Algeria buries remains of independence fighters


Algeria buried the remains of 24 colonial resistance fighters on Sunday, having received them from France on Friday.

The burial ceremony at El Alia cemetery was held as the North African country marked the 58th anniversary of its independence from France.

The fighters’ heads were decapitated during France’s conquest of the North African country, and were transported to the European country as war trophies.

The return of the skulls to Algeria came amid calls to reexamine the legacy of colonialism.

United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet has urged countries to make amends for “centuries of violence and discrimination”.

This comes following weeks of anti-racial protests worldwide following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black American killed by police in Minneapolis.

AFP reports the skulls were flown into Algiers airport from France on a Hercules C-130 transport plane, escorted on arrival by Algerian fighter jets.

The remains were received by President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, with the military giving them a guard of honor and a 21-gun salute to highlight their hero status.

Before Sunday’s burial, the coffins carrying the remains lay at the Palace of Culture in Algiers for the public to pay their respects.

The French presidency, in a statement to AFP, said the return of the remains was a gesture of “friendship” as part of efforts to “reconcile the memories of the French and Algerian people”.

Announcing the repatriations on Thursday, Tebboune said the decapitated fighters “had been deprived of their natural and human right to be buried for more than 170 years”.