The last surviving African soldiers who fought for colonial-era France will be able to live out their final days in their home countries following the French government’s reversal on their pension rights. Our correspondents followed one of these veterans in his first week back in Senegal.
Colonel Dieng’s family organised a feast to celebrate his homecoming. The 88-year-old veteran is revelling in his return to Senegal, where he now lives with his family in the Dakar suburbs. Before Paris passed a new reform in January, he had to spent at least six months of the year in France to collect his pension.
The recent return of Senegalese soldiers to their country of origin is in large part due to Aïssata Seck, who runs an association aimed at promoting the rights and the memory of the so-called ‘”tirailleurs sénégalais”.
The colonel’s descendents are ecstatic at the return of the man they see as a hero. They now want France to give a special status to the children of the tirailleurs (riflemen).
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This story originally appeared on France24