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To regulate the merina occupiers’ account, in particular Governor Ramanetaka, Andriantsoly, king of Boina (Boeny) and the northern Sakalava, supported by the envoys of his counterpart of the Menabe, Ramitraho, attack the military camp of Mahajanga on four fronts. The assault begins on March 10 (read previous Note).
Mari ben Roussi and his followers, to the north, quickly arrive at the foot of the palisade which is defeated in some places. In the south, in spite of the large artillery which defends the approach of the camp on this side, the body of Tsimba engages the action with courage.
“For their part, the Merina, instructed by the example of Anfihaonana, who would not be able to make any quarter for them if they were defeated, opposed an obstinate resistance,” writes Jean Valette. The archivist palaeograph recounts that, well sheltered behind their entrenchments, “they receive the enemy with such a sharp fire that the ardor of the attack is slowed down.” Soon, the death of one of the leaders of the eastern body put disorder among his troops and they did not
Do not delay to let go.
Emboldened by this success, the Merina redoubled efforts on the other three fronts. Ramanetaka then took the opportunity to make a sortie at the head of a few men and “by a vigorous attack on the flank of Mari, he forced the enemy to retire.” The greater number of fugitives headed for Ambondro, where Andriantsoly awaited the result of the operations. Others retreat to the village of Mahajanga and there, entrenched in the houses, continue to pull on the Merina. “Ramanetaka, in order not to lose soldiers by trying to derogate them, set fire to it and Mahajanga was in a moment the prey of flames.”
Arrived at Ambondro, the fugitives spread terror and the surrounding villages were immediately evacuated by their inhabitants who feared the reprisals of the Merina. In spite of the efforts of some chiefs who try in vain to rally their men, the rout is complete.
“The day after the battle, there was no Sakalava army. Andriantsoly almost alone-there remained for him only his faithful Tsimba and two women who were attached to them-succeeded in favor of the night, to take refuge on a small island, the island Makambi, The bay of Boina.
However, he does not feel safe if he stays as close to Ramanetaka. He prefers to retire to the mouth of the Mahajamba where he arrives in the early days of April 1825. Des Antalaotra join him there. There he called for help from neighboring populations and sent orders to the chiefs of the Sambirano to go and attack the post that Radama has maintained at Ampasandava since 1823.
This post commanded by Rafaralahy Marozoky is defended by entrenchments behind which the garrison is safe from the bullets and sagaies of the Sakalava. This, in the first place, renders useless the efforts of the latter to seize it.
Informed of the failure of this first attack, Andriantsoly dispatches a reinforcement of 70 Antalaotra, under the command of Abdallah Faki who brings with him two small pieces of artillery. “These guns, put into battery on heights which dominated the entrenchments, crushed the garrison, which was promptly massacred. “
After the defeat of Mahajanga, a large number of Sakalava chiefs and the royal family took refuge in Marovoay. There they hold a kabary to decide what is wisest to do. Rafikandro, the cousin of Andriantsoly, is of opinion to retire to the frontier of Ambongo, a wooded and marshy country, “where one would be at the same time sheltered from the assaults of the Merina and close enough to one another, To launch frequent attacks “.
Others, tired of the war, wish to elect in the place of Andriantsoly, his aunt Taratra and thus, make peace with Radama. Tafikandro, who did not succeed in convincing the assembly, went away from the Merina, to the south with a few hundred supporters.
Those who remain at Marovoay, including Taratra and her two daughters, as well as Ouantatsy, sister of Andriantsoly and Ampanjaka Fitahangnha, are seized by the Merina. Only Mari ben Roussi is left free in the hope, no doubt, that his influence would make Mahajanga return part of Antalaotra. He succeeded in causing Ouantatsy to escape, and gained with him the banks of the Mahajamba, followed by numerous Sakalava. Andriantsoly is no longer obliged to flee to the North.