Political Reports (1917-1921)
|Notes © 1999 by Jim Jones, Ph.D.|
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In the Cercle de Kayes, the military recruitment campaign "nous a donné l'occasion de constanter une fois de plus le loyalisme de nos chefs et de nombreux notables dont nous utiliserons largement le concours" (has provided an opportunity to verify the loyalty of African leaders).
In order to concerve grain for local food needs, the Administrateur Descemet offered Africans the chance to pay their taxes by selling only kapock and "produits oléagineux" (oil-producing products).
The Cercle de Bamako is ready to provide men for the military draft. Only Bélédougou might pose problem. The Cercle de Ségou is also ready. The Cercle de Satadougou is in terrible shape, economically and in terms of loyalty and moral. The Sahel region is especially troubled by acts of brigandage.
This decree says that military conscription will continue to be carried out every year, even though the war is over. "Désormais le service militaire devra étre considéré comme un stade inévitable de la vie de tout indigène de 18 à 35 ans" (In the future, military service should be considered as an inevitable stage in the life of every African male aged 18 to 35).
"Ce facteur social introduit dans la vie de nos administrères risquerait cependant d'apporter une assez grave perturbation dans la famille et le milieu indigènes, si nous n'assumions la t„che de l'assouplir aux contigences locales et de lui assurer la consécration de la coutume" (However, conscription may prove disruptive to socieety unless we make allowances for local requirements and customs).
The author includes a long section on how local chiefs should be used. There are also sections called "auxiliaires de propagande" that covers les marabouts influents, agents recruteurs and anciens tirailleurs (influential Muslim teachers, recruiting agents and military veterans)
Regarding "des agents indigènes de l'administration" (African employees of thee government), the author says that they commit abuses when carrying out the draft, and should be restrained.
A section on "Action morale sur les conscrits" describes the need to comfort and encourage Africans when they have been taken away from their families.
Basically, the political situation is calm in the south and the reconquest of the areas in rebellion continues in the north - particularly against raiders above Timbuktu.
This is about the inhabitants of three villages near Bandiagara">Bandiagara who continue to resist the French. The villages are Tabi, Toupéré and Tiga. On March 29, 1920, the villagers attacked the inhabitants of another village located in the valley that had submitted to the French.
On October 10, a French force attacked Tabi with cannon, machine guns and explosives, but failed to reduce the village until October 28. The villagers occupied the cliffs, delivered a continous rain of stones, and managed to put out the fuse on a charge of 80 kilograms of cheddite set to explode at the base of the "cheminée" (probably a formation that allowed people to move up and down the cliff face).