Find Content

Mandinka conflict with Sikasso

  • At this moment when the French were in pursuit Samori was in conflict again with Tieba of Sikasso. In 1886 Samori signed the treaty of Bisandugu with the French. Under its terms he gave up all his territory north of the river Niger.
  • In return the French would respect Samori’s empire south of the Niger. Samori and the French then agreed to sign an agreement because of the following reasons.
  • Samori was anxious to agree for peace momentarily because he wanted to devote his attention to Tieba of Sikasso an equal African adversary. Again Samori wanted to get time to sign an alliance with the British and buy more arms from Freetown.
  • At the same time the French desired peace in order to invade and conquer Mahamadu Lamine because it was dangerous and difficult to be divided in two battle fronts with finite resources. They also wanted to prevent an alliance between Samori with Mahamadu Lamine.
  • Engaging the diplomatic strategy, Samori agreed to sign the Bisandugu treaty in 1886. Samori hoped that the French would aid him to silence his own internal wars with African rivals such as the attack on Sikasso. Again he wanted to gain time to reorganize his military forces before another attack on the French.
  • At the same time the French wanted a breathing truce to be able to deal with Mahamadu Lamine first and then revive their siege upon Mandinka after.
  • Samori made a mistake by attacking Sikasso in the battle which he lost thousand men and his horses. Given Samori’s attack, Tieba of Sikasso signed a treaty of protection with the French.
  • The French undermined Samori by supporting Tieba of Sikasso and in the end Tieba signed a treaty of protection with the French. When the Great Revolt of 1888-90 erupted, Samori was forced to abandon the siege of Sikasso in order to crush the revolt in Mandinka.
  • Samori proposed an alliance with Britain against the French through the governor of Sierra Leone.
  • The British rejected the proposal because at the Berlin conference Samori’s empire had been French’s sphere of influence. In 1890 Samori made an agreement with Sierra Leon which enabled him to buy weapons for three years.
  • Although a common feeling for the unity of purpose against European colonial invasion was in the air. The challenge of mutual jealousies was always a hindrance to state survival. Samori Toure attempted an alliance with the Tukulor when he proposed an anti-French alliance.
  • If you continue to make war on your own, the whites will have no trouble in defeating you. I have already undergone the experience in trying my strength against them. Let us therefore unite. You will hit the French from the north, I will harass them from the south, and we will certainly manage to get rid of them.
  • The Tukulor did not take up the offer, probably because they thought that Samori’s expansion to their immediate South was as much a danger to them as French aggression.
  • It was only after his own power has been effectively destroyed that Ahmadu, belatedly, began to seek an alliance.