Before living a lavish life in Switzerland, Alieu Kosiah was a brutal serial killer who kidnapped, tortured, raped and killed multiple women in West Africa. A true beast, surviving victims testified that Kosiah would “roar like a lion” before his violent attacks.
His crimes were all part of the brutal civil wars that rocked Libera for years from 1989-2003, during which time, as a rebel soldier, Kosiah was also witnessed to have eaten the flesh and body parts of murdered civilians and government soldiers who were casualties of the war. His eventual capture and conviction were significant not only in bringing a depraved cannibal killer to justice, but for being one of the first times someone was held accountable for the horrific war crimes and violent sexual assaults that were rampant during the back-to-back civil wars in Libera.
Alieu evaded such justice for over 25 years escaping to Switzerland when the rebellion was finally put down. But he was recently apprehended thanks to the brave testimony of seven of his victims, six of whom traveled to Europe to face the man they say once terrorized them.
One of those who had to now face her cannibal rapist was a woman the Daily Beast referred to only as “Teta.” She alleges she was kidnapped and raped by Kosiah, who she says, after removing a rifle that was slung across his shoulder and pulling a knife from his belt, he beat and repeatedly raped her until she slipped into unconsciousness.
She was only 15 years old at the time.
The following day, when the door was left unlocked, Teta escaped. She was naked, had no shoes, and while she’d never menstruated before, she was bleeding. Kosiah denies the charges.
Teta, who gave birth to a premature baby during the trial, provided evidence via video link from Monrovia, as the child was too fragile to travel. The court asked Teta how she felt towards Kosiah all these years later. She feared him, she said, and buried her head in her hands. “He’s a killer and rapist,” she said. The judge asked if she was waiting for an apology. “I can’t accept his apologies,” she replied. On a subsequent call, when asked how she found the courage to testify despite her trepidation, she told The Daily Beast, “I want justice. He should be judged; he should be tried.”
Another witness, this one present at the proceedings, a tall man in his fifties wearing a striped polo shirt and jeans, said he watched as a close friend’s chest was sliced open before his heart was removed and served to rebels, including Kosiah, on a metal plate.
This man, whose name is withheld to protect him from reprisal when he returns home to Lofa County in northern Liberia, told the Daily Beast that it was breathtaking to face Kosiah again in the flesh. “When you see him, it’s all you can do not to…” he said, as his voice trailed off. “You can’t imagine the brutality.”
The man was one of six Liberian men who traveled thousands of miles by plane from Monrovia to Geneva and then by train to a tranquil Italian-speaking town in the Swiss alps called Bellinzona, near the Italian border, to bear witness to the brutality of Kosiah.
The seventh witness was — and only woman — Teta, whose name has been changed for her safety, appeared by video stream from the US embassy in Monrovia.
One by one, they all testified, and all said they were certain Kosiah was the same person who committed the alleged crimes more than two decades earlier—they recognized his bulging eyes, his dark skin, and his vicious anger – he shouted threats and curses from his cage in the courtroom at all of the witnesses, including the obviously shaken Teta.
Kosiah claims he is not guilty of any of the heinous crimes he is accused of, alleging that he was not even present in Lofa County during the time period in question. He also says that witnesses and victims of these crimes are conspiring against him and lying.
Kosiah’s lawyer did not return the Daily Beast’s requests for an interview.