‘There were massacres, villages were burned by French troops and in one horrendous incident live people were thrown from a French military plane’.
Earlier this year a further claim was brought in the United Kingdom High Court for victims of violence perpetrated by the UK military and security police in Kenya in the 1950s during the so called Mau May emergency. An earlier case was settled in 2013 with the UK ordered to pay just under £20 million to over 5000 victims. The new case is expected to take a year to complete.
During the earlier case it became apparent files thought to have been destroyed after Kenya became independent still existed and these are making it possible for further actions to be pursued.
However several years before the British violence in Kenya there was an equally bloody suppression by the French government of an independence uprising on the Island of Madagascar (now The Malagasy Republic).
It is thought that as many as 100,000 people could have died during the Rising. There were many massacres, villages were burned by French troops and in at least one horrendous incident live people were thrown from a French military plane.
However unlike the hidden British files that no one knew about detailed records of the brutal crackdown in Madagascar do exist and are kept securely locked in Paris.
On the 65th anniversary of the Uprising in 2012, Malagasy Prime Minister Omer Beriziky issued a request to the French government to declassify their archival materials related to the Uprising, but the request was not approved.
Its past time France accepted FULL responsibility for its suppression of the Malagasy Rebellion and opened all the files it holds and pays reparations to survivors or their dependents.
Image: French troops Madagascar 1947/48
pp Celtic League Military Monitoring.