A witness for Special Court indictee Issa Sesay, formerly of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), has disclosed how farming was done in Kailahun, eastern Sierra Leone.
During cross examination the witness, DSK 302, said when the first gunshot was fired in Kailahun they fled to Nyahun until three days later when she was told by her husband that they should return as the combatants where there to protect them.
The Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA), the witness, disclosed that while they were in Kailahun civilians used to farm on government farms.
She disclosed that early in the morning the first accused, Issa Sesay who was the boss there, would ensure that food was cooked for them.
“The people were never forced to farm for anyone when they were going they used to sing. The leaders [the rebels] themselves do have their own farms as they too had their families and dependents,” she noted.
DSK 302 further revealed that when they were in Kailahun there were lots of fighters and that she was told that they were Burkinabes but they were living very happily. Sometimes, the TBA revealed, while the women would be going to the farm there would be gunmen who would go with them to oversee their work.
The woman disclosed that there was a particular group of men called Gao and that these were the wicked people. “They used to loot, beat and even rape our children,” she disclosed further.
Continuing her evidence the witness said they were asked by Foday Sankoh that if their children would be able to fight so that they would drive away these men out of the town. “After these men were driven out of Kailahun, rules and regulations were laid. These state that the RUF should not rape, they should not forcefully take civilians’ property and no innocent civilians should be killed,” the witness said.
Answering to questions poised to her by the defence lawyer for the first accused Wayne Jordash, the witness said there were offices in operations one of which was the G-2. “This office was responsible for the settling of disputes,” she revealed.
The role of the G-2, the witness went on, was to investigate complaints brought before them and then meted out punishment on culprits if found guilty.
Citing her own example, the TBA disclosed that, “one day a combatant took my property and so I reported the matter to the G-2. The report was sent to the MP office which investigated and found the guy guilt and so he was flogged in my presence and my property retuned,”
The trial continues at the Chamber.