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Germany returns 27 sets of colonial-era remains to Namibians

BERLIN — A Namibian delegation is taking possession of the remains of 27 of their countrymen whose bones were taken by German colonial forces more than a century ago for pseudo-scientific racial experiments.

Before the handover of the remains, Germans and Namibians gathered Wednesday for a church ceremony in Berlin.

The repatriation of the remains is a reminder of Germany’s short-lived past as a colonial power in Africa which included the bloody suppression of a Herero and Nama uprising between 1904 and 1908 that left tens of thousands dead.

German Lutheran Bishop Petra Bosse-Huber told the group “we intend to do something today we should have done many years ago, namely to give back mortal human remains of people who became the first victims of the first genocide of the 20th century.”