Human Rights Watch has taken the testimonies of witnesses to over 180 summary executions of rebel prisoners and their suspected collaborators, mostly by ECOMOG forces but also by members of the Civil Defense Forces (CDF), and the Special Security Division (SSD) of the Sierra Leonean Police (who when on combat operations are under ECOMOG command). While the victims were overwhelmingly young men, witnesses confirm the execution of some women, and children as young as eight.
It is difficult to ascertain the level at which the ECOMOG, CDF and SLA high command were aware of or sanctioned these killings. As they were often carried out in highly public places and in front of very large groups of people, it is highly unlikely that knowledge of the executions did not reach the highest levels of command. According to witnesses and survivors, the executions were done with the consent and sometimes participation of ECOMOG officers to the level of captain.
ECOMOG soldiers deployed in Sierra Leone have operated under extremely difficult conditions, and many have been traumatized by what they have seen of rebel atrocities. As one ECOMOG soldier participating in an operation in which executions took place said, Awe have a proper code of conduct. We know about the Geneva Conventions and have taken prisoners in the past, but this time was different. The things these people do. This time my unit took very few prisoners. 107 Another soldier added, In many ways we felt we were doing it for the people. Sometimes we wonder if these rebels are human. After everything they've done, it was best to eliminate them. 108
Most Nigerian soldiers, the largest component of ECOMOG, have been deployed in Sierra Leone for at least one year without respite, or visits home Some soldiers, particularly those that were deployed in Sierra Leone after previously serving in the ECOMOG forces in Liberia, have not been back to Nigeria for over two years. What with the difficulty in communicating through phone or mail, many soldiers complain of losing touch with their families. The soldiers are supposed to be paid a special U.S.$150 per month allowance in addition to their wages while they are on active duty in ECOMOG, but until recently there have often been delays of up to three months in receiving this money. Commanders cite these difficulties as contributing to problems with low morale among their troops.
These difficulties do not excuse abuses by ECOMOG, and serve rather to reinforce the need for ECOMOG's senior command to improve discipline and morale among their soldiers. Moreover, under international law, abuses by one side in a conflict, however appalling, can never excuse retaliatory abuses by opposing forces.
Prisoners, some of whom had surrendered and many of whom were wounded, were frequently executed on the spot. Suspected rebel collaborators or sympathizers were often killed with little or no effort to establish their guilt or innocence. Some of the victims were rounded up during small mopping up operations, and many were executed at ECOMOG checkpoints after being found with weapons, determined to have improper identification, or denounced by the local population.
Scores of executions by ECOMOG and to a lesser extent CDF and SSD forces took place on the Aberdeen Bridge in western Freetown, which during the rebel incursion was under the command of an ECOMOG captain who during this time earned the name of Captain Evil Spirit among the local population.109 Human Rights Watch took testimonies from witnesses who saw at least ninety-eight executions on this bridge from January 7 through January 29. According to these witnesses, small groups of young men were brought to the entrance to the bridge in trucks and cars, and arrived usually stripped down to their underwear and often with their hands tied. They were then marched onto the bridge where they were executed and thrown into the bay. While ECOMOG soldiers, and sometimes Captain Evil Spirit, did most of the killing, CDF-Kamajors also took part. Members of the SSD were often present and have been seen throwing the bodies into the water.
One witness, who saw scores of executions on the bridge, was told by a soldier that most of the victims had been captured during military operations and at checkpoints in other parts of the capital, and were then handed over by ECOMOG soldiers, CDF-Kamajors, or civil defense unit members to the captain for execution. Another witness said many of those executed formed part of an informal organization of the sons of former SLA soldiers, many of whom lived within either the Murray Town Barracks or Wilberforce Barracks.110 Witnesses said most of the executions on the bridge were done by the same ten soldiers who fell directly under Captain Evil Spirit's command.
Several witnesses described the ECOMOG execution of over fifty rebels in and around Connaught Hospital on January 11, in violation of the laws of war protecting those no longer capable of fighting. Wounded rebels were dragged from their beds and executed within the hospital grounds, or shot directly in their beds or as they tried to flee on crutches and in wheelchairs. Others were executed in the morgue where they were caught trying to hide among the corpses.
Another incident involved the January 19 killing of seven civilians who had sought refuge within the Jami Ul-Masjid mosque. Witnesses also saw executions taking place on the wharves around Susan's Bay, in the National Stadium, and near Ferry Junction. Witnesses saw several people, particularly women, executed after trying to smuggle pistols and cartridges in their hair or hidden underneath children strapped to their backs. There were also reports of freshly severed heads being displayed near a CDF-Kamajor base in the Brookfields neighborhood.
The high degree of rebel infiltration into the capital in the months prior to the January 6 incursion heightened the sense of suspicion among the local population. When ECOMOG regained control of the city, anyone unknown to a given neighborhood became suspect. As Freetown residents went out in search of food, to check on relatives, to bury friends, and the like, they were obliged to pass through numerous ECOMOG checkpoints. It was at these checkpoints that young men who were unknown to the local residents were often denounced as rebel collaborators and subsequently executed.
Some victims and witnesses describe going through a brief trial, either on the street or at a checkpoint during which an alibi was checked out and someone able to verify the suspect's identity was sent for. The judgment was then pronounced by an ECOMOG officer, and the execution then carried out by ECOMOG soldiers, or members of the CDF or SSD. Others were given no time to explain themselves and simply executed on the spot. The local population exploited the tense situation to settle personal vendettas against individuals and families by denouncing debtors, love rivals, or those with whom they'd had an argument.
The executions often took place within the context of joint operations usually involving ECOMOG and CDF-Kamajor forces. After ECOMOG identified suspected rebels or collaborators, they were frequently handed over to and executed by the CDF-Kamajors. Also, members of local, unarmed, civil defense units (CDUs), who during the offensive and its aftermath helped to man checkpoints around the city, frequently played a part in identifying rebels and their collaborators.
Dwight, twenty-five, lived underneath the Aberdeen Bridge and described witnessing scores of executions, mostly of young men, by ECOMOG soldiers. He recounted:
From where I lived you could see everything. The first time I ever saw a public execution was on January 7, between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. I saw Captain Evil Spirit and his boys [soldiers] marching seven young men in their underwear down to the bridge and then as they got closer I recognized several of them to be people from the neighborhood. I saw my friend Ismael and several more. Some of them were the sons of former SLA soldiers and had been living in Murray Town Barracks. Evil did the firing and then the SSD men threw the bodies over the bridge.
On January 8, around l0:00 am, I saw them killing fifteen prisoners. Captain Evil was there and killed some of them this time as well. On January 9 I saw them kill two people and on January l0 I saw them kill a man who had a bullet in his foot. I heard later he was accused of being a rebel and had been brought to Captain Evil by one of the CDU people manning checkpoints in town.111 On January 11, we buried sixteen corpses which we fished out of the water underneath the bridge.
On January 14 at around 3:00 p.m. the ECOMOG soldiers brought a big group of prisoners; they were eighteen in number. I saw them [the prisoners] get down from a truck and walk them down to the bridge where the same ten soldiers executed them and threw them over. We were later told they were rebels who'd been captured in the east [of Freetown].
Every day they [the soldiers] killed people two, three, four a day. We feared that man, Evil. He never gave anybody a chance to explain... some people even called him Captain No Explain. There was a man from our neighborhood who was caught by him. I was told the other ECOMOGs tried to convince Evil that he was a boy from the neighborhood but he wouldn't listen and killed him anyway. The boy was an only child and his mother went crazy. A few times we saw her go to Evil's house and ask to see him. She started screaming, You, I want you to kill me too... you've killed my only son. You show me where you've buried my boy. 112
Hassan, twenty-nine, who also lived underneath Aberdeen Bridge, witnessed both ECOMOG soldiers and CDF-Kamajor militias killing suspected rebels. He recounted:
The first time I saw the executions was on January 7 at around 3:00 p.m. I saw eight people being brought down from the guardroom [a checkpoint near the bridge] with their hands tied behind them. They were marched down by two ECOMOGs, Captain Evil Spirit, and another one. But it was Evil who did the firing.
Over the next several weeks I saw them kill at least forty people. And there were a lot more done at night that I couldn't see. It was always the same thing; you'd hear people screaming and begging Ano don't kill me, I beg, and then in less than five minutes you'd hear shots and then the splash as they threw them into the bay. And then we'd see their bodies floating in the water the next morning. I buried at least nineteen bodies between January 8 to 22.
I also saw about eight Kamajors execute people on three different days. The first time they killed two people, the second time five people, and the third time ten people. A few ECOMOGs were with them but it was the Kamajors who were in charge of the executions.113
Tamba, forty-five, described witnessing the execution of at least fifty rebels, some wounded, when ECOMOG soldiers stormed Connaught Hospital on January 11. The rebels, who had been occupying the hospital since they entered the city on January 6, were largely caught by surprise. Tamba described how the rebels tried frantically to escape, how hospital personnel were made to identify their rebel patients, and how all those they identified were later executed:
There was a lot of gunfire, and as the rumors about ECOMOG started flying the rebels in the hospital started panicking. Both the wounded ones and the others who'd been hiding in the hospital striped off their fatigues and tried to get away.
A group of about twenty started demanding gauze and tape and then wrapped their arms and feet to try to make it look like they were wounded. Then they slipped out the back entrance to the hospital. After walking a block up Liverpool Street they ran straight into a group of advancing ECOMOG troops who opened up on them; right on the spot. At about the same time I saw a rebel wife searching frantically for a wheelchair to move her wounded rebel boyfriend; they got it as well, not far from the first group.
Then, as this was going on, another group of about fifteen they were hiding near the stairwell under ward ten started putting white cotton into their noses, and then slipped through the back door and went into the morgue to hide among the corpses. A few minutes later, I think it was around ll:30 a.m., the ECOMOG soldiers rushed into the hospital from several directions. They had their guns out and were pointing and asking all of us to identify ourselves. Someone alerted them about the group that had gone into the morgue and three of them rushed in and started shooting and screaming, Aso you're dead well now you're going to be dead twice.
By this time the ECOMOGs had identified who the hospital staff were and told them they had information there were rebels hiding among the patients and they told them [the hospital workers] to identify which were rebels and which were real patients. So three ECOMOGs, and a few CDUs [civil defense unit members], went from ward to ward, telling the hospital workers to identify the rebels.
Most of the patients weren't killed in their beds; they had the CDUs pull the patients from their beds and drag them to the entrance to the outpatient ward. That's where they killed them. They dragged out one rebel from ward one, four from ward three, four from ward five, and four from the OPD [outpatient department]. And then they shot all thirteen of them.
All of the ECOMOG soldiers took part in the killing. They even killed a small rebel who looked to be about eight and another one who was about thirteen. A few of them tried to surrender. I heard one rebel scream, AI beg you, don't shoot me wait, I'll talk. but they killed them anyway. They even killed some behind the wards and in front of the entrance to the hospital.
Anyway, there were a lot of dead rebels that day. I watched as they kept bringing all the bodies into the morgue. I must have counted at least sixty. Even some of the patients were telling the ECOMOGs where the rebels were hiding.114
Moses, thirty-two, saw a husband and wife pulled out of a line at a checkpoint and executed, after a civilian accused them of being rebels. He recounted:
On January 25, I was waiting in line at a checkpoint near the Congo Cross Bridge with about 200 other people. I was about forty yards back when all of a sudden this woman coming from the other direction starts pointing her finger at another woman, who I later recognized as a friend of mine named Ami, and started screaming, She's a rebel, I know her, I saw her armed, she's a rebel.
The ECOMOG soldiers then pulled Ami out of the line, who by this time was denying the accusation. But the accuser continued screaming very convincingly that she'd seen Ami armed in Kissy earlier in the month. And then at about this time Ami's husband walked from the back of the line and tried to defend his wife saying it was all a misunderstanding. But the ECOMOG soldiers just pushed both of them to one side and started slapping them. They asked them a few questions, but that woman was accusing them the whole time.
Then about ten minutes after the accusation was made, the ECOMOG officer, he had three stripes [a sergeant rank], gave the command that Ami and her husband should be executed. When they heard this, they started crying and begging, but the soldiers pulled them away from the line, pulled their clothes off, took them to the side of the bridge and shot them. The one who'd ordered it didn't kill them. He just watched. And then he ordered them buried right there.
We heard later from Ami's father who was also in the line, that the accuser had been an old girlfriend of one of Ami's past boyfriends and that they'd never liked each other. Ami's father complained to the ECOMOG people, but by then it was too late.115
Bintu, twenty-nine, was nearly executed on January 22 after being unable to verify her identity. She recounted:
I was walking home with my four children when I was stopped and searched at the checkpoint near the Aberdeen Bridge. They asked me where I was coming from and I told them the truth, that I'd been living with a friend of my husband's named Isaac. So, they sent a soldier to check out my story and he came back a few minutes later with Isaac who denied that he knew me. I think he was so traumatized by everything and was just afraid.
The soldiers at the checkpoint then took me to see Captain Evil Spirit. The soldiers handed him my ID, explained the case and asked Isaac if he knew me, to which he replied, Ano and then Evil said, well, take this lady for execution. The trial lasted three minutes and that was it.
I started screaming, my children started screaming, I begged for my life saying there was no one to take care of my children, I told them it was a mistake, that it wasn't fair and then one of the ECOMOG soldiers hit me on the head with his gun and I started bleeding. And then they started leading me down to the bridge.
A few minutes later one of the ECOMOGs suddenly ran down after us shouting, leave her, one of her children confirmed the story, don't shoot her. Then the other soldier walked me back up and as I was gathering up my things, another soldier tied up Isaac and shoved him in the back of a pickup. As I was fleeing we heard shots and they saw his body floating in the bay the next day.
Whenever I see Isaac's family I don't know what to say. It wasn't my fault. I don't know why he denied he knew me. I think about it every day and feel broken inside.116
Abu, eleven, witnessed his mother being executed by an armed SSD policeman after a neighbor with whom they had a business dispute accused her of being a rebel. He recounted:
A few days before it happened my mom had a terrible argument with a guy named Francis over some goods that had gone missing. He accused my mom and our friend Foday of having taken the goods.
At noon on the day it happened, an SSD man and an ECOMOG soldier came and arrested Foday and my mom, and accusing all of us, even me, of being a rebel. Francis was there the whole time, accusing us as well. The SSD man started threatening us and saying today your life is over, even you small boy; small boys like you even kill our officers.
The community chief tried to help us but an hour later the SSD man and an ECOMOG man took Foday away to the wharf and I saw from a distance I saw the SSD man shot him. The chief finally convinced them to release my mom but as we were walking back I saw Francis and the SSD man talking secretly and then the SSD man said he wanted my mom to walk towards the wharf. My mom got scared and started to run away from them and the SSD man just shot her. Three times he shot her.
That man came back here a few weeks ago and I started yelling at him and said you, you're the one who killed my mother. He slapped me and told me to shut up. He's training to be in the new Sierra Leonean army now, so we haven't seen him.117
Helen, nineteen, witnessed the killing of her friend by a CDF-Kamajor on January 24. She said:
Early in the morning six of us, including my friend Fatmata, went in search of firewood. The situation was still very tense. About thirty minutes later we were stopped by a checkpoint manned by two Sierra Leonean soldiers and two Kamajors.
They started accusing us of being rebels and ordered us at gunpoint to lie face down on the ground. They started insulting us and gave us a real beating. They hardly asked us any questions and just had it in their mind that we were rebels.
Then the Sierra Leonean soldier told Ali, the one man in our group, that they were going to kill him, and fired a shot near his legs. We started begging and telling them we were innocent and then Fati just jumped up and ran to hide in a house about twenty yards away.
One of the Kamajors followed her to the house and ordered her to come out. He threatened to kill her and I guess the lady inside convinced Fati to come out. But as soon as she did the Kamajor just opened up on her. As I was lying on the ground I watched as he just fired and fired and fired. He shot her more than ten times.118
Daniel, forty-one, witnessed the killing of seven civilians inside the Jami Ul-Masjid mosque, after an ECOMOG officer ordered their execution. He explained :
On Monday January 18, ECOMOG came to liberate the area. They told the eighty or so civilians inside to leave which all but about ten of us did. It was still very tense. The advancing troops had left eight ECOMOG soldiers in the mosque and they deployed up the tower and around the grounds.
At 6:15 a.m. the next morning, one of the soldiers deployed downstairs went upstairs and as he did there was the sound of a shot. Everyone ran to see what happened and found him lying slumped on the stairs. The stairs were very narrow and blocked with peoples' bags, and the other soldiers surmised that his gun had accidentally gone off as he was climbing up. The other soldiers pulled him down and got on the radio to inform their superiors what'd happened.
Shortly before 9:00 a.m., a lieutenant and captain entered; I could tell by the marks on their uniform. They asked for an explanation and both the soldiers and a few of the civilians told them and showed them the cartridge which they'd found under the stairs. The officers went to inspect the site to see if anyone could've shot him but since the place is in a stairwell surrounded by thick walls, the lieutenant concluded it must've been the gun that went off, and everybody agreed. Then they left.
And then, not eight minutes later, another officer accompanied by at least eighty soldiers came in and deployed everywhere. By this time all the civilians, there were nine of them, were sitting near where Muslims wash their feet. So the officer in charge I couldn't see what rank he was because he was wearing green overalls, but he was about forty, had a walkie-talkie and was obviously the man in charge asked angrily who the soldiers deployed there were.
Several of the new soldiers started accusing the civilians of having killed the soldier and the soldiers who were deployed there started saying, no, it was an accident. Then the big man ordered that the original lot be disarmed and said, why are you protecting these people and hiding their act, and as they were being disarmed turned to the civilians and said we're going to kill all of these people. He then ordered the first one to stand and told a soldier to shoot him. They he told everyone else to lie down which they did. I could hear them praying to Mohammed, to Jesus. They didn't ask for an explanation and blocked the entrance so no one could run and then they shot every one of them. It wasn't five minutes from the time that officer came into the mosque until he ordered them to die. He stormed out taking the disarmed soldiers with him. It was so unfair. I don't know what was wrong with that man.
A few minutes later a few ECOMOG soldiers from the first group came back. They were really upset. I heard them say, why did he do this we didn't come to Sierra Leone to kill innocent people. 119
ECOMOG military officers interviewed by Human Rights Watch said they took between 200 and 300 RUF rebels as prisoners of war during the January 1999 offensive, and that throughout the offensive they strictly followed the procedures established in the Geneva Conventions and acted in accordance with international humanitarian law on the taking of prisoners and other military conduct of war.120
According to Lt. Col. Chris Olukolade, the chief military information officer of ECOMOG, no soldiers or officers have been formally investigated or court martialed as a result of their conduct during the January offensive. He said, within ECOMOG there is an internal mechanism set up for the investigation of violations of international humanitarian law, and although we've heard of individual complaints, none have been sufficient enough to activate this mechanism. 121
Colonel Buhari Musa, the commander of the Freetown garrison under whose jurisdiction most of Freetown, including the Aberdeen Bridge, falls, said there have been a few lower level investigations of executions following complaints by members of the public, but that the allegations were proven to be baseless and subsequently dropped. He said, I heard about the allegations of executions and I took it up. There have been a few investigations into accusations of summary executions having been committed by soldiers under my command, which have been conducted at the brigade level, but we didn't find anything substantial. There have been no formal inquiries or disciplinary actions taken against any soldier or officers under my command as a result of the what took place during the January rebel offensive. 122
Following a United Nations report in February 1999 which expressed concern about summary executions, the ECOMOG high command indicated to the U.N. secretary-general's special representative in Sierra Leone, Francis Okelo, their intention to investigate these allegations and to take corrective action as necessary. 123 In April, the ECOMOG force commander Felix Mujakperuo established a Civil/Military Relations Committee to investigate allegations of human rights violations against individual members of ECOMOG and CDF and recommend appropriate action to the high authorities.124 However, the start date for complaints to be investigated is April 1, thus none of the executions committed in January and February will be eligible for investigation under this committee.
Looting and Brutality
Witnesses, particularly from the eastern suburbs of Kissy, Wellington, and Calaba Town observed CDF-Kamajor fighters looting property from the homes of civilians who had fled to get away from the fighting. Thousands of civilians had fled from the eastern areas to take shelter in the homes of relatives and in camps of displaced people, leaving entire neighborhoods largely unoccupied. Witnesses described the CDF-Kamajors going into these areas ostensibly to search and secure them, but then leaving with bundles of clothes, electrical items, radios, and other items. Once civilians reoccupied their homes, the looting decreased significantly.
ECOMOG, CDF-Kamajors, and SSD police in charge of manning the many checkpoints in Freetown were accused of using extreme brutality against the civilian population. Witnesses described people being slapped, pushed, humiliated, and forced to do painful physical exercises as punishment for such insignificant offenses such as not waiting one's turn in line, not answering questions in sufficient detail, or riding a bike through a checkpoint.
There were reports of mistreatment by ECOMOG soldiers of members of some international nongovernmental organizations, particularly the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), who were accused of being rebel collaborators. Members of ECOMOG confiscated property, including vehicles and radios, and several ICRC expatriate staff were deported after being detained and interrogated.
Social workers for local humanitarian organizations have documented the mistreatment of suspected child rebels while in the custody of both ECOMOG and CDF-Kamajors. One international NGO received reports of several children being beaten while in ECOMOG's Wilberforce Barracks during the months of January and February. A local NGO documented the physical abuse of over thirty street children suspected of being rebel collaborators, both during capture by ECOMOG and Sierra Leonean Police and while in detention in Wilberforce Barracks.
Local social workers also expressed concern about the periodic detention of children and adults by the Kamajor Civil Defense Forces. The Kamajors don't have an official barracks or military headquarters, and have adopted a local hotel as their base, the Bookfields Hotel in central Freetown. It is within this hotel that several witnesses reported to Human Rights Watch seeing detainees held by the Kamajors. As the detentions are not officially acknowledged, they are not subject to governmental regulations and monitoring. They are also illegal.
Execution of a Journalist
There is a highly reliable report of the killing by ECOMOG forces of a journalist named Abdul Jumah Jalloh, who at the time worked for an independent newspaper, the African Champion. According to an investigation carried out by the Sierra Leonean Union of Journalists, Mr. Jalloh was publicly accused of being an RUF rebel by a member of a civil defense unit, who then alerted a patrol of ECOMOG soldiers. Mr. Jalloh identified himself as a journalist and produced his press identification card, but was later taken to a checkpoint near State House and subsequently executed. His death, which occurred in the last week of January, was denounced by his editor, Mohamed Koroma, who was with him at the time of his detention, and who has since left the country. Human Rights Watch has been unable to find a direct witness to this killing.
Failure to Minimize Civilian Casualties
Civilians making up part of a human shield often described feeling surprised when ECOMOG either opened fire on them or bombed them from the air. Joseph, a thirty-five-year-old man, who on January 7 was forced by the RUF rebels to walk down Wilberforce Street as part of a human shield, described his confusion when they were later bombed by an ECOMOG jet:
I was one of several hundred civilians; we'd all been ordered out of our houses at gunpoint and forced to join in a march. They made us put white bands around our heads and told us to shout Awe want peace, we want peace as we walked down the street. The rebels really wanted to infiltrate the west of the city and I later thought their plan had been to use the big peace march to break into the west.
When the jets passed over of course we saw them, of course we heard them, but we just never, never thought they would drop those bombs. There were so many of us and even though they were flying fast, they passed at least three times and it must've been obvious we were civilians. When the rebels ran for cover I thought it was because they didn't want ECOMOG to see them. I just didn't think it was because they were going to bomb us.125
Brig.-Gen. Maxwell Khobe, a Nigerian seconded to be the Sierra Leonean chief of defense staff, stated to journalists on February 2, 1999 that rebels had managed to enter Freetown in January only because they had used civilians as human shields. He said, from hindsight, I believe it would have been better to kill all those that have come, even if they were civilians, in order save the majority. That was not done, and that was what was responsible for the entire thing that took place in Freetown. He said that in the future ECOMOG commanders have issued new shoot the shields orders and that, if they try it again, we'll kill everything from the opposite direction. 126
Colonel Buhari Musa, commander of the Freetown garrison described the difficulty his soldiers faced when fighting an unorthodox force who often don't wear uniforms or have any special markings to distinguish them from the civilian population. He said it's difficult for us to say what are the criteria for identification; both males and females, young and old are combatants. It is difficult and unfortunate. But sometimes you just have to fight and in such situations you will see that some lives are lost. It is unfortunate for whoever is the victim. But we tell our soldiers that everybody, even they have a right to their lives. 127
International humanitarian law forbids the use of human shields, but also requires that combatants minimize civilian casualties at all times, even if the civilian population is being used as a shield. Attacks on legitimate military targets are limited by the principle of proportionality as set out in Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions, article 51. The attacker must choose a means of attack that avoids or minimizes damage to civilians, and in particular should refrain from launching an attack if the expected civilian causalities would outweigh the importance of the military target to the attackers.
107 Human Rights Watch interview, Freetown, April 19, 1999.
108 Human Rights Watch interview, Freetown, April 30, l999.
109 The name of this ECOMOG captain was provided to Human Rights Watch but has been withheld.
110 Many of the SLA soldiers had taken part in the l997 AFRC/RUF coup, and fled to the bush when ECOMOG expelled them from the capital. Their families, many of whom continued to live within the military barracks in the capital, were often accused of collaboration with ECOMOG.
111 The civil defense units are unarmed units made up of local civilians. The CDUs were set up following the ECOMOG intervention of February l998 which ousted the AFRC/RUF junta and restored elected President Tejan Kabbah to power.
112 Human Rights Watch interview, Freetown, June 7, l999.
113 Human Rights Watch interview, Freetown, May 21, l999.
114 Human Rights Watch interview, Freetown, May 6, l999.
115 Human Rights Watch interview, Freetown, May 21, l999.
116 Human Rights Watch interview, Freetown, May 21, l999.
117 Human Rights Watch interview, Freetown, May 14, l999.
118 Human Rights Watch interview, Freetown, April 19, l999.
119 Human Rights Watch interview, Freetown, May 20, l999.
120 Human Rights Watch interview, Colonel Buhari Musa, commander Freetown garrison, Freetown, June 11, 1999.
121 Human Rights Watch phone interview, Lt. Colonel Chris Olukolade, Freetown, June ll, 1999.
122 Human Rights Watch interview, Colonel Buhari Musa, commander Freetown garrison, Freetown, June 11, 1999.
123 Fifth Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Observer Mission in Sierra Leone (New York: United Nations, March 4, 1999), U.N. document S/1999/237, p.7.
124 The membership in the committee includes representatives of the National Commission for Democracy and Human Rights, the Bar Association , the police, the media, civil society and the governments. UNOMSIL participates in an observer capacity.
125 Human Rights Watch interview, Freetown, May 28, 1999.
126 Nigerian newspaper report posted to ASierra Leone Web,@ February 3,1999. Available at <www.sierraleone.org>.
127 Human Rights Watch interview, Freetown, June 11, 1999.
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