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#630
Madagascar
Keymaster

“Atody miady amam-bato”! When the Egg Fights Stone is the feeling Felt by the resident general of France in Madagascar, Hippolyte Laroche. In his second report to the Minister of War, he
“Murders perpetrated by the Fahavalo”, that is to say the insurrectionary acts of the partisans Menalamba (lamba red).
After recalling that Father Berthieu was killed on 7 June in Ambohibemasoandro, Hippolyte Laroche cites “several untoward events” in the Vonizongo. Thus on 10 June, before Ambohipihaonana, the capital of Vonizongo, 75 km from Antananarivo on the RN4, and better known by its current name, Ankazobe, 100 Fahavalo (enemies, term used to designate the insurgents) appear. The garrison of the town, numerous enough and armed with carbines, abandoned the defense to join them. The governor of the Vonizongo, Rakotovoalavo is taken, dragged out of the city and killed “with guns and sagaies” with five of his officers. Their wives and children attend the execution and, being held back and abused by the gang, are threatened with the same fate “but manage to escape during the night after sixty-six hours of captivity”.
Three Europeans locked up in a house the same day, “are besieged for twenty-eight hours.” During the night of June 10-11, a large quantity of straw is brought by the “enemies” and piled up against the walls. They set fire to the roof and the rest of the house. The besieged must leave and succumb immediately to the number of their opponents. Two days later, 80 riflemen from Ambohidratrimo come to occupy Ambohipihaonana. The wandering bands in the region do not try to oppose it and since then “the direction of the North-West has returned to calm, the insurrection is extinct there”.
However, it is to the east of the capital, at 23-30 km, that “the most unfortunate events occur”. For example, in the Isoavina and Ankeramadinika areas, bands that have revealed their presence, including the murder of French contractors and supervisors Savonyan, Emery, Collin and Rigal, were seized by surprise on 7, 8 and 9 June. Hippolyte Laroche mentions that he has attracted the attention of General Voyron on the threat to the part of the road between the two villages. But the general assured him “absolutely” the safety of the road. “I believe, however, that his provisions to protect the road have been quite inadequate. “
And to explain his assertion: “There have long been 40 Senegalese riflemen at Ankeramadinika. After having, at the beginning of the month, replaced a company at Isoavina at my request, the general did not think it necessary to do more, to have, for example, intermediate posts between the two villages. The distance between them is 26 km in rough terrain. The rebellious bands being immediately on the roadside, it was to be expected that they would come to alarm him, and even to cross him, if this long ribbon were only kept at his two extremities. “
The fact does not fail to occur. Of June 17 to 24, the bands assault the convoys daily, scattering the porters, clearing the baggage, shooting with armed escorts when there are any. Captain Delacroix of the geographical service, joining the capital on June 22, met the same bands in the same places and “tugged” several hours with them. Young officers coming from France did not complain of this shooting, and “threw themselves with enthusiasm at the pursuit of white lambs,” held by the Menalamba fighters.
The presence of these latter is especially troublesome for commerce, for isolated travelers constantly exposed to an attack, and discontent breaks out in the Tananarivian population. Some Fahavalo, crossing the road during the night, “come, moreover, to worry the hitherto quiet region which borders it to the south, to set fire to several temples and schools and to spread the emotion until the outskirts of Ambatomanga And Ambatomalaza “.
These “wasp stings” were also accompanied by the destruction of the telegraph line running along the road. “Tananarive is without communication since June 22”. On June 26, an engineer sergeant was sent with equipment to restore it. The escort of skirmishers accompanying him, hunt “a rebel party, others take advantage of it to take over the material.”