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.
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
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
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
Wit: All of the members
of the troop brought young girls. Some even brought
girls for the commanders.
Pros: What happened to
Wit: What I saw was
that the commanders were sleeping with them - using them
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
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
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.
We have testimonies of those who
enjoyed this distinct "privilege" and were spared and
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
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