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Last Updated: Saturday, 7 August, 2004, 14:14 GMT 15:14 UK
Germany to attend Herero ceremony
German army hanging Hereros (archive pic)
Germany's military commander had vowed to wipe out the Herero
A German minister will, for the first time, attend ceremonies commemorating the massacre of Namibia's Herero people by German soldiers 100 years ago.

Germany's development minister, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, will take part in the event, scheduled to take place on 14 August at Okakarara.

An estimated 65,000 Herero were killed there in 1904 during a rebellion against German colonial rule.

It was one of the most significant battles between Germany and the Herero.

'Leave or be killed'

The German military commander at the time, General von Trotha, ordered the Hereros to leave Namibia or be killed.

"Any Herero found within the German borders with or without a gun, with or without cattle, will be shot. I shall no longer receive any women or children; I will drive them back to their people. I will shoot them. This is my decision for the Herero people," he said.

Following their defeat, Herero men, women and children were killed, their wells poisoned, their cattle slaughtered and the survivors driven into the desert to die.

Thousands fled to neighbouring Botswana.

A group of Herero has filed a case for compensation against Germany in the United States.

They are demanding $4bn in compensation, to be paid by the German government and by companies who they say benefited from slavery and exploitation under German rule

Germany has expressed "regret" for the killings, but the German ambassador to Namibia has called for the case to be dropped.

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