King John, the negus of Abyssinia, burning to avenge this defeat, marched, in February 1889, with an enormous army to Gallabat, where the amir Zeki Tumal commanded the khalifas forces, some 60,000 strong, and had strongly fortified the town and the camp. On the 9th of March 1889 the Abyssinians made a terrific onslaught, stormed and burnt the town, and took thousands of prisoners.
That night the king died, and the greater part of the army having gone ahead with the prisoners, a party of Arabs pursued the rearguard, which consisted of the kings bodyguard, routed them, and captured the kings body, which was sent to Omdurman to confirm the report of a brilliant victory sent by Zeki Tumal to the khalifa.
In 1890 the Shilluks in the neighborhood of Fashoda rose against the khalifa, and the dervish amir of Gallabat, Zeki Tumal, was engaged for two years in suppressing the rebellion.
A great battle ensued at Gallabat, in which the dervishes, under Zeki Tumal, were beaten.
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