French President Francois Hollande has acknowledged the state’s culpability in abandoning Algerians who fought alongside French colonial forces in Algeria’s war for independence. Tens of thousands of the fighters, known as harkis, were massacred as traitors after the French retreat in 1962.
Those who made it to France were placed in camps. Their descendants have long sought official recognition that the harkis were unjustly treated. Speaking Sunday in the Invalides monument that houses Napoleon’s tomb, Hollande said, “I recognize the responsibility of French governments in abandoning the harkis, the massacres of those remaining in Algeria and the inhuman conditions for those transferred to France.”
The harki contingent included some 200,000 forces who fought against fellow Algerians in a war seen as one of the darkest chapters in France’s modern history.