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Bussa rebellion

A Bussa warrior, photographed in around 1900

The Bussa rebellion, also known as the Boussa rebellion, was a small insurrection in the town of Emir of Bussa, Kitoro Gani, and his replacement with a Native Administration. The rebels attacked and killed around half of the members of the Administration, while the rest fled, leaving the rebels in control in Bussa. Despite the ongoing Kamerun Campaign against the German Empire, the British were able to use a small force of soldiers which quickly suppressed the rebellion incurring no casualties.


  • Context 1
  • Rebellion 2
    • Background 2.1
    • Rebellion 2.2
    • Suppression 2.3


During World War I, the increased demands on the colonial state, combined with its growing shortage of manpower, put strain on British and French colonial holdings in West Africa.[1] Uprisings in British Nigeria and French Dahomey particularly served to "embarrass" colonialists and special precautions were taken to suppress them. Rebellions by the Egba people and the Iseyin caused particular concern.[1]



Northern Nigeria Protectorate. Between 1912 and 1914, under the auspices of Frederick Lugard, Northern and Southern Nigeria were merged into a single Nigerian Protectorate. Lugard was a chief proponent of allowing limited self-determination to local states, known as indirect rule, based on traditional tribal groups but within the aegis of general British control.

Lugard argued that, where possible, pre-colonial aristocrats or kings should be retained as indirect rulers in British service in order to give greater legitimacy to the system.[2] The hereditary Emir of Bussa, Kitoro Gani, however, was judged to be a weak ruler who did not have enough influence to collect taxes or fill quotas of labourers to work on Beit-el-mal" or Native Administration.[3] In Bussa, the Administration was put under the control of Turaki, a former royal advisor. Taxes were also raised.[4]


The precise date of the start of the insurrection is unknown, but it occurred in early June 1915. A force of around 600 rebels, led by Sabukki, a local prince, occupied Bussa.[5] The rebels were armed with bows and arrows and succeeded in capturing and killing half the members of the new Native Administration established just three months previously. The remaining members of the Administration fled the district.[5]

Although small, the rebellion caused panic because the British authorities were so short of troops.[1]


The local British District Official, Hamilton-Brown, received news of the rebellion on 16 June.[6] The fighting with German forces in the Kamerun Campaign limited the forces which were at his disposal but Hamilton-Brown managed to levy a small force from the [[Royal West

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