18/05/21 [Sierra Leone] Day 34: The Hearing of Witnesses 71, 72, and 73
The 34th day of public hearings resumed on 18 May 2021 in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Witness 71 is Heard
(Finnish Witness ID: Defense Witness 1)
The Defense questions the Witness
The Witness began his testimony by explaining that he knew Gibril Massaquoi during his time in the RUF. The Defense established that the hearing would focus on events which took place between the years 1999 to 2003. The Witness stated that in 1999, Massaquoi was in Sierra Leone. The Witness stated that Massaquoi was in prison in 1998 alongside other fighters, including FNM-203, who were arrested by Issa Sesay. He further explained that Massaquoi was not set free by the Court but he was freed by the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) after they gained control over Freetown in 1999. He knew it was 1999 because President Kabba was overthrown at that time. The Witness said that the day of Massaquoi’s release was in his diary, which was not with him. According to the Witness, after Massaquoi was freed from prison by the AFRC he joined the RUF when the RUF was in Makeni and Lunsar, first settling in Lunsar and later in Makeni. The Witness noted that he met Massaquoi in Lunsar for the first time and later on met him in Makeni as well where the RUF had its regional headquarters. The Defense asked the Witness whether anyone from the headquarters communicated with international parties. The Witness responded by stating that it was not possible to do so in Lunsar, however, the practice started in Kono when Issa Sesay was brought a satellite phone. He clarified that the Makeni headquarters used the radio for communication because Issa Sesay was the only one who had a satellite phone. When Sesay came to Makeni, he would bring his satellite phone, and anyone who wanted to use it would visit Sesay at his compound. The Witness stated that Massaquoi did not stay in Makeni for a long time as the RUF, Massaquoi, Sesay and others were called upon in Monrovia by ECOWAS after Bangladeshi peacekeeping forces were attacked.
The Defense asked clarifying questions about the events of 1999 in Makeni. The Witness stated that before the disarmament, Massaquoi was part of the RUF delegation that met with the UN and ECOWAS. For that purpose, the delegation came to Freetown where those meetings were held. The Witness confirmed for the Defense that Massaquoi was a personal assistant for Foday Sankoh when Sankoh was in Freetown after the Lomé Peace Agreement. Massaquoi was also a spokesperson, and was with Sankoh and others in Freetown. He noted that during the peace process in 1999 or 2000, Foday Sankoh was attacked by civilians because he refused to denounce the war on January 6th. The Witness explained that Massaquoi was at Sankoh’s house when Foday Sankoh was attacked and that Massaquoi went out into the bush with some other members of the RUF after the attack. The Witness himself, however, was in Lunsar when the attack occurred, and first met Massaquoi in Lunsar after the attack took place.
The Defense referred back to the events in Monrovia. The Witness clarified that Massaquoi, amongst others, went to represent the RUF after being invited by the leaders of ECOWAS to negotiate on the peace process and continue negotiations in Monrovia. He noted that ECOWAS chose Monrovia as the location and chose Charles Taylor as the mediator so that the RUF would attend the meeting. The Witness couldn’t recall what year it was when Massaquoi and the RUF representatives went to Monrovia but noted that it was the same year when Foday Sankoh was attacked. He stated that Massaquoi stayed in Monrovia for three to four months. The Witness estimated that Massaquoi came back to Sierra Leone from Monrovia when the disarmament started. He further stated that the President of Togo and the President of Sierra Leone met in Makeni together with RUF officials, including Massaquoi and Issa Sesay. He clarified that he was not there at the time, but that he was in Kono where they passed before heading to Makeni. The Witness stated that he usually sat and talked to Massaquoi, and that he was with Massaquoi in Makeni before they went to Kono. He went ahead of the presidents in Kono before they headed to Makeni. He couldn’t remember the year of this meeting.
The Witness noted that the UN and the RUF were part of the peace negotiations and tripartite meetings. According to the Witness, they had meetings every two weeks to assess the progress of their agreement, as it was a give and take process. He stated that some of the meetings took place in the UN headquarters in Bintumani whilst the other meetings took place in Makeni, Kono and Kenema. They took place all over the country to showcase the peace agreement. The Witness confirmed to the Defense that Massaquoi took part in these meetings representing the RUF, and Massaquoi was obliged to attend all the meetings. The Witness explained that he knew that Massaquoi attended these meetings because the meetings were open to the public. At the end of each meeting, the heads of each delegation would sign a communiqué. He clarified that the tripartite meetings resulted in the disarmament. The Witness stated that he had met Massaquoi many times during the times when the tripartite meetings took place, visiting Massaquoi’s houses in Makeni and in Freetown. The Witness specified that Massaquoi was not in Lunsar when disarmament started there, and the UN decided when and what areas to disarm.
The Defense asked clarifying questions. The Witness confirmed that Massaquoi had lived in Makeni and Freetown, even after the disarmament. The Witness was unsure why Massaquoi moved from Makeni to Freetown. He noted that Massaquoi lived at Thunder Hill in Freetown together with his wife, Witness 10, FNM-213, and FNM-178. The Witness further noted that he stayed at Massaquoi’s place sometimes “as they were my brothers”. The Witness stated that he even lived with him for a year when he entered university in 2003 or 2004.
The Defense proceeded to ask questions about the Special Court for Sierra Leone. The Witness explained about the instance when he had heard that Massaquoi together with Foday Sankoh, Morris Kallon and Augustine Gbao were arrested by the Special Court for Sierra Leone. He explained that he was staying at Massaquoi’s house when he was arrested. The Witness stated that this was in 2004, when Njala University had their branch at the East in Wellington Freetown, so the Witness decided to stay with Massaquoi, since Massaquoi was his brother. The Witness stated that during the time Massaquoi lived in Freetown, Massaquoi travelled around Sierra Leone, for example going to Bo and back to visit his mother and mother-in-law. The Witness joined Massaquoi on a trip when Massaquoi’s son and father died. The Witness noted that he knew that Massaquoi travelled out of Sierra Leone during his time with the Special Court for Sierra Leone. The Witness stated that Massaquoi was dating Witness 13 and Massaquoi was in Thunder Hill while Witness 13 was at Temgbeh Town. They were dating and had a child so the Witness presumed they met each other. They had a child who was born in Liberia.
According to the Witness, Massaquoi tried to apply for university and was working on a fishing program during his time in Freetown until Massaquoi was arrested, at which point the fishing project stopped since the money was withdrawn. The Witness clarified that Massaquoi called him in the morning when he was arrested to inform him that he would be a witness for the prosecution and would be relocated, and that a vehicle would come to pick up Massaquoi’s immediate family. When the vehicle arrived, Massaquoi’s wife, kids, and his nephew FNM-178 left in it to Massaquoi’s location. He explained that the Special Court for Sierra Leone provided a place for Massaquoi and that he was able to visit him if Massaquoi gave notice to the security.
He mentioned that he knew that Massaquoi had the nickname ‘Gibo’ but he himself only referred to him as Gibril. The Witness was not aware of the nickname Angel Gabriel, but stated that Massaquoi had “various nicknames.” Finally, the Defense asked questions about Sam Bockarie. The Witness stated that he knew him and explained that Massaquoi and Bockarie had a strained relationship. According to the Witness, Sam Bockarie lived in Kailahun and moved to Monrovia after his relationship with Foday Sankoh got “bitter’’. Massaquoi did not move with him.
The Prosecution questions Witness 1
The Prosecution began their line of questioning by asking questions about Issa Sesay. The Witness clarified that Issa Sesay was the only one who had a satellite phone. Massaquoi used it to talk as a spokesperson, and the Witness went to Sesay’s compound to borrow the phone in order to call Massaquoi when Massaquoi was in Liberia. The Witness stated that Witness 10 was Massaquoi’s radio operator. The Prosecution stated that Witness 10 had said that Massaquoi had a satellite phone. The Witness responded that he was not with them in Makeni and Massaquoi might have gotten a satellite phone during his time in Monrovia.
The Prosecution asked how did the Witness know that Gibril Massaquoi and other representatives of RUF were invited by ECOWAS to attend a meeting in Monrovia. The Witness explained that he heard it on the radio, as whenever an RUF delegation left it would be communicated to all RUF headquarters by radio. He confirmed to the Prosecution that Issa Sesay was the head of the delegation when the RUF left Sierra Leone to Liberia.
The Prosecution asked for clarification on what the Witness meant when he said that Gibril Massaquoi returned when the disarmament started. The Witness stated that Gibril Massaquoi returned from Monrovia when they negotiated on the release of the UN peacekeepers and they came back to Sierra Leone when the tripartite meetings started. The Witness could not recall the date when Gibril Massaquoi returned. The Witness stated that the disarmament started in Lunsar. The Prosecution asked the Witness about a former RUF commander, Witness 5, but the Witness was not familiar with the name.
The Witness confirmed to the Prosecution that he lived with Massaquoi in Freetown for one year from 2003 until 2004. He stated that he himself lived in Freetown as of 2002 but was not living with Massaquoi at the time. He noted that he was free to visit Massaquoi anytime in 2002, and the Witness was even doing “most of the work” for Massaquoi’s fishing project, because he was not in college and not busy at the time. The Witness reiterated that he went to live permanently with Massaquoi around 2003 or 2004 for the academic year starting in the first week of October, when he started at Njala University.
The Witness clarified that Massaquoi had a son who was born in Monrovia. According to the Witness, Massaquoi travelled to Liberia to get his son. He understood that Massaquoi had been to Liberia on trips other than when he went to get his son, between 1999 to 2003, but the Witness was never with him. Massaquoi traveled but came back in three days’ time, but the Witness never asked and Massaquoi never told him.
The Prosecution asked the Witness questions about a diary he had. The Witness did not bring the diary with him as he thought it would not be necessary.
The Witness affirmed that FNM-178 was living with Massaquoi when he was under special court protection. He mentioned that FNM-178 “used to fight for or advocate against child soldier,” noting that FNM-178 was a student when he was captured.
The Defense questions Witness 1
The Witness confirmed that he had been living at Thunder Hill with Massaquoi when he was taken under The Special Court for Sierra Leone’s custody, at which point Massaquoi was relocated and him and the Witness were separated. The Witness clarified that there was a personal conflict between Issa Sesay and Gibril Massaquoi which occurred after the disarmament, which was settled by a UN commander, who protected Massaquoi.
The Defense referred back to the question about Witness 5. The Witness explained that he knew other men with the same last name but did not know this particular man the Prosecution and Defense was referring to. He did know that Witness 5, under another name, was the bodyguard for Foday Sankoh.
The Defense asked whether the Witness remembers what he had mentioned to the Police about the name Angel Gabriel. The Witness explained that he had told the Police that he knew someone named Angel but not Angel Gabriel. The Defense read the pre-investigation police report which stated that he knew one fighter called Angel Gabriel in Makeni and Kono. The Witness clarified that his last name was not Gabriel but Angel was a fighter who stayed in Lunsar, Makeni and Kono. The Witness stated that he had heard that Angel travelled to Liberia. The Witness explained that he had met him in Lunsar at the time that UN troops were arrested. He further clarified that he heard the information that Angel travelled to Liberia from people who lived with Angel in Tongo. He does not recall when Angel went to Liberia.
Lastly, the Prosecutor said that the Witness had mentioned Massaquoi going to Liberia in 2001. The Witness stated that he was not living at Massaquoi’s house at the time so he did not ask him whether it was true or not, but said it may have been between 2001 and 2002.
Witness 72 is Heard
(Finnish Witness ID: Defense Witness 17)
The Defense questions Witness 17
The Witness began his testimony by explaining that he was a member of the RUF which is where the Witness knew Gibril Massaquoi from. The Defense established that the hearing would focus on the events of 1999 to 2003 and started asking questions about the Lomé Peace Accords. The Witness stated that the Lomé Peace Accord was signed on July 7th, 1999. He had been living in Makeni for almost a year before the signing of the accord, and was in Makeni after it was signed, too. According to the Witness, Foday Sankoh took him to Freetown to implement the Peace Accord. He stated that Gibril Massaquoi was also living in Freetown after the Lomé Peace Accords. The Witness clarified that he and Gibril Massaquoi were staying at Foday Sankoh’s residence where Gibril Massaquoi worked as a personal assistant for Foday Sankoh. Gibril Massaquoi and the Witness stayed there until difficulties arose when RUF rebels in the borders of Kailahun arrested the UN officials. The Witness explained that as a result of this the Civil Defense Forces attacked Foday Sankoh’s residence. He noted that the attack occurred on May 8, but he and several people alongside him were arrested on May 7. He stated that he was imprisoned up until the time of the 2002 elections. Gibril Massaquoi had also been at Foday Sankoh’s residence when the Witness was arrested. The Witness then stated that he met Gibril Massaquoi in Freetown after he was released from prison.
The Witness was not aware of Gibril Massaquoi having a nickname and he could not recall anyone named Angel Gabriel. He explained that he knew Sam Bockarie and that he was a field commander in Buedu, in the Kailahun district. According to the Witness, Sam Bockarie left Sierra Leone and travelled to Liberia because he and Foday Sankoh had a misunderstanding. This had happened when Foday Sankoh had signed the peace agreement and returned to Freetown. The Witness said that Gibril Massaquoi and Sam Bockarie did not have a good relationship. He explained that Bockarie and Massaquoi had been together before in the Pujehun district, but when Massaquoi went to Kailahun he was with another commander named Superman. Superman and Bockarie (alias Mosquito) were not on good terms, and so Bockarie’s grudge extended to Massaquoi. In fact, Foday Sankoh had requested that the Witness and Massaquoi, amongst others, should travel to Nigeria to sign the peace agreement, but Bockarie had not wanted them to go, and had sent an order for them to pass through Buedu before travelling to the Lomé Peace Agreement. The Witness and Massaquoi refused to obey Bockarie’s order to pass through Buedu. Massaquoi told the Witness to pass through Guinea, and the Witness refused, but Massaquoi made his way, and somebody helped him to get to Nigeria.
The Defense, referring back to an earlier statement made by the Witness, asked whether Gibril Massaquoi travelled with Sam Bockarie when the latter left for Liberia, and the Witness said he did not. Lastly, the Defense asked the Witness whether anyone else from Finland apart from the Finnish Police contacted him before his interview on the 14th of October 2020, and the Witness said no.
The Prosecution questions Witness 17
The Prosecution began their line of questioning by asking whether the Witness knows if the RUF took part in fighting in Liberia in 1999. The Witness responded that he didn’t know. The Prosecution then asked if he knew whether the RUF had ever fought in Liberia to which he responded that he didn’t know. The Prosecution then asked whether the Witness had heard the name Mosquito Spray. The Witness explained that he has heard the name, but he doesn’t know him.
The Prosecution then asked questions about the Special Court for Sierra Leone. The Witness stated that he testified at the Special Court for Sierra Leone. The Witness insisted that he did not discuss the RUF fighting in Liberia at the Special Court for Sierra Leone. The Witness confirmed that he met Gibril Massaquoi in 2004 or 2005 in Freetown. He clarified that he met Gibril Massaquoi at the Shell Company. He couldn’t recall the address of Massaquoi’s residence but said that the Witness and Massaquoi met at the Shell company, and then Massaquoi took the Witness to his residence. The Witness noted that he himself was not under the protection of the Special Court at the time but Gibril Massaquoi was. He said that Massaquoi had security by then and confirmed that he was free to move around but everywhere he went he had security with him. The Witness noted that Gibril Massaquoi already had security by the time he had met him at Shell. The Prosecution asked who lived in the same residence with Massaquoi. The Witness responded that his wife, kids, and younger brother lived with Gibril Massaquoi, and that the small brother’s name was FNM-224.
The Prosecution proceeded to ask whether the Witness knew anyone named FNM-178. The Witness knew FNM-178. The Prosecution then started asking clarifying questions about the Witness’ testimony at the Special Court for Sierra Leone. The Witness explained that the RUF as an organization did not take arms to fight in Liberia, and that his testimony for the Special Court concerned Charles Taylor’s support for the RUF. The Prosecution asked how Charles Taylor supported the RUF, and the Witness stated that he did not want to answer questions about Charles Taylor because he was only here for Gibril Massaquoi. The Prosecution clarified that they were asking if the RUF as a movement was ever commanded to go and fight in Liberia. The Witness said that nobody requested such action, and he did not see anybody going to fight in Liberia under the RUF. The Prosecution asked if the RUF was in Liberia in 1999 when Charles Taylor’s forces were fighting against Mosquito Spray. He explained that he was in Makeni in 1999 and that he didn’t know of any group that fought with Mosquito Spray.
The Prosecution asked whether anyone has contacted the Witness to discuss the case. The Witness explained that FNM-234 one of the RUF commanders, called him and asked if he had heard the news about Gibril Massaquoi’s arrest. The Witness knew FNM-234 very well and said that FNM-234 also knew Massaquoi. The Witness explained that they knew each other from the RUF. The Witness didn’t know when FNM-234 and Gibril Massaquoi met for the first time. The Defense, interjecting, asked whether FNM-234 said anything else when he contacted the Witness about Massaquoi’s arrest. The Witness said that FNM-234 had told him that Gibril Massaquoi had named him as one of the defense witnesses, and that people from Finland would come to talk to him.
The Defense noted that the Witness previously said that RUF as an organization did not fight in Liberia, and asked what did the Witness mean by organization. The Witness explained that the RUF was a fighting group that had their own rules and regulations governing them and thus they wouldn’t go and fight somewhere else out of the blue. The Defense proceeded to ask what the Witness’ response was when asked about the name Angel Gabriel by the Finnish Police. The Witness stated that he told the Finnish Police that he had heard the name but not seen him in person. He stated that Angel Gabriel was a member of the RUF in a group from Pujehun whilst the Witness’ group was in Kailahun. The Witness was not sure what Angel Gabriel did in the RUF and could not tell which RUF member he worked with. The Witness couldn’t recall if Angel Gabriel had another name he was called by. The Defense announced that they would read what the Police had written down during the pre-trial interview and ask questions after that. The Defense noted that the Witness had stated that the RUF had a fighter named Angel Gabriel who was with Superman. The Defense further noted that the Witness had stated that Angel Gabriel was a Commanding Officer called C.O. Gabriel. The Defense asked if the Witness remembers saying this to the Police. The Witness confirmed that he remembered saying this, and that it was correct.
The Prosecution then asked if Angel Gabriel knew Gibril Massaquoi. The Witness noted that he is not sure but because Gibril Massaquoi was with Superman, he considered it likely that Gibril Massaquoi knew Angel Gabriel. The Prosecution then asked whether the Witness remembers what he had mentioned in the Police interview apart from what was already mentioned. The Prosecution continued reading from the same chapter as the Defense. The Prosecution noted that the Witness had said that he didn’t meet Angel Gabriel because he was imprisoned for five years and asked if FNM-225 knew Angel Gabriel as Gibril Massaquoi. The Witness denied saying the statement and said that he has never said that Gibril Massaquoi was the same person as Angel Gabriel. The Prosecution proceeded to play a recording of the interview with the Finnish Police. The recording played a conversation between the Witness and the Police where the Witness disclosed that Angel Gabriel is a member of the RUF and that he knew him as C.O. Gabriel. The Witness said in the recording that he didn’t know where CO Gabriel was, but that both FNM-225 and Gibril Massaquoi knew him.
The Prosecution asked whether Gibril Massaquoi knew Angel Gabriel. The Witness stated that they all knew each other because they were with Superman. The Witness did not know whether Angel Gabriel was in Liberia in 1999. The Witness reiterated that he was not aware of the RUF as an organization fighting in Liberia, or of any individual member of the RUF ever fighting in Liberia. The Witness stated that he himself has never fought in Liberia. He explained that he was a commander in the RUF from the year 1999 and upwards.
Witness 73 is Heard
(Finnish Witness ID: Witness 5)
The Defense Questions the Witness
The Witness began his statement saying that Massaquoi is his comrade. He met him in 1991 during the war, during the jungle time and while he was a commander. He knew him on many occasions, even on the peace process. In 1999, he started as a member of the RUF. The Witness stated that after the Lomé Peace Accord on the 7th of July 1999, Massaquoi became a personal assistant to Foday Sankoh, and worked at Spur Road. The Witness was Sankoh’s personal chief security officer and also worked at Spur Road. After the Peace Accord, they came back to Freetown. The Witness and Massaquoi lived in the Spur Road residence and saw each other frequently until they were attacked. Many people were killed in this attack, some of them escaped, including Massaquoi who escaped with his own group and went to Makeni. The Witness knows this because after they stayed in the jungle for some time, they reached Makeni and met him there. The Defense asked the Witness if he knew what happened to Sankoh in the attack, to which the Witness responded that he heard he was arrested and shot in the foot, adding that he was not set free after his arrest.
The attack caused serious problems for the RUF. The Witness described that the attack on May 8th led to a delay in the peace process, because they lost many commanders and some of the members felt discouraged. When they got to Makeni and met Massaquoi and the others, they took action to get the peace process on track again. The attack had triggered some vexation amongst the members of the RUF, and the Witness explained that the way Sankoh was treated during the attack showed that the government was not ready for peace.
After the arrest of Sankoh, there was a meeting at Kono in May which the Witness and Massaquoi both attended. It included all the commanders at various points within the RUF zone operation point; Morris Kallon and Superman were also there. At this meeting, the RUF commanders debated whether or not to appoint a new leader because Sankoh was the only leader they knew, and they demanded that the UN facilitate the release of their leader, but they finally concluded by appointing Issa Sesay as their acting leader.
There was then a second meeting in Kono in September 2000, called by Issa Sesay for all RUF commanders. Issa Sesay told the commanders that he had received a message from Charles Taylor saying that the RUF should work towards peace. Therefore, the meeting concerned forming a delegation to negotiate a peace agreement, headed by Massaquoi. The Witness clarified that included at the second Kono meeting were Massaquoi, the Witness, FNM-204, Issa Sesay and FNM-219. According to Sesay, Charles Taylor had said that the RUF should go on a negotiation peace process and meet Taylor in Liberia. The Witness stated that the delegation went through Liberia because it was the only route they could use. When asked to clarify, the Witness stated that according to Sesay, Charles Taylor was the only one the international committee could contact who would be able to mediate with them towards the peace process.
On the delegation’s way to Liberia, there was an obstacle on the way in the area from Vahun, Kolahun and Voinjama for which a mission was sent to clear the road in order for them to be able to pass. Witness 7 was sent to clear the road within 72 hours for them to move to Liberia, which he did successfully. This happened in September 2000, as Witness 7 had been given the mandate to clear the road to access Liberia at the meeting. The Defense then asked the Witness whether any other RUF commanders were in that area in Lofa, to which the Witness responded that they were only on the side of Sierra Leone, in Koindu. It took one week to clear the road; from there they moved from Kono and went to Monrovia. The Witness got a fever on the way there and was lodged in a safe house and not able to attend the meeting as he was sick. Before they left for Liberia, they had been informed that the road was cleared via radio message. At this time, Massaquoi was in Makeni as all the commanders, including Morice Kallon and Superman, went back to their base after the meeting. Morice Kallon and Superman also returned to Makeni, and once Issa Sesay received notice that the road had been cleared, he sent for Massaquoi, Kallon, Superman and the Witness to meet so they could travel to Liberia. On the way from Kono to Liberia they only stopped at Voijama where they met Witness 7and Benjamin, who was Charles Taylor’s main man.
The Judge interjected to remind the Witness that he had a right not to incriminate himself in his testimony, and the Court took a 10-minute break.
The Defense then asked if the delegation participated in any fighting while they stopped in Voinjama. The Witness stated that they did not partake in any fighting as the area was unsafe, they only passed through. They travelled in a vehicle and arrived in Liberia after midnight after leaving Sierra Leone in the morning. After their arrival in Monrovia, they stayed there for about 2 to 3 days. They left Monrovia together with Massaquoi. The Defense then asked the Witness if Massaquoi went back to Liberia after this trip. The Witness responded that after this trip, Massaquoi went to Nigeria on a peace process. There had been a meeting held in Kono in October 2000, upon the return of the RUF commanders to Sierra Leone from Monrovia, where they decided to go to Nigeria to sign a ceasefire agreement. The Witness remembered that Massaquoi, Witness 20 and FNM-219 were among the delegation members, and Kposowa was the head of the delegation. They went and came back around November. The Witness could not remember if there were any other RUF members in Liberia in 2000. As Makeni was his base, Massaquoi did not go to Liberia again according to the Witness.
When the delegation to Nigeria returned to Sierra Leone, FNM-219 called all RUF commanders to a meeting, where he said that they had met the former president Obasanjo in Nigeria. Obasanjo gave them the confidence to disarm, saying that if the RUF put down their arms, nothing would happen to them including to their leader, and that they would release Foday Sankoh. The RUF had been assured that their disarmament would mean that even the commanders would not be arrested. This disarmament began in Sierra Leone around May 2001. There had also been a first moment of disarmament which started in December 1999 in Lunsar, following the Lomé peace agreement. In the meeting that was called by FNM-219 in 2001, all the commanders were told to disarm and go to their various points to stand by and prepare for disarmament. This disarmament effort started in Kono, where the Witness himself was disarmed. During this disarmament of 2001, the Witness met with Massaquoi several times at his base in Makeni, as this was also the base of the Witness before he was reassigned to Kono by Issa Sesay. After the disarmament and after the election he also met Massaquoi by the light by Brookfield’s with his family members.
The Witness then stated that he went to Liberia in 1999 after the Lomé Peace Agreement was signed and he and Foday Sankoh returned from Nigeria. Massaquoi was not in Liberia at the time. The Witness met several other RUF members when he was in Liberia in 1999. He met Johnny Paul and his wife and Sam Bockarie (alias Mosquito). The Defense asked about the relationship between Massaquoi and Mosquito, to which the Witness responded that it was not normal, clarifying that he meant that it was not cordial. The Defense asked when Mosquito moved to Liberia. The Witness said that after the Lomé peace accord and their return to Sierra Leone, Foday Sankoh travelled all over the country with a UN helicopter. First, he went to Kailahun and told the RUF fighters to put their arms down and that he had been given a mandate to disarm and so they should prepare to disarm. He went all within the RUF zones, and the message was passed to all commanders. The Witness explained that Bockarie didn’t want to disarm, which sparked conflict between him and Sankoh. When Sankoh sent men to arrest him, he left for Liberia. The Witness said that Gibril Massaquoi did not go with Bockarie, as he was with Foday Sankoh everywhere he went.
The Defense asked whether people also call the Witness FNM-180, and the Witness confirmed the alias. The Witness also confirmed that the police interviewed him in October of 2020, and that nobody contacted him after that.
The Prosecution Questions the Witness
The Prosecution began by asking about Gibril Massaquoi’s leadership in the RUF. The Witness stated that he was a front-line commander in charge of the North alongside Superman. The Prosecution then referred to the Witness’ prior statement that the RUF were aggrieved after the May 8 attack on Sankoh’s residence and asked the Witness if he could remember if the RUF did anything to disrupt the peace process before May 8. The Witness alluded to an event that took place in Makeni while he was in Freetown. He said that according to a message that was sent to Foday Sankoh, the UN was forcing men to disarm and taking arms from them. In response, Sankoh sent a delegation from Freetown who were airlifted by a UN helicopter to find out what the problem was. The Prosecution asked if it was true that the RUF had captured peacekeepers, and the Witness responded that he did not hear about it despite being a senior commander because he was in Freetown. The Prosecution reiterated that the Witness was the chief security officer for Foday Sankoh and asked if he nonetheless received no information about this. The Witness said that when the news broke out everyone was in an angry mood and even Foday Sankoh was very annoyed. The Prosecution said they presumed that the Witness wanted to say that he never received any information that the RUF captured peacekeepers. The Witness responded that when the news came, Sankoh sent a delegation to find out information, and he tried to call Issa Sesay, but his phone was off. He added that it was not a secret since all types of information were being received. The Witness confirmed that this possible capture of peacekeepers led to the May 8 attack.
The Prosecution asked what groups or organization attacked the Sankoh residence, and the Witness responded that it was the army, civilians and Kamajors, “all of them were there.” The Prosecution asked if the Witness thought they could say that it was the RUF who caused the peace process to be set back. The Witness responded that he couldn’t say that the RUF were responsible; when the news reached Sankoh, he sent a delegation and there was no conclusion as to what the problem really was, and then came the attack.
The Prosecution returned to the issue of the road-clearing mission in Lofa county, Liberia, and confirmed with the Witness that he had said it was after the September 2000 meeting, and it was Witness 7 who was given the mission to clear the area so the delegation could go to Liberia. The Prosecution quoted Witness 7’s testimony saying that he went to Liberia in September and October of 2000 and asked if this was true. The Witness said he couldn’t tell because he was in Kono, and that further questions about Witness 7’s testimony should be directed to him. The Prosecution asked how the Witness knew that the commanders all returned to their base after the meeting to wait for the road to be cleared. The Witness said he received the message through radio, and it was around October 2000 when the delegation travelled to go to Liberia. The Prosecution said that the Witness had referred to the road being cleared for enemies and asked who the enemies were. The Witness responded that it was the rebels fighting Charles Taylor, the LURD forces. The Witness added that the LURD rebels also fought in Sierra Leone and had attacked the RUF from Koindu plenty of times. When the Prosecution asked if the LURD rebels were enemies both for Sierra Leone and for Charles Taylor, the Witness responded that he could not answer the question. The Witness continued that he did not know how many men Witness 7 had when he went to Liberia, or what sort of fighting he used to clear the road in one week. The Witness repeated that Issa Sesay had informed all the commanders and told them to travel when the road was cleared.
The Prosecution asked if Witness 7’s troops had fought alongside Charles Taylor’s rebel groups, and the Witness responded that he couldn’t tell. The Prosecution asked if it was true that Witness 7’s fighting had anything to do with the peace process in Sierra Leone, and the Witness said that it did; if he had not gone to clear the road no peace agreement would have been signed and Sierra Leone wouldn’t have the peace that it does today. He added that even the delegates from Nigeria had to use that road before the helicopter picked them up on the border. The Prosecution asked if the Witness thought it was necessary that the RUF had to fight because five people were traveling as delegates. The Witness said that he was not on the mission so he wouldn’t know the number of armed men who were on the mission. The Witness confirmed that when he went with the delegation to Monrovia that he was not feeling well so he did not attend any meeting, and that the other delegation members only briefed him that they were to go to Nigeria to sign the peace agreement with Obasanjo. The Witness confirmed that Sesay said he had received a message from Charles Taylor requesting the delegation to go to Liberia, but he did not know if his colleagues met with Taylor, or if Taylor had a helicopter.
The Prosecution asked who Benjamin was to Charles Taylor, and the Witness explained that he was called one of Taylor’s directors. The Witness said he did not know Benjamin’s last name and did not confirm the Prosecution’s suggestion of ‘Yeaten’. The Prosecution asked whether Witness 7 met Benjamin Yeaten in Lofa, and the Witness responded that he didn’t go to Lofa with Witness 7 and wouldn’t know if they met. The Prosecution asked whether the Witness remembered his response to the same question in his police interview, and he said he did not. The Prosecution read aloud what the police had noted from their interview; Witness 7 and some men got the job of clearing the way around Foya, Voinjama and Zorzor, and Witness 7 traveled from Koidu in Sierra Leone and met Benjamin Yeaten to receive the ammunition that Benjamin brought. The Witness responded that he remembered now that Witness 7, as the leader of the mission, had to come and give a report of the mission, but because he was not there he couldn’t say. The Witness said that he had overheard Witness 7 talking to Issa Sesay in the vehicle when they reached Voinjama, when the Witness was feeling unwell. Witness 7 informed Sesay that he had received arms and ammunition from a helicopter from Benjamin. The Witness reiterated that he didn’t know if Charles Taylor had a helicopter. The Prosecution asked if after the Witness returned from Liberia to Sierra Leone, he had ever gone to meet Witness 7 in Liberia, and the Witness said he had not. He couldn’t remember when Witness 7 had withdrawn from Liberia.
The Prosecution asked where Foya and Kolahun are. The Witness explained that Kolahun is in front, while Foya is in Liberia along the Sierra Leonean border. The Prosecution asked if the Witness remembered telling the police that he went to Foya and Koulan to tell the men to prepare for disarmament before returning to Sierra Leone. The Witness said he didn’t remember saying this. The Prosecution asked when Witness 7 withdrew from Liberia, and the Witness stated he couldn’t remember. The Witness said he couldn’t remember what he told the police about Witness 7’s withdrawal from Liberia. The Prosecution reported that in his police interview the Witness was asked when Witness 7 withdrew from Liberia, and he had thought this could have happened in May 2001. The Prosecution asked if the Witness remembered now. The Witness responded that disarmament started in May 2001 after the delegation returned from Nigeria. The Prosecution asked if he remembered or not, and the Witness asserted that he could not remember when Witness 7 withdrew from Liberia.
The Prosecution asked whether Gibril Massaquoi had a code name or nickname, and the Witness responded that his radio operator name was Jaffa, and that was the only code name of Massaquoi’s that the Witness knew. The Witness stated that he hadn’t heard that Massaquoi’s name might have been Angel. The Prosecution asked whether the Witness remembered what he had told the police about Massaquoi’s code name, and the Witness said he had been in doubt before and he had said he didn’t know, but later remembered that Massaquoi’s code name was Jaffa, not Angel. The Prosecution read aloud that the Witness had told the police that Angel was Massaquoi’s code name because all the commanders had code names since the enemies were listening to the radio, but Gibril Massaquoi was Angel not Angel Gabriel. The Witness remarked that the written statement had a question mark, and it could be an issue of translation, because when they asked him, he had been in doubt but then remembered it was Jaffa, not Angel.
The Witness confirmed there had been three meetings held in Kono, the first to appoint the leader and the second to choose a delegation, and that Massaquoi had been chosen to lead the delegation in one of the meetings. The Prosecution asked if on the two- or three-day trip back from Monrovia the delegation had used a vehicle, and the Witness said yes. The Witness said that the delegation used same route to get back, but they had an escort because the road was not safe. He could not say how long the delegation stayed in Nigeria.
The Defense Questions the Witness
The Defense asked the Witness if he meant to say that Foday Sankoh had never wanted the peacekeepers to be kidnapped, and the Witness said yes, and added that he did not know who did the kidnapping. The Defense then asked who the people in Freetown were who were talking about it, and the Witness responded that it was the civilians who said that Sankoh had sent people to kidnap them. The Witness said it would have been impossible for the delegates to pass through the road in Liberia without it having been cleared.
The Defense stated that when the Witness had spoken about ‘Angel,’ he had said he was suspicious that they were changing code names and asked who were the people that were changing those names. The Witness said that it was the operators. He explained that Foday Sankoh trained them to change code names to disguise the identities of the RUF members, and even to send messages through codes. There were many operators who had their headquarters at the various assignment places. The Defense quoted the Witness’ police interview, saying “the code names were changed from time to time because the enemy may have known.” The Witness confirmed that this was one of the reasons for changing code names.
The Prosecution Questions the Witness
The Prosecution recalled that the Witness said he was in Liberia in October 2000, and the Witness confirmed, saying that’s when he went for the delegation. He elaborated that on the way back to Sierra Leone, they passed through Monrovia, and the delegation left Witness 7 there, but he didn’t know how many “months, days, weeks” he may have stayed there for. The Prosecution asked if Witness 7 returned with troops when the disarmament was in progress, and the Witness said yes, when they signed the Nigeria peace treaty, they called all commanders to prepare to disarm. This was around May in 2001. The Prosecution asked why Witness 7 and his men stayed in Liberia if their aim was to clear the road. The Witness stated it was because there was another arrangement for the RUF to travel to Nigeria to sign the ceasefire agreement.
Then, the Prosecution informed the Witness that they would listen to the recording of his statement to the Finnish police regarding Angel Gabriel. The Witness said he remembered that Angel was Gibril Massaquoi’s code name to prevent the enemy from knowing, but specified it was Angel, not Angel Gabriel. The Prosecution stated that it was then the fact that at some stage Gibril Massaquoi’s code name was Angel. The Witness said that before answering he needed to explain that, upon listening to the recording, the Court would hear that he had argued with the investigator. He said that many commanders changed their names, for example, Sankoh’s first code name was Bunoh, but when the enemies discovered the code name, the operators had to change it.
The hearing concluded for the day.