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Last Updated: Monday, 10 April 2006, 17:53 GMT 18:53 UK
In pictures: Chagossians' visit

Chagossians on Diego Garcia

A group of almost 100 Chagossians, evicted from their Indian Ocean islands to make way for a US military base, returned on Monday for their first visit in 40 years. (Pictures: Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

Former islanders arrive by boat

During the visit, organised by the British and Mauritian governments, islanders and descendents visited some of the now uninhabited outlying Chagos archipelago islands.

Former islanders arrive on Boddam

Most Chagossians now live on Mauritius, with others in the Seychelles and Britain. There is little prospect of them being allowed to return home soon.

A memorial stone

A priest blessed the main cross in the graveyard on Peros Banhos island, adorned by the visiting Chagossians with floral tributes.

Woman helped ashore on Peros Banhos, part of the Chagos archipelago

Marie Rita Isou was among the islanders evicted 40 years ago under the terms of a 1966 deal between the US and UK allowing the US to build a base on Diego Garcia.

Former islander opening coconuts

Noel Rabouine opens coconuts at an abandoned plantation on the Salomon Island of Boddam. Many of the Chagossians worked in the plantations before they were evacuated.

Islanders tend family graves

The visitors took the opportunity to tend their family graves. The graves have been maintained by British servicemen but many are still in poor repair.

Chagossians take part in a communion mass

The visitors take part in a communion mass, around an improvised altar. During the visit they also unveiled memorials on the abandoned islands.

Chagossians

The Chagossians were looking forward to seeing their home after such a long absence. Many refuse to give up the struggle to be allowed to return for good some day.

The visitors dedicate a memorial stone on Diego Garcia

They marked their trip with the dedication of a memorial stone on Diego Garcia. The US government considers it too much of a security risk to allow them to return to the island to live.




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