News / Africa

    Trusted Ally of Charles Taylor Located in Sierra Leone

    Sierra Leone's rebel leader Foday Sankoh (2nd R) is flanked by senior aides at the formal opening in Lome, Togo of talks. Others (from left) are Sankoh's military adviser General Ibrahim Bah, Solomon "Pa" Rogers and Omrie Golley, (File photo).
    Sierra Leone's rebel leader Foday Sankoh (2nd R) is flanked by senior aides at the formal opening in Lome, Togo of talks. Others (from left) are Sankoh's military adviser General Ibrahim Bah, Solomon "Pa" Rogers and Omrie Golley, (File photo).
    A man suspected of heavy involvement in the transfer of arms and “blood diamonds” during Sierra Leone’s brutal civil war has been found living in the capital city, Freetown.  Rights groups are calling for a criminal investigation of Ibrahim Bah, who was a top associate of former Liberian president Charles Taylor during the conflict. 

    Senegalese national, Ibrahim Bah, has been under a U.N. travel ban since 2004 for his alleged role in helping former Liberian president Charles Taylor support Sierra Leone’s Revolutionary United Front rebel group.  That support helped destabilize the country, while granting Taylor access to Sierra Leone's diamonds.

    Last year, the U.N.-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone found Taylor guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, sentencing him to 50 years in prison.  In their ruling against the former Liberian president, judges said Bah was a “trusted emissary” between Taylor and the rebels, who killed and maimed thousands of people during the war.

    Bah’s whereabouts were unknown until last month, when a U.N. expert panel placed him in Freetown, saying he had been living there since 2008.

    The executive director of the Center for Accountability and Rule of Law in Sierra Leone, Ibrahim Tommy, said it is important that all main perpetrators be tried for their actions during the civil war, even if they were not as famous as Taylor.

    "Ibrahim Bah was one of the key supporters, one of the key aides to former Liberian president Charles Taylor and the RUF, who helped him pillage Sierra Leone’s diamonds and even allegedly committed forced labor and enslavement against the people of Sierra Leone," Tommy said. "We think that bringing him to justice will help combat the impunity gap that currently exists in the country, particularly for mid-level commanders who participated in the conflict, but also for foreign nationals whose only interest in the conflict in this country was to loot our resources."

    The report detailing Bah’s whereabouts was published on May 31.  According to a U.N. statement, Sierra Leonean authorities arrested Bah less than a week later.

    A Sierra Leone police official said Wednesday that someone going by the name Ibrahim Bah had been arrested, but then released on bail after he denied being the same person accused of associating with Taylor during the war.  The official, Morie Lengor, said police are working with Interpol to confirm Bah’s identity.

    Tommy said it would be important to have Bah tried in Sierra Leone.  Because of security concerns, Taylor was tried in The Hague, far removed from the region he destabilized for years.

    "The most important significance, I would think, is that it would certainly demonstrate the government’s commitment to promoting accountability and to even strengthening our national accountability mechanisms," said Tommy.

    Human Rights Watch has also joined the call for Bah to be investigated and possibly prosecuted.

    In a statement Wednesday, the New York-based watchdog noted the case would be the “first purely domestic prosecution” concerning international crimes committed during Sierra Leone’s 11-year conflict, which ended in 2002.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora