HC Deb 17 February 1899 vol 66 cc1269-70

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War whether the military operations which have been carried on in the Niger regions and in the hinterland of Sierra Leone under British officers during the past two years have been directed by any department of the War Office; whether any reports relating to such operations have been furnished to the Secretary of State for War or to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army; and, if so, whether he can state how many of the British forces and what number of natives have been killed, 'and how many towns and villages have been burned, in such operations within the period mentioned; and, in case such information has not been furnished to the military authorities, can he inform the House where it can be obtained?


NO operations have been carried out under the direction of the War Office in the Niger regions during the last two years. With the exception of the Benin expedition, the operations in those regions have been directed by the local administration under Foreign Office and Colonial Office control. The force, sent to Benin was under the command of the Naval Commander-in-Chief, acting under instructions from the Admiralty. The Secretary of State for War has received various reports from the officers in command of the Sierra Leone operations, which are not yet concluded. The British losses during the first period of the campaign, which terminated with the commencement of the rainy season in July last, were one officer and four men killed in action, and 10 officers and 59 men wounded; of the latter, three officers and four men subsequently died of their wounds. With regard to the losses of the enemy and the number of villages burnt during these operations, the Secretary of State for War cannot add to the answer given on this point by the Secretary of State for the Colonies on the 14th instant.