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Doing the Congo: Belgian king returns mask in gesture of ...

World

Doing the Congo: Belgian king returns mask in gesture of restitution

Some Congolese demand apology for colonial atrocities as King Philippe makes first visit to DRC since taking throne

Benoit Nyemba and Nellie Peyton

Belgium’s King Philippe returned a traditional mask to the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Wednesday as a goodwill gesture during his first visit to the former Belgian colony since taking the throne in 2013.

The visit is being closely watched in both countries, where the legacy of Belgium’s colonial rule from 1885-1960, which resulted in millions of Congolese deaths, looms large.

In 2020, Philippe became the first Belgian official to express regret for the “suffering and humiliation” inflicted on Congo. But he stopped short of issuing an apology, and some Congolese have demanded he do so this time...

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