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

Video Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid