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President Emmanuel Macron has promised to return the skulls of 37 Algerians killed for resisting French colonialism in the 19th century and sent to Paris, where they were found in the stores of the Musuem of Mankind.

Macron told Algerian website TSA he was ready to order the skulls’ return during a 12-hour visit to Algiers on Wednesday.


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French and Algerian intellectuals have been calling for the restitution for several years.

The skulls were found by Algerian archaelogist and historian Ali Farid Belkadi in 2011 as he went through the museum’s stocks.

He launched a petition calling for their return to their homeland but, despite the fact that MPs had voted the previous year for the return of more than a dozen mummified Maori heads to New Zealand, it was not successful.

There have been other appeals for the remains to be returned to be buried with honour since.

The skulls belong to Algerians who fought against French colonialism in the 1840s and 50s after a 10-year war of conquest that failed to put an end to resistance.

1847 revolt

Among them are those of Sheikh Bouziane, who led a revolt in the south in 1847, his 15-year-old son and a man called Si-Moussa, who was believed to be a Muslim holy man.   Read more