President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday hailed a breakthrough moment as France returned 26 artefacts looted during the colonial era to Benin at a special ceremony at the Quai Branly museum in Paris. The treasures were embarking on a “journey to return back home”, said Macron.
The 26 pieces from the collection known as the “Abomey Treasures” were looted by French forces in 1892 and have been on a final display at the Quai Branly museum before being shipped to the West African country later this month.
The decision to return them follows growing calls in Africa for European countries to return the colonial spoils from museums.
Shortly after his election in 2017, Macron vowed to “do everything possible” to return some of Africa’s cultural heritage looted by colonial France.
The 26 artefacts from the Kingdom of Dahomey, now Benin, were chosen for restitution from their display at Paris’ Quai Branly museum.