The Turkoman Rebellion in Eastern Iran, 1924-25

Author: Robert Olson
Source: Die Welt des Islams, New Series, Bd. 31, Nr. 2, (1991), pp. 216-227
University of Kentucky

The Turkoman Rebellion in Eastern Iran, 1924-25:
Its Consequences and the Soviet Reaction

The purpose of this article is to assess the consequences regional and international, especially the Soviet Union's, to the Turkoman rebellion in Khurasan from fall 1924 to spring 1926. The most intense fighting between Turkoman and Iranian forces occurred in 1925. In spite of the intensity of the fighting and despite the fact that the quashing of the Turkoman rebellion was important to the consolidation of Reza Khan's power, there is little mention of the rebellion in general histories of Iran.
There is, however, quite extensive coverage of the revolt in the Public Record Office both in the Foreign Office archives and in the Air Ministry records. British Air Intelligence, headquartered in Baghdad, was responsible for most intelligence operations in the Middle East after assuming control of military operations in Iraq in fall 1922. Most of the information and analysis which later appeared in the Foreign Office records originated in the Air Ministry, specifically in Air Intelligence. The two major reporters of the Turkoman rebellion were Major W. A. K. Fraser, British Military Attache in Tehran, and Major D. Thompson, British Military Attache, Mashhad.
The government of Iran under the leadership of Reza Khan was attempting to consolidate its control over various tribal groups in the country in 1924. Military operations had commenced and were in operation against the Kurds, Lurs, Bakhtiyar and most importantly against Shaykh Khaz'al of Mohammereh, (now Khorram-shahr), The Arab leader of Khuzistan, frequently referred to, at the time, as Arabistan.
The Iranian government had sent forces numbering 500 under the command of Colonel Mehdi Khan, against the Turkomans in July 1924. The Bojnurd garrison to which Colonel Khan was marching was manned by around 1,000 troops. The Turkomans defeated the government troops from penetrating their Sahra (area of domination). Colonel Mehdi Khan's forces suffered 200 killed, lost two mountain guns and two machine guns.
The remaining troops managed to escape to Bojnurd. Major Fraser minced no words as to why he thought the government forces had been defeated: They lacked experience and training; did not possess a fighting spirit; were badly led; and the troops and officers alike were given to debauchery and brigandage. Challenged by such weak opposition, by September 1924 the Turkomans had captured the Mashhad-Tehran road which they held from the 1 to 19 September. During this time they destroyed the telegraph line in several places (pulling up the poles and burning them). They also shot dead a telegraph linesman who tried to interfere with them.
Throughout September 1924 the Turkomans with a force estimated by the British to be 2,500 held the Mashhad-Tehran road and were not attacked by government forces. British Intelligence was unsure of the loot that the Turkmans had taken, but they tried to reduce it by holding the mail in Shahrud and Sabzevar.
On 18 September 800 cavalry under the command of Colonel Mohammad Agha Shaykh Ilisky arrived at Shahrud. The Turkomans, thinking that they confronted a much larger force, began to retreat in bands of 250 to 300. Three of the four bands were ambushed by tribal sowars (tribesman fighting for the government) who killed 70 Turkomans while suffering 14 killed.
In September 1924 an unstable stalemate had been reached. Two Turkoman chiefs, Bay Ishan and Laghir Khan, at the invitation of the Iranian commander, came to Bojnurd to discuss peace terms.
As of 29 September, Fraser described the situation as follows:
1) The military authorities realized that it would be futile to oppose the Turkomans;
2) that the Turkomans having gained the upper hand could continue to disrupt Khurasan without interference;
3) realizing the government forces decided on the strategy of negotiating with the Turkomans;
4) the final terms of the negotiations would be difficult to determine, but it seemed certain that the Sardar (commander of the tribes) of Bojnurd would come to agreement with Reza Khan;
5) it was definitely established that the Sardar had been intriguing through his agents in Bojnurd and that Reza Khan was aware of it. Fraser thought that the Reza Khan "of former days" would undoubtedly have caused the Sardar's head to disappear long ago instead of allowing the latter's influence over tribesmen to gain the supremacy it had; and
6) the situation was now worse than it had been before government troops occupied Bojnurd and any terms that were to be mutually agreed upon would not prevent the Turkomans from committing robberies.
Fraser added that the government troops themselves, including tribal sowars, were nothing more than thieves and robbers. He states that he was informed by the Amir Lashker (Chief of Staff) that over 30,000 rounds of ammunition were expended by the troops engaged against the Turkomans on the Tehran road. But, adds Fraser, from other sources he learned that the ammunition was not used at all, but sold, instead, to people who passed it on to the Turkomans.
As part of the negotiations the government agreed to reinstate the Sardar of Bojnurd, Shaykh Mu'azzaz, the leader of the Shadillu Kurds, who joined the Turkomans in their rebellion and whom the government had deposed only a few months previously. Shaykh Mu'azzaz was hanged in March. This was a tacit admission, thought Fraser, that the government had not achieved its goals in Khurasan. Negotiations were also opened in Astarabad and Bojnurd itself with Turkoman leaders who agreed to accept subsidies in return for calling for a return to order. The calm con-tinued throughout the fall and winter of 1924 as the Iranian government was unable to divert troops from the southwest (Khuzistan) to Khurasan. The general accord of September 1924 remained in effect.
It is difficult to determine just when the Shadillu Kurds were settled in Khurasan. The best account of the forced settlement of Kurds, as well as others, in Khurasan is John R. Perry, "Forced Migration in Iran During the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries", Shah Abbas (1587-1629); Nadir Shah (1736-1747) and Karim Khan Zand (1751- 1779) resettled at least 300,000 tribesmen from Azerbayjan and Kurdistan in Khurasan, a goodly portion of whom were Kurds. Many settled them in the Atrak Valley, ironically, as far as our topic is concerned, to fight against Turkoman raids. Some Kurds were settled in Khabushan or Quchan.
By early spring 1925 things had once again begun to heat up. In March Sardar Mu'azzaz was arrested and deported to Mashhad on a charge of conspiring with the Turkoman chiefs. He was, as mentioned above, subsequently hanged. The officer commanding the government forces had established, even to the satisfaction of British Intelligence, the complicity of Shaykh Mu'azzaz in the rebellion from correspondence he had intercepted from the Shaykh to Turkoman chiefs who were leading the rebellion. The Shaykh did not deny that he had been in contact with the Turkoman leaders of the rebellion. Fraser also noted that one of the Shaykh's four wives was a Guklani Turkoman, the main tribal group spearheading the rebellion. An informant told British Intelligence that after the rearrest of her husband in March, his Guklani wife fled to her relatives and urged them to seize Bojnurd and demand the release of the Sardar. She reportedly told her fellow Guklanis that the Sardar was slowly being tortured to death.
In addition to Shaykh Mu'azzaz, Murad Khan and Kerbali Ali were the other two main Shadillu Kurdish leaders of the rebellion. The three principal Turkoman leaders were Durdi Khan, Qisir Amin and Jan Mohammed Khan. The government forces were led by Colonel Iraj Khan, Chief of Staff of the Eastern Division (Khurasan), and Colonel Baqar Agha was in command of operations in the Bojnurd area - the center of the rebellion.
After the arrest of Shaykh Mu'azzaz, government forces reoccupied Bojnurd with a detachment numbering about 400. The Turkomans anticipated that the reoccupation of Bojnurd presaged a government assault on their sahra. The Turkomans and Shadillu Kurds demanded that the government troops should be immediately withdrawn from Bojnurd. By mid-April, government officials knew that action had to be taken against the Turkomans and Kurds. The cabinet was split: Reza Khan wanted to subjugate and completely disarm the Turkomans and Shadillu Kurds, but the Chief of Staff (Amir Lashkar) wanted to surround and isolate the area.
But before a decision was reached in Tehran, the Turkomans broke into rebellion. By 7 May 1925 they had broken into rebellion along the entire length of the Turkoman border from the Caspian Sea to Bojnurd. The villages on the coast were raided by parties in boats. Government garrisons from Nardin to Sankhas were attacked and Bojnurd was surrounded. Reza Khan became worried. He asked the British for permission to purchase a battery (generally four) of mountain guns from the Indian government. The Chief of Staff announced the guns were necessary to quash the rebellion which was "encouraged by Soviet intrigues" and "was actually being directed by Soviet officers."
A regiment of infantry was ordered to proceed immediately to Shahrud, the last battalion of which was to depart on 23 May. Two airplanes piloted by Germans were dispatched to Mashhad as were two Rolls Royce armored cars. The armored cars did not go, however, as their Vicker's guns were not operable due to lack of spare parts. It was reported that the government had recalled some troops from Khuzistan for the Khurasan front. The support of the Shadillu Kurds for the Turkomans was offset by the loyalty of the Quchan Kurds to the government. By 12 May the rebels had Bojnurd completely surrounded, but they did not press their attack. By 15 May a government force of 300 advancing from Mashhad came to within two miles of Bojnurd. Another government detachment advanced on Bojnurd from Sankhas, a town 40 miles southwest of Bojnurd. By 18 May this detachment had reached Bojnurd and began attacking the besiegers. On the same day the Turkomans retired some 20 miles from Bojnurd. Aerial bombing seems to have played a role in the decision of the Turkomans to retire. Even though the threat of a Turkoman march on Mashhad had been eliminated, Major Fraser recorded that "There is some evidence from secret sources" that the Iranians were planning a concentration of forces at Astarabad (Gorgan) which Reza Khan in person would lead.
The successful repulsion of the Turkoman besiegement of Bojnurd on 18 May 1925 gave the Iranian government and the British time to bring in reinforcements from Tehran. Some were stationed in Shahrud and others in Bojnurd. Additional troops were brought from Gilan to secure the province of Astarabad.
In spite of the additional government forces, the Turkomans kept up their attacks, but they lacked the cohesiveness and determination to make a sustained offensive. But neither did the Iranians move to counterattack. While lack of organization and sufficient troops played a role in this hesitation, Iranian doubts or fears as to what the Soviets would do also played a major role. Although the Soviets had proclaimed publicly their disapproval of the Turkoman rebellion and had even prevented by force a band of Soviet Turkomans from proceeding to assist their Iranian brethren. Despite these Soviet actions it is possible that doubt regarding Soviet intentions contributed to Iranian procrastination in moving against the Turkomans.
By July the Iranians felt confident enough to move against the Turkomans. The Iranians advanced westwards from Bojnurd. A Turkoman concentration at Simalqan, between Shahrabad and Bojnurd, was dispersed and Incheh, a town on the edge of the Turkoman Sahra, was occupied. The Iranians then made little movement until October. British Intelligence thought this was due to the unfavorable climatic conditions prevailing in the Sahra and partly to allow time for the Iranians to sow discord and divisiveness among the Turkomans.
By October the Iranian forces had reached 4,000 - 5,000 in the Bojnurd area and some three thousand in the Astarabad area. In early October the Iranians advanced from these two flanks against the Turkomans. The Turkomans' strongholds at Gumesh Tappeh and Aq Qala were captured by the Iranian forces, with little opposition, advancing from Astarabad. Gonbad-e-kabus was taken before the end of October.
The forces advancing from Bojnurd and Astarabad joined at Gonbad-e- kabus. The right flank of the government forces was secured as far as Maraveh Tappeh on the Atrak River. The bulk of the Turkoman fighting forces retired to the valley of the Atrak. In many cases they left their women folk and old men to fall into the hands of the Iranians. The Iranian offensive stopped at this point and the positions gained the line of the Gonbad-e-kabus and thence via Shahabad to Maraveh Tappeh were consolidated. Negotiations were then commenced with the Turkoman leaders in the Atrak Valley. The Iranians, apparently, did not want to advance in force to the Atrak line which would have resulted in driving the tribes into Soviet territory. Throughout November the Iranians tried to persuade the Turkomans with arguments, cajolery, threats and bribes that it was in their interest to return to their lands. The Iranians seemed to work as the tribes differed among themselves as to the best possible course of action. The Iranians were further encouraged by the fact that the Soviet Union was not giving active, at least military, assistance to the Turkomans. Judging that the Turkomans had been sufficiently "softened" by their several tactics, the Iranians began to advance to the Atrak line in small numbers in order to allay any Soviet fears that they were going to move into or attack Soviet territory. As the Iranians advanced, some Turkomans surrendered and others fled to Soviet territory. At one point a detachment of Iranian troops marched right up to the Atrak River at which point a few shots were exchanged with Soviet border troops. The Iranians withdrew immediately and nothing came of the incident. This ended the Turkoman rebellion. By the end of 1925 the Turkomans in Iranian territory were being disarmed. The Iranians treated the Turkomans with some consideration as they hoped their lenient treatment would induce other Turkomans to return to their Iranian Sahra.
Major Fraser was of the opinion that the Turkomans demonstrated poor fighting qualities throughout their rebellion. Their lack of cohesion, determination and no declared goals other than to maintain their autonomy from the central government allowed the Iranians to sow discord in their ranks. As a result and, in spite of disorganized and badly led troops, the Iranians were able to defeat the Turkomans rather easily - largely by a combination of bluff, intrigue, propaganda and fighting. Fraser thought the Turkoman "problem" would now be largely a matter of administration, a field in which, the major thought, the Iranians, especially the military officers, were singularly inept.
Throughout the Turkoman rebellion from July 1924 to the end of 1925, one of the factors that the Iranians and British had to consider was the Soviet reaction to military operations close to and on their border.
The first British commentary on the possibility of Soviet involvement was that of Major D. Thompson, Military Attache in Mashhad, the highest ranking British official closest to the war zone. In a memorandum written in the latter part of May 1925 that he prepared for Major W. A. K. Fraser, British Military Attache in Tehran, he reported as follows regarding supposed Soviet intentions. For months past, wrote Thompson, it has been reported that the Soviets were busily engaged in propaganda amongst the Turkomans and that "This propaganda was directed to undermine the authority of the central government over the Turkomans and thereby create an independent tribal area.'' In addition Thompson had heard that arms, ammunition and even money was said to have reached the Turkomans from the Soviet Union and "in this connection the Persian Authorities in this Province [Mashhad] have established proof that 800 rifles and 200,000 rounds of rifle ammunition were delivered to the Turkomans from Russia during April."
The ammunition was said to be Turkish made and the rifles new 5-line Russian ones. The chief intriguer amongst the Turkomans reportedly working on behalf of the Soviets was one Khan Yamitsky. Yamitsky was reported to have died subsequently in Turkoman country in February or March 1925. Thompson reported that eight other "professional intriguers" were "reliably" reported to be among the Turkomans instigating them to rebellion.
There were five Turks: Ali Riza Efendi, Vehab-ud-Din Pasha, Qasim Efendi, Jalal-ud-Din Pasha and one Azim.
There were three Russians: Kuchkensky, Denisoff and one Lobroff.
Thompson reported that the Turks were some of the late Enver Pasha's men. Ali Reza, accompanied by 13 others, had been seen leaving Mashhad en route to Gumesh Tappeh on 30 October 1923. Thompson thought is was possible that the other four Turks had since changed their names so as to avoid identification. The major opined that the Soviets were in Turkoman country for "the purpose of promoting emancipation for the Turki speaking races - this movement being analogous to that of the Soviet Autonomous republican policy."
The Iranian authorities in Mashhad, especially ranking military officers, were unanimous in their opinions that the Soviets were set on "creating an Autonomous Programme for the Turkoman Country," and that, hence, the rebellion was completely instigated by the Soviets to this end. The major recorded that a Turkoman delegation had gone to Tashkent in late February or early March to confer with Soviet authorities on the question of a soviet appeal to the Iranians with regard to granting autonomy to the Turkoman sahra. It was speculated that the Soviets themselves had organized the conference. Thompson concluded ...the mere fact that the Turkomans had demanded the withdrawal of Iranian troops from Bojnurd and requested that self-government should be granted to them along the same lines as given to Muslims in Soviet Turkmenistan... This indicated to Major Thompson that "The Soviet finger was in the pie.'
While opinion, both British and Iranian, in Mashhad was that "The Soviet finger was in the pie," opinion in Tehran was more divided. The Iranian Chief of Staff told Major W. A. K. Fraser that the Soviets were involved and that they wanted to seduce the Turkomans from Iran - one of the very reasons that lay behind the creation of the Turkmenistan Republic. As mentioned earlier it was fear of Soviet involvement and reaction on the part of the Chief of Staff that had contributed to Iranian hesitation to attack after the Turkoman besiegement of Bojnurd. Reza Khan, on the other hand, did not think the Soviets would interfere in an Iranian military operation against the Turkomans.
In a report dated 22 May 1925 Fraser again recounted reports of Soviet propaganda among the Turkomans and their involvement in inciting the rebellion. He reported that the Yamuts of Soviet Turkmenistan were reported to have declared that they would either unite the Turkomans of Iran with the new Republic of Turkmenistan or, at least, ensure they were not molested by their own [Iranian] government. At the end of April British Intelligence had received reports that Soviet agents had been intriguing among the Jafarbay and Atabay Turkomans and had succeeded in persuading a few individuals of both tribes to send a petition sealed with a large number of fictitious seals to Moscow "to beg the Soviets to take over their country."
On 12 May, during the height of the Iranian counter attack on the Turkoman besiegers of Bojnurd, Major Thompson had received reports that Yamuts from Soviet territories had declared a jihad in support of their fellow tribesmen in Iran. It was also reported that the Turkomans were carrying red flags during attacks on Bojnurd. When the Annual Report: Persia 1925 was written by British Embassy staff, reviewed by the Ambassador and subsequently published by the Foreign Office in early 1926, there was a different assessment of Soviet policy towards the Turkoman rebellion. Soviet policy towards the Turkoman was analyzed as follows:
to encourage the Turkomans to show as brave a front as possible in order to influence the already embarrassed Persian govt. to compromise with the tribes which would leave them in the semi-autonomous position which best suited the ultimate designs of Russian policy. But it was obvious that, if the Persian govt. decided on an offensive to penetrate the Turkoman country these intrigues must either be abandoned or discovered.
The British concluded that upon support of the rebellion or military confrontation with the Iranian government was too inconsistent with the 'Eastern' policy of the Soviets for them to risk open involvement or confrontation with Iran over the Turkomans' rebellion. There seems to be two major reasons for the Soviet Union's lack of support for the Turkoman rebellion of 1925:
1) The Soviets favored a nationalist centralist government in Iran, as they did in Turkey, as the best bulwark against British and Western imperialism in these two countries and in Afghanistan;
2) The Soviet Union hoped to reduce the isolation intended for it by the European powers as a result of the Locarno Treaties which were signed in London on 16 October 1925 but for which negotiations had been taking place throughout 1925. The Soviets believed that the Locarno Treaties were to be followed by similar treaties between the European powers and the neighbors of the Soviet Union and specifically, Iran, Turkey and Afghanistan. The policies culminating in the Locarno Treaties also led to a "hands-off policy...which helped the meteoric rise of Reza Khan," and one might add to that of Mustafa Kemal in Turkey. Even before the Turkoman rebellion was completely crushed, the Soviet Union and Turkey signed a Treaty of Friendship and Neutrality on 17 December 1925. A similar treaty was signed with Iran on 1 October 1927. The Treaty of 1927 did not, however, abrogate Articles 5 and 6 of the 21 February 1921 Treaty which allowed the Soviet Union to intervene in Iran under certain conditions.
Another possible reason that the Soviets did not support, at least actively, the Turkoman rebellion was because of its trade with Iran. In 1925 Iran exports to the Soviet Union were 244,000,000 krans (the basic monetary unit of Iran from 1826 to 1932) as compared to 26,000,000 in 1921. Iranian imports from the Soviet Union in 1925 were 125,000,000 krans as compared to 41,000,000 in 1921. Thus in 1925 Iran had a 119,000,000 kran balance in its favor with the Soviet Union. In 1925, 40 percent of Iran's total exports went to the Soviet Union as compared with the six percent in 1921. While it has been and can be argued that this trade balance favored Iran, it does not necessarily demonstrate that the Soviet Union did not want to reduce the goods it received from Iran. Perhaps Reza Khan took this into consideration before embarking upon the suppression of the Turkomans.
In conclusion the main reason that the Soviet Union did not actively intervene in the Turkoman rebellion in 1925 in Khurasan is that it wanted to foster an acceptable relationship with Reza Khan, including trade, and it wanted to prevent the isolation intended for itself by the Locarno Treaties of 1925. Better relations with Iran, Turkey and Afghanistan were part of this policy. It is worthy to note that the Soviet Union also did not support the much larger nationalistic and religious rebellion of Sheikh Said in Turkey in 1925 for much the same reason.

Fraser's memorandum of 22 May 1925

Bujnurd Operations
The following events since 18 May in chronological order are recorded:
10th May. Turkomans retired 4 miles from Bujnurd at 16.00 hours but were still threatening.
11thMay. Turkomans renewed the attack on Bujnurd at16.00 hours and captured a Government outpost comprising 30 men with their rifles. Closing reports on this date showed that fighting continued and Turkomans were endeavouring to surround Bujnurd. Bujnurd from this date became isolated and telegraphic communication ceased.
Soviets were reported to be strengthening all Russo-Persian frontier posts.
12th May. A successful aerial reconnaissance was carried out by the General Officer Commanding. Two aeroplanes left Mashad at 05.00 hours and made a successful landing at Shirwan. Flight over Bujnurd revealed Turkomans in occupation of all strategic positions in the vicinity of Bujnurd and well concealed.
No trenches were noted but several new Sangars (primitive bunkers constructed from boulders) had been constructed by the Turkomans. A packet containing special instructions for the Officer Commanding Troops was dropped in Bujnurd. The General Officer Commanding, owing to no telegraphic communication could not state the exact position but was convinced that Bujnurd was still surrounded. Turkomans and Kurds joined hands and stated to be heavily attacking town. The General Officer Commanding was convinced that the number of Turkomans surrounding Bujnurd did not exceed 3,000. The General Officer Commanding stated that Turkomans were engaging Government troops in six different areas - e.g., Bujnurd, Sanghas, Jowain, Jajarm, Nardin and Astarabad.
Troops at Bujnurd were holding out well and the General Officer Commanding was confident that they could resist Turkoman attacks till the arrival of reinforcements from Tehran.
Rumored that Turkmenistan Yamuts had declared Jihad in support of Iranian Turkomans and also mentioned that Turkomans in vicinity of Bujnurd are carrying red banners.
13th May. At the request of Bujnurd Mullahs the Turkomans allowed the Telegraph line to be worked for two hours. Communication revealed situation unchanged but troops holding out well. Turkomans demanded that all Government troops should be withdrawn from Bujnurd and self-government should be given to them on the lines of Soviet Russia's autonomous republic - Turkmenistan.
Lt-Col. Mohamed Husain Khan, Staff Officer, was killed in action on the 12th. It has been reported but no confirmation yet received that Mohamed Husain was delivering a note to the Turkomans on behalf of the Government with regard to an armistice or truce and that he was shot in the execution of this duty. Total casualities so far officially announced, Turkomans 48 killed, Government troops 2 killed. Wounded Turkomans said to be many, Government troops 12. The General Officer Commanding stated that two foreigners - nationality unknown - had been killed by Turkomans near Gumesh Tappeh. He inquired if the British had a branch of the Imperial Bank of Persia at this place but was answered in the negative.
14th May. Turkomans threatened Chinaran - 20 miles East of Bujnurd and said to be in possession of the village. Troops have been ordered forward from Shirwan to occupy Chinaran in force. Troops consisting of 300 infantry and 250 cavalry ordered from Sanghas to march on Bujnurd in cooperation with troops already referred to at Shirwan.
The situation at Bujnurd remained unchanged all day but Chinaran was occupied at 20.00 hours on the 14th, after stiff fighting. Heavy casualties on both sides were reported.
15th May. Troops moving from Chinaran and Sanghas were in contact with Turkomans but no information of a confirmed nature reached Meshed. These troops were ordered to endeavour to relieve Bujnurd by the 17th. Reinforcements from Tehran reached Shahrud. Destination was said to be Astarabad area. Other troops from Tehran in cars are continuing the journey to Meshed but some will be detached at Maiamai and Sabzawar.
16th May. The only news conveyed by the General Officer Commanding was to the effect that an important Turkoman chief had been captured by the troops advancing on Bujnurd. These troops were last reported to have succeeded in reaching within 2 miles of Bujnurd. They were expected to relieve Bujnurd garrison on the 17th.
17th May. Authentic news received that the heaviest fighting since the siege commenced occurred on the 16th. Severe fighting for 14 hours occurred and again casualities are said to have been heavy on both sides. The struggle for the relief of Bujnurd continued the whole of the 17th.
18th May. Successful bombing was carried out at 08.00 hours on the morning of the 18th. Severe casualties are said officially to have been inflicted on the Turkomans especially in one instance when a large number of them were taking cover in a fort adjacent to Bujnurd. Later in the day the Turkomans retired, and Bujnurd was relieved after a siege lasting practically 12 days.
It is yet too early to give any idea as to the accurate number of casualties as no reports have been received from Bujnurd since the 13th of May but it is understood that 4 officers have been killed. Further details will be submitted when received.

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