Tuesday July 19, 2005
Tamba Borbor reports from Freetown
Prosecution witness, TF1-033 has disclosed that after the AFRC Forces had attacked Mange Bureh, Saj Musa joined up with 500 armed fighters and about 400 civilians who confirmed that they were families of the junta members. The witness who was testifying in English, said that accused Alex Tamba Brima, also known as Gullit ordered Salefu Mansaray alias Tito’ and Arthur to launch an attack on the ECOMOG Forces and the loyal men of the Sierra Leone Army that were based in Gbendembu Town inorder for them to obtain arms and ammunition and to kill all the civilians they would meet there. This mission’ the witness said, “was successful as Tito returned with some arms and reported to Gullit the death of Arthur and some 25 SLAs and the killing of 20 civilians.”Gullit then commended Tito for a job well done but regretted the death of Arthur.
The witness went on to explain that it was after this attack that 05′ came from Mongoh Bendugu with 400 AFRC fighters and 500 abductees, as he wanted to join the Forces to capture Freetown. In September 1998 he recalled, Gullit ordered about 500 fighters under the command of Abdul Sesay to attack Mange Bureh for more arms and ammunition, as the area was also an ECOMOG base. The witness further stated, ” 70 civilians were killed during this operation; the Town was burnt down and the fighters also returned with two Prisoners Of War (POW). It was also during this operation that Mark Fish’ died.
In October 1998, Saj Musa also came from Mongoh Bendugu to join the Forces at Gbere Masmante with 500 armed AFRC fighters and 400 civilians who confirmed that they are family members of the AFRC from Freetown. Saj also came with one Italian Catholic Priest, Reverend Father Mario who together with the two POWs were intended for use as a barging chip for the peace talks.” When Saj Musa came the witness narrated, Gullit wanted to even hand over power to him as he reorganizes Saj as his boss but the latter denied. Saj according to TF1-033 told the Forces that they should stop the killing and raping of innocent civilians.
The two Commanders, the witness stated, started to do things in common. In November he noted, the forces left Gbere Masmante for Mange Bureh where there was heavy fighting between the ECOMOG Forces and AFRC fighters. “As the AFRC fighters overpowered the ECOMOG troops, 400 civilians were killed and the town was partly burnt down,” the Prosecution witness further explained.
In Melekuray he informed, they were attacked by the CDF fighters, which resulted in the death of 30 CDF personnel and 6 AFRC fighters. “Saj and Gullit again ordered 05′, Basky and Papa 17 to attack Lunsar town as there was a large deployment of ECOMOG troops there. On their return, they came with some ammunition and military outfits. They reported the killing of 40 civilians.”
Continuing, TF1-033 further went on to say, “the AFRC troops then went to Madigbea close to Masiaka where Saj and Gullit ordered the Forces to attack Masiaka as there was also a large deployment of ECOMOG troops. The troop of about 500 in number was under the command of Papa 17, Junior Lion and Basky. It was during this operation that Papa 17 was killed.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Christopher Staker has been appointed as Deputy Prosecutor of theSpecial Court for Sierra Leone. He succeeds Desmond de Silva QC who was recently appointed as Chief Prosecutor by the United Nations Secretary-General in consultation with the Government of Sierra Leone. Dr. Staker was Counsel for a number of prominent cases before the High Court in Australia and other Australian Courts among other appointments he held. He will take up his post on 15th July 2005.