84. The outbreak of actual hostilities on the territory of Sierra Leone has yielded widespread misunderstanding of its underlying motives and means of coming into being.  There are considerable areas of disagreement in the interpretations offered to the Commission by the parties who themselves instigated the war, let alone in the second-hand accounts that circulate as popular myth.  Rather than providing clarity, the attack on Bomaru on 23rd March 1991 added a layer of intrigue of its own.

85. Thus, the earliest instances of human rights violations recorded by the Commission took place in 1990 and bear the character of cross-border raids from Liberia.  Moreover, the first attackers who engaged the Sierra Leone Army were all combatants who had fought and were based in Liberia. Foday Sankoh’s plans on when to launch his ‘revolution’ in Sierra Leone was affected by the Liberian conflict.  Had the agenda that Sankoh formulated in Liberia been enacted in the manner and in accordance with the time-scale he had originally foreseen, the outcome of the revolution may have been different.  Instead Sankoh, the self-styled master planner, was overtaken by events on the ground and prevailed upon by Charles Taylor.

Context, Build-up and Dynamics of the Attack on Bomaru

86. Saturday 23rd of March 1991 has until now has stood as the date on which the first shots were fired in the Sierra Leone conflict; yet in fact it is a misleading milestone in history.  What happened on that day was an attack that culminated in the commencement of the conflict, not the first attack of the conflict itself.  There is no need to dwell excessively on the semantics of this subtle differentiation, but for a variety of reasons the Commission deems it necessary to place the event itself in an appropriate historical context.

87. The geographical area in question is in the northernmost portion of Sierra’s Leone border with Liberia.  Since the border is for the most part densely forested, towns adjacent to the open crossing points tend to assume strategic and economic importance inordinate to their size.  Bomaru, in the Kailahun District, is one such place, renowned for its weekly market days to which Liberians would routinely cross from Vahun, in Lofa County, to buy and sell local produce including coffee and cocoa.  The route between Vahun and Bomaru had become a free-flowing channel for both formal and illicit agricultural trade.  As the Liberian conflict escalated, the volume of persons crossing the border became impossible to gauge or to regulate.  The many hundreds of civilian refugees who plied this route in vehicles and on foot were then infiltrated by combatants from the different Liberian warring factions.

88. First, as was generally true for other border crossings from Liberia, fleeing members or supporters of the executive and elite of the Samuel Doe regime plied the route into Sierra Leone through Bomaru.  According to various testimonies to the Commission, certain fragmented units of the former state security apparatus of Liberia arrived among this contingent with the full intention of establishing a base in one of the border Districts, where they would mobilise a new fighting force to strike back against the NPFL.  The Commission heard the following testimony from the President of Sierra Leone as to the dynamics of the security situation that his predecessors in the APC Government had faced:

“By late 1990 when the Liberian war had reached the outskirts of Monrovia, the refugee flow into Sierra Leone had reached its highest peak.  Among these refugees were a substantial number of remnants of the late President Samuel Doe’s Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) and Liberia Police Force Personnel who had fled the fighting.  Their common objective was to regroup and return to Liberia to continue their resistance against Charles Taylor’s NPFL.  This group included a number of influential Liberians who were supporters of the late Samuel Doe’s regime.”37

89. From the opposite end of the spectrum, NPFL commandos, apparently in significant numbers, also took advantage of the porous border to pass into and from Sierra Leonean territory anonymously and without regulation.  According to residents of Bomaru, truckloads of Liberian youths would on occasion engage in harassment and looting of the local population before returning.

90. Apparently in direct response to formal complaints lodged by the community of Bomaru with the Army’s Eastern Headquarters at Moa Barracks, Daru, a small deployment of Army Engineers from the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLMF) was transferred to Bomaru from Wilberforce Barracks in Freetown in order to strengthen the security presence in the border vicinity.  This platoon of about 30 men from the Sierra Leone Army (SLA) was commanded by Captain Emmanuel Foday and it formed the fatefully-named ‘Operation Bomaru.’38

91. The SLA deployment stationed itself just outside Bomaru Town on the road leading to Vahun and, according to local residents, succeeded at first in stemming the flow of NPFL commandos.  In any case, relief appears to have been short lived, as concerns soon surfaced that these soldiers were engaging in transactions with the very ‘rebels’ whose activities they were supposed to deter:

“They started exchanging visits, recreational activities and so on and so forth.  The friendship developed into trade by barter; that is, these NPFL men were bringing in their looted items, refrigerators, videos, fridges, televisions and all these things to the soldiers.  They only demanded much-needed items like rice, palm oil, cigarettes and such things in exchange.  Our soldiers use to take the items from these people, go down to Kenema or other places and sell them… often without returning.”39

92. Furthermore, the soldiers are thought to have reneged on a particular deal by failing to give anything in exchange for a number of items, most significantly a blue Toyota pick-up van, and thus incurring the wrath of the NPFL commandos.  The NPFL Area Commander in the Liberian town of Voinjama, Anthony Meku-Nagbe, is said to have cautioned the soldiers about their dishonesty and even petitioned the Section Chief of Bomaru to act as a go-between; but neither factor prevailed upon SLA Major Foday.  When Meku-Nagbe crossed back into Liberia for the last time prior to 23 March 1991, approximately one week earlier, he is said to have promised ominously that he and his men would return with a ‘score to settle’.40

93. The Commission has confirmed that the subsequent attack on Bomaru, shortly after dawn on 23 March 1991, was carried out by between 40 and 60 NPFL commandos and incurred thirteen fatalities: eleven civilians and two soldiers of the Sierra Leone Army.41  These killings have taken on a symbolic resonance over the years as they represent a format of attack and violations that would be repeated during later operations.  They further constituted the first direct knowledge on the part of the Sierra Leonean population of the defining character that the conflict in their country would take.  Following Bomaru, civilians would continue to account for the overwhelming majority of deaths at the hands of the various militias and armed groups.

94. The RSLMF officers killed in the attack have also come to symbolise recurring features of the military history of the conflict as it has been recorded by the Commission.  Major Foday was targeted on this mission due to a personal vendetta stemming from inter-factional connivance between the NPFL and the SLA soldiers.  He is said to have been conducting an inspection of his troops at the time of the attack and had insufficient time or capacity at his disposal to resist the swarms of fighters who entered Bomaru from the surrounding bush.  He was eventually shot dead in his house.

95. The other deceased soldier was Lieutenant Osman Kargbo, who was on his way from nearby Senga to reinforce the defences of Bomaru but was not apprised of the reality on the ground due to failing communications.  Indeed, the ill-fated action of Lieutenant Kargbo, plunging himself into a hostile environment without adequate heed or prior warning of the dangers he would encounter there, served as a harbinger of the fate that awaited many of his compatriots in the Sierra Leone Armed Forces.

96. Immediately after their violent raid, which is reported to have lasted for about three hours, the NPFL attackers retreated back over the border into Liberian territory.  The cruel irony of the event was that the contested motor vehicle that had apparently provoked the attack was left languishing in Bomaru and never collected.  Anthony Meku-Nagbe’s ‘score’ was settled nonetheless; in lieu of the pick-up truck, the NPFL commandos heavily looted Major Foday’s house and drove away in the support vehicle that had been used to hurry to the scene by Lieutenant Kargbo.  Anthony Meku-Nagbe came on a murderous mission “for the Major and not civilians”42; in settling his ‘score’, he left numerous human rights violations, a shattered Bomaru community and a country fearing further pandemonium in his wake.

Differing Perspectives on the Attack on Bomaru

97. At the outset, it is pertinent to reflect that the attack was woefully misreported in the local media and substantially misrepresented by the APC Government.  It appears to the Commission that the root of much of this misinformation was to be found in the understandably hysterical rumours emanating from the ‘first-hand’ accounts of those civilians who had fled from the direct vicinity of Bomaru.  Evidence given to the Commission by the leader of the military team sent to investigate the attack hints at the susceptibility of public information mechanisms to stories that portrayed the incident out of all due proportion:

“On arrival [in Kailahun District] it was clear that something unprecedented had happened in that area.  There was a visibly panic-stricken and unsettled public with various versions of what had happened and what was to come…  In respect of the number of rebels that had crossed the border, some said they were about a thousand while some put the figure upwards of five thousand.  Indeed, some messages had already been sent to Freetown from the police and military net speaking of some five thousand NPFL rebels advancing deep into Sierra Leone territory and some added ‘with tanks and artillery’.

Most of what we heard in Daru and read in signal messages from Kailahun proved to be grossly exaggerated.”43

98. In this light one might surmise that the official statement released by the APC Government in response to the Bomaru attack was in fact quite moderate.  It read as follows:

“On 23rd March 1991 at 1.00 a.m. an armed gang belonging to the National Patriotic Front, one of the dissident factions in the ongoing civil unrest in Liberia under rebel leader Charles Taylor, invaded two border villages, namely Bomaru and Senga in Dia Chiefdom, bordering Liberia.  This unprovoked and wanton attack by members of the National Patriotic Front of Charles Taylor resulted in a number of casualties among the people resident in these areas, including many deaths, three of whom are military personnel belonging to the Sierra Leone Military Forces.  Government has taken necessary measures to ensure the safety of the residents and security of the area.”

99. The Government account erroneously suggests that the attack was two-pronged; in fact, the officer from Senga who was killed had met his fate in Bomaru.  The time of the attack is wrongly stated, as is the number of military casualties.  Moreover, the assertion that the Government had taken ‘necessary measures to ensure the safety… of the area’ appears to be somewhat disingenuous.  Submissions to the Commission indicate that the level of acknowledgement in Government of the circumstances prevailing on the ground was totally unsatisfactory; SLA Brigadier (Retired) Kellie Conteh coined the phrase ‘silent political sanction’ to describe the invidious self-constraints retained by the APC, which hampered any effective response.44  One element of the truth behind the Bomaru attack is that the Army High Command failed to act properly to prevent it, while the Army officers on the ground had acted irresponsibly to provoke it.

100. Some testimonies to the Commission have stated that there were Liberians visiting the Bomaru axis, as well as other towns in Kailahun such as Pendembu, on a series of ‘reconnaissance missions’ that were drawn out over several months preceding 23 March 1991.  For example, one teacher from Pendembu expressed his utter disillusionment with the conduct of his erstwhile colleague Patrick Beinda, whom he alleged was the host and escort to Liberian spies on their regular visits to Bomaru and Pendembu.45  He further contended that the very same Liberians later appeared in Pendembu as armed commanders when the town was eventually attacked.

101. In his own testimony to the Commission, Beinda accepted that he was among the first of the local townspeople who joined with the Liberian commanders upon their entry into Pendembu, but denied that he had ever previously encountered any of the assailants in question.46  He claimed that as a long-time resident of Liberia before the war broke out, he was in a position to provide translation into the local Mende language for the Liberian English-speaking commanders.  He thus facilitated their address to public gatherings at the Pendembu ‘court barray’ and may have appeared to some of the townspeople to have known the Liberians.  Other RUF commanders, including some of those who were among the vanguard force in Pendembu, also suggested that although Beinda was one of the first appointments, he was unlikely to have played any prior reconnaissance role.

102. These explanations should not obscure the fact that there were indeed teams of spies gathering information on behalf of the attackers well in advance of their incursion.  Although the Commission was unable to speak directly to any of those who performed such roles under the auspices of the RUF or the NPFL, reports were received as to the presence of ‘informants’ not only in the border areas of Kailahun and Pujehun, but also at various points in Freetown and even within the security structures of the state.  They had acquired maps and details of deployment by the Army, ascertained locations of potential obstacles and ‘enemy’ forces and drawn up proposed ‘targets’ and routes of entry into the territory of Sierra Leone.47

103. In the immediate aftermath of 23 March 1991, based on the reported sightings of ‘informants’ and the exaggerated messages of what was happening in Kailahun District, the press and members of the public in Freetown began piecing together the circumstantial evidence to speculate somewhat disbelievingly that ‘Sankoh’s war’ had arrived.48  In the ensuing mayhem of the conflict that soon engulfed the country, the historical importance of the attack was never contextualised properly.

104. The Commission’s own research indicates that the attack on Bomaru of 23 March 1991 served an important strategic purpose for the would-be insurgents.  It demonstrated that the border crossing was effectively unprotected and that troops stationed in the territory just beyond could easily be caught off-guard.  It convinced the commandos involved that they could, quickly repeat the tactic and conduct further attacks in a similar vein, probing deeper and staying longer.  On the whole, if Sankoh had at all been wavering as to his attacking strategy, the attack was a fillip to his confidence.

105. Responsibility for the attack is not quite as transparent as its effect, however.

106. In later years and to considerable effect, Foday Saybana Sankoh recounted the tale that he had planned and timed his incursion for the 23rd of March 1991 in order to evoke some sense of circularity in his relationship with the long-standing APC Government.  Sankoh’s intimation was that the date bore great personal significance to him and was thus envisaged as a ‘launch date’ for symbolic reasons.  Even in his address to fellow delegates at the signing of the Lomé Accord on 7th July 1999, Sankoh made reference to “the armed struggle we embarked upon on 23rd March 1991.

107. It is indeed interesting to note that on 23 March 1971, exactly twenty years earlier, Sankoh had delivered a rousing speech to an assembled crowd of soldiers in the Sierra Leone Army, effectively presenting his views on an alleged coup plot, for which he was subsequently arrested and later put on trial.49  In his statement to the police, Sankoh narrated the events that led to his arrest.  In particular, he described in elaborate detail his speech of 23 March 1971 and recounted a subsequent congratulatory remark from Major Abu Noah to the effect that he (Sankoh) should be “respected for [his] bravery and outspokenness” and that he was “the only Non-Commissioned Officer… who could express himself like [he] did to an officer”.50  The prosecution case against Sankoh appears to have been based on the claims that he was present photographing and participating in key meetings of the coup plotters, and that he thus aided and abetted Brigadier John Amadu Bangura and others in their efforts to overthrow the Government.  The files referred to here are unclear as to the exact outcome of the Court Martial proceedings, but further testimonies gathered by the Commission attest that Sankoh was convicted for his part in the plot and spent just over four years in prison, before being released in 1975.51

108. In an effort to attribute significance to the recurring date, observers have pointed out that the grudge Sankoh harboured from this day onwards caused him to avenge his arrest twenty years later.  One witness testified to the Commission that Sankoh had made an ominous declaration upon his arrest in 1971, to the effect that “even if it takes me twenty years, I will take revenge against the APC.”52

109. In reality, though, this theory appears to be somewhat far-fetched.  It is a matter of oddity that two key events in Sankoh’s life came to pass on the same day of the same month twenty years apart,53 In this regard the Commission has set out to analyse the credible alternative perspectives.

110. The first interpretation is that the attack was never envisioned as anything more than the venting of a personal grudge harboured by NPFL commander Meku-Nagbe against his Sierra Leonean ‘trading partners’.  In this characterisation, the attack was intended purely as a revenge or reclamation mission, in which the Liberians wanted either to punish the SLA soldiers for their failure to ‘pay up’ on the deal, or to assert themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the border territories.  This version seems plausible as an original motivation for the singling out of Bomaru and the Army officers deployed there.

111. One senior former member of the RUF who joined after the conflict broke out presented his own understanding of events in his testimony to the Commission, which he maintains was also the version presented to him by Foday Sankoh during their time together in the conflict:

“What Anthony Meku-Nagbe did was to mobilise his men on the 23rd of March to retrieve some of the items they [the Sierra Leonean soldiers] had taken… and that brought the war on the 23rd of March 1991.  Immediately that happened, the International Community and other people started crying foul that Charles Taylor had invaded Sierra Leone.

By then Charles Taylor never knew anything about the first attack on the 23rd; Sankoh too was on the base with his men… waiting for his own logistics, like arms and everything, to come through.  They were both unaware, you know, of what was going on…

So Charles Taylor sent for Foday Sankoh, and said ‘this is the time for you to launch your attack’; in order to exonerate himself [from the allegation] that he had invaded Sierra Leone.  Foday Sankoh said no.  He said ‘I haven’t got my logistics, I am still waiting for my weapons; I am waiting for ammunition, for vehicles’.  Charles Taylor said: ‘No, this is the time; I will give you everything – all the weapons, the commanders and everything’.  So, it was then that they assembled their men.”54

112. Another interpretation was that the attack on Bomaru was pre-conceived by members of the High Command to gauge the auspiciousness of a larger incursion in the following days and weeks.  In this case, the encroachment at Bomaru does not become the launch of the ‘revolution’ proper, but rather as something of a catalyst that encouraged Sankoh to accelerate and finalise his plans to instigate the Sierra Leone conflict.

113. These interpretations are not mutually exclusive. Sankoh had on 1st March 1991 given a 90 day ultimatum to the government of Joseph Momoh to relinquish power or “I will remove him from power”. It was quite plausible that he gave such a lengthy time frame to enable him acquire his arms and ammunition. It was also well known to the government of Sierra Leone that dissident forces were being trained in Liberia to wage war on Sierra Leone. Anthony Meku Nagbe and his group were part of the subsequent incursion into the country. As the conflict subsequently demonstrated, factional alliances were quite fluid, more so in respect of Liberians who didn’t share the revolutionary ideology (if any) of the Sierra Leoneans and were only involved in the conflict for private accumulation.

Charles Taylor’s Strategic Interests

114. Taylor perceived the immediate evolving threat to his military ascendancy in Liberia to come from the so-called Liberian United Defence Forces (LUDF), which comprised many of the exiled soldiers and police officers of the Samuel Doe regime who had fled into Sierra Leone in the wave of refugee flows noted above.  Assessments of the activities of this faction had filtered through to Taylor in his base at Gbarnga, suggesting that it was evolving into a formidable force with logistics, command structure and a base at Kpetema in the Kenema District.  The Commission heard various testimonies to the effect that Taylor wanted to eliminate this adversary before it could properly challenge him in Liberia.  As the following excerpt from a close ally of Sankoh’s attests, countering the LUDF was a prominent consideration in accelerating the time-frame for incursion:

“Sankoh himself told me that the time was not ripe for him to cross with the war into Sierra Leone.  His own plan was for December 1991.  But [it was superseded] because Charles Taylor had received an intelligence report from Sierra Leone that there’s a village called Kpetema near Joru in the Eastern Province, where dissidents were training to fight him.  They [the dissidents] called themselves the LUDF: Liberian United Defence Forces, headed by Reiley Seikie.  So he [Sankoh] said that Charles Taylor then urged him to stop his training and prepare to cross into Sierra Leone as soon as possible.”55

115. A constant additional concern in Taylor’s mind was the burgeoning presence in Sierra Leone of ECOMOG, whose shadow was inching closer to the Liberian border.  Military sources testified to the Commission that discussions had been taking place in early 1991 for the bulk of the ECOMOG deployment stationed at Lungi Airport in the west of Sierra Leone to be transferred to Moa Barracks, Daru in the Eastern Kailahun District.  Taylor had laid bare his antagonism towards ECOMOG in his infamous radio broadcast the previous year, so his continual attempts in March and April 1991 to deny that he was striving to scupper ECOMOG rang rather hollow.56  It came as little surprise to the people of Sierra Leone when a statement from an early ‘rebel’ captive betrayed Taylor’s true intentions:

“I have decided to tell Sierra Leoneans the truth about this invasion.  I am making a voluntary statement.  I have decided to expose Charles Taylor because he lied over the radio that he knows nothing about our invasion…  We are here [because] he ordered us to come and destabilise Sierra Leone because it is the ECOMOG base.”57

116. The urgency to confront both LUDF and ECOMOG as well as respond to international criticism against the incursion of 23rd March 1991 seemed to have pushed Taylor to convince Sankoh to commence his revolution well before the scheduled time.

117. With the agreement secured to commence a full-scale attack, all the plans that had been made by Sankoh were put into forward gear. The RUF would be relying absolutely on the goodwill and support of the NPFL fighters, most of whom were not part of their training, and owed loyalty to Charles Taylor to prosecute its revolution.  With hindsight, this marked the abortion of the revolution even before it had started.  It was a terrible strategic miscalculation and would cost Sankoh and the RUF very dearly.

118. The wisdom of the decision to rely on the NPFL fighters to prosecute the revolution was questioned by Sankoh’s erstwhile most trusted co-organiser, Rashid Mansaray, in forceful and disillusioned terms:

“How can you train us, prepare our minds and then allow somebody else to lead us into our own country?  You are selling out the revolution!”58

119. According to one of Mansaray’s closest friends, he made his stance on philosophical grounds:

“Rashid’s point was not that he opposed the Liberians per se, but that he believed their entry into Sierra Leone would be bad for the revolution.  He stood by his position that if the NPFL joined the RUF then they were going to cause problems for us… and that is exactly what happened.”59

120. Mansaray’s words obtain all the more resonance from the assertion by some vanguards that he was not only speaking for himself, but for a large constituency of the RUF recruits who had witnessed the NPFL’s propensity for violence at first hand and despised their generally unprincipled orientation.  Sankoh apparently could not stand such an overt challenge to his Leadership of the movement and decided to proceed in spite of Mansaray’s advice.  He also ordered the detention of Rashid Mansaray in a cell at Gbarnga, thus preventing him from participating in the mobilisation of the RUF.  The dispute thus excluded one of the RUF’s most committed ideologues from the initial entry into the country.

121. Confidential interviews conducted by the Commission provide substantial evidence to support Mansaray’s assertion that NPFL fighters would constitute a liability for the RUF.  In fact, as will be shown later in this report, the NPFL were to become the primary perpetrators of the first two years of the conflict.  Thus, perhaps the implications of the use of NPFL manpower in the RUF ‘revolution’ are best summarised in the following testimony from a senior RUF commander:

“The explanation had been made to us so many times by the Leader himself that the old dictatorial regime of the APC is the only tyrant… Our targets would not be against civilians; nor even against armed men who surrendered.  It was just rather unfortunate that the war started with a certain group of people who were not exposed to that type of ideology.  Had it been a warfare started by people trained with that understanding, it would not have badly affected civilians in that initial phase60.”

Dynamics of the Full-Scale Incursion into Sierra Leone

122. According to the TRC’s research and investigations, the conflict in Sierra Leone was launched from Liberia into both the Kailahun and Pujehun Districts, almost simultaneously.  For the duration of Phase I, from 1991 to 1993, the combatant factions would use strategies of conventional ‘target’ warfare and the conflict would retain the character of a war on two fronts.  The two fronts will be referred to throughout this chapter as the Eastern Front, centred on Kailahun District, and the Southern Front, centred on Pujehun District.

123. Initial combat operations on the Eastern and Southern Fronts commenced within a week of each other in late March and early April 1991.  All the military indicators analysed by the Commission point to centralised leadership and direction of these Fronts: they employed strikingly similar troop movements from their respective points of entry; civilians were treated in a similar fashion in all the communities they entered; objectives of their operations were announced in an identical manner on both Fronts; and the hierarchies of commandership were structured and implemented under the same High Command.

124. Elementary and distorted details about the character and composition of the incursion force were spread among civilians by the insurgents, both initially upon their entry into many communities and repeatedly upon being asked by anyone who dared.  The insurgents presented themselves in both Kailahun and Pujehun Districts as ‘Freedom Fighters’ of the Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone.  They announced that they were here to overthrow the APC regime and were under the leadership of one ‘Corporal Foday Sankoh’.

125. The incursion force was comprised of two distinct factions under the rubric of the RUF: the ‘Special Forces’ of the NPFL and the vanguards of the RUF.

The ‘Special Forces’ of the NPFL

126. Following Charles Taylor’s promise of assistance, the overwhelming bulk of the fighters in the initial incursion force were commandos of the NPFL.  Through analysis of data and numerous testimonies, the Commission has been able to determine that a force of approximately two thousand (2,000) insurgents entered Sierra Leone and that over four fifths of them – in the region of 1,600 fighters – belonged to the NPFL.

127. Nearly all of these NPFL fighters in Sierra Leone were of Liberian nationality, with possibly a maximum of one hundred (100) nationals from third countries among their number.  Through the testimony of both their colleagues and their victims, the Commission has been able to verify that there were commanders as well as fighters from Burkina Faso (commonly called ‘Burkinabes’) and the Ivory Coast, in addition to individual or small groups of combatants from The Gambia, Nigeria, Guinea and Togo.

128. The Commission heard that all the NPFL commandos, whatever their nationalities, were referred to as ‘Special Forces’.  The term ‘Special Forces’ derives from the vocabulary of the NPFL and is understood to denote those fighters who have been trained outside the territory of the country in which they are fighting.  The same title was applied to the select few Sierra Leonean commandos in the RUF who had been trained extra-territorially and had fought in the Liberian conflict, but were not vanguards; these included the senior commanders Rashid Mansaray, Mohamed Tarawallie, Abu Kanu, Mike Lamin, Noah Kanneh, Patrick Lamin, ‘Pasawe’ and CO Daboh.

129. The attack on the Eastern Front into Kailahun was led by NPFL General Francis Mewon while the attack on the Southern Front into Pujehun was led by NPFL General Oliver Vandy.

130. Key further commanders in the incursion into Sierra Leone included James Karnwhine (alias “Pa Jim”), Samuel Tuah (alias “Samtuah”), Benjamin Yaeten, Charles Timba, Dupoe Mekazohn (“General Dupoe”), James Wolonfa, John Wuseh, “Action” Jackson, CO  “Bosco” and the man responsible for the Bomaru attack, Anthony Meku-Nagbe (who also used the alias CO “Dry Pepper”).  Directional and command responsibility for the military operations of the NPFL – and thus for the bulk of the operations carried out by the combined incursion force between March 1991 and September 1992 – were vested in the hands of these men.

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