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Ten Years' Captivity in the Mahdi's Camp 1882-1892

To nominate Zeki Tummal as Abu Anga's successor


amongst them in affectionate

remembrance; they loved him because he himself had been a slave, and knew how to discriminate between severity and kindness. He was one of the best emirs of Mahdieh, and of an infinitely more generous nature than Wad En Nejumi or others. Once a poor woman came to him and complained that a soldier had forcibly taken her milk, which was all she had to live upon. Abu Anga sent for the soldier and asked him if the woman's complaint was true; the thief denied it most emphatically and abused the woman unmercifully. Abu Anga was almost convinced that he was speaking the truth; but the woman still persisted in the most violent manner that the man had drunk the milk. After a moment's thought Abu Anga gave the following judgment: "The man's stomach to be ripped open, and if no milk is discovered, the woman will be executed." The woman accepted this judgment with delight, while the unfortunate man had to undergo this terrible operation. The milk was found in his stomach, and Abu Anga made good to the woman her loss. Thus did he maintain discipline amongst his men, and as long as he commanded in Galabat there was no fear. In battle his cruelty knew no bounds, and the most horrible atrocities were perpetrated by his men, especially in Abyssinia. His death was deeply felt by the Khalifa, and with reason, for he was not only a brave and capable leader, but he was absolutely honest; any other man in his place would have, long before, abused his power. He was buried in Galabat in 1888, and his
men have canonized him as a saint.

When dying, Abu Anga nominated Wad Ali as his successor, until the Khalifa's orders should be received; but very soon after his death there was discontent amongst the men and want of harmony amongst the emirs, with whom Wad Ali was by no means a favourite. These dissensions reached the Khalifa's ears, and he despatched the Kadi Ahmed, in whom he placed great reliance, to Galabat, with instructions to do all he could to put down discord, and to nominate some one as leader who was popular with all ranks. After several meetings, the Kadi at length succeeded in quieting the people, and it was agreed, by common consent, to nominate Zeki Tummal as Abu Anga's successor. This appointment was subsequently confirmed by the Khalifa.

The Galabat army was now made into four divisions--Zeki Tummal commanded the first division, and was also Commander-in-chief of the whole; Abdallah Ibrahim, Nur Angara, and Mahmud Wad Ali commanded the other divisions. In addition to these four great emirs there were also other well-known men in the Galabat force--such as Sheikh Abu Tagalla, Faragallah (Gordon's old commandant of Omdurman Fort), Omar Wad Elias Pasha, Sheikh Nuri, of the Bederieh tribe, Ismail Wad el Andok, and others. The immense zariba was now further fortified and strengthened.

There were already rumours that King John was making preparations to take Galabat, after which it was said he would advance on Omdurman and utterly destroy Mahdiism. King John was accompanied by all his most important chiefs--Ras Adal, Ras Aria Salasseh, Ras Michael, Ras Mariam, Ras Alula, Saleh Shanga, and several others. In all, the army numbered some 150,000, of whom 20,000 were horsemen.


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