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France confirms restitution of Benin's artefacts

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French president Emmanuel Macron has confirmed the return of a collection of artefacts to Benin.

The collection comprises 26 pieces looted during colonial times.

On Wednesday Macron visited the exhibition at the Quay Branly Jacques Chirac Museum in Paris where the artefacts are on display until Sunday.

The transfer of ownership will be enacted in two weeks during the visit of Beninese President Patrice Talon to the Élysée Palace.

Benin's Foreign Minister praised France's example.

Aurelien Agbenonci, Benin's Foreign Minister:

"The 26 pieces of art that are shown here for the first time all together are representing an exceptional and irreplaceable cultural heritage for the people of Benin. They constitute an undeniable part of the cultural and religious identity of our country. France and Benin are showing the world an example of museum and heritage cooperation through this restitution", said Aurelien Agbenonci, Benin's foreign minister.

In the United Kingdom, Cambridge University became the first British institution to return a Benin Bronze to the Nigerian authorities.

The intricately carved "Okukor" cockerel was stolen from the country during British colonial rule.

The return of the artefact culminates decades of campaigning by activists.

Prince Aghatise Erediauwa, representing the historic kingdom's traditional ruler, the Oba of Benin, was present in the ceremony to mark the occasion.

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