An auction house in Belgium was forced to cancel the sale of three skulls of Africans killed during the colonial period in what is now the modern Democratic Republic of Congo, the BBC reported on Thursday.
The skulls, which belonged to people killed between January 1893 and May 1894, were put up for sale by Vanderkindere auction house in Brussels.
A human rights group called Collectif Mémoire Coloniale et Lutte contre les Discriminations (CMCLD) has called for a rally in Brussels to condemn the sale of the skulls, and for the human skulls to be seized by the government and “conserved in an appropriate way and with dignity”, citing a BBC report.
It’s alleged that Vanderkindere decided to remove the three skulls (from a private colonial collection) from the 14 December public sale.
“The Vanderkindere auction house sincerely apologises for having offered at auction a lot comprising three human skulls linked to the Belgian colonial past, and this is why they are imperatively withdrawn from the sale.
“We in no way condone the suffering and humiliation suffered by the people who are victims of these colonial acts.
“We once again offer our deepest regrets to anyone who has been hurt and hurt by the sale of this lot.”
The auction caused pandemonium on social media, sparking anger in the country and on social media with human rights organisations calling it “dehumanising and racist”.
The Belgian Congo was a Belgian colony in Central Africa from 1908 until its independence in 1960.
According to reports, killings, famine and disease caused the deaths of up to 10 million Congolese during just the first 23 years of Belgium’s rule from 1885 to 1960.