Thursday, July 18, 2013

Liberia: We Were Mercenaries

Liberia: We Were Mercenaries - Inside Witness Claims

17 JULY 2013

The trial of 19 Liberians indicted to face multiple charges of cross-border
attack into Cote d'Ivoire Monday took a dramatic turn when indicted Prince
Barclay said he and others standing trial participated in the post-election
war in Cote d'Ivoire and were paid CFA 3 million by former Ivorian president
Laurent Gbagbo.

Minutes before their case formally began state lawyers requested the court
to drop charges against defendant Prince Barclay in order to serve as state

The presiding Judge at Criminal Court 'D' granted the state prosecutors'
application saying it was the right of state lawyers to drop charges against
anyone, explaining that it was part of the practice of law.

The 19 accused men were indicted in 2011 and 2012 on multiple offenses
ranging from mercenarism, murder, rape, arson and theft of property.

Witness Prince Barclay who became government's first witness on the direct
examination, linked most of the defendants to the Ivorian war, especially
those that were arrested in 2011.

Barclay, who told the court that he was recruited in 2011, said they were
doing mining for West Africa Mining Company in Liberia when one Bob Marley
decide to mobilize them. He said they were in a town called Guiglo where
they were promised CFA 30 million for the operation.

He further said the Ivorian military under command of former president
Laurent Gbagbo at the time left them in a town called Guiglo while one Bob
Marley had them leave for Zarglo. He claimed that the first CFA 13 million
was hidden from us as they were at the riverbank in Ivory Coast.

He revealed that some of the defendants did not follow because Bob Marley
failed to release the first CFA 13 million which discouraged him and some
others to remain in Grand Gedeh to do their normal businesses where we were
arrested in 2011.

Concerning the killing of seven UN peacekeepers in Ivory Coast, Barclay said
he was not on the scene, but was told by defendant Morris Cole that they
committed the act.

"It was UZE Barway and Rambo who led the attack that resulted in killing the
UN peacekeepers," Barclay narrated.

During cross-examinations, witness Barclay confirmed that they were arrested
on May 8, 2011 by ERU police officers who took statements from us, but I
cannot remember all.

Asked whether he was recruited, he admitted that he and others were
recruited in Ivory Coast. He claimed that he got to know some of the
defendants at the West Africa Mining Company in Liberia where they all
worked. "It was one Isaac Cheapo who carried me to Ivory Coast. I met Bob
Marley at the riverbank in Ivory Coast.

"We left all the arms at the river bank in Ivory Coast. I was a founding
member of the whole thing. There were series of crossing points that we used
and there were several other groups.

"Morris Cole, Isaac Taryon, Prince Toteh, among others,h were the first
group to bring guns into Liberia," witness Barclay claimed.

The 19 accused Liberian who were arrested separately were indicted on two
separate indictments in 2011 and 2012 with the same multiple charges.

The 6-page indictment said that since the post elections violence broke out
in December of 2010 in Ivory Coast that led to the arrest of former Ivorian
President Laurent Gbagbo, the defendants joined some Ivorians to cause
trouble in that country.

Those accused of participating in the war are Nyezee Barway, Morris K. Cole
alias Edward Cole, Isaac Taryon, Stephen Gloto, Niemlin Tere Antione, Prince
Touty, James Lee Cooper, Emmanuel Saymah, Ophoree Diah, Alfred Bobby James,
Junior Nioule, Edward O. Nioule, Badison Tous. George Moore and Komande

According to the indictment, defendant Emmanuel Saymah who served as trainer
for those recruited received money, arms and ammunition from co-defendant
George Moore after he led 20 men into Ivory Coast.

The indictment claimed the dissidents attacked Pekan Military Barracks on
August 13, 2012 in lower Toluleple followed by several attacks on other
towns and villages where they killed many Ivorian citizens, raped women and
girls as well as burnt houses and stole money and other properties.

The indictment also accused Ophoree Diah of receiving the U$100,000 from an
Ivorian only identified Jackson Didier to buy arms and ammunition in
Singapore and Dubai for mercenary activities in Ivory Coast.

Following their series of attacks in Ivory Coast, the defendants retreated
to Liberia and the security forces here were alerted, leading to their
arrest in Grand Gedeh.

Prior to the reading of the indictment, defense lawyers' request to the
court to halt the proceedings was denied by Criminal Court "D" presiding
Yussif Kaba on grounds that their request lacked merits in keeping with law.


No comments:

Post a Comment