''All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing'' - Edmund Burke


S I E R R A  H E R A L D

Vol XI No 7

The tendency sometimes to protect perpetrators for the sake of peace...doesn't help society. Impunity should not be allowed to stand. - Kofi Annan on Waki report

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Human Rights Watch report

January 6, 2012 - Remembering the more than five thousand deliberately targeted and murdered by the power-hungry AFRC/RUF coalition of evil otherwise known as the beasts as they sacked the capital Freetown, in a bid to regain power and to continue their murderous rule after they were kicked out and run out of town by a civilian population that had rejected them from day one of their illegal seizure of power on May 25, 1997.A victim of the atrocities

Thirteen years on, we remember all those who perished in the orgy of murder, rape, pillage and mutilation even as we pray that those who survived it will be comforted by the Good Lord who has always been with the weak, defenceless and under-privileged and an over-arching supplication to Him that in the fullness of time, he will punish all those who perpetrated, aided and abetted the horror that was visited on the civilian population whose only crime was to stand up against the human rights abuses of the junta.

Thirteen years on we pray that the Good Lord in His mercy will dry the tears of the afflicted, give succour to the numerous victims of rape and torture and that one fine day, Sierra Leone will enjoy the peace and democracy, human rights and good governance as well as the rights of all citizens to rightly share in the resources of this rich but poor country - Sierra Leone.

We salute all those, gone to the great beyond and surviving, who stood up to the beasts and with a loud voice said NO to repression, suppression and tyranny.

Many accounts have been written about January 6, 1999 and the awful horror unleashed by a vengeful band of killers wanting to punish civilians for not only refusing to co-operate with them while in power from May 1997 to February 1998, but for their support for the ECOMOG intervention force that had helped push them out.

Throughout all the stories run one thread - all agreed that the rebels of the AFRC/RUF were bent on extreme violence on civilians in the form of rape, mutilations and summary executions.

They entered Freetown - well armed and prepared and knew exactly what to do with civilians caught in their bloody nets.

This excerpt from the Charles Taylor trial is a pointer

Pros: What kind of weaponry did your group have at this time?

Wit: We were well armed. We had SPGs - support propelled grenades, 60mm mortars, 81mm mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, LAR - light automatic rifles, SMG - sub-machine guns, AK-47s, and also machetes.

Kindly note that apart from the area weapons - those that can cause maximum casualties when fired into civilian areas like the 60mm and 80mm mortars, they also were equipped with machetes.

The machetes were the weapons of choice for the mutilation of civilians - men and women - young and old as well as babies so thirsty were the invaders for human blood!!!

Rape was another common weapon in the arsenal of the beasts and was encouraged by the two main factions of the invaders.

Pros: At this time at State House, were other commanders present?

Wti: Yes. Bazzy, Five-Five, Woyo and the other military supervisors, and even Hassan Papa Bangura was based in State House.

Pros: What was happening there?

Wit: The troops were all moving around and bringing young girls and women to State House. We also captured some Nigerian ECOMOG soldiers and brought them to Gullit.

Pros: How many young girls?

Wit: All of the members of the troop brought young girls. Some even brought girls for the commanders.

Pros: What happened to the girls?

Wit: What I saw was that the commanders were sleeping with them - using them as women.

Pros: What do you mean - “used them as women”?

Wit: The young girls who were captured and brought were forced to do anything. They had sexual intercourse with the commanders.

Pros: What was the age group of these girls?

Wit: Most of them were 14-16. You also had SBU boys that brought others, 8-9 and slept with them.

Pros: What do you mean “slept with them”?

Wit: They used them for sexual purposes.

Accounts of the January 6, 1999 assault on Freetown and the death, rape and destruction unleashed on the capital, at first glance, would seem to be random and mindless.

This may have been true in most of the attacks but deep within what looked like random and mindless murder and rape was a determination especially by the AFRC (sobel) faction of the invading rebels to spare all those who supported them while the junta was in power from May 1997 to February 1998.

Remember this?

We have testimonies of those who enjoyed this distinct "privilege" and were spared and protected.

One witness told us - "They knew we supported them while the junta was in power...and so helped protect us during the January invasion and its aftermath"

These were the people who pointed out and fingered all those perceived to have been anti-junta. These tagged "anti-junta" people were subsequently subjected to massive human rights abuses including torture, amputation, rape and murder.

Those who had supported the junta during its human rights-abusing reign and had advocated for the international recognition of the junta are now key officials in the present Ernest Bai Koroma administration serving in government and ruling party circles.



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©Sierra Herald 2002