France to surrender skulls of 24 Algerian anti-colonial fighters, says Algiers


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People carry the national flag of Algeria in Algiers. File photo

Algeria says France is about to return the remains of 24 fighters who were killed while resisting French colonial forces in the 19th century.

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune unveiled the decision during a military ceremony on Thursday.

The skulls of some of the combatants have been displayed in a museum in Paris.

Algeria gained independence from France in 1962 after a bloody seven-year war that ended more than a century of colonial rule.

President Emmanuel Macron called the colonization of the North African country a “crime against humanity”.

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Macron also expressed the wish that Franco-Algerian relations be turned towards the future despite historical enmities and past tragedies.

What did the Algerian president say?

Speaking on Thursday, President Tebboune said that “in a few hours, Algerian military aircraft will fly from France … with the remains of 24 [members] of popular resistance. ”

He said that some of the remains belonged to leaders of the resistance movement.

Among them was Sheikh Bouzian, who was captured by the French in 1849, then shot and beheaded.

President Tebboune said the resistance fighters “had been deprived of their natural and human right to be buried for more than 170 years”.

The skulls of nearly 40 Algerian combatants were taken to France in the form of trophies in the 19th century and later exhibited at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris.

Algerian and French historians and intellectuals have been campaigning for years to restore these skulls to Algeria.


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