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Press regarding British campaign on Kurdistan in 1920s

The Times
1919 Nov 11



We recorded yesterday, in a telegram from our Special Correspondent on the Middle East, now at Teheran, the murders of two British political officers by Kurds at Akre, in the valley of the Zab River, north-east of Mosul, in Mesopotamia.

Mr. John Hugo Hepburn Bill, one of the victims, was a distinguished and very able political officer, who had served for nearly 20 years in Persia and the Persian Gulf, and on the North-West Frontier of India.

Captain K. R. Scott, who was also killed, held a temporary appointment in the political service. Both officers were returning from an inspection of the Kurdish gendarmerie posts on the armistice frontier-line.

This is the third episode of the kind which has occurred in Kurdistan within the last few months. In April Captain Pearson, who was assistant political officer at Zakho, was ambushed and murdered while visiting an outlying tribe. In mid-July two political officers, Captain Willey and Captain Macdonald, and a non-commissioned officer, were ambushed and murdered at Amadia by Kurdish gendarmes under their own command.

General Cassels, commanding the 18th (Indian) Division at Mosul, sent two columns against the Northern Kurds in order to subject them to reprisals for these crimes. One column operated from Zakho and the other from Suw-ara. The regions penetrated were very mountainous. The latter column occupied Amadia on August 6. The Zakho force had heavy fighting, and was eventually held up by the enemy at a formidable and lofty rock fortress near Bermuna. The fortress was afterwards captured, when it was found to have been evacuated.

Akra, the scene of the murders of Mr. Bill and Captain Scott, is in less mountainous country. This series of outrages indicates the difficulties we shall find in endeavoring to control the Kurds.