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Eritrea (Brigandage)

Volume 463: debated on Wednesday 13 April 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement concerning the interruption by local inhabitants of a senior military officer's journey in the Massawa district of Eritrea during the latter part of March, 1949.

Brigadier H. E. Creedon, the Commander Eritrea district, was travelling from Asmara to Massawa on the 23rd March when his car was held up by three brigands armed with rifles and hand grenades. Brigadier Creedon, who was robbed but uninjured, was travelling without escort and was not in uniform. These brigands, locally known as Shifta, are professional robbers, but Brigadier Creedon's assailants have not yet been identified.

Will the hon. Gentleman say whether these Shiftas have been making a habit of raiding and marauding, and, if so, what action is being taken to prevent this continuing?

I understand that this problem is not a new one in this rather remote district. I should like notice of the question about suppression.

Will the hon. Gentleman say whether adequate police arrangements have been made in Eritrea for dealing with cases of this kind and others?

We are doing what we can, but I do not think I can undertake that this will be suppressed altogether with the resources which we have available.