Musa Molloh was a warrior King of Fulladu
and leader of the Fulani independence
movement in the Senegambia
region in the late 19th century.
At the height of Molloh's reign he ruled over 45 provinces in
what later became areas in parts of Gambia, Senegal, Guinea
and Guinea Bissau (West Africa). It was skirted by the Gambia
River to the north and to the south it extended to the Cacheo
River and continued at some points to the Rio Geba in present
Taking opportunity over the grievances of the Fula
living under oppressive Mandinka rule
and the leadership gap left by the raids of Fode Kaba on the south
bank of the Gambia River,
Musa Molloh and his army of 20,000 soldiers moved through Niamina,
Tumana, Jimara, Europina then south onto the Portuguese territory
of Casamance. Coming back to The Gambia in 1879 he came over with
the alliance of 2 leaders of significant Fulani states: Bakari
Saada of Bundu and Alpha Ibrahima, Almamy of Timbo. Fighting together
they captured Kantora, Niani and Wuli. The majority of the Mandinkas
had fled before he reached these areas and as a result the areas
now became jointly known as Fulladu.
Towards the end of the 19th century the British and French were
making attempts to get control of the inland area of Senegambia
which made Molloh's job of maintaining his authority on his newly
acquired lands more complicated.
The French though saw in him a useful ally that they could control
to govern vast areas of land by proxy. In 1883 he signed a treaty
with the French putting Fulladu under French protection. In 1894
the he agreed to divide half the taxes collected in Fulladu
between himself and the colonial government
as well as allowing them to build a post on his lands at Amdallai.
Despite the outward appearance of co-operation Musa was playing
a game of double dealing diplomacy and was in discussions with
the British as well. He tried to play one side against another.
When the French realised this they coerced him to sign another
treaty in 1897 in which they had total control over him and he
was answerable to them for all his decisions. However, relations
remained strained until in 1903 he was told to go to Saint Louis
in Senegal over charges of misconduct. He refused to go and promptly
burned down Amdallai's building and took the population
with him to today's Gambian part of Fulladu
which was under British protection. He later settled in Kesser
Kunda near Janjangbureh where
he lived for many years.
In 1919 things deteriorated when some of his womenfolk complained
to Cameron, the then British Governor about Musa Molloh's mistreatment
and even murder of some of them. He was later arrested in Banjul
and exiled to Sierra Leone until 1923 when he was allowed back
to The Gambia on the condition that he did not get involved in
any government business.
He died in 1931 at Kesser Kunda.