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#596
Madagascar
Keymaster

The chief of the Lamolle battalion, in one of his reports, evokes the insurrection of the north-west of Madagascar. It all began on Wednesday, October 26, 1898, by the attack of the post of militia of Marotolana by “a band of rebels”. The fight lasted all night and finally, the attackers moved away from the place of battle because, in the presence of the increasing number of rebels, the guard Ettori destroyed his post and sought to return to the coast. But in his flight, he is attacked and loses his life as well as several of his militiamen. As soon as he became aware of this movement, General Gallieni formed a Senegalese marching company, commanded by Captain Laverdure, who had become commander of the Cercle annex of Nosy Be, to Mahajanga. The latter thus has all the powers to accomplish its mission of restoring order and locating the movement.
On November 3, he headed for Ambalavelona and continued his beating towards the interior of the country.
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. The next day, the post was reconstructed with a sergeant, 30 tirailleurs and 10 militiamen.
The position of Marotolona reconstituted, Captain Laverdure continues his way. ” The
On November 10 he found the charred skeleton of the interpreter of guard Ettori and received some information about the attack on the post and the desertion of 8 militia from the beginning of the attack. “(Lamolle battalion commander).
The next day he set out to find traces of Ettori, but all the villages crossed were abandoned in a precipitate flight, and on 12 November the reconnaissance returned to Marotolana.
Finally, on November 13, hearing that Ambalavelona was attacked, Captain Laverdure
Decides to return to it and designates Second Lieutenant Sautel to command Marotolana.
Indeed, on the night of November 7 to 8, Lieutenant Gautier, deputy commander of the Cercle annex, arrived at Ambalavelona. In the early hours of the morning, “200 Marofelana, of which about thirty armed with guns and the others with sagaies, attacked the post after setting fire to the village. They shouted: Vazaha! Vazaha! “
The lieutenant repulsed the attack and pursued the fugitives, who abandoned two of their men, one of whom was armed with a gun and shot with a revolver. Five other bodies are carried away.
The post is again attacked on 8 November in the early afternoon, “by 150 Marofelana divided into three groups, but without much damage”.
Captain Laverdure then began to crisscross the region to reconnoitre.
In the dark night of November 22, the post of Ambalavelona commanded by the ensign Calemard, is attacked again. However, it is difficult to follow the traces of the aggressors, but a skirmisher is mortally wounded.
From 24 to 27 November, Captain Laverdure received a gun of 37, 10 mules and a 80m / m mountain piece. Armed with his new armament, he is preparing to march in concert with the commander of Bealanana, whose post has been removed by the insurrection which is gaining the whole region of the Ankaizina.
On the 28th of November he went to Bealanana with officers, non-commissioned officers, 83 tirailleurs,
22 militiamen, 14 artillerymen.
On November 29, the group arrived at Marotolona, ​​although the artillery could withstand great difficulties. The inhabitants of this large village are returning in considerable numbers. “Congratulated and reassured by the captain, they make a commitment to go and get their friends to get them back. On the 30th we left Marotolona. “
After a difficult march due to rain and cold in the high mountains, Captain Laverdure’s group arrives on the morning of December 5 in view of Bealanana. An immense marsh separates them from the city.
“No column was in sight and no news was received from the Mondon group dispatched before. A few cannon shots were fired at the village. They did not determine any apparent movement. “
The group decides to cross the marsh that separates it from the village with care. When he entered it, he found it completely abandoned, half of the huts burned: everything denoted a precipitate flight.
From the post there is nothing left. There are only cases of cartridges 74 and piston rifles and the effects of militia. “To the south-west of the village a post had been found on the top of which was attached a European helmet and an iron briefcase containing various objects belonging to the Guard Gouraud! “