The body of former Sierra Leone rebel leader Sam “Mosquito” Bockarie is being held at a funeral home in the Liberian capital, Monrovia. The Liberian government says he was killed in a shootout with government troops near the Ivorian border.
English to Africa reporter Winston Monboe is in Monrovia. Speaking to VOA’s Joe De Capua, he confirmed the body’s identity. He says he interviewed the rebel leader a few years ago. However, he says it appears “Mosquito” had gained weight and was not the slim man of old. His body lies on a stretcher, naked, except for boxer shorts.
Nevertheless, it did not appear he suffered multiple wounds. On the other hand, Monboe says the bodies of Mr. Bockarie’s bodyguards had suffered multiple wounds, and one of the bodies appears to have been mutilated.
There is no independent confirmation of the Liberian government’s account that Sam Bockarie and his bodyguards died in a firefight near the Ivory Coast border. It was believed the accused war criminal was fighting in Ivory Coast. He had been charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
Liberian President Taylor, during the Sierra Leone civil war, had been accused of supporting the Revolutionary United Front rebels of which Mr. Bockarie was a part. Following international pressure, those ties were reportedly broken. Mr. Taylor had said he had expelled Mr. Bockarie, but said he would turn over the fugitive rebel leader to the special court if caught.
Click above links to download or listen to Monboe / De Capua debriefer.