Tit, Battle of

(1902)
   This refers to the Kel Ahaggar attack on the French expedition, led by Lieutenant Cottenest, with one hundred voluntarily enlisted meharistes. The expedition left In Salah on 23 March 1902 to make a reconnaissance of Ahaggar and inflict a punitive raid on the Kel Ahaggar. No doubt, Tuareg collective memory celebrated with ease how they had destroyed Flatters expedition of 92 men, and they decided to assault the French at the village of Tit, about 40 kilometers north of Tamanrasset. The Kel Ahaggar, consisting mainly of Kel Rela, with many of their Kel Ulli and the Dag Rali, launched a furious assault on the French patrol under the leadership of Moussa Ag Amastane, but the successive attacks faded before the deadly and accurate French weaponry. Over 100 Kel Ahaggar were left dead, while Lieutenant Cottenest suffered 3 dead and 10 wounded.
   The defeat stunned the Kel Ahaggar, and Tuareg notions of invincibility and territorial sovereignty had been shattered. Their submission to France can be dated as beginning from that day. After many instances of Tuareg dissensions and attacks on the French, in 1904, Moussa Ag Amastane rode to In Salah to negotiate peace. In return, the French authorities invested Moussa with the title of amenukal. The submission of the Kel Ahaggar finally enabled France to link up with its Sudanese territories, and on 18 April 1904, it established the frontier between Algeria and French West Africa, passing through Timaiouine, about 565 kilometers to the west-southwest of Tamanrasset. The border deprived the Kel Ahaggar of one of their most valuable pasturelands, the Adrar n'Iforas, as well as a number of allied tribes. Ahaggar's inclusion in the French colonial administration was not without loss to the Tuareg.

Historical Dictionary of the Berbers (Imazighen) . . 2014.

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