Oral Answers to Questions — Somaliland.

– in the House of Commons on 14th March 1922.

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Photo of Major-General John Seely Major-General John Seely , Ilkeston

36.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can give any information as to the recent events in Somaliland; and can he state what is the present position?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

On 25th February the Governor of Somaliland telegraphed that an affray between tribesmen had taken place at Burao on the previous day, in the course of which Captain Allan Gibb, D.S.O., D.C.M., the District Commissioner at Burao, had been shot dead. Captain Gibb had advanced with his interpreter to quell the disturbance, when fire was opened upon him by some riflemen, and he was instantly killed. The murderers escaped under cover of falling darkness.

Captain Gibb was an officer of long and valued service in Somaliland, whose loss I deeply regret. From the information available, his murder does not appear to have been premeditated, but it inevitably had a disturbing effect upon the surrounding tribes, and immediate dispositions of troops became necessary in order to ensure the apprehension and punishment of those responsible for the murder. On 27th February the Governor telegraphed that, in order to meet the situation which had arisen, he required two aeroplanes for purposes of demonstration, and suggested that two aeroplanes from the Royal Air Force Detachment at Aden should fly over to Berber a from Aden. He also telegraphed that in certain circumstances it might become necessary to ask for reinforcements of troops to be sent to the Protectorate.

The Air Ministry entertained some doubt whether this flight from Aden to Berbera could be accomplished, as, having regard to the range of the aeroplanes at Aden, the risk involved was considerable, but on 2nd March a further telegram was received from Somaliland, stating that the flight had been successfully made and that the aeroplanes had arrived at Berbera on that day. Telegrams since received from Somaliland report that the arrival of the aeroplanes and a demonstration which they made on the following day have had a profoundly satisfactory effect upon the local situation. The Governor now considers that the despatch of troops to the Protectorate will be unnecessary. The leaders of all the tribes concerned have come in and undertaken to carry out the terms imposed upon them, and the situation is well in hand.

Photo of Colonel Josiah Wedgwood Colonel Josiah Wedgwood , Newcastle-under-Lyme

Have these aeroplanes actually dropped bombs, or have they not?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

No; they did not drop any bombs.

Sir J. D. REES:

Have any of these rebels any connection with the party of the late Mullah—the "Mad Mullah—the methodically Mad Mullah"?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

No, Sir—it is an entirely new firm.