ECOMOG Mined Diamond in Sierra Leone
Sierra Express has learnt that a Liberian-born Sierra Leonean who fought for the ULIMO-J rebel faction and is currently a defence witness in the ongoing Taylor Trial in The Hague has revealed that West African Peacekeeping Force, ECOMOG engaged in diamond mining in Sierra Leone too. The 15th Defence witness testifying under anonymity also said Former ULIMO-J Leader, Roosevelt Johnson connived with ECOMOG and attacked the government of Former Liberian President, Charles Taylor.
The 15th Defence witness only identified as DCT 190 said the West African Peacekeeping Force, ECOMOG mined diamonds in the Sierra Leonean Town of Tongo during the civil war in that country; a story he said he had knowledge of.
Former Liberian Leader, Charles Taylor is the only foreigner accused in collaboration with the RUF in looting the diamonds of Sierra Leone. But a Former fighter of the Liberian rebel faction, ULIMO-J testifying in Mr. Taylor’s defence alleged ECOMOG commanded by Major General Maxwell Khobe in Sierra Leone did diamond business with the locals.
The witness further said the Sierra Leone Government and ECOMOG recruited and armed Ex-combatants of both ULIMO-J and ULIMO-K at the Ricks Institute in Liberia. He said the recruits from the Ricks Institute were armed and taken to Sierra Leone by ECOMOG Forces to assist restore the ousted government of Former President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah in 1997.
The witness testified that the Liberian fighters were fully supported by ECOMOG during their attacks against the combined RUF and AFRC forces in Sierra Leone.
The Defence witness also told the court that the African Peacekeepers provided ULIMO-J leader, Roosevelt Johnson with trucks, arms and ammunition to attack and overthrow the government of Charles Taylor in 1998.
He said ECOMOG loaded a truck with ULIMO-J fighters from Duala and transported them to Camp Johnson Road to fight the Taylor Government forces. The witness, a Sierra Leonean partly educated in Liberia, said the primary instruction to ULIMO fighters was to attack the Barclay Training Centre in Monrovia.
He told the court that the second instruction wasÂ Â to take Mr. Johnson to safety. According the Defence witness, ECOMOG had further planned to use ULIMO Fighters in an operation code named Operation Eagle to capture Mr. Taylor alive in Monrovia.
The witness said the plan was for ULIMO fighters wearing ECOMOG uniforms to ambush Mr. Taylor’s convoy near the James Spriggs Airfield. But he told the court the plan failed because Mr. Taylor’s intelligence picked up the information.Â Â
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