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The events of Madagascar since 1895, date of arrival of the expeditionary force and French pacification, occupy large places in the issues of the Bulletin of the Committee of Madagascar. In its July edition, it gives a summary of the actions of the previous months.
Thus, on April 1, he said, three individuals were surprised at Antsiranana, “making signals with the Hovas”. They are arrested and taken before Major Martin. One of them who makes a full confession is acquitted. The other two, Victor Boulanger and Koutiti, Malgaches born in Sainte-Marie, were sentenced to death and shot on 3 April in the morning “before all the indigenous population”.
Is it the sight of this expeditious justice, no one knows, but still it is that at the end of April, a certain number of Sakalava chiefs submit as the expeditionary force advances in the interior of the country . These submissions occur behind the column and not forward, “so that they do not render us any political service.”
On behalf of May, the Bulletin contains articles from the correspondent of “Time”, from the 3rd to the 23rd of the month, giving details of military operations after the occupation of Marovoay.
On May 2, after the capture of this village, the Metzinger brigade resumed its march without delay. The
On the 4th of May, the detachment of Colonel Pardes, with two companies of Sakalava sharpshooters, a company of Algerian sharpshooters and an artillery piece, was ordered to march beyond Marovay Marsh to Manonga, At 12km as the crow flies south-east of the resort. Their mission is to catch up with Governor Ramasombazaha who is fleeing in this direction.
On the 6th of May the little column arrived at Manonga after a march made very painful by the bad condition of the paths and the numerous marshes which it must traverse. According to the Sakalava villagers, the Hova left two days earlier and traveled to Trabonjy by uncrowded trails through the forest that borders the left bank of the Marovoay River. Reconnaissance sent by the colonel demonstrates the existence of a Hova troop gathering in the village of Ambodimonty, between Ambohibary and Manonga. Interrogated, the inhabitants of the country declare that the Merina are approximately 2,000 and are armed with six pieces of cannon.
“They came directly from Tananarive and were to reinforce the garrison of Marovoay. Arrived after the evacuation of this city, they had stopped at Ambodimonty. Colonel Pardes was then ordered to watch over them and to keep a ford of the Karembo River which flows into Marovoay Marsh and could be used by the Hovas to reach the East in case a column from Marovoay had driven them out Of their position. “
On the 15th of May, the day fixed for the occupation of the ford, the French realized in the early morning that the Merina already held the place and marched on Manonga. The French column immediately began to move along the hills along the road to the ford,
Taking advantage of the clumps of trees of which they are covered, to shelter themselves. At 1,500m from the village, the scouts signal the Merina in quite large numbers, a little behind the nipple at a distance of about 400m.
“The vanguard section commanded by Lieutenant Foreston of the naval infantry advanced rapidly to reach the nipple before the enemy; As she reached the crest, she found herself a few yards from the Hovas, and received almost a bullet-fire at close range. The first surprise, the French quickly retaliate and rush to the bayonet. The melee lasts only a few minutes.
“The Hovas left 60 dead on the ground. A Krupp cannon belonging to them and put in battery on the road a few steps from the nipple, is seized before they have time to use it.
“Five of them had been killed on the play. On the French side, 12 skirmishers were wounded, four of them seriously, among them a sergeant. Lieutenant Foreston, who brilliantly kidnapped his troop, was slightly wounded on the flank.
At 10 am, the engagement is over and the French occupy the opposite bank of the ford. “The next day, the Hova evacuated Ambodimonty cautiously, retreating to Trabonjy and Ambato. “