France returns historical sword to Senegal

France has restored to Senegal the sabre of a 19th Century Islamic scholar and ruler, as part of a commitment to return to its former West African colonies significant items of their cultural heritage.

In a ceremony in Senegal’s capital Dakar, the French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe handed over the curved iron, brass and wood sword in its leather sheath to Senegal’s President Macky Sall.

The artefact originally belonged to the revered West African leader Umar Saidou Tall, who led an anti-colonial struggle against the French.

Some of his descendants were present at the ceremony.

Mr Philippe said it was “the first step” in a project aimed at returning more Senegalese artefacts currently in French museums.


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