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September 25, 2018

Germany returns skulls of Namibian genocide victims

The skulls formed part of a collection of human remains that were studied in Germany. /AGENCIES
The skulls formed part of a collection of human remains that were studied in Germany. /AGENCIES

Germany has handed back the human remains of indigenous people killed during a genocide in colonial Namibia more than 100 years ago.

A Namibian government delegation received the skulls at a church service in the capital, Berlin.

The bones had been sent to Germany for now-discredited research to prove the racial superiority of white Europeans.

Tens of thousands of Herero and Nama people were murdered in response to an anti-colonial uprising.

Their descendants are still waiting for an apology from the German government.

The genocide began in 1904 after a Herero and Nama rebellion in response to the German expropriation of their land and cattle.

The head of the military administration in what was then known as German South West Africa, Lothar von Trotha, issued an extermination order in October 1904.

The Herero and Nama were forced into the desert and any who were found trying to return to their land were either killed or put into concentration camps.

There is no agreed figure of how many died but some estimates have put it as high as 100,000.

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