Ceremonies in Senegal honour WWII riflemen who fought for France

23rd August 2004, Comments 0 comments

DAKAR, Aug 23 (AFP) - Presidents from Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso and Benin joined Senegal's Abdoulaye Wade Monday at a ceremony to honor African riflemen who fought for France during World War II.

DAKAR, Aug 23 (AFP) - Presidents from Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso and Benin joined Senegal's Abdoulaye Wade Monday at a ceremony to honor African riflemen who fought for France during World War II.

Mauritanian Prime Minister Sghair Ould M'Bareck had also arrived Monday morning ahead of the day of speeches and tributes to the more than 173,000 men from French possessions in north, west and equatorial Africa who served in the army at the time of the August 1944 landings in the south of France.

Some 180,000 Africans, drawn from a region across former French West Africa, including Senegal, had previously fought in World War I.

A full battledress parade by riflemen and former servicemen was expected for later Monday, as well as a presentation of Senegal's colours in a solemn tribute, presidential sources said.

The day would be capped with a dedication ceremony at the Dakar-Niger rail station officially opening the Rifleman Plaza, at which time former soldiers and riflemen will be honored in a medal ceremony.

Celebrations of the first-ever day to honor the African rifleman kicked off Sunday at the cemetery of Thiaroye, outside Dakar, with a wreath-laying ceremony attended by Wade and other top-level Senegalese officials.

It was in Thiaroye that French soldiers killed up to 30 African infantrymen after the 1,280-strong force asked for back pay and compensation for their war-time sacrifices while fighting the Germans and Italians in Europe and Africa.

Wade said remembering the sacrifice of the riflemen was a duty of the government, which must work to "repair the injustice done to the Senegalese riflemen, whose story is absent from French schoolbooks."

It was also a way to acknowledge "the feeling of injustice towards the riflemen, who were badly treated and whose pensions were frozen and denied to their widows."

© AFP

Subject: French news

 

 

 

 

Ceremonies kick off in Senegal for riflemen killed by France

DAKAR, Aug 22 (AFP) - Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade laid a wreath Sunday at the cemetery of Thiaroye, outside Dakar, to kick off two days of ceremonies to honour riflemen killed by French soldiers after fighting for France in World War II.

It was in Thiaroye that French soldiers killed up to 30 African infantrymen after the 1,280-strong force asked for back pay and compensation for their war-time sacrifices while fighting the Germans and Italians in Europe and Africa.

Wade was accompanied by his wife Viviane, Prime Minister Macky Sall and National Assembly speaker Pape Diop as well as several veterans and historians.

It is the former French colony's first "Riflemen's Day," established because of the government's "duty to remember and to repair the injustice done to the Senegalese riflemen, whose story is absent from French schoolbooks," Wade said as he announced the event.

He said it was a way to acknowledge "the feeling of injustice towards the riflemen, who were badly treated and whose pensions were frozen and denied to their widows."

A total of 173,000 Africans from French possessions in north, west and equatorial Africa were serving in the army at the time of the August 1944 landings in the south of France.

Some 180,000 Africans, drawn from a region across French west Africa, including Senegal, also fought in World War I.

© AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article