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At Last, Germany Agrees To Pay Namibia $1.3bn Over Colonial-era Genocide

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Germany has agreed to pay $1.3 billion for the killings of Herero and Nama people in Namibia.

This is the first time Germany has acknowledged the massacre as a genocide.

It also comes more than 100 years after the genocide and after over five years of negotiations between the two countries.

According to historians, between 1904 and 1908, German soldiers killed up to 80,000 Herero and Nama people in Namibia after they revolted against colonial troops over land seizures.

In a statement on Friday, Heiko Maas, German foreign minister, said the country will support Namibia and the descendants of the victims with $1.3 billion for reconstruction and development and ask for forgiveness for the “crimes of German colonial rule”.

“I am happy and grateful that we have succeeded in reaching an agreement with Namibia on how to deal with the darkest chapter of our common history,” he said.

“Our goal was and is to find a common path to genuine reconciliation in memory of the victims. This includes naming the events of the German colonial period in what is now Namibia, and in particular the atrocities in the period from 1904 to 1908, without sparing or glossing over them. We will now also officially call these events what they were from today’s perspective: a genocide.

“In light of Germany’s historical and moral responsibility, we will ask Namibia and the descendants of the victims for forgiveness.”

Germany, however, refused direct compensations that the victims’ descendants had asked for.Alfredo Hengari, Namibian presidential spokesman on Friday, said the Namibian government saw the formal acknowledgement of the genocide as a key step in the process of reconciliation and reparation.“These are very positive developments in light of a very long process that has been accelerated over the past five years. People will never forget this genocide; they live with it. And this is an important process in terms of healing those wounds,” he said.The victims groups have, however, rejected the deal.Vekuii Rukoro, paramount chief of the Herero people, dismissed the deal as “an insult” and said his people were not part of the discussion with the German government. He said Herero and Nama victim groups expect monetary compensations, adding that the compensation should be in form of a collective payment to the descendants of those killed and chased off their land during the genocide.“Is this the kind of reparation that we are supposed to be excited about? This is just a public relations. This is a sellout job by the Namibian government. The government has betrayed the cause of my people,” he said.

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