France president confirms plans to return looted Benin bronzes

The doors of King Glele palace, from Benin 19th century, are pictured at the Quai Branly–Jacques Chirac museum, Monday, October 25, 2021 in Paris. /AP Photo

French President, Emmanuel Macron was a special guest at a ceremony marking the return of looted artifacts to Benin.

The 26 items, known as the “Abomey Treasures,” were pilfered from the African nation by the French army 129 years ago.

The treasures, which include wooden anthropomorphic statues, royal thrones, and sacred altars, are on display for one last time in France at the Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac before being repatriated in November.

Macron remarked that the return of the items to their country of origin represented a moment of unity between the two nations.

“With this repatriation, we are opening new horizons rather than entrenching old divisions. Horizons of cooperation of change of sharing and it’s in this spirit that we along with our partners in Benin have pledged this extremely emblematic return. “

The treasures’ new home will be a museum in the city of Abomey which has been partly funded by the French government.

It’s estimated that more than 90,000 artifacts from sub-Saharan Africa are held in French museums.