I made a circular tour of over a month, passing through five districts and was then ordered to try and effect his captureon my way back To Ankpa. It was right out of my way, but orders are orders, and away I went!!!
I got to Ofangwa on the second of August and heard that on my arrival, Mr. Oyigebbe had politely disappeared from Gbebe, and was said to be in the thick bush, 20 minutes distant. However I played up the game -talked to the natives of everything, but Oyigebbe - made quite a fuss over the road not being cleared, which created a bit of a scare, but which had the desired effect of taking away the thought of Gbebe, from the natives minds. I was three days sending traders to Gbebe, and on the third day, I heard that Oyigebbe had returned to his old town. I had to make all my preparations in secret, as my camp was only 50 yards outside Ofangwa, and this town is full of relatives and friends of the man that we wanted.
At 3:15 A.M., I was called by Labuja, the Government Courier (Who had not been to bed at all, for fear of oversleeping, himself.), and at 3:40 we started out -a corporal and six men of the Waffs, one policeman, Labuja and myself. We crep partway into the town on tiptoes, for fear of waking anyone up, for then there would of been callings and runners sent off to warn the Gbebe people. It was fearfully dark and in places, where the bush was extra thick, you could not see the man directly in front of you. I had to get Labuja, who had eyes like a cat, to lead me forward by the hand.
As soon as we were clear of Ofangwa, we marched out in earnest. It proved to be much further than reported -in fact it took us one hour and 10 minutes, before we got to Gbebe. Day was just breaking, and conditions could not have been better. It was, jolly good luck that we started so early, and allowed that margin of time.
We descended down and down in the darkness, till we found ourselves in a stream, up to our waist. However we got to the town and crept cautiously in a single file, behind the guide, between two houses that were two yards apart, from which there proceeded encouraging snores. Then we came to the Chief,s compound and surrounded it. At the same time a herd of cows, who had been watching our approach, stampeded and woke the people up. I have never heard, such blood curdling yells. The worst of it was, we could not find our man, Oyigebbe.
I went inside several houses and found no one. Then my suspicions fell on the guide, who was continually protesting that a certain low house in the compound, was where the Chief always slept,when in town.
This house had two of my soldiers, who had gone inside, and one of them came out with some loot (Which I did not allow him to keep.), but both said no one was inside. I got another man to go in, however, as a last resort and he found our man hiding under the bed, which, out here, is hardly a place to look, for usually there is only five inches of space. But in this case, he had hollowed out the ground -just in case of emergency!!!
Well, we got him out and he refused to walk, but kept calling out something to the people, who had started to fire their guns. There was nothing for it, but to -pick him up and run off with him! This we did, under a fusillade of shots from very old fashion guns. I emptied my revolver into where I thought most of the gun shots came from, and eventually we left them behind.
It was still fairly dark, as we left the town and shots rang out occasionally. It is a wonder, that none of us were hit. We must thank God for that. It was so dark, and we had taken them so by surprise, I don't suppose their workmanship was up to their usual form ( Which I believe is very bad.)
We arrived back in camp at 6:30 to the astonishment of the carriers, who were packing up my tent, etc., and they had no idea we had gone out anywhere.
Needless to say, they had to put up the tent again. We were all too fagged to talk that day. After seeing that the prisoner was properly guarded, I sent a letter to inform Ankpa of our success, and called in the people of Ofangwa to explain the reasons for Oyigebbe,s arrest and to tell the local people, that we had no quarrel with them.
Next day, on my way back to Ankpa, I was astonished to find that Oyigebbe, in spite of his seclusion (As far as Native courts and Government Officials were concerned.), was well-known to everyone on the road, and hundreds came out to see him pass by. It has created a great impression on the people -this picking a plum out of the middle of their pudding!!
The evidence against the old chap is sufficient, I think, and he will no doubt be hanged in about a month’s time.
It is jolly nice being back in Ankpa again, to hear English spoken and to see white faces. Also to get one’s personal stores (Editors notes.). I really missed my toothpowder. I am sure that you would say it was the whisky, that I missed, but it really was the former.
I am fairly well -as well as a person, can be in Ankpa!! I think that I will be given a district in Western Bassa, for myself, with my headquarters in Dekina. I would rather like this!!
Love to all, and please show the letter around to all the others.With love to Lily and you all,
Your affectionate brother,Hugh
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