London. Ibadan. Nairobi: Oxford University Press. 1967. 312 p.
By their victory at Tabkin Kwatto the Fulani had saved themselves from extinction, but a long, hard road still lay in front of them. Their most pressing difficulty was an acute shortage of food, a shortage which had originated in the hurried flight from their homes and which had afterwards been aggravated by the interdiction placed on them by Sarkin Gobir. The barren scrubland into which they had retreated was sparsely populated and did not lend itself to farming. With the onset of the rains Shehu therefore decided to leave Gudu and move into an area where his followers could support themselves.
News of the defeat of the Gobirawa at Tabkin Kwatto was nowhere more welcome than in the towns of Zamfara. Nearly two generations earlier, as we have already seen, the old kingdom of Zamfara had disintegrated under the onslaught of Gobir. The capital had been sacked and never rebuilt. The whole of the northern and western part of the territory had been incorporated into Gobir and those of the people who had not fled had had to recognize Sarkin Gobir as their paramount Chief. Only in the cast and more particularly the south had they retained any measure of independence. There, on the edge of the Ruma Bush and on the blurred frontier between Hausaland and the pagan territories which lay beyond, a number of their towns acknowledged the nominal suzerainty of Gobir without in fact having to submit to much control from distant Alkalawa.
These towns were elated by the news of the Fulani victory at Tabkin Kwatto and the Chiefs of two of the largest, Bukwium and Talata Mafara, immediately sent envoys to Shehu, as did Sarkin Burmi of Bakura 1. The Fulani leaders were receptive to these overtures and an alliance was formed. As a result of it, Shehu and his followers were able to leave their retreat in July 1804 and move down into the more fertile country round the confluence of the Rima and Sokoto Rivers. In doing so they had to part company with their Fulani and Tuareg allies in the far north. To set against this disadvantage, however, was the gain of being able to join forces with Muhammadu Moyijo, a Fulani who had offered his services to Shehu at the outset and who had subsequently established himself in a strong position at Yabo 2. There, in what are now the home districts of Sokoto, they spent the rainy season of 1804, recruiting their strength for the struggle which they knew they would have to renew as soon as the dry season came round again.
During the lull enforced by the rains Shehu wrote letters to all the Chiefs of Hausaland to explain why he had raised his banner against Sarkin Gobir. He was fighting for truth against falsehood, he said, and he called upon them to join him in the struggle. The other Hausa States had little cause to love Gobir and at one time it seemed as if Kano and Zazzau. might respond. To a greater or lesser degree, however, they were all suspicious of Shehu's movement and so in the end they closed their ranks and spurned his overtures.
If the other Hausa Chiefs had responded to Shehu's message, the jihad would have taken on a different character and probably run a completely different course. As it was, their rejection of it produced a number of important consequences. First of all it meant that, at any rate in the early years, Shehu was not to find very many active supporters among the Hausas with the notable exception of the Zamfarawa. As a result the war, which Shehu himself regarded as a purely religious one, tended nevertheless to develop along ethnic lines and to become, in the main, a struggle between the Fulani and their miscellaneous allies on one side and the Hausa and later Kanuri ruling classes on the other. This in turn caused the Hausa and Kanuri Chiefs, who after all were Moslems themselves, even if not very devout ones, to regard Shehu's movement less as a jihad than as a Fulani insurrection. The stern measures they took against the reformers fell most of all upon the Fulani, who formed the backbone of the movement, and aggravated the tendency of the two sides to divide on racial rather than religious lines. They also had the effect of spreading the war, during the next few years, over the whole of Hausaland and western Bornu 3.
The second event of importance which took place during the rains of 1804 was the attempt to patch up peace between the Fulani and Gobirawa. The intermediary was Sarkin Gummi, the Chief of a large Zamfara town which had remained loyal to Sarkin Gobir. Shehu and his advisers declared that they were ready to negotiate, but they distrusted the Court clique at Alkalawa and insisted on dealing with Yunfa himself. Yunfa, however, declined to meet them and so the move came to nothing 4.
The failure of these two attempts at conciliation at least simplified Shehu's problems. He and his advisers now knew that they stood alone and could expect no help or encouragement of any kind from any of the other Hausa States. They also knew that with Gobir there could now be no compromise and that if their cause was to survive they had to fight it out until one or other was crushed.
It was in these circumstances that the Fulani decided, towards the end of the rains of 1804, to launch a major attack on Alkalawa, the Gobir capital. They must have been encouraged in their plans by the arrival at about this time of a strong force of their kinsmen who had been driven out of Katsina by the Hausa Chief 5. Since Tabkin Kwatto they had also had as allies the fierce but fickle Tuaregs of Adar and Air. Preparations for the campaign were therefore put in hand and the command was entrusted to Shehu's younger brother Abdullahi on whom the title of Waziri or Vizier had been conferred. The plan of campaign was simply to subdue the towns and villages around Alkalawa and then, at the right moment, to launch a decisive attack and take the place by storm.
Having been founded after Gobir's defeat of Zamfara, the city of Alkalawa was at that time of comparatively recent origin. Like all the major towns of Hausaland, it was protected by a massive wall of sun-baked clay. The gates which pierced these walls were strongly fortified. The walls themselves were furnished with a parapet and the parapet with crenellations to enable the defenders to shoot without exposing themselves. The assaulting forces, on the other hand, were first of all faced with a dry moat which was planted with a dense and virtually impenetrable thorn called sarkakkiya 6. When they had cleared a way through this they still had to negotiate the almost sheer face of the wall, perhaps thirty feet in height, which was finished with a smooth mud plaster and which therefore presented no hold for hand or foot.
At this date there were very few fire-arms in the central Sudan and little if any artillery. The breaching and storming of fortified walls was therefore normally entrusted to shock troops protected by quilted armour or chain mail. At a later stage of the war, thanks to the arms and horses which they captured in their battles, the Fulani were as well equipped as their enemies. In this first year, however, they still had very few horsemen and practically no armour.
The first part of the new campaign went according to plan. In November 1804 the Fulani advanced into Gobir and invested the city. They found the wall in good repair, however, and very heavily defended. Nevertheless they tried to take the place by storm. Had they succeeded they would have saved themselves four years of hard fighting. As it was they only just failed. Bello, who played a leading part in the fighting, deals very tersely with this reverse.
We fought a hotly-contested battle, he wrote, and were within an ace of gaining an entry into the city. In the fighting great numbers of the enemy were killed and many of our men also found martyrdom 7.
To a cause like Shehu's a repulse of this nature was bad enough, but worse was to follow. Its first fruit was the desertion of the Tuaregs. At the best of times they were fickle allies and now they seem to have concluded that the reformers were not after all going to prevail. At any rate, they not only left the besiegers in the lurch in front of Alkalawa but, having returned to their homes, they also started raiding isolated and defenceless Fulani settlements in the northern marches 8.
The reaction of the Fulani to these events was swift, indeed too swift. Shehu had not accompanied the expedition against Alkalawa, but he now set out to join it, taking reinforcements with him. Without waiting for these reinforcements to arrive, the Waziri Abdullahi led a punitive expedition against the Tuaregs. Bello, meanwhile, kept watch over Alkalawa, but his forces were depleted and he himself was sick. The Gobirawa, perceiving that the Fulani were dangerously dispersed, now decided to come out of the city and fight in the open 9.
The ensuing battle took place at Tsuntsuwa, a village just outside Alkalawa, and the result was a decisive defeat for the Fulani. Fortunately for them, Shehu and his reinforcements arrived in the nick of time to prevent a disaster. Even so, they lost two thousand of their best men. Among those killed were the Chief justice Muhammadu Sambo, the Standard Bearer Sa'adu, and two hundred Mallams noted for their piety and learning 10.
With the help of the reinforcements brought up by Shehu, the Fulani were able to counter-attack and they eventually succeeded in driving the Gobirawa back and burying their dead. They were now too weak to invest the city, however, and so they had to raise the siege and retire 11.
The failure to take Alkalawa put an end to all hope of an early end to the war. It also put Shehu's cause in jeopardy again. The Fulani still had no territory of their own. The Tuaregs, one of their only two allies, had abandoned them and for the next eighteen months were to be among their most dangerous enemies. The Gobirawa, on the other hand, were resurgent and could expect support from the other Hausa States. Perhaps most serious of all, the defeat at Tsuntsuwa had obliterated the moral effect of the victory at Tabkin Kwatto.
The jihad began and ended in what is now the northern part of Sokoto Province. Between its first and last acts, however, the scene shifted to the south and south-west.
After the reverse at Tsuntsuwa, Shehu's forces, which were again plagued by hunger and lack of supplies, returned to the territory of their Zamfara allies, which they reached early in 1805. This time they decided to make their base at Sabongari, a remote place in the upper valley of the Gawan Gulbi or Dead River. It was there that Abarshi, one of the claimants to the Chieftaincy of Zamfara, had already made his headquarters 12.
Among the Hausas who had joined Shehu's ranks there were a number of Kebbi men. One of these was Usuman Masa, a member of the ruling family who had quarrelled with the Chief, Muhammadu Hodi, and thrown off his allegiance. He now suggested to the Fulani leaders that they should attack Kebbi 13.
Kebbi was the most westerly of the true Hausa States. Geographically it occupied the lower valley of the Rima and its main links with the rest of Hausaland lay through Zamfara. The destruction of Zamfara by Gobir had tended to weaken these links, however, and now the appearance of the Fulani on the Gawan Gulbi and their alliance with the independent Zamfara towns had the effect of isolating Kebbi still further.
The Fulani leaders were no doubt mindful of the fact that Shehu had many adherents among the Kebbawa. They also realized that Kebbi, if they could only gain possession of it, was rich and fertile enough to provide them with the base which they needed if they were to establish their authority over the rest of Hausaland. On the other hand, although Kebbi was no longer the force it had been in Kanta's time, it was still one of the major Hausa States and the Kebbawa were well known for their fighting qualities. In the circumstances in which the Fulani then found themselves, the decision to turn their backs on Gobir while they launched a major attack on Kebbi was a bold and, as it turned out, inspired stroke of strategy.
Shehu put the expedition against Kebbi under the joint command of the Waziri Abdullahi and Aliyu Jaidu, who had been appointed Sarkin Yaki or Captain-General. They set out in March 1805, during the hot weather which precedes the rains, and first marched south to the Zamfara Valley where the town of Gummi, though of Zamfara origin, was still loyal to its new Gobir overlords. To remove the threat which it would otherwise have constituted to their rear the Fulani now attacked the Gummi forces and compelled the Chief to sue for peace 14.
Heartened by this early success, and no doubt strengthened by volunteers picked up on the march, they then turned westward. By the time they entered Kebbi they had such a formidable force that most of the enemy towns opened their gates and submitted. Those which offered resistance were quickly reduced 15.
Within a short time of setting out, Abdullahi and Aliyu Jaidu were at the walls of Birnin Kebbi. The capital put up a brief resistance but on 12 April 1805 they breached the walls and took the place by storm. The booty which they captured was greater than they had ever taken before or were ever to take again 16.
When Birnin Kebbi fell, the Chief of Kebbi, Muhammadu Hodi, managed to elude capture and fled to the north. To the Fulani, in the flush of victory, his escape probably seemed to be of little moment, but in fact it was to have serious consequences. In his stead Abdullahi installed Usuman Masa as Chief of Kebbi. His being a member of the legitimate family did not alter the fact that he was a puppet and that Shehu, by right of conquest, was now master of the greater part of one of the major Hausa States.
The Kebbi campaign, which had been boldly conceived, was carried through with speed and decision. In the space of two months the reformers seemed to have restored their fortunes. While they had been winning their victories in the west, however, fresh trouble had been brewing in the east.
When the army of one people is quartered in the country of another there is bound to be friction between the troops and civilians. This was the difficulty which now arose between Shehu's forces, which were composed in the main of Fulani, and their Zamfara allies.
The primary cause of the trouble seems to have been the perennial problem of finding food. Shehu's followers were of course volunteers and irregulars. There was no chest from which to pay them and, apart from the spoils of war, they had to exist as best they could. During the rains of 1804 they probably grew a little food, but when that was exhausted they had to live on the country again. The foraging parties which they sent out were no doubt given orders to respect the property of allies, but hungry men do not trouble about such niceties. As a result, there were certainly instances of food being forcibly commandeered, if not of downright plundering, and at least one case of reprisals being taken 17.
Another factor in the breach may well have been the attitude of the people of Zamfara themselves. At the start of the war the Zamfarawa were glad enough to have Shehu as an ally. After the reverses at Alkalawa and Tsuntsuwa, however, they may well have decided, like the Tuaregs, that the reformers were not after all capable of winning the war and were therefore no longer worth backing.
Wherever the fault lay, the facts were that while Abdullahi was winning his campaign in Kebbi, relations between the Zamfarawa and the rest of Shehu's forces, which had remained behind under Bello to watch and harry the Gobirawa, went from bad to worse. Before long there was open enmity between them. In describing it, Bello was remarkably objective.
All Zamfara rose against us, he wrote, because ... our people were oppressing them. They thought that by oppression they would gain their ends but the Zamfarawa resented it and our cause was injured. 18
For a short period before the conclusion of the Kebbi campaign the Fulani found themselves in a situation where one base was beginning to crumble beneath them while they were still engaged in trying to establish another. Had they failed in Kebbi they would have been in a desperate plight with no territory of their own and Gobir, Zamfara, and Kebbi all ranged against them. As it was, however, Abdullahi's swift success secured a new and much better base in the west and enabled them to take the initiative again in the cast.
As soon as it was safe to do so Bello turned his attention to the dissident Zamfara towns.
I was ordered by Shehu to lead an expedition against Sarkin Zamfara for we had received news that he was assisting our enemies, the Gobirawa and Tuaregs. I therefore set out at the end of the month of Muharram and after a few days march halted at the gate of Garmai.... I sought to parley with Sarkin Zamfara but he refused. I begged him to help us and not to help our enemies. Again he refused. 19
When the terms which he had offered were rejected, Bello struck with a ferocity to which he very seldom had recourse. Garmai and fifty other towns were sacked and the whole countryside laid waste 20.
The Zamfara towns had proved to be false friends and were made to pay a heavy price for their defection. In a campaign which lasted through the rains of 1805 Bello broke their strength and gave warning to the rest of the Hausas that the Fulani were not to be trifled with.
The defection of the Zamfarawa and the devastation of much of their territory made Sabongari an unsuitable headquarters. Southern Kebbi, on the other hand, now lay docile under the rule of the new Chief, Usuman Masa. Shehu therefore decided to move and during the rainy season of 1805 he and his followers installed themselves in Gwandu 21.
While the reformers had been engaged in subduing Kebbi and southern Zamfara the Gobirawa had not been idle. Seeing the fate of another instils the fear of God, says the Hausa proverb, and the rulers of the other States, who until then had remained indifferent or lethargic, were at last beginning to realize their danger. Where he had previously been frustrated, therefore, Sarkin Gobir now succeeded in creating a coalition dedicated to the purpose of crushing the Fulani. The northern part of Kebbi, which had not been subdued by Abdullahi, naturally entered this alliance, as no doubt did some dissidents from the Zamfara towns which Bello had scourged. The other Hausa States, besides harrying their own Fulani at home, also seem to have sent contingents to Gobir and the Tuaregs certainly rallied in considerable strength. In the autumn of 1805, when the harvest had been gathered, a great army began to muster in the north. In October or November, as soon as the floods had receded, this army set off down the Rima Valley 22. Its objective was the complete annihilation of Shehu's forces.
Hitherto the intelligence system of the Fulani had been good and they had always had some previous knowledge of their enemies' intentions. On this occasion, however, they seem either to have been caught unprepared or else to have underestimated the size of the great host which was now bearing down upon them. At any rate, their own forces were scattered and one detachment, which was laying siege to Augi right in the path of the approaching army, had to beat a hasty retreat on Gwandu 23.
In their past fighting Shehu's adherents had invariably taken the offensive, even when heavily outnumbered, and except at Alkalawa their aggressive tactics had always paid. Now one faction, led by Sarkin Yaki Aliyu Jaidu, favoured going out to meet the enemy and risking everything in a pitched battle. But another faction, whose leader was Bello, advocated a defensive strategy. After some debate, the hotheads prevailed and it was decided that the army, jointly commanded by Aliyu Jaidu and the Waziri Abdullahi, should take the field and seek battle 24.
It is worth noting here that Shehu himself took no part in this debate. These were mundane affairs and he was content to leave them entirely to his political and military leaders. He did intervene, however, when the dispute over strategy threatened the unity of his cause. Hearing that Bello had declined to march out with the rest of the army, Shehu remonstrated with him and prevailed upon him to follow.
He said that I ought to accompany them, Bello wrote afterwards, lest if they were defeated it should be said that by staying behind I had caused others to hang back. 25
In this episode we catch a glimpse of serious dissension in the Fulani camp and hear for the first time an admission that defeat is possible.
When Bello joined the others in the field they held another council of war. Abdullahi now supported Bello in advocating a retirement, but Aliyu Jaidu was still insistent on taking the offensive. The disagreements of the leaders were reflected in the movements of the army which advanced, fell back, and then advanced again. What was more serious was that the vacillations of the commanders affected the discipline and morale of the troops.
The men who had originally enrolled under Shehu's banner were devout Moslems obeying the summons of their consciences. Later on they were doubtless joined by others who had no strong religious feelings but who responded to the call of blood or race. It is safe to say that, until the battle of Tabkin Kwatto, the major part of Shehu's supporters belonged to one or the other of these two groups. Afterwards, however, when the prospects of ultimate victory had suddenly become much brighter, a certain number of men of a completely different stamp evidently joined the ranks. At best they were opportunists, at worst riff-raff. In Hausaland there have always been plenty of people of this kind, ever ready to drop their humdrum pursuits and join any cause, good or bad, which offers them the prospects of adventure or gain. After their appearance, Shehu's forces, as their recent conduct in Zamfara had shown, had ceased to be an army of scholars and zealots. Now, for the first and indeed only time, they were to get out of band in the presence of the enemy 26.
On the eve of the battle, when the army had advanced to the little town of Kwolda, the troops suddenly threw off their discipline and ransacked the place. Here is Bello's account of the mutiny.
Now this town was not at war with us and indeed half the inhabitants were our own people. Yet our warriors attacked them and plundered them of all they had. The Waziri Abdullahi ordered them to Stop but they refused to obey him. Then 1 too went into the town to prevent more plundering but I came near to being killed and was forced to withdraw. 27
The plundering of Kwolda has always lain heavily on the conscience of the Fulani and many of them have attributed to it the calamities which immediately followed.
After the mutiny Bello and Abdullahi again urged a withdrawal. Aliyu Jaidu and his supporters would not hear of it, however, and so the army advanced again until it made contact with the enemy near the town of Alwasa 28.
By this time the Fulani forces were much better equipped than they had ever been before. They still relied heavily on their bowmen, it is true, but the spoils of many victories had given them the horses, arms, mail, and quilted armour which they had hitherto lacked. They were of course outnumbered by the great host which Sarkin Gobir had brought against them, but the odds were certainly less daunting than those they had faced at Tabkin Kwatto. Nevertheless, Alwasa proved to be a disastrous defeat for them. When the crunch came their left wing crumpled under the onslaught of the Tuaregs and their whole line of battle was rolled up. The leaders tried in vain to rally the men, but there was no holding them and they fell back in the utmost confusion on Gwandu with losses which Bello put at a thousand men killed 29. This was the only battle in the campaign in which the Fulani failed to justify their reputation as resolute and stubborn fighters.
During the next five days Shehu and his followers faced the great crisis of the war. The town of Gwandu, on which the broken army now fell back, lay then, as now, in a hollow surrounded by low, flattopped hills of bronze and purple laterite. It had no walls or fortifications of any kind 30 and was soon surrounded by the victorious allies. To make matters worse, the people of southern Kebbi, led by the turncoat Usuman Masa, now renounced their allegiance to Shehu and joined the enemy 31. For the reformers, defeated and demoralized as they were, the situation could hardly have been more desperate.
There is little doubt that if the enemy had been swift in following up their victory at Alwasa with a determined attack on Gwandu they must have captured the place. The Fulani leaders would then have had the choice of dying in battle, capitulating, or fleeing, and whichever course they might have taken their cause would have been lost. For two days, from the Saturday to the Monday, the prize was there for the taking and for three more days after that the fate of the movement and the whole future of Hausaland still hung in the balance.
At this moment of supreme crisis it was not the redoubtable Bello nor the gifted Abdullahi nor the belligerent Aliyu Jaidu who rallied the demoralized reformers but the frail, devout, and unworldly Shehu. It is characteristic of him that even now, with his army defeated, his captains at odds with one another, and his whole cause in jeopardy, he continued to exert his authority by purely spiritual means. Instead of taking personal command, as in the circumstances almost any other leader would have done, he sought to restore the morale of his followers through prayer and exhortation. We have Bello's testimony for the remarkable success he had in communicating to them his own unshaken sense of faith and purpose:
Shehu came out from the mosque and preached to the people. With loving-kindness he exhorted them to forsake evil-doing and turn into the paths of righteousness. He prayed for victory and his words made them eager to fight again 32.
There is no better illustration than this of the extraordinary influence which Shehu exerted over his contemporaries.
From the Sunday until the Wednesday the reformers succeeded in repelling the steadily mounting scale of attacks which the allies made upon them. By the Thursday they had recovered sufficiently from their defeat to unleash a fierce counter-attack 33. While on the defensive, they had been hampered by Gwandu's lack of fortifications. As soon as they went over to the offensive, however, they were greatly aided by the nature of the terrain round the town. On the stony plateaux and steep escarpments of the surrounding hills the Gobir heavy cavalry and the Tuareg camel corps found movement difficult and manoeuvre impossible. The lightly armed Fulani bowmen, on the other hand, were in their element. In a day of prolonged and bitter fighting they restored their self-respect, avenged Alwasa, and turned the tide of war.
The six days which covered the battles of Alwasa and Gwandu were unquestionably the most critical of the whole war. If Alwasa brought Shehu's cause to the very verge of ruin, Gwandu certainly sealed Gobir's fate.
After the victory at Gwandu and the flight of the allied army, the Fulani had no difficulty in stamping out the rising of the Kebbawa. The south submitted without much struggle and in the north the large riverain towns of Gulma, Zazzagawa, and Sauwa, which had hitherto preserved their independence, were reduced or overawed. Before the end of the dry season, in fact, all Kebbi, except the towns of Augi and Argungu, had been subdued and the double-traitor, Usuman Masa, had been run to earth and killed 34. After their unhappy experience with him the reformers did not appoint a successor or persevere with their liberal and conciliatory policy. Instead they themselves now took over the reins of government. Having consolidated their base in Kebbi, their next moves were first to reassert their authority over southern Zamfara and then to move northwards into eastern Zamfara. By doing so they were driving a wedge between Gobir and Katsina, where the Fulani had already risen against the Hausa Chief, and thus making the first move in the isolation and encirclement of Gobir.
This northward thrust brought about the last major battle in the western theatre of war. In March 1806 the Gobirawa, supported by the Tuaregs, the Burmawa, the Katsinawa of Kiyawa, and the dissident Zamfarawa under their turncoat Chief Abarshi, put a large army into the field in the upper Rima Valley near Zurmi. The Fulani, under the command of Namoda, met them at the battle of Fafara and won a crushing victory 35. This battle had two important results, the one immediate and the other delayed. The hostile Zamfarawa were finally knocked out of the war and, later in the year, the Tuaregs made a separate peace with the Fulani 36. These twin successes carried the isolation of Gobir two stages further.
In the autumn of 1806 the Fulani made a second attack on Alkalawa. Aliyu Jaidu was in command, but he showed himself to be much more cautious than he had been at Alwasa. In fact, he contented himself with harrying the Gobirawa and laying waste the surrounding country, but did not attempt a direct assault 37.
The next development in the campaign was that early in 1807 the reformers in Katsina, who bad gradually been gaining the upper hand, at length captured the city and soon afterwards made themselves masters of the whole Emirate. This success completed the encirclement of Gobir. As Kano and Zazzau were already hard pressed, there was now no chance of Yunfa being saved by his neighbours. Shehu's forces could therefore afford to take their time.
In its last eighteen months the war in the west entered a phase of attrition. For the remainder of 1807 and the first part of 1808 the Fulani were again content to contain Alkalawa and wear down the defenders. Meanwhile they concentrated on completing the subjugation of Kebbi and the occupation of Zamfara 38. By the autumn of 1808, however, it was apparent that Alkalawa was ripe for the plucking. Bello, though still only twenty-nine years of age, was already a veteran in experience, and Shehu decided to entrust the supreme command to him 39. He had often commanded before, of course, but never in an operation of such importance. Furthermore, this was the first time that he had been preferred to Abdullahi and Aliyu Jaidu for a command which they both must have coveted. Aliyu Jaidu evidently agreed to serve under him, but Abdullahi seems to have been unwilling to do so. At any rate, he was not present during the final act 40. Early in the dry season Bello marched into Gobir with three separate columns and quickly drove the enemy back into the capital. The city was then closely invested with the Katsina Fulani, under their new Emir Umaru Dallaji, holding the ring to the south and west, the Zamfara Fulani under Namoda to the north, and Shehu's own forces under Aliyu Jaidu to the east 41.
After four and a half years of fighting the strength had gone out of Gobir and the end came quickly. Bello, as terse in triumph as in disaster, described the final victory without vainglory.
God then opened Alkalawa to us. In the twinkling of an eye, the Moslems hurled themselves on the enemy, killing them and making them captive. Yunfa was slain and all his followers by his side. Thanks be to God 42.
According to a legend treasured by the Fulani, Shehu received supernatural intimation of the victory and knew of it long before Bello's straining messenger could reach him 43. For him and his faithful followers it was the crowning mercy.
1. Bello, Inf M (Arnett, p. 62).
3. Abdullahi, quoted by Shehu in TI (Palmer, JAS, vol. XIV, p. 191).
4. Bello, Inf M (Arnett, pp. 64-65).
5. Ibid. p. 66.
6. Bello, Inf M (Arnett, p. 67).
8. Bello, Inf M (Arnett p. 67).
9. Ibid. p. 68.
12. Sokoto DNBs, History of Anka. The river is so called because in normal years its flow is underground and it appears on the surface only in years of heavy rainfall.
13. Bello, Inf M (Arnett, p. 72).
14. Abdullah, TW (Hiskett, p. 115).
15. Bello, Inf M (Arnett, pp. 72-73).
17. Ibid. pp. 74-75.
18. Bello, Inf M (Arnett, p. 77).
19. Ibid. p. 75.
21. Gazetteer of Sokoto Province, p. 25
22. Bello, Inf M (Arnett, p. 81)
24. Ibid. p. 82
25. Bello, Inf M (Arnett, p. 82).
28. Bello, Inf M (Arnett, p. 82).
30. The walls of Gwandu were not built untiI the following year. See The Gazetteer of Sokoto Province, p. 27.
31. Bello, Inf M (Arnett, pp. 83-85).
32. Inf M (Arnett, p. 83).
34. Bello, Inf M (Arnett, pp. 85-86).
35. Ibid. pp. 89-91.
36. The Gazetteer of Sokoto Province, p. 27. The Tuareg tribes mainly concerned were the Kelgeres of Air and the Itesen of Adar. See Note 9 in Appendix I.
37. Bello, Inf M (Arnett, pp. 91-92).
38. The Gazetteer of Sokoto Province, p. 27.
39. Bello, Inf M (Arnett, p. 94).
40. See Note to in Appendix I.
41. Bello, Inf M (Arnett, pp. 94-95).
42. Ibid. p. 95.
43. Alhaji Junaidu, op. cit. p. 23.