Zimbabwe

French MPs back return of looted African artefacts

Some 90,000 African artefacts are in France -GETTY IMAGES

MPs in France have voted to return to Senegal and Benin prized artefacts that were looted during colonial times.

Benin will receive a throne taken in 1892 from the palace of Behanzin, the last king of what was then Dahomey. Senegal will get a sword that belonged to a 19th-Century sheikh.

Former colonial powers are under pressure to return looted artefacts – mainly from Africa.

There some 90,000 African artefacts in France, most from sub-Saharan Africa.

French Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot said President Emmanuel Macron intended to “renew and deepen the partnership between France and the African continent”.

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The National Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favour of the return of the artefacts on Thursday.

Benin will receive 26 pieces of the Treasure of Behanzin, including the throne of King Glele, a main attraction at the the Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac museum in Paris, where around 70,000 African artefacts are housed.

In October, an activist was fined €1,000 (£901) for removing a 19th-Century Chadian wooden funerary post from the Quai Branly.

A new museum in Germany, which opened on Wednesday, has attracted controversy as it will hold many looted items, including Benin bronzes that British soldiers stole from Nigeria.- BBC

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