Senegal president offers free land to "repatriate" Haitians

Monday, January 18, 2010

File photo of Aboulaye Wade
Image: World Economic Forum.

Abdoulaye Wade, the president of Senegal, has offered free land in his country to Haitians who were affected by the recent 7.0 magnitude earthquake.

Wade described his offer as "repatriation", as he said Haitians were descendents from Africa since Haiti was founded by slaves, some of which were thought to be from Senegal.

"The president is offering voluntary repatriation to any Haitian that wants to return to their origin," said Mamadou Bemba Ndiaye, the president's spokesman. "If it is just a few people, we will offer them a roof and a patch of land," he added, speaking to the France Info radio station. "If they come in large numbers, we will give them a whole region."

The president, meanwhile, commented: "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. "They did not choose to go to that island. It is our duty to recognise their right to come back to the land of their ancestors."

"It wouldn't be the first time that former slaves or their descendants were brought back to Africa. Now the problem is to know how, and who will bear the cost," Wade concluded.