A witness at the trial of the former Liberian president Charles Taylor has told the Special Court in The Hague that Mr Taylor was the reason there was a glitch in disarming RUF rebels in 2000 leading to the taking hostage of the hundreds of UN peacekeepers and killing of some civilians protesters in Freetown in May of that year.
Answering to a cross-examination by prosecution lawyer Brenda Hollis, the insider witness said Mr Taylor instructed the leadership of the RUF not to disarm in certain parts of Sierra Leone. He quoted the RUF interim leader, Issa Sesay as saying that the then Liberian leader was planning to invade Guinea.
“[Issa] said he got an instruction from Charles Taylor that he should organise the troops to enter Guinea through Pamelap” the witness said; adding that they should enter the country by Kissidougou using the Kono axis in the east and not through Koinadugu in the north.
Mr Taylor allegedly wanted the RUF to send manpower to Foya under the command of Benjamin Yeaten “to be able to join the other forces who were there to enter through Gueckedou.”
A Guinean Special Forces commander identified as General Bah was to lead the operation into Guinea along with Benjamin Yeaten, he went on.
The witness also testified that Foday Sankoh turned down an offer by some Ukrainian mercenaries to assist the RUF in its war, saying he would only accept assistance from his “brother”, Charles Taylor.
By Joseph Cheeseman