TESTIMONY OF ALEX TAMBA TIEH (PASTOR)

Echoes from the Trial of Charles Taylor

This is a witness’s account of an unspeakable atrocity from the trial of the Liberian dictator, Charles Taylor. Courtesy of Ofeibea Quist Artcton.
PROSECUTION LAWYER MOHAMED A BANGURA:
SO YOU GOT TO SUNA MOSQUE AGAIN? – ALEX TAMBA TIEH: Yes, but my Lord, before we go to Suna Mosque, the things that happened at Igbale is what I want to speak about, because they killed a boy.
YES WHAT HAPPENED? After the SBU (Small Boys’ Unit) boys had told me you are no better than your colleagues and we are going to kill you, Rocky had to hang his bag over my neck and he asked his subordinates to take me along.
And I saw some SBU boys come closer to me with a small boy. He was screaming and asked them WHAT HAVE I DONE? They didn’t say anything to him, but the boy was screaming.
At first, they had to put his right arm on a log. They took a machete 223 and amputated it at the wrist. The boy was screaming shouting asking what have I done that you are doing this to me?
They took the left arm again and put it on the same log and sliced it off. He was still screaming, shouting. They took the left leg and put it on the same log and cut it off at the ankle.
At last, the took the right leg again and put it on the same log and cut it off with a machete. Some held him by his hand at that time now and I’m speaking about the same SBU boys, they are the same boys doing this.
Some held his foot, legs, they were swinging the boy. They threw him over into a toilet pit. I was there, I saw it myself. The boy was screaming, shouting crying. From the that, CO Rocky, his own subordinates told me, let’s go, let’s go and it was from then that we proceeded to Suna Mosque.
AND AT SUNA MOSQUE 237 WHAT HAPPENED? When we got to Suna Mosque, Rocky saluted Rambo and gave him…. He said Sir I have killed 101 people and they were men, except this pastor who is standing efore you now. I did not kill him.
WHAT WAS HIS RESPONSE? Rambo went angry. And he said Rocky, I as your commander 244, I have given you an instruction to do something and you refuse to accomplish it?
He turned to me and said you are a pastor hein? It is this time I believe that God is going to guide you. But Rambo went angry.
…That is myself?
YOU SAID THAT THERE WERE COMMANDERS THERE. HOW DID YOU KNOW THE NUMBER? DID YOU KNOW THAT IMMEDIATELY YOU GOT TO SUNA MOSQUE?
JUDGE: Ask one question at a time. Rephrase your question.
HOW DID YOU KNOW THERE WERE 30 COMMANDERS:
I knew that because Rambo referred to them as commanders. He said you who are commanders.
DID YOU KNOW THE NUMBERS?
He Rambo himself said it. We the 30 commanders who are here, including Rocky, we are going to vote about the pastor. He said they should vote, he said he was one, that wants me to be killed. Any other person who wants Pastor TIEH to be killed, they should come and stand on his own side and they should put their fingers up.
Those who are not in favour of Pastor Tieh being killed, they should go on the side of Rocky.
WHY ROCKY?
Because he had already given instructions to Rocky for him to kill all of us who were civilians in that group. But since Rocky refused to kill me, it means he was not determined and decided not to kill me. So he decided those who did not want me to be killed should go to Rocky’s side.
AND WHAT WAS THE RESULT OF THE VOTE ON YOUR LIFE? Well, 14 people came to us, his own position, and put up their fingers and he put the total to 15. And Rocky’s side…also 15.
FIFTEEN WHO WANTED YOU TO BE KILLED AND 15 WHO WANTED YOU TO BE SPARED? Yes, Sir. Well as God would have it, it was like now 30-30. Fortunately, he Rambo himself saw Sylvester KIEH coming from the other side and he was also a commander himself, because he was a Lieut.
SYLVESTER KIEH WHO YOU MENTIONED EARLIER AT THE IGBALE. When Sylvester came, Rambo had to address him. He said now you are here, but we who are here we are divided into 2. I and my own group have decided that the pastor should die. Rocky 254 and his own group have decided that the pastor should be spared. Now we are 30-30, now you are the only person who is going to determine this case.
Sylvester looked up and looked up the sky and he put up his hand as if he was going to say something. Rambo told him to shut up and he also turned his back against us. 254 And as he was speaking, he was demonstrating with his arms and he was saying I don’t want this man to die and he was going twds Rocky’s part and automatically the number went up to 16 as against 15.
SO MR WITNESS YOU WERE SPARED DEATH? Yes, after the vote, because those people who were interested in me not to die were 16 and those who wanted me to die were 15, so…wanted me not to die.
WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THIS? From there, Rambo said that Rocky, I am going to hand this man over to you. You are the one who has said he shouldn’t die until I have told Mosquito about him. So you have to keep this man until I have told Mosquito habout him.
WHO WAS MOSQUITO AS FAR AS YOU KNEW AT THAT TIME? At that particular mo, I never knew the person who was referred to as mosquito.
YOU LATER CAME TO KNOW WHO THIS PERSON WAS? Yes Sir.
AFTER YOU HAD BEEN HANDED OVER TO ROCKY, DID ANYTHING HAPPEN? Yes, sir. PLEASE TELL THE COURT.
Well Rocky was at WHENDEYDO, that was were he resided.
FEED FREEZES….@ T254
So, Rocky had to take me to his own place, called WHENDEYDO.
WHEN YOU GOT TO WHENDEYDO, WHAT DID YOU OBSERVE THERE. TELL THE COURT YOUR OBSERVATIONS?
I met other civilians there and I met other rebels there also.
DAMN FEED MESSING UP AGAIN.
They sometimes used them to cut palmnuts, palm fruits and sometimes the women, they take them to use as sexual objects.
CAN YOU BE CLEARER ABOUT WHAT WAS HAPPENING TO THE WOMEN. WHAT EXACTLY WAS HAPPENING TO THE WOMEN YOU MET AT WHENDEYDO?
Well the women at night, they used to forced to have sex with them. Sometimes you hear them scream…
T254 9’25
CONTD T 254 @ 11’05 …ANY CONSEQUENCES IF CIVILIAN USED GOVT PROPERTY
They will shoot you to death.

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