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Boncar, one of the king's officers, a keen and energetic soldier, was selected for the task. He was supplied with 4000 infantry and 200 horsemen and he had a good prospect of gaining rewards if he brought back Masinissa's head, or-what would afford measureless gratification-captured him alive.  Making a surprise attack on the plunderers when they were suspecting no danger, he cut off an enormous number of men and cattle from their armed escort and drove Masinissa himself with a few followers up to the summit of the mountain.  He now regarded serious hostilities as at an end, and after despatching his capture of men and cattle to the king, sent back also the bulk of his troops whom he considered unnecessary for what remained of the fighting, retaining only 500 infantry and 200 mounted men.  With these he hastened in pursuit of Masinissa who had left the heights and, catching him in a narrow valley, he blocked both entrances and inflicted a very severe loss on the Maesulii.  Masinissa with not more than fifty troopers got away through steep mountain tracks unknown to his pursuers.  Boncar, however, kept on his track and overtook him in the open country near Clupea where he surrounded him so completely that the whole party were killed with the exception of four who with Masinissa, himself wounded, slipped out of his hands during the fray. Their flight was observed and the cavalry were sent in pursuit.  They spread over the plain, some making a short cut to head off the five fugitives, whose flight brought them to a large river.  Dreading the enemy more than the river, they spurred their horses without a moment's hesitation into the water, and the rapid current carried them down stream.  Two were drowned before their pursuers' eyes, and it was believed that Masinissa had perished. He, however, with the two survivors, landed amongst the bush on the other side. This was the end of Boncar's pursuit, as he would not venture into the river and did not believe that there was any one now left for him to follow. He returned to the king with the baseless story of Masinissa's death, and messengers were sent to carry the good news to Carthage.  The report soon spread throughout Africa, and affected men's minds in very different ways. Masinissa was resting in a secret cave and treating [11??] his wound with herbs, and for some days kept himself alive on what his two troopers brought in from their forays.  As soon as his wound was sufficiently healed to allow him to bear the movements of the horse he started with extraordinary boldness on a fresh attempt to recover his kingdom. During his journey he did not collect more than forty horsemen, but when he reached the Maesulii and made his identity known, his appearance created intense excitement.  His former popularity and the unhoped-for delight of seeing him safe and sound, after they had believed him dead, had such an effect that in a few days 6000 infantry and 4000 cavalry had gathered round his standard.  He was now in possession of his kingdom, and began to devastate the tribes who were friendly to Carthage, and the territory of the Maesulii, which formed part of the dominions of Syphax. Having thus provoked Syphax into hostilities, Masinissa took up a position on some mountain heights between Cirto and Hippo, a situation which was every way advantageous.
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