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France Returns 19th Century Historic Sword to Senegal

19.11.2019

The sword belonged to Hajj Umar Saidou Tall, an Islamic scholar who led an anti-colonial struggle against the French.

France has returned some African artifacts in its possession to Senegal. The French Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe, who was in Senegal over the weekend presented swords belonging to 19th Century Islamic scholar and ruler, Hajj Umar Saidou Tall to President Macky Sall.

Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe of France was in Senegal on an official visit. The French Prime Minister visited Senegal to hold talks with President Sall on various bilateral agreements. After the meeting, leaders of the two countries signed seven bilateral accords.

The swords, which have been in France since the 19th century belonged to Senegalese scholar and ruler, Hajj Umar Saidou Tall, who led an anti-colonial struggle against the French in the 19th century.

It was part of the items taken from Senegal after Hajj Umar Saidou Tall and his followers were killed.

France has in recent years pledged the return of historic artifacts looted from its former colonies, especially in West Africa. There remain a large number of African artefacts locked up in French museums.

The Prime Minister at a ceremony at the presidential palace in Dakar handed over the relic – curved iron, brass, and wood sword in its sheath to President Macky Sall.

“It’s symbolic. It had been lent to us before, but now it is being restored to us,” the head of Dakar’s Museum of Black Civilisations Hamady Bocoum told AFP news agency about the sabre.

Reports indicate that descendants of the scholar were present at the ceremony — their representative thanks both governments for working towards the restitution.

Source: African Exponent

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