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Namibia welcomes repatriated human remains from Germany

WINDHOEK, March 7 (Xinhua) -- Namibia has held a special memorial service to honor the remains of 38 victims of the German colonial genocide between 1904 to 1907.

A delegation led by Cabinet Minister Jerry Ekandjo arrived in the southern African nation on Friday from former colonial master Germany with 35 human skulls and three skeletal remains. The human remains were shipped to the European country following a brutal repression of five ethnic groups that had rebelled against the German administration in an uprising.

It is believed that the human remains were sent to Germany by physicians and scientists who wanted to prove the superiority of white Europeans over black Africans.

Successive German governments have refused to recognize what happened more than 100 years ago as genocide despite a 1985 UN report describing the massacre as the first genocide of the twentieth century.

Speaking at the memorial service held at the Parliament Gardens in the capital Windhoek, Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba proposed the naming of streets after the known names of the people whose remains were repatriated from Germany.

Pohamba said this was the only way the country could give a permanent and befitting honor to the country's forebearers.

"These communities were exterminated or driven into exile by the infamous extermination order issued by General Lothar von Trotha of Imperial Germany, and thousands were forced to endure the harshness of the Kalahari Desert, with some spending close to a century in exile in Botswana," Pohamba said.

The skulls consists of Ovaherero, San, Nama, Oshiwambo and Damara speaking Namibians who were taken from Namibia to Germany after the 1904 to 1907 war when German colonial forces carried out the first extermination order against the people of Namibia.

The 35 skulls and three human skeletons will be entrusted into the care of the National Museum as part of historical record- keeping. They will be available to members of the public, scholars and other visitors who wish to learn more about one of the darkest chapters in Namibian history.

The repatriation on Friday was the second phase of an exercise that began in 2011 when 20 human remains were repatriated. About 300 human skulls and skeletons are believed to have been shipped to Germany after tens of thousands of locals were killed in the uprising better known as the Herero Nama genocide.

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