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A Bussa warrior, photographed in around 1900

The Bussa rebellion, also known as the Boussa rebellion, was an insurrection in the town of Bussa against the policy of indirect rule in British-controlled Nigeria in June 1915. The rebellion was triggered by British deposition of the local Emir of Bussa, Kitoro Gani, and his replacement with a Native Administration. The rebels attacked and killed around half of the members of the Administration, while the rest fled, leaving the rebels in control in Bussa. Despite the ongoing Kamerun Campaign against the German Empire, the British were quickly able to use a small force of soldiers which quickly suppressed the rebellion incurring no casualties.



Bussa was located in Borgu province in the east of Northern Nigeria. Traditionally, Bussa had been part of the Borgu Emirate but had been captured by the British and annexed into the Northern Nigeria Protectorate. In 1914, under the rule of Frederick Lugard, Northern and Southern Nigeria were merged into a single Nigerian Protectorate. Lugard was a chief proponent of allowing limited self-determination to local states, known as indirect rule, based on traditional tribal groups but within the aegis of general British control.


The precise date of the insurrection is unknown, but it occurred in early June 1915. A force of around 600 rebels, led by Sabukki, a local prince, occupied Bussa.[1] The rebels were armed with bows and arrows and succeeded in capturing and killing half the members of the new Native Administration established just three months previously. The remaining members of the Administration fled the district.[1]


The local British District Official, Hamilton-Brown, received news of the rebellion on 16 June.[2] The fighting with German forces in the on-going Kamerun Campaign limited the forces which were at his disposal, but Hamilton-Brown succeeded in levying a small force from the West African Frontier Force (WAFF) and the Nigeria police.[3] The government force moved into Bussa and skirmished with the rebels although no soldiers were killed and only 150 shots were fired.[4] Sabukki fled to nearby French Dahomey but the rebellion did not spread into the French colony.[3]

See also

  • Women's War - a 1929 uprising by women in southern Nigeria against British-imposed Warrant chiefs
  • Chilembwe uprising - a 1915 uprising against British rule in Nyasaland


  1. 1.0 1.1 Crowder 1973, p. 17.
  2. Crowder 1973, p. 113.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Crowder 1973, pp. 120-2.
  4. Crowder 1973, p. 120.


  • Crowder, Michael (1973). Revolt in Bussa: A Study of British 'Native Administration' in Nigerian Borgu, 1902-1935. London: Faber and Faber. OCLC 748206. 

Coordinates: 10°19′N 4°36′E / 10.317°N 4.6°E / 10.317; 4.6

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