In this northern region villages are built in the Sudanese zeriba style, surrounded with thorn fences; more important places are enclosed by a well-built wall and strongly fortified.
Information was brought by a native that the enemy had assembled in the Khor Ghob, a deep ravine not far from the zeriba.
The wells being occupied and a zeriba formed, the column started on the evening of the 18th.
A squadron of the 9th Royal Lancers, which was dismounted in the thick bush, was driven back with the loss of 9 men; but elsewhere the Arabs never succeeded in closing, and the troops returned to Suakin in the afternoon, leaving the East Surrey regiment in a zeriba covering some low hills near Hashin village.
McNeill, started from Suakin for Tamai, with orders to form a half-way zeriba.