HC Deb 21 March 1923 vol 161 cc2529-30
13. Mr. BECKER

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty on how many occasions British warships have shelled native villages along the Iraq coasts in British occupation?

The FIRST LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Mr. Amery)

No native village along the Iraq coast has been shelled by British warships. Villages of the Yalsad tribe on the Batinah coast of Oman were shelled by His Majesty's ships on four occasions in October and November, 1922, at the request of the Political Agent, Muscat, and with the approval of the Political Resident, Persian Gulf. These tribes were known to be the principal participators in the slave traffic on that coast in defiance of Treaty obligations, and they had adopted a very defiant attitude towards the Muscat Government.


Has the bombardment of the villages stopped the slave traffic?


I think it would help to do so.


Is there any difference between bombing unarmed villages and bombing Hartlepool and Scarborough?


asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, in reference to the recrudescence of slave-running in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf, from what ports the dhows captured by His Majesty's ships were sailing and for what destination they were bound; and whether the recrudescence can be traced to slave-trading in any particular country or territory.?


In the only case in the Red Sea in which there was definite evidence of the port from which the captured dhow had sailed and its destination, the Colonial Court of Admiralty at Aden arrived at the conclusion that the slaves were kidnapped in Abyssinia, and shipped from Tajurrah, in French Somaliland, to Midi in the Idrisi territory on the Arabian coast, and that they were being taken on from Midi to Jeddah, in the Hedjaz, for sale, when the dhow was captured. As regards the Persian Gulf, it is known that members of the Yalsad tribe, which occupies a portion of the Batinah coast (Gulf of Oman) in the neighbourhood of Masuah and Suwaik, participate in the slave traffic, and there is some evidence that slaves are brought across from Persia and Baluchistan. There was also a case in which slaves from the Persian coast were destined for Sohar, which is also on the Batinah coast.

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