The Story of the Congo Free State: Social, Political, and Economic Aspects of the Belgian System of Government in Central Africa

By Henry Wellington Wack | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XV
BELGIAN CAMPAIGNS AGAINST THE ARABS

IT had long been foreseen, as an inevitable result of the advent of the Belgians in Central Africa, that a direct conflict between them and the Arabs, continued to the extinction of one or other of the belligerents, must sooner or later take place. The chief cause of the presence of the Belgians in the country being the suppression of slavery was in itself sufficient to assure this. As shown in the chapter dealing with that subject, the Belgian pioneers in establishing posts throughout the country were guided chiefly in their selection of sites by a desire to obstruct the natural routes of the slave-traders; and this, as we have seen, had the effect of frequently bringing Belgians and Arabs into collision.

A Fight to the Death.

After the Belgian operations on the Uelle and Lualaba, the Arabs became seriously alarmed. They perceived not only their nefarious method of livelihood at stake, but their very existence as a coherent fighting force was also threatened. In dread at this prospect, the Arabs resolved to precipitate matters, and took the offensive. It is not easy to see what other conclusion they could have reached, for the Belgians had now concerted practical measures

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