Released activists who wanted to remove ‘looted art’ from the Africa Museum

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The five activists who wanted to remove an African statue from the Africa Museum in Berg en Dal last week are again at large.

The five walked into the museum on Thursday with the plan to bring a statue from their country of Congo. According to them it is about looted art. They were stopped outside the museum with the statue.

‘We come back’

The group calls itself Unité Dignité Courage, which stands for unity, dignity and courage. The activists do not intend to stop at this attempt. “We have to leave the country now, but there are two or three museums here with African art so we will be back”, Mwazulu Diyabanza told Omroep Gelderland. “We want our heritage back. It was forcibly stolen from us and now we want to take it home.”

Africa Museum director Stijn Schoonderwoerd questions the background of the activists. “These people claim the image is theirs, but who are they themselves?” The museum director has often seen art being reclaimed. “But we have never experienced it before with stealing and such a media circus.”

The museum gave a head back to the Maori in New Zealand a few years ago. According to Schoonderwoerd, this went through an organization. “That is the normal way. Or via a government, but at the moment we have no claim whatsoever from the governments of Congo, Angola or other African countries.”

Diyabanza sees it differently: “It is not up to the museums and governments of Europe to decide when and how something is returned. That is up to us.”

The statue remained undamaged during the action. The coming week it will be returned to the Africa Museum.

The activists put images of their action online.

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