“Angel Gabriel” ordered killings of civilians at Vai Town – witnesses tell court

For about 3 weeks now, the court has been hearing from dozens of witnesses, some of whom testified in the Tampere District Court.

By Evelyn Kpadeh Seagbehand New Narratives

Dressed in short black jean trousers and wearing a thick red sweater attached to a hat covering his head, “Y8” walked into the courtroom and sat to the left hand of the Liberian interpreter.

The three-judge panel of the Finnish Appeals Court sit directly ahead of them at another table, with one of the judges acquainting him with the court’s rules and reminded him that his testimony was documented on video and that Gibril Massaquoi, the commander of Sierra Leone’s Revolutionary United Front, RUF accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Liberia was also following the trial online, and that the court required nothing from him, but the truth.

“I was an ‘FO supplier’ (food supplier) and I was assigned waterside around the old bridge, which is now called the new bridge,” said Y8. “We used to cook for the soldiers in the market building. That day we were there, and Angel Gabriel (one of Massaquoi’s alleged war names) came with a car.

“My second encounter with Massaquoi was after an argument between Salami and Nyami when a jungle mortal fell and wounded Salami. So, when Angel Gabriel heard it, he came that day and said since his man (Salami) died, he gave the order for his soldiers to kill civilians that were caught looting.”

For about 3 weeks now, the court has been hearing from dozens of witnesses, some of whom testified in the Tampere District Court, which acquitted the former RUF leader in April 2021 because of the lack of “a reasonable doubt” by prosecutors.

Y7 and “78”, Monday’s two witnesses told the appeals court Mr Massaquoi ordered the killings of civilians that had gone to loot food items in stores at Vai Town, a commercial centre in Monrovia.

The actual number of those killed on that fateful day was unknown, according to Y7.“When I crept, and I went and hid near one store, I heard Massaquoi saying fire, kill them,” said Y7. “Then the boys started shooting, and I started to escape.”

Mr Massaquoi’s lawyers have argued that he was not in Liberia at the time he’s accused of committing the crimes between July and august 2003 because he was providing testimony to the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone as a “protected witness” against Charles Taylor the Liberian President at the time and RUF commanders.

Prosecutors are putting up witnesses to prove that he did break “safe house” rules of the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone and came to Liberia to fight for Taylor’s government. They are also arguing that he was Angel Gabriel, the man their witnesses have claimed committed atrocities in Liberia.

But Mr Massaquoi’s lawyers have argued that it was impossible for him to have been in Liberia between July and august 2003 because he was providing testimony to the special court at that time.

They’ve also claimed that prosecution witnesses have been brainwashed to lie about Mr Massaquoi.

The hearings continue on Tuesday.

This story was a collaboration with New Narratives as part of the West Africa Justice Reporting Project.

Visited 224 times, 1 visit(s) today

Comments are closed.