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The chief of the Lamolle battalion, in one of his reports, evokes the insurrection of the north-west of Madagascar. As it was written earlier, it all began on Wednesday, October 26, 1898, a splendid day, by the attack of the Marotolana militia post by “a band of rebels.” The fight lasts all night and finally, the attackers move away from the place of combat.
Indeed, in the presence of the increasing number of rebels, the guard Ettori destroyed his post and tried to return to the coast. But in his flight he is attacked. He lost his life in the case and several of his militiamen.
The insurgents then headed for Ambalavelona, ​​the headquarters of the administrative center of the Great Earth and post of militia. The clerk Frontin and two Europeans who are with him are massacred and the post falls into the power of the insurgents. Remember that Frontin had ravished Boenizary to her husband, the elder sister of King Tsiaraso I, before sending her back to her brother in a state unworthy of her rank.
The movement of insurrection became widespread in Lower Sambirano, and the settlers, who could not escape in time, were killed. Their settlements and plantations are also sacked and destroyed from top to bottom.
As soon as the news of these troubles reached Nosy Be, immediate measures were taken to rescue the Europeans and to try to restore order.
Immediately, the “Fabert” landed his company divided into two groups: one must punish all disorder at Nosy Be, the other is directed on the Great Earth, direction Ambalavelona. The cruiser then went to Mahajanga to announce the news to Antananarivo. Meanwhile, the administrator Chauvot goes with some militiamen to Marotolana to try to rescue the guard Ettori, of which he does not find the trace.
As soon as he was aware of this movement, General-in-Chief Gallieni formed a Senegalese marching company, commanded by Captain Laverdure, at Mahajanga, and ordered his speedy transport to the Great Land. The part of the province of Nosy Be on the Great Earth is erected as an annexed Circle, commanded by Captain Laverdure. The latter thus has all the powers to accomplish its mission of restoring order and locating the movement.
Embarked at Mahajanga on 2 November by the “Pourvoyeur”, Captain Laverdure’s detachment of three officers, five non-commissioned officers, one hundred and forty four Senegalese and forty two militiamen, landed at Ankifiny the following day. A section is directed on Ambalavelona to relieve the sailors of the “Fabert”.
“Chauvot and King Tsiaraso had joined Ankifiny with the sailors. Captain Laverdure received the visit of King Tsiaraso, who furnished him with the porters who were asked for, but who gave him no information. “
The officer, therefore, was groping for the next day in the country. King Tsiaraso and his brother
Accompanied him on his march on Ambalavelona, ​​but on his way all the villages were already abandoned. At Ambalavelona, ​​Laverdure meets a few locals and some Indians who keep their shops. Despite the defective situation of this point, he left a post headed by Sergeant Berthier to make it the temporary headquarters of the Cercle annex. He sought to obtain some information from the prisoners confined in that post, but to no avail.
Captain Laverdure continued his pursuit towards the interior of the country. “The village of Benavony was abandoned, but all the resources were intact. To avoid depredation, he bivouacked with his troops to avoid any act of pillage. “
On November 7, the group crosses the villages Ambolobozy and Malilio, they are also abandoned.
“During the day, we met a group of people from Benavony (the former village washed away later by a flood) with the head of this village, who was reassured and that the absentees were asked to return. “
On 8 November the group arrived in Marotolona. The village is completely abandoned, but the huts are intact. A cluster of ash and burnt wood is on the ground. On the following day, the post was reconstituted with a sergeant, thirty sharpshooters and ten militiamen.