The Times/1900/News/Siege of Mafeking

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Siege of Mafeking
362550Siege of Mafeking

The Siege Of Mafeking.



The enemy have received a New Year's gift from Pretoria in the shape of a new gun and three wagon loads of ammunition. The bombardment consequently has continued more vigorously since. The new gun fires shells charged with a chemical liquid, which ignites upon contact with the air. This weapon has effected no damage hitherto, with the exception of a few minor fires in the gardens of Mafeking.

The resistance of the garrison is goading the Boers to commit various atrocities. Despite innumerable warnings they have concentrated their fire during the last two days upon the women's laager and hospital. Children have been killed and women mutilated by the bursting of shells. These occurrences are fanning a spirit of revenge in the breasts of the townspeople. It is no longer possible to guarantee the safety of the women and children of Mafeking, despite every precaution. Colonel Baden-Powell has stated that it is impossible to rely upon Boer honour. The scenes of terror and consternation among the women folk are pitiable in the extreme.

Colonel Baden-Powell and Major Goold Adams have deposed Wessels, chief of the tribe of the Baralongs, who had quarters at Mafeking. Wessels has lately been intractable. He spread false reports among the tribes that the military authorities were endeavouring to make the natives slaves. The government of the tribe has been given over to two chief councillors, and a better feeling is already being established.

Adverting to my telegram describing the Game Tree fight, there is no longer any doubt that the Boers used explosive bullets. The strictest and most impartial inquiry has been held among troopers and officers, the results of which have been embodied in a report.

I have interviewed Surgeon-Major Anderson, an Imperial Service officer sent out by the Director of Hospitals to Colonel Baden-Powell's force, who authorizes me to say that the wounds inflicted were altogether different to previous experience in Egypt and in India, and that it was impossible they could have been produced by Martini or Mauser bullets, though perhaps they might have been caused by Snider ones, but from a scrutiny of the wounds made while dressing them in hospital here he has no doubt in his own mind that bullets of an explosive character were used by the Boers.

By Runner via Mochudi, Jan. 18.