German government apologizes for genocide in occupation of African nation

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May 28 (UPI) – The German government apologized on Friday for committing genocide during its occupation of what it is today Namibia, officially acknowledging the slaughter of two ethnic groups in the early 20th century.

The German foreign minister made the announcement after five years of negotiations between the German government and Namibian officials. Germany has pledged more than $ 1 billion in development projects in the communities where the killings took place.

German governments had denied the country’s responsibility for the killings in the African nation over 100 years ago, but rejected official apologies to avoid compensation.

The refusal to shoulder its responsibilities contrasted sharply with the country’s recognition of its role in the Holocaust.

The Namibian government has called the announcement a “first step in the right direction”.

The descendants of the victims wanted direct reparations, but the German government instead chose payments of around $ 1.3 billion for development projects that will run over a 30-year period.

The genocide took place between 1904 and 1908 as German forces fought a rebellion of the Herero and Nama tribes in an area then known as South West Africa. At least 65,000 members of the Herero tribe and 10,000 Nama were killed.

About 80% of the Herero tribe and half of the Nama people died, the researchers said.

“It was and continues to be our goal to find a common path towards true reconciliation in the memory of the victims,” ​​German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement reported by the Washington Post.

Negotiations between Berlin and the Namibian government began in 2015. Alfredo Hengari, spokesperson for Namibian President Hage Geingob, said the government would soon convene a session with people from affected communities to seek their advice.

Leaders Herero and Nama criticized the deal for not including direct reparations. The leaders described the deal as a cover-up of German funding for Namibian government projects.


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