HC Deb 12 May 1884 vol 288 cc25-6

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, What is the present position of the governor, the garrison, and the 2,000 refugees in Berber; and, whether any promise has been made to Hussein Khalifa of assistance at a later period if he holds out? The hon. Member also asked whether Dongola was in a condition of peril, and whether the reinforcements asked for would be sent?


Information on the situation at Berber up to April 30 will be found in Egypt, No. 18, No. 55, and in reply to the second Question in Egypt, No, 13. In reply to the last Question put by the hon. Member, he will find all the information he requires in the Papers I have mentioned. Nothing material in regard to Berber has come in since that date; and with regard to Dongola the hon. Member has given me private Notice of a Question involving a number of important matters which I think he can hardly expect me to answer on such short Notice.


I have just had placed in my hands a telegram said to have been received today to this effect, that the Commandant of the Dongola garrison has telegraphed to the Khedive that the Mahdi has sent emissaries for the purpose of raising troops for taking Dongola and marching on to Cairo. The Commandant further says that the telegraph posts between Berber and Meroe have been burnt by the rebels. The superintendent of telegraphs at Berber also telegraphs from Korosko that he had fled from Berber; that his employés had stayed at Berber waiting for camels, but had not received them. They had then started for Abu Hamid, but were all captured and massacred in the desert. The road between Berber and Korosko is now impracticable, being completely in the hands of the rebels. I should like to ask the noble Lord whether the Foreign Office has received any information on the subject?


The Foreign Office has not received details of the information mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman; "but a telegram has been received stating that in the neighbourhood of Dongola there is a very considerable movement among the population.