HC Deb 22 June 1903 vol 124 cc57-9
MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)

I beg to ask the Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether it is in contemplation to build a railroad from the Somaliland coast to Bohotle; whether, if so, he can state how long it will take to build this railroad, and what will be the approximate cost; whether His Majesty's Government is at present in telegraphic communication with General Manning; and, if not, how long it takes to communicate with him from this country; and whether he can say what was the precise period for which the force from the Transvaal engaged to serve in Somaliland.

The following Questions also appeared on the Paper.

MR. SCHWANN (Manchester, N.)

To ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what is the most recent Military intelligence received by the Government with respect to the military situation in Somaliland; has Colonel Cobbe retired from Galadi successfully and reached Bohotle; and has he any official information to the effect that the Mullah is raiding the communications between Bohotle and Burao.

MR. LAMBERT (Devonshire, South Molton)

To ask the Secretary of State for War what was the date of his last communication from General Manning; what is the position and composition of his force; and whether uninterrupted communication exists between General Manning and the War Office.


The latest telegram received, which has been communicated to the Press, is from Colonel Swann forwarding a communication from General Manning, dated 15th June, to the effect that his force and that of Colonel Cobbe were to leave Badwein on the 18th, and expected to reach Damot on the 21st. I do not think it desirable to give the exact composition or strength of the force at various points. Communication between Badwein and Damot is maintained by runners, and from that point by telegraph. No official intimation has been received that the Mullah is raiding the line of communication between Bohotle and Burao. As regards a light railway I have nothing further to add to what I said on Thursday last.† The Burgher contingent was engaged for six months and served accordingly.

MR. BUCHANAN (Perthshire, E.)

Are the Government sending any reinforcements out?


The reinforcements I mentioned on Thursday ‡ are already on their way to Berbera. In addition to the † See (4) Debates, cxxiii., 1305. ‡ See (4) Debates, cxxiii., 1304. 600 men from Aden there are one battalion of native troops from India and 500 mounted troops also on the way.