1900-1919 | Burning towns and cities | Burning villages | Collective punishments | Nigeria | Punitive operations

Reuters – ’15 towns and villages destroyed’ in Nigeria

[ 30 December 1903 ]

On 30 December 1903, a Liverpool Reuters correspondent telegraphed the news, arrived by ship from Nigeria, that ‘about fifteen towns and villages’ had been ‘destroyed’ during a two month long British punitive expedition in the south eastern Niger Delta region. The pretext had been the alleged ‘interference with peaceful trade by certain of the Oron people.’ The reporter noted that the column of 250 troops under Major MacKenzie had to operate ‘in a country full of swamps’ and that they ‘had to often swim the flooded creeks and passes before they could reach the towns of the enemy. In most cases the natives were aware of the approach of the troops, and consequently for the most part fled from the towns. In three cases, however, the enemy were taken by surprise,’ which were ‘captured after a large number of the natives had been killed.’ The British had suffered only one fatality, a ‘native corporal’ and ‘about 30 natives wounded.’1


  1. ’15 Towns and Villages Destroyed,’ The Dublin Daily Express, 30 December 1903, p. 5 and ‘Punitive Expeditions against Turbulent Orons,’ The Sheffield Independent, 30 December 1903, p. 5.

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