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Forgotten European atrocities in Africa: Peek into abuses and man’s inhumanity to man


This story was done exactly two years ago, it generated quite a lot of feedbacks including a charge one from Shadrack Mandela which stated thus: ‘less or none is talked about Arab invasion and imperialism in Africa, less is talked about the Afro community in Arab countries, in Persia.’

That charge has kept on our toes and we have been researching on Arab inversion and imperialism in Africa and Afro communities in Persia. We are republishing this as reminder to those who read it then and to for those who missed it earlier.

King Leopold II atrocities
Under the terror of King Leopold II no Congolese was spared, girls raped and boys had hands hacked for not meeting rubber quota.

Many things has been said about colonialism in Africa, but there are some evils and crimes committed against indigenous people of Africa, by the European imperialists that has never been told.

While these atrocities in Africa don’t get regular mentions in international sphere, Robert Mugabe championed Land redistribution in Zimbabwe, has dominated international discuss.

In this series AfricanQuarters, in keeping with our objective, we will be unravelling some of these atrocities from the South of Africa to the North .

Belgian King Leopold II
Belgian King Leopold II who occupied Congo and subjected them to the worst human atrocities in human history

Congo Genocide by Belgium King Leopold 1885 – 1908

After the Berlin Conference of 1884 the 905,000 square miles of the Belgian Congo [now the Democratic Republic of the Congo ] became the personal property of King Leopold II of Belgium.

His genocidal exploitation of the territory, particularly the rubber trade, caused many deaths and much suffering. Murder and mutilation were common.

Failure to meet the rubber collection quotas was punishable by death. The Force Publique were required to provide a hand of their victims as proof when they had shot and killed someone, as it was believed that they would otherwise use the munitions for hunting food.

King Leopold II hack hands
‘Crime’ of not meeting outrageous rubber quota were met with severe consequences like loosing arm or feet

As a consequence, the rubber quotas were in part paid off in chopped-off hands. Sometimes the hands were collected by the soldiers of the Force Publique, sometimes by the villages themselves. There were even small wars where villages attacked neighbouring villages to gather hands, since their rubber quotas were too unrealistic to fill.

There are stories of parents being forced to watch as the hands of feet of their young children were hacked as punishment for parents not meeting their rubber quota.

Under the control of Leopold II of Belgium numerous crimes against humanity were committed upon the indigenous Africans of Central Africa.  Estimated killed: 10,000,000 The Herero and Namaqua Genocide by Germany 1904 – 1907

The Herero and Namaqua Genocide in German South-West Africa (present-day Namibia) occurred between 1904 and 1907. Eighty percent of the Herero population and 50 percent of the Nama population were killed in a brutal scorched earth campaign led by German General Lothar von Trotha. Between 24,000 and 100,000 Herero perished along with 10,000 Nama.

Herero genocide
More than 600,000 of the Herero people of today Namibia or German colony of South West Africa as they were called then were killed. And harvested skulls sent to Germany

A copy of Trotha’s Extermination Order survives in the Botswana National Archives. The order states “every Herero, with or without a gun, with or without cattle, will be shot.

I will no longer accept women or children, I will drive them back to their people [to die in the desert] or let them be shot at.” Olusoga and Erichsen write: “It is an almost unique document: an explicit, written declaration of intent to commit genocide”.

These mass killings were named as the first example of a 20th-century genocide in the 1985 Whitaker Report, commissioned but never adopted by the now defunct United Nations subcommittee ECOSOC

By Oruruo Samuel, O.

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