Curators prepare Benin artefacts for return from France

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Paris’s Quai Branly museum is buzzing with activity, as curators from Benin and France wrap and package artefacts that France looted during the colonial era for return to the West African country. FRANCE 24’s Julien Sauvaget and Jean-Emile Jammine report.

“This is a very fragile statue,” said Abdoulaye Imorou, curator and manager of the royal palaces of Abomey in Benin, as he oversaw how one of the 26 “Abomey Treasures” that France is returning to the West African country is being packaged for transport.

French forces stole the artefacts from Benin in 1892. They are set for return following growing calls in Africa for European countries to return colonial-era loot from museums.

“We can’t wait to get back to Benin, so the people can welcome us with great joy,” Imorou said. “Everyone is waiting for them.”

Benin is planning a national ceremony next week to celebrate the arrival of the artefacts.

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