The mission Voulet-Canon is a particularly fatal French forwarding of colonial conquest of the Chad, carried out starting from January 1899, by the captain Paul Voulet and the lieutenant Julien Chanoine.
Elected in July 1898 by the Secretary of State to the Colonies, Andre Lebon, under the denomination “Mission Africa Power station-Chad”, they had like drank to reach Chad by the west and the Niger river and to operate the junction of their column on the Lac Chad with two other missions, one started from Algérie, the Mission Foureau-Lamy, the other of the Means-Congo, the Mission Nice. These three missions were to complete the conquest of the French empire of Africa.
Paul Voulet and Julien Chanoine had been already illustrated at the time of the conquest of the Royaume Mossi, occupying current the Burkina Faso and of part of the Niger starting from Senegal in 1896. Voulet had thus made shave Ouagadougou. Of a capital strategic interest, this mission towards Chad will be even bloodier than the preceding one. Military forwarding is transformed along its course into true infernal column, massacring the populations which refused to provide them vivres or men. At the beginning of May 1899 in country Haoussa, the town of Birni Konni is taken, a great number of inhabitants are massacred, soldiers, men, women and children, whereas they flee and this large village of more than 10.000 hearts is entirely destroyed.
The allegations of lieutenant Péteau, source of the rumors, seem to be false and are not correlated by the talks of the judgment all left not confused (officers, warrant officers, troops). According to confidences of Henric and Joalland, the team, considering this lieutenant malvenu, because imposed, inefficient and pleutre, had fun with the traumatiser either by jokes or with invented stories from which several were drawn from the newspaper of the Voyages.
The preceding African conquests had been brutal, but nothing in comparison of these massacres. The rumor of the latter arrives at Paris. The Minister for the Colonies decides then the sending of Colonel Klobb, in load of the garrison of Tombouctou to stop them. Klobb leaves to their continuation on more than 2000 km. Whereas it joined them on July 14th, 1899, Voulet made open fire, Klobb is killed. Voulet and Chanoine would have been killed in their turn the 16 and on July 17th by their own riflemen. The troops are then directed by the lieutenant Meynier, the assistant of Klobb and the lieutenant Joalland, one of associated of Voulet. The mission takes then the name of Mission Joalland-Meynier.
With Paris, the press seized a time the business. Several interpellations were made by deputies with the Room and a board of inquiry was decided. But the advertisement of the conquest of Chad and of died of the 2 officers buried the scandal which was put on the account of the madness (" soudanite aigüe") of the 2 captains. The French Army and the government which left the Affaire Dreyfus (Canon was the son of the Général Jules Chanoine, former minister for the War anti-supporter of Dreyfus) which had torn the country wanted to avoid a new scandal. One spoke again about it in 1923 when Robert Delavignette, administrator colonial in Niger made open the tombs of the 2 officers who appeared empty.
The psychological aspect of the business does not appear in the writings of the researchers and even less in the catalog of films however the 2 captains seem to be reached at the last stage of syphilis (pox) and victims of meningoencephalitis leading to the insanity. Henric the doctor of the mission makes case in its mails with Joalland and the lawsuit which followed thus that lieutenant Joalland (in Drame of Dankori ) owing to the fact that they refused to be looked after and underwent periods of increasingly frequent and violent exaltation and depression.
This business proceeds in the context of European competition of the time on the areas to colonize (Conférence of Berlin and race in Africa).
One can note a homogeneity with the local sociocultural methods of conquests of market. Thus in the Sudan mission, Voulet copied the African king who accompanied it in his first mission by conquest by Mossi and Gourounsi. The column is partly made up of 600 veterans of the wars between Toucouleurs and Bambaras and of auxiliaries followed by 800 carriers and 600 women. But with a bad control of the provisioning (famine and dryness), a structure of command low (disease) and a drift of the costs.
This business will remain a long time a oculté episode of French colonization in Africa.
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