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

The mahdi's triumphal entry into el obeid


those who escaped was a man named Abderrahman Ben en Naga Bey, whose father, then in El Obeid, had entreated the Mahdi to spare him. A few days before the catastrophe he was found writing letters to Omar Wad Elias Pasha, then with Abdel Halim's force; in consequence he and his men had been put in irons, and it was Ala ed Din Pasha's intention to execute him; but Hicks would not allow it, saying that he would be fairly tried after El Obeid was captured. Ben en Naga was in the thickest of the fight, and had already lost an eye, when his father's slaves succeeded in reaching him and saving his life.


The Mahdi and his followers were greatly delighted, for they had not calculated on such a complete victory, and a messenger was at once despatched to El Obeid to order a salute of one hundred guns to be fired.

It was early on Tuesday morning, the 6th of November, that the thunder of the guns was heard in the camp, and our alarm at this terrible news can well be understood. Our bright hopes, which enabled us to support a wretched existence for more than a year, were rudely dashed to the ground. We now gave up all idea of the Government sending a second expedition. It was clear that Khartum must look to its own safety, and as the Mahdi had in the first instance gained

possession of Kordofan through his victory over Yusef Pasha Esh Shellali, so now his annihilation of General Hicks's force placed almost the entire Sudan in his hands.



Fall of Darfur--Slatin surrenders--The Mahdi's divinity credited after the annihilation of Hicks--King Adam of Tagalla--Stambuli's kindness to the European captives--Gordon writes to the Mahdi--Power's letter--The sisters seized and distributed amongst the emirs--They are tortured--The missionaries turned into slaves--The terrible journey to Rahad--The Greeks come to the help of the sisters--The proclamation concerning the treatment of priests and hermits by Mohammedans--The Mahdi at Rahad--Ohrwalder's interviews with the Mahdi concerning religion--The Dervishes attack the Nubas.

The Mahdi remained seven days with his entire force at Birket, so as to collect families and stragglers and to take possession of the loot which the greedy Arabs had seized and refused to give up. Several of the latter were flogged, and seven slaves belonging to the Mahdi's uncle, Sayid Mohammed Taha, suffered the loss of a hand and a foot because they had kept for themselves some of the Mahdi's booty.

The loot referred to consisted of war material, such as Krupp guns, machine guns, and Remington rifles, besides a number of axes, pickaxes, and shovels, which were required for making zaribas; a quantity of money, watches, and clothing, was also included, and the whole was carried off to the beit el mal.

Some of the dead bodies were secretly set fire to, so as to make the ignorant people think that these unbelievers were being consumed by hell-fire. General Hicks's white horse was handed over to Klootz with orders to cure the wound in its back.

At length the pestilential smell of thousands of dead bodies of men and animals drove the conquerors forward. The Mahdi's entry into El Obeid was a scene of wild enthusiasm and excitement. The many-coloured flags came first, then followed thousands upon thousands of Dervishes moving to the ever-swelling murmur of "La Ilaha il'lallah" ("There is no god but God"), whilst others danced out of the ranks and shook their blood-bespotted spears, uttering fearful yells. After them followed the cavalry with the three Khalifas. Every now and then a halt was made, when a number of riders would dash forward at full gallop, poising their lances ready for the thrust, and then would return to the ranks amidst the loud applause of the others.

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