The 47th day of public hearings resumed on 21st September in Monrovia, Liberia.
Witness X3 is Heard
The Prosecution questions the witness
In response to Prosecution’s question to describe his personal experiences during the second Liberian civil war between 1999 and 2003, the Witness recalled that the war started in the town where he was born. He was fighting for the NPFL, he was a Deputy Chief of Staff, in control of Strike Force Marine Division and was also a Major General. At that time in Liberia there was the councilmen team consisting of seven men and the interim president was Ruth Sando Perry. Then came the elections and President Taylor won. Less than three months later, they heard that Lorma and Mandingo people had problems in Lofa county. President Taylor sent him and his men there to see what was really going on. In Lofa they carried out TSoS (Technical Surveillance of Security) and found out that LURD forces attempted an attack. He returned and reported to the President after which he sent the Witness back and confirmed that LURD killed seven civilians. The Witness recalled that this incident happened in 2000.
When asked about where he was assigned to, the Witness confirmed that he was assigned to the President, on the motorcade in his convoy. He lived in the barracks at the Executive Mansion; he was part of presidential guard.
In 2000 when the LURD forces attacked the Witness and his men were in Waterside, protecting civilians and property. When asked when LURD started to attack Monrovia, the Witness stated it was in 2001. The Prosecutor asked the Witness if at the time there the Sierra Leonean troops and he confirmed that there were plenty of them and they were RUF members. When asked if they had a leader in Waterside the Witness responded that they did and it was Gabriel Massaquoi. His war name was Angel Gabriel and there were others such as Salame, Sam Bockarie, Johnny Paul Koroma, etc.
As a Major General, the Witness had personally met them. The Witness recalled that as part of his duties; when Sam Bockarie and Foday Sankoh had problems, and the President wanted to make peace, he sent the Witness and his unit to receive them at the border and bring them to the Security Service (SS) commander Benjamin Yeaten and later to the guest house. The Witness also once received Gabriel Massaquoi from the border with a car, a Toyota Land Cruiser, pick-up, tainted, double cabin.
The last time the Witness remembered seeing Gabriel Massaquoi was during the fighting at the Waterside. The particular incident took place on April 4, 2003 after one of the RUF members, Salame, died. Massaquoi was angry and ordered his men to kill all the civilians who were looking for food. The Witness was fighting at Freeport at the time, and one of his bodyguards notified him of the incident. By the time he came to the place of execution in Via Town, Massaquoi and his men were gone. He counted sixty-seven bodies that day. Massaquoi was then living around YWCA, adjacent Lonestar Cell. The Witness went there, on orders of the President, to have him arrested but Massaquoi was gone. The Witness added that a girl who was living in Charles Taylor’s house (White Flower) had informed Massaquoi that if he did not escape he was going to be arrested. The Prosecution asked how long thereafter was the peace declared and the Witness replied about a month later.
The Prosecution asked where in Monrovia did the Witness take Massaquoi after he picked him up. The first place was the President’s farm in Artington and then the YWCA. When asked if there were RUF fighters in Waterside, the Witness replied that there were. One of the BZT pick-ups was controlled by Salame and he himself was controlling the other, anti-artillery one.
The Prosecution asked if besides the 65 bodies he saw, had he observed any other instances where civilians were killed. The Witness explained that LURD was dropping 81mm mortars that were killing people, ‘you know, when war fighting.. people would come looking for food, and they would kill civilians’. The Witness confirmed this happened in Waterside, and specified that there were different sections in Waterside, controlled by different people. He further elaborated that he saw LURD forces attempting to take Via Town Bridge, but the government forces counter attacked and captured Via Town. Thereafter civilians came looking for food and tried to loot a store: they were killed by three Sierra Leonean soldiers. The Witness got angry ‘there was no investigation, I killed them right there’. When asked if he knew who had given the order to the Sierra Leonean troops, and the Witness responded that ‘at the time, no one gave the order. It was their own thing they did’.
The Prosecution returned to the time the Witness received Gabriel Massaquoi at the border and asked who knew about it, or if it was general knowledge. The Witness picked him up in his assigned pick up and was told by Yeaten that ‘no one should know about it’, so Massaquoi wore a mask before he entered the pick-up and he drove him straight to the chief. The Witness said that Massaquoi knows him well: ‘when he sees me, he will tremble. He was my good friend…’. He said he could not remember when he had picked him up from the border, because it had been too long, and when asked if he knew why Yeaten said that nobody should have seen him, he replied ‘That was between he and Benjamin Yeaten, but it was the order given to me’. The Witness added that when Massaquoi killed people he would tell them that when they went to heaven, ‘tell God that Angel Gabriel sent you’. The Witness commented that Sierra Leoneans tried to do the same wickedness in Liberia as they did in their own country but that he did not tolerate it.
The Defense Questions the Witness
The Defense asked how the Witness came to be contacted by the Finnish police. He responded that a friend of his, [FNM-254] told him that some people wanted to speak with him. The Witness borrowed money from a friend, a police officer, to pay for the hotel and the next day [Employee 1] took him to the interview with the Finnish police. When asked if he were shown a photograph, he confirmed but that it had nothing with him and that he would recognize Massaquoi in a photograph if shown. The Defense reminded him that in the interview summary it was written that he pointed to a photo on the computer and the Witness said that he could not remember that person’s name and that he saw many photos that day. After seeing the photograph, the Witness said it resembled Massaquoi.
The Witness added that he knows Massaquoi well and that he would tremble if he were to see the Witness now. Also, that he had a picture with Massaquoi, Bockarie, and Superman taken on Randell Street, before reaching the overhead bridge on Front Street, between Ashmun and Front streets today. Unfortunately, the photo was damaged in the rain. The Defense said that according to the Finnish police report, the Witness said that he and the guys took the photo in Via Town. The Witness responded that they took many photos together and that the one in Via Town was when they pushed the LURD forces back and were happy. Then the Witness added that foreign journalists, like Elizabeth Blunt, could show some of their photos. They took photos in Via Town, Waterside, Randell Street, and White Flower and Benjamin Yeaten’s house. However, he no longer has them because they were spoiled by the rain. The Witness told the Finnish police that he had these photos before he knew they were damaged. The Witness explained that they took photos after a serious battle, and usually when they pushed the LURD forces back ‘we rejoiced and took photos’.
The first time the Witness met Massaquoi was when he picked him up from Bo Waterside after the government forces cleared LURD forces, and the Witness controlled the area from Clay to Bo Waterside. He could not remember when exactly, so the Defense played the recording from the interview where the Witness said ‘maybe it was around April or May’. The second time he saw Massaquoi was when he was sent to pick him up from his home opposite YWCA and the last, third time was after he had executed the civilians and the Witness and his men were looking to arrest him on orders of Charles Taylor.
The Defense introduced that the Witness told the Finnish police that Massaquoi was a spy and that he was feeding information to LURD. He told Taylor that Massaquoi was spying on him: the President initially did not believe him, but still ‘kept eyes on us until he found out Massaquoi was a spy’. Even Sam Bockarie told Taylor that Massaquoi was no good. The arrest warrant was issued for the killing and spying. However, before the arrest warrant was issued, the Witness had already been looking for him for having killed civilians. The Witness added that they arrested Massaquoi’s girlfriend, [FNM-255], who worked for Taylor and had told Massaquoi to leave. She confirmed that he was gone.
The Defense raised that on the Finnish police interview recording, the Witness had said that it was [FNM-256], a Colonel, who warned Massaquoi to escape because he was living close to his girlfriend’s place on Congo Town Back Road. The Witness clarified that the government forces arrested [FNM-256], because he was giving information to the LURD and he warned Massaquoi to stop his behavior. The Witness said he chased Massaquoi all the way to Bo Waterside but did not see him, even after he spent two hours searching for the car he used to escape. His testimony concluded with the Witness stating that the police never asked him when the last time he saw Massaquoi had been, but the Witness gave them information about Massaquoi.
Witness X5 is Heard
The Prosecution questions Witness X5
The Witness was one of Taylor’s trusted generals. He joined the revolution at the age of 12 and was a soldier from 1990 to 2003. He was in Monrovia when the war started in Lofa. From April 1996 until 1999 he, like his fellow soldiers, was at his farm following Taylor’s orders. Initially, he and the other soldiers who were demobilized, were angry and did not want to fight when the rebels entered Lofa County and were called in to take their weapons again. But some of their friends urged them to join the struggle and defend the country. At first there were rumours that the war in Lofa was not serious and even that Taylor was behind it, but later they went in and fought to defend their country. ‘Roland’ called him to go back to Monrovia, on instructions from the President. The Witness explained that Taylor sent a helicopter to Lofa to bring him to Monrovia because he had been with Taylor for long, and he wanted the Witness to teach some guys how to enter and exit Liberia. In Monrovia his vehicle SSS 17 was waiting for him and he went to the Presidential Mansion and saw the President. He said he had a team in Lofa, but they are in Konia.
The Witness was assigned to President’s home, Arthington, and they used the road from White Plains. He was a Colonel and was controlling a unit called Wild Geese. He was assigned Chocolate City and the Stockton Creek Bridge. Many Sierra Leoneans were here, and the Witness accommodated them. He knew all of the commanders, such as Mosquito, and showed them around Monrovia: ‘there was Co Man, Gen. Mosquito’s first deputy, Salami, and Massaquoi, Angel Gabriel’.
Gabriel Massaquoi was not based in Monrovia, but after the death of Bockarie, the President told him to go to the border, and with four jeeps they went to bring some soldiers who left Ivory Coast. They came from Burkina Faso, and he went to pick them up. He brought Angel Gabriel from the border to town and straight to Taylor’s house in Arthington. The Witness said that he saw Massaquoi during WW1, WW2 & WW3. He had been assigned at the E. J. Roye Building, where he was commander, but he was not always in the field. The Sierra Leoneans were controlling Waterside and the bridges.
The Witness was a commander who had no limitations; he could go anywhere. He carried one of the heavy guns, so when the fighting was heavy in Waterside, he used to go and help. According to the Witness Massaquoi was a General, as he took the place of Sam Bockarie. He added that he had seen him in Waterside.
On June 9, 2003, Massaquoi gave the order to shoot in the store. This caused some tension between the Sierra Leoneans and the government troops. By then, the Witness had been with the Sierra Leoneans for three days because the LURD forces were trying to break in, trying to cross over to their side. The civilians were interrupting the battles, looking for food, ‘always looting’. Gabriel Massaquoi warned them 3 times not to cross the road when the BZT pickup was coming, but they all crossed and jumped into the store. Then Gabriel Massaquoi gave the order to shoot and the Agbah boys started shooting at them in the store.
The Witness received a call that the situation ‘was not easy’ in Waterside and he first asked if the LURD had crossed, but then he was asked to come by as ‘it was not a small thing the Agbah boys were doing’. When he arrived there, they told him the Agbah boys had killed over 100 people in the store. Usually, in such situations, you would ask to speak to the commander, but by then then Gabriel Massaquoi had already left for the E.J. Roye area.
When he asked [FNM-257] who gave the order to kill the civilians, he was told it was Massaquoi. [FNM-257] did not know where Massaquoi had went: the Witness used the road through Slipway to E. J Roye, where he saw Massaquoi’s pickup parked; he told his driver to stop. He went up and the first person he met was Benjamin Yeaten. Among themselves, the Liberians called the Sierra Leoneans ‘Yanflan’, and Yeataen controlled the Yanflan, because he was the Chief of Staff.
The RUF were called Yanflan and Agbah. The Witness confirmed that he, himself saw the bodies; it was not just one store, but three. The first store was the one near the old Housing Bank, a biscuit store; the second store was at Front Street, Family Bakery; and the third one was on Water Street. When he saw Massaquoi, he jumped on him to fight, and the Director asked them to stop because Gibril was the Witness’ commander, and he was not to fight him.
The Witness’ intention was to attack the Sierra Leoneans. However, his Deputy Long Range, told him to not attack the Agbah because they were helping the Liberian government.
After the Witness and Massaquoi nearly fought, it was a month before the war stopped. After that, the Witness did not see Massaquoi again, and [FNM-257] died right in his presence.