So strong a light of the character of the khalifas despotism in the Sudan and the miserable condition of his misgoverned people, as detailed in the accounts of their captivity at Omdurman by Father Ohrwalder and Slatin Bey (published in 1892 and 1896), stirred public opinion in Great Britain, and brought the question of the recovery of the Sudan into prominence.
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.
The escape from Omdurman of Father Ohrwalder and of two of the captive nuns in December 1891, of Father Rossignoli in October 1894, and of Siatin Bey in February 1895, revealed the condition of the Sudan to the outside world, threw a vivid light on the rule of the khalif a, and corroborated information already received of the discontent which existed among the tribes with the oppression and despotism under which they lived.
He got the upper hand in 1892, and was recalled to oppose an Italian force said tobe advancing from Massawa; but on reporting that it was impossible to invade Eritrea, as the khalifa wished him to do, he was summoned to Omdurman and put to death.
Camp was formed at Omdurman and a new force of some 8000 fighting men collected - mostly recruited from the fellahin of Arabi's disbanded troops, sent in chains from Egypt.
Otherwise Khartum was deserted, the khalifa making Omdurman his capital and compelling disaffected tribes to dwell in it so as to be under better control.
He occupied Abu Klea wells and Metemma; recalled the amir Ibrahim Khalil, with 4000 men, from the Ghezira; brought to Omdurman thc army of the west under Mahmudsome 10,000 men; entrusted the line of the AtbaraEd Darner, Adarama, Asubri and El Fasherto Osman Digna; constructed defences in the Shabluka gorge; and personally superintended the organization and drill of the forces gathered at Orndurman, and the collection of vast stores of food and supplies of camels for offensive expeditions.
Through Omdurman come the exports of Kordofan and Darfur, while by the Red Sea railway there is ready access to the markets of the world.
The intelligent professional knowledge of the native officers, taught under British gentlemen, and the constant hard work cheerfully rendered by the fellah soldiers, were the main factors of the success achieved at Omdurman on the 2nd of September 1898.
The results of the battle of Omdurman were the practical destruction of the khalifas army, the extinction of Mahdism in the Sudan, and the recovery of nearly all the country formerly under Egyptian authority.