News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

In Tanzania, Germany honours African victims of World War I

Locally recruited troops under German command in Dar Es Salaam

Germany’s Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, on Friday laid a wreath in commemoration of African victims of World War I at a memorial in Tanzania’s commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.

Maas, who is on his first trip to the continent, seven weeks after taking office, laid a wreath for the “askari,’’ the African fighters, who fought as part of the German army against British, Belgian and Portuguese troops.

Thousands lost their lives.

“A hundred years after World War I, there is too little remembrance of African victims,’’ said Maas.

“We want to build a bridge from the past, via the present, to the future,’’ Maas added.

Tanzania was part of German East Africa from 1885 until 1918, when Germany was defeated in World War I.

After laying the wreath, Maas visited a local school where German is taught and then travelled to the town of Arusha, near Mount Kilimanjaro, to visit the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights,

Maas also visited the seat of the East African Community, a regional economic union of six countries.

On Thursday, Maas met with his Tanzanian counterpart, Augustine Mahiga, who rejected calls from the opposition and other groups to demand compensation from Germany for atrocities committed during its colonial rule there.

Mahiga also refrained from asking for the return of Tanzanian artefacts from German museums, but said his country wanted to discuss the return of Tanzanian bones from German collections. (dpa/NAN)