HC Deb 21 May 1928 vol 217 cc1491-2

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in view of the recent murder by armed natives at Sinarango of two civilian officers (namely Mr. Bell and Mr. Lillies), who were collecting taxes in the district in the service of the Colonial Office, what steps he has taken to prevent a recurrence of these murders; and, in view of the fact that the Colonial Office is ultimately responsible for the conditions under which these officers carry out their duties, will he guarantee adequate protection in future and, in the event of a recurrence of such crimes, adequate compensation paid to the dependants of the victims?

The SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Mr. Amery)

A Special Commissioner has been sent to the Protectorate to inquire into and report upon the circumstances of the murders at Sinarango. As to the last part of the question, while it is impossible altogether to eliminate risks in dealing with races of low civilisation, every effort is made to secure that officers are not exposed to avoidable risks and I am confident that the Administration concerned will be prepared in any case where an officer loses his life in the course of his duty to consider sympathetically an appeal for a compassionate grant where there is a dependant in necessitous circumstances.


Will the right hon. Gentleman explain why the Colonial Office wrote to the guardian of the late Mr. Lillies saying these murders were according to native custom?


I do not think that quite represents what was said.