TAYYIB BAH’S OPEN LETTER TO BIO WILL BE PUBLISHED THIS WEEK; MEANWHILE...
Maada Bio et al’s Account to TRC Blames K.E.S. Boyah, Karefa Kargbo, Strasser & the Late S.A.J. Musa
Brigadier (Retired) Julius Maada Bio, Former Head of State and Chairman of the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) from January to March 1996 was interviewed by the Truth & Reconciliation Commission at his private residence in Freetown on 30 September 2003.
THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS FROM PARAGRAPHS 328, 333 & 334 OF VOLUME 3A OF TRC REPORT
328. SAJ Musa had known some of those implicated in the coup from their time together in the army; he regarded them unambiguously as traitors who had betrayed him, personally and politically. According to Maada Bio, who had known in advance of SAJ Musa’s volatile temperament and the likelihood that he would attempt to carry out some kind of summary justice, some of the implicated men were taken to Musa’s own residence and subjected to torture by Musa himself:
“When I went there at night, he had actually tortured them very seriously – their ears were cut off and they were practically dead”.
SAJ realised that by daybreak they had been really badly tortured in his compound; so he confronted the gruesome,
“it was better to do away with them, than to keep them on his hands in this terrible state”
– he was then alleged to have organised the summary executions. Maada Bio lamented their inability to put the coup plotters through proper judicial process, blaming it on SAJ Musa’s ambitions for power:
“ to a very large extent, SAJ was somebody who liked power and could do anything to retain it…. that was the darkest side of our whole period in power”.
“SAJ Musa’s quest for power was an obsession for the man; and he had a wife who inculcated that into him; so it was a terrible combination”; SAJ was also responsible for the killings of looters. At this point in time, he was actually the key actor; Strasser was much more laid back, and to an extent he let SAJ get on with his business.”
Maada Bio’s account is an attempt to shift responsibility for a gross failure of leadership by their government to the shoulders of one person. Execution of alleged coup plotters did not advance SAJ Musa’s lust for power in any way.
#END OF PARAGRAPH 328
333. The Commission was told that Col Kanu was tricked that he was finally going to be taken to the dentist. So he entered the van and was taken to Kabassa Lodge where Strasser and his colleagues resolved that they should be executed. SAJ Musa then took them away and subjected them to terrible
torture before they were executed...
334. On 29 December 1992*, Captain Strasser made a public broadcast that a coup attempt against his government had been uncovered, all the people had been arrested and “executed summarily”. Capt. Strasser, Col. KES Boyah, Lt. SAJ Musa, Lt. Karefa Kargbo and other henchmen of his government were alleged to have coordinated the arrest, detention and murder of the alleged coup plotters. None of the other leaders of the regime intervened to ensure that they were granted any form of judicial process. The Commission holds all the leaders of the NPRC responsible for the murder of these men.
#END OF PARAGRAPH 334
* In the electronic edition of the TRC report, it is erroneously stated as 29 December 2002