(AFP) – Jan 17, 2010
PARIS — Senegal's president on Sunday called for Africa to make room for victims of Haiti's earthquake to restart their lives on the continent from where their ancestors were snatched as slaves.
"The repeated calamities that befall Haiti prompt me to propose a radical solution -- to take measures to create somewhere in Africa... the conditions for Haitians to return," President Abdoulaye Wade told France Info radio.
"They did not choose to go to that island," he added, referring to the mass deportation of African slaves to Haiti, then a French colony, from the 16th century.
"It is our duty to recognise their right to come back to the land of their ancestors."
His spokesman Mamadou Bamba Ndiaye gave further details of the proposals.
"If it is just a few people, we will offer them a roof and a patch of land," he told the radio station. "If they come in large numbers, we will give them a whole region."
A massive earthquake struck Haiti on Tuesday, killing tens of thousands of people and leaving more than a million others homeless, according to the Haitian government. The island is also often hit by deadly hurricanes and floods.
"It wouldn't be the first time that former slaves or their descendants were brought back to Africa," said Wade, citing similar measures taken in Liberia.
"Now the problem is to know how, and who will bear the cost."
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