HC Deb 13 August 1896 vol 44 c734

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether a large portion of the Indian Contingent sent to garrison Suakin has been sent on to act as a convict guard at Tokar, an Egyptian convict station some 70 miles from Suakin, where the climate is intensely hot, water very scarce, and food indifferent, and whether the commanding officer and second in command of this force have both been invalided within a month; and, will he place before the House before it rises reports from the General commanding the Indian contingent and from the Chief Sanitary Authority under the Egyptian Government as to the general health and condition of Her Majesty's forces forming the Indian contingent?


A battalion of native infantry and a squadron of native cavalry have been sent to Tokar, not as a guard for the convict prison, but to garrison that post, as the position is one of great strategical importance for the defence of the Suakin district, as was shown by the fighting in its vicinity in 1885. The climate is very hot, but the health of the troops and followers at Suakin and Tokar is reported to be very good, and that of the European officers generally good; but out of 70 officers at Suakin and Tokar four have been invalied, including the officer in command at Tokar. There is a sufficient supply of water at Tokar, and the food supplies are ample. Every precaution is being taken to make the condition of the troops holding this important position as comfortable as is possible