The Malagasy royal army shows a “deplorable combativity” in 1895 by killing only sixteen men to the French, the Menalamba are quick to flee and especially, the merina garrison of Ankazobe refuses to fight and rallies to the rebellion after the massacre of the Officers of the queen. These were the principal facts in 1896, at least those reported by General Resident Hippolyte Laroche.
The French troop of six hundred men under the command of Colonel Combes was launched against the insurgents of the region of Ambatondrazaka. She advances to seek the enemy who has retired, burns the villages which, taken with fear, the inhabitants give up, “and with
Much more efficient, we multiply the number of rebels in this way while reducing populations to hatred and despair “(Roger Pascal, Bulletin of Madagascar, October 1966).
The military believes the hostile population when it is frightened. General Voyron acknowledged this: “The failure of this column comes chiefly from the fact that the insurgents have as a motto that they should always flee before our troops, after insignificant resistance, so that the passage of a French column, Has no action but in the very villages it traverses, and in their immediate vicinity. “
The resident general rejected this tactic and preferred the use of militia and small posts. For it then turns out that “fifty armed men being respected by the rebels, small posts could pacify a region and bring about calm.”
Besides, in Antsirabe, the militias prove their combativeness. More sober, faster than the Algerian or French troops, one can expect many of them. And it is an idea approved by Colonel Combes and applied later by Gallieni. But in the time of Laroche, the rivalry between the military and the civil appears.
In addition, there is the weight of prejudice. “It was believed at that time that there were races of war, and others which were not. Thus, “rather than creating militias, that is to say, new bodies without a tradition, Voyron preferred the Malagasy forces of his army, and the Minister of War in Paris simply excluded the militia from his jurisdiction.”
General Voyron, however, knows that political work must follow armed penetration. But his officers, unleashed in the bush, regard all the royal governors as “possible traitors like Rabezavana and Rabozaka.” They overwhelm them with benefits under pain of seeing their huts burned, molesting them …
Their feelings towards the French residents are no better. They do not want to have them with them, or they try to exhaust them by useless marches. “In order to be definitively rid of them, Voyron, worn, susceptible and a prisoner of his entourage, demanded and obtained that the State of siege be declared throughout the zone of insecurity. “
The soldiers wanted to be alone in the world, and since they could not seize an enemy who was too fugitive and too fast, they preferred rather than admit the ineffectiveness of their method, and gave credit to some great conspiracy directed by powerful members of the Antananarivo Government, if not by the Queen herself and her relatives, all the considerable persons caressed by Hippolytus.
According to Roger Pascal, the Lieutenant in charge of intelligence must, in this respect, be illustrated. “He arrests common Malagasies and promises them life saved if they confessed what they knew. The unhappy ones, in order to free themselves, said all that was suggested to them, all that they thought they were expected to do. They denounced all the Great of the Kingdom, hoping that, beside these illustrious personages, they would soon be forgotten. “
And as the young lieutenant boasts everywhere of the results of his “sensational investigations,” this can only disrupt an exasperated crowd, “seized with spies”, who populate the capital. Especially the settlers, mostly Creoles of the Mascarenes, who, seeing their economies melt, “rather than accuse their bad luck, preferred to exert their hatred against the queen.” As proof, “the queen passes in filanjana in front of the Hotel de France and the Europeans wait with hostility for her salvation”!
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