WHY THE DUTCH SLAY WOMEN.; Sumatrans Place Them in Front Lines for Battle Shields.

Col. H.F.C. Van Blyevelt, a retired officer of the Dutch East Indian Army, who has had thirty years of active service in the Dutch East Indies and comes to America to place his son in college, arrived here yesterday. In explaining the large numbers of women and children killed by the Dutch troops, he said:

“These fights did not occur at Atjeh, org Achin, but an expedition of about 200 men under Lieut. Col. Van Daalen was sent to Gajoe and the Alaslands, parts of North Sumatra. The Alas natives are well armed, but their rifles do not carry as far as those of our troops. To overcome this disadvantage their leaders, being well aware of the disinclination of our men to harm women and children, placed them in front of their fighting line as a living screen. The women and children are sometimes armed, and have often fired at out troops.

“Sheltered by this screen the natives often allow our men to approach within point blank range of their positions. Then they discharge an overwhelming fire. In almost all engagements they have followed the same tactics, though repeatedly warned by our officers. As a rule our troops withhold their fire as long as possible, but they dare not run the risk of being overwhelmed by a sudden rush of the natives from behind their living wall, and are often forced to fire regardless of the women and children.

“It should be borne in mind that our expeditions have nearly always had to fight against ten times their number, and also that they cannot risk being defeated, being far distant from the main army and unable to properly care for their wounded.”

Published : August 12, 1904
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