The republicans issued a forty eight hours ultimatum to the British forces with the conditions not to interfere in its internal affairs, resolution of any dispute only by arbitration, withdrawal of troops from borders and embargo on all reinforcement at land and sea anywhere in South Africa. October 9th 1899

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President Paul Kruger with his cabinet members

Eight hundred men led by General De la Ray advanced south from Mafeking reaching Kraaipan station. The objective was to push back one thousand British soldiers said to have been deployed but there were none on arrival, hence the destruction of the railway line on both sides and the disconnection of the telegraph line.

While the officers were resting, sentries on lookout realized a moving train coming towards the broken rail line and alerted General De la Ray just before it derailed. They took positions and cut off the railway line on the other end to prevent the British soldiers from retreating. Before the initial Exchange of Gunfire ensued, the first shot was fired by Field Cornet J.C. Coetzee which served as a signal for the rest of the soldiers to engage. 12th October 1899

The British soldiers surrendered as this marks the first victory for the republican army. Forty prisoners and an armoured train were taken alongside a huge cache of weapons and ammunitions barely two days into the declaration of war with the British after the expiration of the ultimatum.

 

Researched and compiled by Abiodun Abidoye, Member Southern African Freelancers Association

 

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