Government rebuttal witness, Pascal Kollie has admitted fighting alongside defendants Nezee Barway, Edward Cole, James Lee Cooper, Kaye Cole alias Isaac Taryon along the Ivory Coast-Liberia border at which time they killed United Nations soldiers in Ivory Coast.
Speaking as prosecution’s seventh rebuttal witness, Pascal told the court that he was forced to join with Nezee and his men to fight in Ivory Coast which according to him entered by way of Kpala but their mission was aborted due to a forceful shelling from an Ivorian-United Nations reinforcement chopper.
The government’s rebuttal witness was called to give clarity to whether or not the answer provided by defendant Nezee Barway on August 23 when asked if he knew Edward Cole, James Lee Cooper, and Gisi Brooks who is the Town Chief of Galieo, a town in Grand Gedeh County to which he replied, “Not so; the man lied.”
In his testimony recently in the courtroom of Criminal Court “D” where 18 men are standing trial on a charge of Mercenarism with 11 of them hailing from Grand Gedeh and the remaining seven from different ethnic groupings, witness Pascal said when they seized ammunitions from the Ivorian soldiers at the border who fled because of fear, they used the guns to launch the United Nations soldiers who were in their way.
Narrating how they began their mission, witness Pascal said they all crossed the Liberian border around 2:00 a.m. and after seizing the scary immigration personnel weapons they divided themselves into groups; Nezee Barway had a group while Edward Cole led his group which comprised men from Putu.
“After we divided the group, we engaged in exchange of fire with the gendermarie (Ivorian Soldiers) and the FSC, a group of loyal soldiers to former President Laureant Gbargbo and we killed many of them in Kpala which is as big as Gbarnga,” the rebuttal witness testified.
He further said that their assailants continued to advance so defendant Nezee and his aid-de-camp Kaye Cole went toward the San Pedro Road where an ambush was set up and there they launched the vehicle containing some FSC men as well as the Ivorian soldiers with six of the occupants who died.
He explained how the seventh occupant got wounded and was captured along with some US$4 million and his rank was taken from his uniform by defendant Nezee who ordered them to take the captive to where they usually cook their food and that was where he was killed with his own gun.
Witness Pascal said defendant Nezee was the general so he took custody of the money while the guns were divided also among some seven Ivorian boys who were on their side and they retreated to an area between River Gee and Grand Gedeh County.
“It was at this point the chopper engaged us killing two of our members. When we initially saw the chopper, we thought it was sent by Gbargbo’s son Diddier but after it started firing at us we all jumped into the river for our lives. Nezee Barway told us that we could not withstand the strength of the forces against us and therefore we should go back to our respective areas,” he continued.
He said they then went to the ‘gold field’ from where they were all recruited and there Nezee requested them to return their weapons but the brave ones asked him for their benefits since they had been fighting but his response was that he did not have anything for them since they could not fight their enemies.
Witness Pascal disclosed that the guns used by them were all buried in the presence of Nezee, Edward, small Barway, and terrorist, Kaye Cole, Gisi Brook and Junior Toenah. The prosecution rebuttal witness told the court that at the time, Nezee Barway and some others had escaped too from the village in Ziah Town to Zwedru and were hiding in Edward Cole’s house.
He said he had just told his boys to wash his gravels which gave him some 37 grams of gold which he took to town for sale when he heard that Nezee and others were arrested and all he said was, “Those are the main people.”
He identified Thomas Gladiers as the person he met in Zwedru in 2012 at his house at the time information was out that people who were engaged in fighting in Ivory Coast were being hunted by government and informed him about where the guns were being buried.