how did you bring the arms?

Primary Witness: They use to put it in the car, and when they reach to Zorzor, and then people carry it for them.

How long you stay with LURD?

Primary Witness: I stay with them from 2001.

Did you fight in Monrovia?

Primary Witness: No.

What's about in Bomi?

Primary Witness: I was basing here.

What's about Cape Mount?

Primary Witness: Yes, there where I had my mission.

What was the real name of this Jungle root?

Primary Witness: Peter G. Teah.

What is general cobra real name?

Primary Witness: I don't know.

What was your war name?

Primary Witness: They use to call me particle.

What was your rank?

Primary Witness: Sergeant Mayor.

Why did they call you particle?

Primary Witness: Because if I really to scatter, I scatter.

So the whole war, you never fought?

Primary Witness: Unless, I want to go?

So how many time, you fought here in Bopolu?

Primary Witness: It was too much, both in the air and on the ground. They use to came and disturb enough.

What was the color of the helicopter?

Primary Witness: White.

When did you disarm?

Primary Witness: May, 28, 2004.

What was the serial number?

Primary Witness: 9050.

After you disarm, you went through any kind of training program?

Primary Witness: I went to my home.

So you didn't go to training school?

Primary Witness: I went to school.

What did you learn?

Primary Witness: Carpentry.

So did your friends disarm?

Primary Witness: Yes.

You sure, nothing hiding?

Primary Witness: Nothing.

Commissioner Washington: how were the various positions given?

Primary Witness: If you get friendly with some one that have the authority to give the rank.

So in other words, you don't have to be a good soldier, all you had to do, was to k now some body?

Primary Witness: Yes, because it was a revolution.

What was your exact work?

Primary Witness: To train people.

Commissioner Konneh: thank you for coming and we say sorry for your lost relative. God is the hope of every body. It is God that give you to your father. So when the father goes, it does not mean the child should go. So God is your hope.

Commissioner Bull: thank you for coming to give you testimony. We will look at it, we will take us the necessary item to do our work for the peace process in Liberia.

Commissioner Dolopei: thank you for coming and sorry for the lost of your family.

Can you give us your experience from ULIMO?

Primary Witness: I think I told you that it was between ULIMO and NPFL they kill my father.

So you never had an opportunity to join them?

Primary Witness: No, that time the hard time was to much on me.

So the only fighting force you join was LURD?

Primary Witness: Yes.

What's was the name of your brother that die when you were going?

Primary Witness: John smith.

Thank you for coming to the TRC, as the chairman said, it will help us in our mandate. So what will you like to say to the TRC?

Primary Witness: Firstly, I want to thank the counselors. I live with in the community, which is Farwon's town, I will like for TRC to help them, because they are doing well. I will like TRC to help us with Building material. And we don't have pump in our community. And lastly, I will like to finish my education.

Twenty-Sixth Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in

Bopolu, Gbarpolu County

James Tokpa

(Second Primary Witness of day four)

The Second Primary Witness of the day was called to the stand and he was accompanied by the psychosocial officer and the protections officer of the TRC. The Primary Witness was then sworn to tell the truth and nothing but the truth by the TRC Hearings Officer.

Chairman: Thanks very much for coming to the TRC to tell your story and experience. Please tell us your name again.

What is your name again?

Primary Witness: My name is James K. Tokpah.

Where do you live?

Primary Witness: I live Totokolleh

When were you born?

Primary Witness: I was born May 21, 1952.

What do you do for a living?

Primary Witness: I am a class room teacher, Gbayama Jr. Elementary school.

Primary Witness: Okay, prior to the war I work for Bong Mines Company for 17years, when the war came the company was closed down and we learn that the war was just going to last for few months, so we were there until some of us went out of money. So I decided to come back home right in Totokolleh. When I came to Totokolleh the soldiers who were in charge were NPFL. 1992, we heard about ULIMM, and NPFL were going they told us to move from around the area because ULIMO coming with force. So some of us that never had places to go we flew into the bushes. When ULIMO came in, they told us to come in the town. At that time when you refused to come to town, they say you try to connive with NPFL so we came in the town. It was in April 1994, at about 6:30, that morning we just heard weapon sound from the Monakolleh area and some people flew. My family and I we were in the house until clear day. I told my wife say let us just go flat under the bed, because if some thing happened, we don't know which area rebel coming from. We were under the bed until the town was surrendered by NPFL. When they got there, we never had ULIMO fighter in the town. It was Saturday. Most of the people came to market. While in the house, I head form a distance that enemy were in the building if they don't come out let's blast this place. So I told my wife say, if we stay in this room and they bomb it will be useless. So when we came out side three fighters came around us with gun. All of them head was painted with green leafs and one said to me, I was ULIMO big man so I am going to kill you, so I said no. I have no other alternative when any fighter come we just have to abide by what so ever they tell us. He told me say pass let's go and maybe he thought I was a fighter so I going for gun, so he shot the first gun here is the mark on my hand. He shot the second one so I drop, he hit me on the back, I drop in the pull of blood.

The prayer that came to me was, ah God if any thing that I have done that I can't come to your kingdom please forgive me. Idea came to me I laid down flat and no other bullet came to me again and they left. At that time day was clear now and they never had any opposition and they started going. Before they enter they kill 14 persons in the town that day and they burn my aunty house. One Sumo, they burn her in the house, she was old and blind. They took my wife and children and carry them they thought I was dead. When they went I got up and went in the room, I was so weak because of the bleeding. I went in I had saved food and ate enough drank water and came to myself, I tie the wound. I started walking, luckily it was market day, news had reached that NPFL hit Totokolleh. ULIMO was getting ready to go for counter attack, I say before this wound gets serious let me go. I went far off, then I saw my wife, she say General Katalar carry them and five men went with her and she was nursing my baby. And every time she told me it I say I don't want to hear about it. LURD and government troop came. And we went; we were together when I want to have intercourse with her I will always have STD I get pains in my back. That what happen to me during the war.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Commissioner Syllah: Thanks for coming. Do you remember the name of the commander?

Primary Witness: Yes Kitalay

Did you stay here through out the war?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Where do you live?

Primary Witness: Totokelleh

Did they kill any one?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Mr. Morris has his family?

Primary Witness: Yes

Besides the shooting, you observed any killing?

Primary Witness: Yes


Primary Witness: They were shot by guns

There names?

Primary Witness: Sumo Wennie, Kpakolo Nborbor, Madam Nborbor, Junior Nborbor, Ballah Quay and a visitor that I can't remember his name.

Was there any reasons?

Primary Witness: Yes. They told us to leave and go to another area.

You said there were 14persons bury in the town?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Who took you to hospital?

Primary Witness: I walk to the near by village and they make arrangement for soldiers to carry me to the hospital.

Which faction was in control?

Primary Witness: ULIMO

Which experience did you have with them?

Primary Witness: They used to tell people to carry arms. They asked town chiefs for man power.

Commissioner Stewart: Sorry for the death of you relatives. Which town did NPFL attack?

Primary Witness: Totokolleh

They burn houses?

Primary Witness: Yes. Fourteen.

Besides your wife did take other women?

Primary Witness: Over fifty

Any came back?

Primary Witness: Yes. Five came and they kill lot of them.

Do you remember any of them name?

Primary Witness: Yes. Forkpa James.

They bury them?

Primary Witness: Yes

Can it be identifiable?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Were they all buried in mass graves?

Primary Witness: No. individually.

How long you stayed in Bong Mines?

Primary Witness: Three months.

What kind of activities did NPFL carry on?

Primary Witness: Things were fine at the time, but later they were looting.

Were you in Bong Mines when the power generator was taken?

Primary Witness: Yes I was there when they started taken some parts.

You remember some commander in Bong mines?

Primary Witness: I can't remember.

Any top Bride?

Primary Witness: Yes. Sam Dokie

The same Sam Dokie who die?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Can you describe him?

Primary Witness: He came to us in plain clothe. When he talk with us, he started crying he said because the people betrayed them.

How long he stay with your?

Primary Witness: Not long he went and got in his car.

Were you here when LURD came in?

Primary Witness: No. KRTTI. I came and saw my family

Did they hamper them?

Primary Witness: No.

Commissioner Coleman: Please make me understand your family situation.

Did any one die?

Primary Witness: One.

What is the name?

Primary Witness: Yassa Domue.

How many children do you have?

Primary Witness: Nineteen

Do you have one wife?

Primary Witness: I use to have two but only one now.

Where is your father, mother?

Primary Witness: My born father died because of hunger. My mother died in the 70's

Your brother?

Primary Witness: Sumo

When NPFL took your wife did they take men for labor force?

Primary Witness: She said they took all the men in one room and kept them for men power and some times they use them for chicken when they are happy.

Were they killing and eating their parts?

Primary Witness: They used to bring some and just kill them.

Commissioner Konneh: Can you remember when NPFL enter the town, who was the commander?

Primary Witness: He was call John Kitalay

Any other commander?

Primary Witness: Jeannee Yenneh he was the first commander.

Who was the first commander when they enter?

Primary Witness: They were shooting

Who was Morris Samukar?

Primary Witness: Yes he was long kill, because he was Government worker


Primary Witness: He was in the house when they told he to come out and they told he to give 6feet and that's how they kill him.

When he came out did he have some thing in his hands like guns or so?

Primary Witness: No. bear handed.

Who was in control when ULIMO came in?

Primary Witness: Cyrus Krudor

Was he there commander?

Primary Witness: 2 commanders.

Do you know general Tarnue when LURD came?

Primary Witness: No.

You remember Larry Murphy?

Primary Witness: Yes.

Who was he?

Primary Witness: Government forces

Did he have upper hand?

Primary Witness: He did not stay long.

Do you General Duo, do you know him?

Primary Witness: Yes

Any violation?

Primary Witness: Yes

What was the general attitude of LURD?

Primary Witness: Force labor attitude. They force people to go for arms and mandated us to feed them

What else?

Primary Witness: They used to rape women and other things.

All the warring factions, what was their treatment including NPFL?

Primary Witness: Well, they had some bad ones among them.

Did your wife report on other women treatment?

Primary Witness: Yes she said other women were complaining when they use to go cook

Commissioner Bull: Thank you for coming to come share your experience with us.

Co-Chairman: We want to say thank you again. We are through with our questions is there any thing that you want to say or any recommendation?

Primary Witness: First thing I want for TRC to go and sensitize our people in our county about the TRC idea. If possible for me to go to good hospital for X-ray and good treatment. These are the things they took from us is hurting us but we can't get them back now so if they can help us.

Twenty-Seventh Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in

Bopolu, Gbarpolu County

Sumo Forkpa

(Third Primary Witness of day four)

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.

Co-Chair: Thank God for you to come to the TRC, this will enable all Liberian to know the bad things you went through during the crisis. Please tell us your name.

Primary Witness: My name is Sumo Forkpa

When you were born?

Primary Witness: I was born in 1944.

What are you doing for living?

Primary Witness: I am a farmer.

Where do you live?

Primary Witness: I live in Sahpeimah.

You can please tell us your story.

Primary Witness: Thank God very much for this opportunity to talk to you; there were several problems I went through during the civil war but I am just going to tell you the main things.

Sometimes is in 1989, I got very sick and taken to the hospital where I went under operation and spent about three weeks. When I was discharged and went to my home, it did not take too long when the Charles Taylor NPFL fighting forces reached my village in August of the 1990. When the rebels entered my town, they were mainly composed of the Gio Tribe and they were looking for AFL soldiers, Mandingo people and Krahn people. As they settled in the town, we were forced to feed them daily that which was very difficult; all our rice and cassava was eaten in no time and things started getting rough.

While we were struggling with this, we heard about another rebel group call ULIMO. It did not take too long when ULIMO entered between 1992 and 1993 and we ran into the bushes. In that process, two of my children went in different direction and were missing. I went the next day in search of them when I was arrested by the ULIMO fighters. I simply told them that two of my children are missing and I am in search of them; they told me if I find the children, I should encourage everybody in the bushes to come to town because they have come to liberate us. Luckily for me, someone directed me where my children and when I got there, I saw them and took them to where the rest of the family was. Later, I encouraged all those that were in and around my village for us to go to town in that another group of rebels called ULIMO had taken over Bopolu. Many of the people agreed and we all went to town.

When we got in town, the next day I saw two soldiers came and said that I was called by their commander; while on our way to their commander, they said that I have a single-barrel gun and I must immediately give it to them. They did not even give me chance to talk and they started beating on me; as they were severely beating on me, some of my people talked to me to go and bring the gun. I told them yes, I have a single-barrel gun and it was distance away and so let they give me chance to go and bring it; they put two soldiers behind me and we went and I gave them the single-barrel gun. It did not take anytime when we heard again that NPFL was coming back so the ULIMO forces asked all of us to follow them to Bomi and because of our life, we all followed them. That night, we got in the bushes under a heavy down pull of rain; my wife was at the time pregnant. When we got in Bomi, things were very difficult and we started doing contracts for people just to get food for the children.

After few days, ULIMO recaptured Bopolu and all of us came back to Bopolu. While we were here again, he heard that ULIMO had divided and I told my wife that it was not going to be easy so we must go to Monrovia to avoid more problems. The commander for ULIMO here at the time was Cyrus and he told us to go to Serpeimah and the next day, NPFL captured Totokolleh. The next day NPFL again attacked Bopolu and we all ran in the bush and we spent three weeks in the bush. During that time, my daughter had just delivered and the child passes away in the bush as a result of cold. We saw another commander of ULIMO called Ahadi and he used to be very bad to us.

Whilst in the struggle, we heard again that another faction called LURD was coming and my son decided that we go to town but I said no and he should go with his mother and I left here. Later, LURD entered and we ran in the bush. While in the bush, LURD forces came and brought us to town; before we could come, all the food we left here had finished. They started using us to go for ammunitions but those of us that were little older, they asked us to brush around the entire town.

While we were here and working for them, we heard again that the Government troops are coming to attack and we ran in the bushes because we were afraid of the helicopter bombing, the government troops came and captured Bopolu again; after that, it did not take long when LURD re-attacked Bopolu and captured it around 10:00am in the morning.

When this one happened, I decided to go Monrovia and while on my way to Monrovia, we went through too much problems. The LURD forces gave us ammunitions to carry while we were on our way to Monrovia. When reached a certain village, I said I was tired and their commander got vexed and they started beating on me. Later I told them I just wanted to drink water but one of the soldiers hit me with stick on my face and I am presently facing problems with my eyes; I have gone to several hospitals but the problem exists. When we reached in a certain village, the commander said that they should not give us any food because it was our children that were bringing the war on them and in fact, if anything happens, they will kill all of us. We were only feeding on grape-fruits and wide-eddoes in Bomi. While in this struggle, Pastor John contacted one ATU commander called Saye Geh to free us and sent us to Monrovia. When Saye Geh got in Bomi, he said he was not going to allow anyone to walk from Bomi to Monrovia but we must find car. As God would have it, I found a car and went to Monrovia; this was how me and my family were treated during the war.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Commissioner Syllah: Sorry for all that happened to you. You say the soldiers hit your face with stick?

Primary Witness: Yes, they hit my face with a stick and I am facing problem.

Have you been to the hospital?

Primary Witness: Yes, my soon took me to JFK for treatment at the time when my eyes were sinking; later, we came to Bomi hospital and they gave me the first treatment and from there, they told me not to go back.

You cannot see with the left eye?

Primary Witness: Yes, when I closed my right eye, I cannot see with the other eye.

Do you remember the name of the commander at the time they hit your eyes?

Primary Witness: Yes, they called him Co Poulu, he ordered his men to beat me.

Commissioner Stewart: NPFL burnt houses in your town?

Primary Witness: Yes, they burnt houses in my town and the next town as well.

You say the burning was done by which group?

Primary Witness: It was during the LURD time; when LURD attacked NPFL, NPFL burnt all the houses in my town when they were retreating.

How many houses were in the town?

Primary Witness: It was more than 40 houses.

What's about Serpeimah?

Primary Witness: They burnt 6 houses in that town.

Where is your son?

Primary Witness: He is in Sierra Leone with all the other children.

Any of your sons joined and was killed?

Primary Witness: Yes.

How he was killed:

Primary Witness: They forced him to go for ammunitions in Salayea and later forced him to join them. When he joined them, he was sent on attack and was killed in that attack.

You saw his body?

Primary Witness: No, his friends said the fighting was heavy and so they could not bring his body.

How many times the helicopter killed some people in the town?

Primary Witness: I did not experience that but it was in Bopolu that the helicopter bomb one house and cut one girl foot and wounded others.

Who took you to Monrovia?

Primary Witness: It was government troop.

Commissioner Washington: who was the commander when the soldiers beat you for your gun?

Primary Witness: It was only two soldiers that came to me and asked me for my single-barrel gun; the single-barrel gun was my personal property that I bought from Sierra Leone before the war.

Commissioner Konneh: What ULIMO did to you when they entered your town?

Primary Witness: They harassed and looted us, and the worst thing was that they beat me on my face with stick, the attitudes of all the warring factions was just the same.

You remember them carrying you to Tubmanburg in Bomi County?

Primary Witness: Yes, the soldiers said that it was our children that were bringing the war so they took us to Tubmanburg and they actually suffered us.

My question is whether you were taken to Tubmanburg, if so, how and by whom?

Primary Witness: When ULIMO captured Bopolu, they told us to follow them to Bomi because they did not want NPFL to kill us, but they suffered us in that process.

You remember fights between NPFL and ULIOM and how many times?

Primary Witness: It happened on two occasions when NPFL attacked ULIMO here in Bopolu.

Which of the factions came in Bopolu first?

Primary Witness: It was NPFL, ULIMO attacked NPFL; and later, LURD came in.

What NPFL did when they were here?

Primary Witness: They mostly raped women and girls, any woman they see, be it big or small, they will rape you.

What's about your properties?

Primary Witness: They took all that we had; this was just the behavior of all the factions.

Who was the commander of NPFL?

Primary Witness: Dennis Youngbaye.

He organized you into Single-Barrel Group?


They ever sent the single-barrel group to attack or some fighting forces attacked your on your position?

Primary Witness: No.

Do you remember names of the ULIMO commanders?

Primary Witness: Yes, they had many but I can remember only two and they are: Fara Hadi and Jungle Jallah.

What was ULIMO's treatment towards civilians?

Primary Witness: All the fighting forces had the same mentality; they looted and harassed; worst of all when they divided themselves in to two.

Commissioner Bull: Thanks very much for your testimony and thanks for coming forth to talk for all those that are unable to come.

Commissioner Dolopei: Which faction Co Kolu was with?

Primary Witness: He was with the ULIMO forces.

Is there anything else on your mind that you will want to tell the TRC?

Primary Witness: Yes, thanks very much for coming, I want commend the entire TRC staff for the good job. What I want to tell the TRC is that I want your to please help us because they burnt our houses and pumps we have in our town, there is no water in it. We want your to please us with these things.

Twenty-Eighth Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in

Bopolu, Gbarpolu County

Rufus Beyan

(Fourth Primary Witness of day four)

The Fourth 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.

Co chairman: we want to thank you fort coming to the TRC and we say welcome. For the record can you please call your name?

Primary Witness: Rufus Beyan.

Where do you live?

Primary Witness: Rufus town.

What is your date of birth?

Primary Witness: October 3 1968.

What do you do?

Primary Witness: I work and I make farms.

Primary Witness: 1990, when Taylor took over the entire country we were still here. So when he took over Bopolu, they form the single barrel unit. 1991, we were here, and we heard that ULIMO was coming from Cape Mount and they were cutting human head. So we were here, when they came, one man was here, he was musician, and when they came that day they say they were looking for single barrel soldiers. So that night, they kill about 14 people including the musician.

So, 1992, we heard again that war was coming, so I was so afraid because what I saw the first time, when NPFL came, how they looted, I couldn't stand it. So I find way to cross the river, I went to Salayea way. I was staying with one woman, her name is Malomine. She is a mother for the 3 brother's church. I stay with her there, until the war was finished, Charles Taylor war finish, they had the election, Taylor became president and all. So when I came back, I saw my parents, it was in 2000 March 18th, it my mother told me, my father died, 1996. He was so worry, because they told us they kill you, while cross the water. So I say no.

So in April 2001 when LURD forces enter this place we stay here, after we got through harvesting, we put our rice in the kitchen. 20002, if I am not mistaken, I think it was the 2nd week in January when LURD hit Bopolu. When LURD hit Bopolu, LURD hit to Gaygbai, we all started running, we went to the sawmill Government troop stop us, they say we were not crossing because for they were going to fight the rebels. We stay there for some times, we left and came to our town, and they say they were going back to Lofa. So we came back, we were here. The second Wednesday in January, when LURD hit this place, there was no way for us to go, we stay here, we ran in the bushes, we stay one month in the bush. They put their men down. Those that were around, they catch them, some people join them, and they went for the entire people in the bush. They brought us in the town here. When we came, all the time, they use to be fighting here. When they ready to fight, they will take us and put us in the house, when the soldiers go, the soldier they will put us out. When some days reach, they take us for patrol, some times, they will take us to fetch water for them, bring woods for them, look for their food, we that were afraid to join them, we use to beat their rice. We there until it was April 2002, they say your go back to your town, we already capture Bomi and we are going there. So we came to our town, they told us that the chopper will be bring their armor. Later on, they call us in front old ma Musu Clark house, we don't have chopper, but men power will be going to guinea for ammunition. All the civilians felt weak. Their boss men, chief Cobra, Kwame sheriff, Ofori, were there.

As for me, I was blessed, I never went to Guinea for armor, I stay there, I used to beat their rice and fetch their water. We use to be there and bring woods for their women to cook for them. While we were there, our brothers that use to go for the armor and come, they will say, this war na easy. When you going, some of them will leave on the road, their motto was, if you tell them you are tired, they will kill you and take the load and add it to the other people's loads. We leave on that, until one day they told us that they captured Bomi and we went to our towns. We went to our towns, we started making our gardens. I think they spent about two months in Bomi when government troop drove them from Bomi, they left from there, they came back again. We the civilians we started talking, this war here, it na easy, because looking at the way things were going, they finish getting whole of Bomi, here it here, they na come back again, it was not easy on us. That time, they finish taking all the food from here. That time they use to catch civilian to go in the bush to look for food for them. When they catch you, you will spent two weeks looking for food for them to eat. We were there, until when government troop hit them here, it was in September. They fought the whole day from 6 to 6, before they could tell us they people na take over us. Midnight, we pack our loads, we started running. We slept in the nearby place, in the morning, they grab me, we were four, two person from here, and me and my cousin. They say we should carry their wounded soldiers. Just imagine from Gaygbai to the place, is 19 hours walk. We carry those men from Bopolu here 3 days 3 night, no eating, and no drinking, even if you find water self, that dead body bones all inside. Nothing, we went, we were the first group to carry wounded soldiers in Fasamah. That day there self, it was on Sunday, the Pentecost people were in church. When the people saw us, everybody got afraid and everybody started leaving their houses one, one, the church one by one. We went and put the man down. The man that we were carrying, his name is Go so, come so, the wounded soldier, his name was Freaky. He was the first man, when LURD came here, he was the first wounded soldier from here. He was the first person they shot him on his waist. And all his bones scatter. The herbalist we had here tried with him the sore got better but the bones couldn't come together. So he was here, they found means; they say we should carry him when they grab us, we carry that man by force. The commander that was there, his name was S1. We say chief, we bring your wounded soldier so what you have to tell us. He told us you people have to go to Guinea. We say but we left our family, and we don't know what happen to them, cant you give pass to go back? He said no, my wife sister daughter was there, she say thank God you came, but the only thing I can do, will go and get you pass, tomorrow morning, I will carry your and show your Belleh Yallah road. And as God could have it, she got the appeal, and they give documents and give it to her. Early in, we never even slept well. We passed through the grave yard to get on the road and from Fassama to Belleh Yallah, 6 hours in the bush no town. So when we got there, God bless us, we never missed the road. When we got to Belleh Yallah, it was like bush. We were afraid, when we got to one town that where we find some people. After we got there, they had gate there, and the soldiers stopped us. And they say where you coming from, we say the people finish taking the place from your, and that some of your wounded soldiers to Fassama. They ask us, if we had pass, we showed them the pass, and they say we will n to go, we'll stay there until the check us and see if we had wounded soldiers with us. So the next morning the commander felt sorry for us and they let us pass. That how we went and I found my people. And they said they heard I had die. So they started crying. I say on our way, one man wanted to kill me. When we got to arm bush village, we swathe ripe pawpaw, and I picked the pawpaw, and some pepper and brought it to eat, one of the soldiers saw me, and shot at me. But as God could have it, the gun shot never touched me. So that time, we stay there, the war was advancing. That time, Larry Murphy them were coming. When they came they started fighting from Malakuwere. They were shooting that day, because they said some of the citizens of that town join the soldiers. So that day we heard the shooting, it was in November, that morning. They fired for one hour. It didn't take long, when I saw my stepfather coming, because we were in our hiding place. Because when we too much in the hiding bush, the noise can be too much. So we divided the bush. So we saw him coming with blood all over his body. So I ask him what happen, he say you asking me, they finish killing all your people. Your mother, your sisters and they shot your stepmother, the gun shot tore all her flesh, you can see all her thigh bone outside. And she's laying there crying. And my stepsister, they shot her on her kneel, and her kneel cap got broken, my mother own, they shot her in the chest and she died instantly. And my sister, she was lying on the bed, when they shot her, the gun shot pass through her and when to her head came and it out through her eyes.

My stepfather, they shot him on his butt, and the bullet came out through his private part, so he was crying, we tried by all means, and the people show some country medicines and we will boil it and he will sit on it. And we were there, the man we were living with, they call him Moses Sheriff, Moses say the thing that happen, let us go and look out there. When we went, we saw 6m dead bodies there.

My, mother, my sister, my stepmother, one other woman from other town and her grand child were all lying there. So we decided to tell the chief, when we told him, he told us, it

Was war, but the only thing, we will have to go and burry them. So for one week, the people were laying down, the next week, we were able to burry them, we never burry them in the town because it was in the hiding place. So in 2004, January we came back to our village. So, that was what I experience during the war.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Cochairman: Mr. Beyan, thank you so much. And we thank God for giving you the strength to be able to experience these things.

Commissioner Bull: I want to join the acting chairman to say sorry for what you went through.

Commissioner Coleman: we want to thank you for coming. Was there fighting in that place, after 2004?

Primary Witness: Yes.

So after November they were still fighting?

Primary Witness: Yes, they fought there.

Commissioner Syllah: thank you for coming to share your experience. What is the name of the people you lost?

Primary Witness: Korpo, Yamah, Yelay and her mother Bendu.

Were there other people around besides your stepfather?

Primary Witness: Yes, the man that had the village.

So only the body of your relative was there?

Primary Witness: Yes and the other people from the other town.

How did you burry them?

Primary Witness: We put my mother and my sister in one hole.

Have you been there?

Primary Witness: No, the place is far.

So what happen to your stepfather?

Primary Witness: He's there, and fine.

So what happen to the single barrel boys?

Primary Witness: I only heard it, that they kill all the single barrel boys that were in Gbayard's town.

Cochairman: than you for coming to the TRC, before you leave, do you any thing to tell the TRC?

Primary Witness: Yes, firstly, I will like to thank the TRC for this very god program, and for the counselors, they are really doing their best. And I want the TRC to please help us build one clinic for us. Because where we still is far, if some one fall sick, if we don't have car, we ca put the person in the hammock and back the here. Although the place is accessible by car but if TRC can help us with a clinic, we will appreciate it.

Twenty-Ninth Primary Witnesses of the TRC Public Hearings in

Bopolu, Gbarpolu County

Lensay Kamara

(Fifth Primary Witness of day four)

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.

Co-chairman: Mr. Kamara good after noon, is every thing okay with you? I just want to say on behave of the TRC, thank you for coming to share your experience with us. This work here that they ask us to do is to look at all the bad, bad things that happen to you. And we also suppose to document it and put it down and get recommendations from the people, as to what to do for them and also with their communities, and also the people who did the bad, bad things them. That?s one of the mandate. They are plenty.

What is your name again?

Primary Witness: My name is Lansley Kamara.

Where do you live?

Primary Witness: I live in Sakama.

How old are you?

Primary Witness: I was born July 18, 1958.

What do you do for a living?

Primary Witness: I m doing farming, I plant rice.

Primary Witness: During 1990, when the war was coming, my father was in Totokolleh. My oldest in Buchanan they call him Matthew Kamara. He came and told my pa say the war is coming but let us stay here and see how it will look. They were in Totokelleh and I was in Sanuma going to school. Then my mother came and told me say go and tell your father to come so we can find place to go, because they are the one they looking for to kill. I went and told the pappy, he was on the farm and he started to cry. I told him pappy this is not crying business they say the people looking for us lets try and find place. When he came, my oldest brother who was in Monrovia call Jallah and his family has just come, then he told my brother say your let's go Guinea, is save. My brother say your pack all the things them, I say me I m not going because I can't leave my mother here, if I will die here, and mother die here, we all will die but I was not going. He went and took my bag in the car, but I went and took it down. They went to Guinea. When I left from the farm coming, my aunty told me they have entered Totokelleh. They had killed one Moses Tarkolla, and my brother was there Matthew, he was in the police force. They all run and went to a town call Gbaka. I told my old-ma say that the same thing I was saying. I want go to my friend place in Gbaka.

I went and slept to Gbawon's town to the former superintendent farm. The next morning, while going, I saw my brother to Joweh town, with lot of people. I told him say let find our way to go to Guoluway, because there the war came from. We went to Garwy, late in the evening while sitting, the town people get together and say no Mandingo people must stay in their town before they think that they are keeping rebel in the town. My brother asks me say what we will do? He say is late now so let us sleep and tomorrow we will go back to the town and see how things will be. We left from there late in the evening and came back to Garbo's town. My brother brought cassava we ate, and he told me to go back to Karwon village, we will be in the bush, since road is here, I will come and be seeing you. I stay for some times in the village but couldn't see him. I used to be feeling bad. So I came in town and I saw our mother and she asked me what happened, I told her. And shed told me that people get in Totokolleh and killed but had left and could be back any time because they were fighting for Gbarpolu. Then we use to stay in the town late and around 4:00 then I go back in the bush. That's what we were doing until NPFL captured Gbarpolu. We went to Fassamah, when one Mandingo man died we went to buried him, when we got back, I was tired while sitting down, I saw Co-Zobon, with AK all around him and call me to him and said I was some of those they were looking for and he was going to kill me. He took of his knife and held me and pushing me saying let's go to your father. And he told me say, I know you and your father and your use to be selling here? At that time he was AFL soldiers.

So he wanted to kill me I told him say I am not Mandingo. One Laheh Samma came and talk to him saying, this boy is my grand child, he told the man to leave and he grabbed me by my shirt we started going to the kitchen, my mother was matching rice. I said here is my old ma, he said he knew my mama to be Kpelleh, but it was my father he wanted. He and one girl was speaking Gio, I run behind the cassava bush, so my mother ran to my uncle Ben to tell him and when he got there, he asked what happen and told him that I was Mandingo man, he ask my mother say, where is your son? If you don't bring him, I will kill him. My uncle said if any thing we will give it to you and he talk to him and he said so what your get to bring, my mother run in the house and brought five-hundred JJ dollars and give it to him and he ask what is this? We have been killing good, good people for money, what is this? He said infact your take this money and let me kill the man so I will go. He accepted that money and went. He said they should keep me because he was going to come back. He came again the next day, and say Ben where is the man, my uncle brought me. He said, infact the money your give me is not money, you people go and bring all that your have. My mother went and look all over and brought all that she had including the money. He left and went, because he said their car never had fuel but while going, he said he was not satisfy with me so I should be there.

So one time, he bought his liquor to drink and while drinking, he ask Ben for me and said where is your Mandingo son? Let he come and drink and take some of my things to go. My uncle told he I was not Mandingo and he was going to sent another person with him and he said no. he put that load on my head and when we got to the breach he took cane juice from his bag and give to me to drink, I drink the cane juice and it did not do any thing to me. I reached there and he told me to go back, I went back. The next day, one day, we were sitting under the kitchen , one of his friends came and he say come here, and when I went there he told me say, we sent one of our man here and your took him and knock him down? I say oh chief, he say and you want to argue with me?

He told his soldiers to knock me down and he his self came and started beating me with the gun butt, one Augustine Dahn Manor man. He said while you give you order and you don't want to go by it? He went in the bush and he took rope and start beating me, I starting crying and say some one come for me , he say if any one come here I will brake that person foot. He started beating me, kicking me and say he will kill me right in that water. My uncle was coming there, because he was acting brave and when he came and talk to him, he loosen the rope and left me and went back. In that movement now, NPFL came. It was not easy. So I wanted to jump in the bush, because I say it is the same Manor people coming so that is how I jump in the bush. We were in the bush, when ULIMO entered here, one man was in the town they call Sam Forkpah, he sent us in the town. He say let every body come from the bush, then we come Gbarpolu. While here, they had already caught my woman and carry her. They told me say NPFL entered Gbarpolu and kill lot of people and while going, they collected my grand ma they kill her on the road because she was not able to walk, and my mother also had load on her head and while going she hear a gun sound behind her and they were beating them. When I came she told me and I start feeling sad.

As we were going, one Borbor Beyeh grabbed my sister by the name of Musu Kamara, and start using her as a wife. Later my sister run away and went to Totokolleh, up to now she get stomach complains. ULIMO K and ULIMO K-1 were together. We lead tooting load here. Then my mother told me say, since you are Mandingo and that Mandingo fighting here, go and tell them that you are Mandingo so we can't be tooting load here again. I myself I say, I will not go because I don't want to toot arm. So we just used to be here working now. One day, we went to work, we were tire now, so I went to work and told him, he laugh and so alright, but your go and come back tomorrow. That morning we came back and work whole day and after that they put us in jail so we can go back. Some people came and talk to him and he released us and we went. One Thomas Kawoue was the head for them, we use to toot their load from here to Gbakoma, but for me, I only use to toot load from here to Gayeby town, but one day I came, they told me to toot load and carry to Todewon town, while coming I saw one soldier coming and he ask me say where I coming from? He told me say come and tote our load, I told him say but I tooting another load, but I had to toot it, I toot it all the way to Bong County. I went to Bong County I slept the next day, I start coming no food. When I hear some people coming, I jump in the bush, when they pass, I come out. I decided to jump in the Pullor bush the day they were coming to put us out, January 23, then LURD enter. I say I know some road from here to our town, maybe we will find some of our people, when we got to Bassa Jallah town, I met my wife, we slept there and the next morning she delivery. When some people and start taking their things going, one soldier ask me were going I say oh my wife just delivery, they say oh, that what we looking for, and they say let's go there. when we were coming, they say every body in Gbarpolu. When we came, they say they are the LURD forces, and came to free all the civilians. But the only thing, they wanted us to know was, we should not play with their soldiers business. They say the only thing that makes us afraid of Taylor is the chopper. They said when it comes to that, they couldn't able, so any time, we hear such sound, we should go under the trees and if we have fire we should cut it off. We use to do that so one day, the chopper came my woman and myself join in the bush, and it kill lot of civilians there, one girl they cut her foot, and one woman it cut behind her foot. And when they left, people start crying and we went and buried that litter girl. While here, they say LURD was going to captured Bomi, they went and stay for some times and came back and say their ammunitions were finished. They say every body go to Fassama, I say get plenty people, so I am not going to Fassama. We went to Gbagay and my brother came to me, Roland and say let's us go on our farm. We went, while there, government came to Gbagaye they start fighting. When we hear the gun sound, we left from there and went in the bush, one LURD forces came and say, let all the civilians go in the town, and the boy that came, his mother was among us. His mother call him and say, Fassama was far so they were unable to go there, so his son told him, that he was going to tell their commander that he did not see the people there. While in the bush, we came to Garbo town. I came and explain my problem to them and say that my son was not feeling alright so your please give me pass let me go to Gbarpolu, they told me say different soldiers are in the bushes so what you do, you the civilians join these people and take their ammunitions and show the road. I beg them but we went still while on the way, they say I should pass infront; we went to Gbargaye no body there we pass, we hear some people on the farm and it was LURD forces. When they got there, they fire and told me to pass infront again. While going, we saw three soldiers, and they say who are you? Then the other say, we are LURD and the other say, we are government forces and they start exchanging fire. I laid on the ground and the soldiers left, and after they start coming and they told me to take their arm and we start coming and they start firing when we left, we went back and they told me to take my wife and go. We spent few nights and I told my wife for us to go Madina and spend four days and we heard gun sound and we went Gbago Town and we spent two weeks and my wife told me let us go and cut palm nuts and we cut ten heads while going to town, we saw soldiers and they told us LURD has taken over Gbarpolu and I told my people say let go and as soon as we came, pain has grab my sister, and the people say we should not pass, the commander name was Saye I went and told him about the condition of my sister and he said no one was passing. He finally agreed but he said only my sister and our mother was going and the rest of us will stay, if they will kill every body let them kill every body. They went and I ask him and he said let my wife go but all the men stay. We left and went and my sister delivery and I sent my wife in town to my sister. We cut the palm nuts and came to beat it and they say government troop enter, I had the palm nuts on my head, and one soldiers came and knock it off and the cutlass I had cut me and said he was carrying it to his wife, and we went and that what I see in the war.

Questions from the Commissioners:

Commissioner Syllah: sorry for what happen. What is the name of your grand Ma die?

Primary witness: Old lady Kpannah

Your buried her?

Primary witness: No.

Zobon knew your parents?

Primary witness: Yes.

You know why he wanted to kill you?

Primary witness: Because I am Mandingo he's Gio

Where is Zobon?

Primary witness: I don't know

Where is the sister and what is her name?

Primary witness: She?s in Sanoyea her name is Musu Kamara.

How old was the Musu at the time?

Primary witness: About 17years old at the time.

Where is Musu?

Primary witness: Satama she lives Back to List of Transcripts

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