Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Moses Blah Ordered the Execution of RUF Commander Sam Bockarie

Alpha Sesay

Source: allafrica.com

Charles Taylor's former Vice President Moses Blah ordered the execution of a Sierra Leonean rebel commander in Liberia who was already a subject of an indictment issued by the Special Court for Sierra Leone in 2003, a former radio operator in Charles Taylor's Special Security Services (SSS) unit today told the Special Court for Sierra Leone judges in The Hague.

When notorious Revolutionary United Front (RUF) commander Sam Bockarie was executed while entering Liberia from Ivory Coast in 2003, allegations were made that his execution had been ordered by Mr. Taylor.

Giving his account of the circumstances surrounding Mr. Bockarie's death, defense witness DCT-008 told the court that in 2003, a radio operator using "the call sign Lima Tango told me that Sam Bockarie had been killed as he was trying to enter Liberia with armed men."

Prosecution witnesses have testified before the Special Court for Sierra Leone judges in The Hague that the order to execute Mr. Bockarie was handed down from Mr. Taylor to his SSS Director Benjamin Yeaten, who took men to the Liberia-Ivory Coast border and executed Mr. Bockarie along with his bodyguards and family members. When Mr. Blah testified in 2008, he told the court that he was in Nimba County when Mr. Boackerie was executed, and Mr. Yeaten had met him there and told him of an operation that they had just executed. When Mr. Yeaten took him to his vehicle, Mr. Blah said he saw the corpse of Mr. Bockarie at the back of the truck. He explained that when he took Mr. Bockarie's remains to Monrovia and informed Mr. Taylor about it, the former Liberian president told him that it was a military operation and there was no need for Mr. Blah to get involved.

Mr. Taylor, during his testimony, denied these claims and told the court that he had only sent Mr. Blah to stop Mr. Bockarie from entering into Liberia with armed men and to have him arrested. It was Mr. Blah's handling of the situation had led to the death of the RUF commander. Today, DCT-008 corroborated Mr. Taylor's account.

"What Lima Tango told me was that Sam Bockarie had a group of armed men, uncountable number of armed men, and he was trying to return to Liberia but at this time, the Liberia security tried to stop him and at this time, the group [Liberian security] was led by Moses Blah," DCT-008 told the court.

"He Moses Blah was ordered to arrest Sam Bockarie but when they got there, Sam Bockarie resisted arrest, and he [Blah] said, 'Do not waste time with that man, if he resists arrest, just kill him and bring his body to me' and so they killed him and took the body to him [Blah]."

"He [Blah] brought the body to Monrovia and took it to the Striker Funeral Home," he added.

Prosecutors allege that Mr. Bockarie was killed on his return from Ivory Coast after being sent to fight in that country by Mr. Taylor. When Mr. Bockarie was returning to Liberia with men whom he had commanded in Ivory Coast and with a Special Court for Sierra Leone indictment already issued, Mr. Taylor ordered his execution to cover any tracks of his close relationship with the former Sierra Leonean rebel commander, prosecutors allege. Mr. Taylor has dismissed these allegations as lies.

When asked today to tell the court what the Liberian government said about the death of Mr. Boackerie, DCT-008 explained, "What I heard from the government through the defense minister...was that Sam Bockarie, after he had left Liberia, attempted to come to Liberia with a fighting force, which the Government of Liberia wanted to stop and when he opened fire on the government security, they killed him."

DCT-008 also spoke about the circumstances surrounding the death of Daniel Tamba, aka Jungle, who according to prosecutors was Mr. Taylor's liaison with the RUF in Sierra Leone. Prosecutors say that when Jungle later returned to Liberia, Mr. Taylor ordered his execution, and he was shot in the back by his own comrades who were acting on orders handed down by Mr. Taylor to SSS Director Mr. Yeaten. Defense witnesses have said that Jungle was a member of the RUF who had a close relationship with Mr. Yeaten without Mr. Taylor's knowledge. DCT-008 today testified that after the disarmament in Liberia, Jungle was one of the Liberian members of the RUF who refused to be disarmed in Sierra Leone and instead returned to Liberia, where they became part of Mr. Taylor's security forces.

Explaining his account of how Jungle died in Liberia, DCT-008 today said, "What I heard about his death was that he died by a friendly fire, from a friendly gun."

"He was engaging the enemy forces, he was hit by a BZT at the back. While the BZT was giving them cover, the BZT mistakenly hit him in the back," he said.

When asked about Mr. Yeaten's reaction to Jungle's death, the witness said, "What I observed was that after this had happened...Ben [Yeaten] came to Monrovia constantly crying that he had lost Jungle. He was very sad."

The witness also today gave an extensive account of radio communications between the RUF in Sierra Leone and "Base One," the radio that was stationed at Mr. Yeaten's residence in Liberia. The witness spoke about how radio operators in Liberia including Mr. Yeaten's radio operator called Sun Light communicated with RUF radio operators, who included Memunatu Deen, Sebatu, and Dauda Aruna Fornie. These communications were based on the relationship that existed between Mr. Yeaten and Mr. Bockarie, and these contacts were not to Mr. Taylor's knowledge, the witness said.

He added that when RUF commander Mr. Bockarie left Sierra Leone and relocated to Liberia in late 1999, all communications between Mr. Yeaten's operators and the RUF ceased.

DCT-008-'s testimony continues on Tuesday.

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Inside Liberia with Bernard Gbayee Goah

Everyone is a genius

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

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If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah


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