Late in 1901, the British took arms against the Aro, whose influence extended throughout the eastern portion of present-day Nigeria. The Aro opposed to British penetration into the hinterland. While the Aro fought gallantly, in the end they suffered terrible humiliation and the myth of Aro invincibility crumbled as a result of the Aro expedition.
After several years of political and economic tension, crystallized by a fairly typical Aro "hit and run" attack on Obegu, a formal military operation was launched against Aro and the shrine of the Long Juju in November 1901. On November 28, Lt. Col. H. F. Montanaro led 87 officers, 1,550 soldiers and 2100 carriers in four axes of advance from Oguta, Akwete, Unwuna and Itu on a counter-insurgency campaign. The Long Juju shrine was blown up. The Aro expedition was carried out by the British to stop or subdue the Aro slave trading oligarchy and its cult of human sacrifice.
The underlying presumption behind the Aro campaign proved to be false. It certainly did not succeed in securing control of Igbo territory in its entirety. In the years that followed, repeated "military patrols" had to be sent out to various parts of Igbo land. Serious opposition to British rule in Nigeria, however, ended with the Aro expedition, though there were still pockets of resistance in different parts of the country which called for a number of patrols.