Africans demand reparation for colonial crimes as Macron says Russia ‘must answer for crimes’ in Ukraine

French President Emmanuel Macron’s call for Russia to answer for crimes in Ukraine has reignited calls for reparation for the atrocities committed by France during the colonial era. Macron who said some of the images from Ukraine were “unbearable” added that, Russia “must answer for these crimes”.

Much as the allegations against Russia, if true remain highly condemnable, concerned Africans were equally angered by Macron’s comment on the basis of complicity of his country for same crimes. French troops heartlessly killed lots of people across Africa, many of whom were children and unarmed innocent civilians.

It would be recalled that, series of massacres were recorded across all the African colonies of the then French power. A genocide triggered by France in Rwanda claimed 800,000 lives as French troops supplied arms to aid the massacre.

In the year 1960, France detonated a nuclear weapon in Algeria resulting in the mass murder of many people in the Maghreb region of the country.

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Another of such crimes worth highlighting is the grand massacre of unarmed black soldiers in Thiaroye, Senegal. The “Senegalese sharpshooters” who helped in liberating France during the second world war were rounded up by French troops and killed for demanding allowances and pensions like their European counterparts. The French government officially recorded less figures but war veterans said about 300 to 400 of them were reportedly killed on the first of December 1944.

The infamous Bamilekes genocide which saw the tragic murder of about 400,000 pro-independence Cameroonians by French troops is another occurrence which time has failed to heal. This was vividly detailed in the historical book themed Kamerun: A hidden war at the origins of French Africa.

Africans keep demanding reparations for these and many other crimes including the massacre in Chad and Morocco, among many others; in most cases, France remains arrogant and unapologetic. Many critics say France must set an example by responding to calls for reparation for these crimes to earn the moral right to boldly criticize Russia for its supposed crimes in Ukraine.

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