September 23, 2020

Looters plunder $8.5M from Ivory Coast museum

0
0



Pin It

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — Looters stormed Ivory Coast’s national museum during the country’s bloody political crisis earlier this year, plundering nearly $8.5 million worth of art including the institution’s entire gold collection.

Five months later, the museum’s gates still open and close at the posted hours, but empty display cases gather dust. A lone set of elephant tusks sits in the dark in the museum’s main exposition room.

And staff member Oumar Gbane now spends his days making a handwritten inventory of what was stolen since his computer was among the items taken.

“No tourists can come here. There is nothing to see,” he laments. The pillage was the first in the museum’s 70-year history.

Doran Ross, former director of the Fowler Museum in Los Angeles, says the Abidjan museum used to be “one of the best maintained in Africa.”

Student groups and tourists once filled the museum’s halls to view the corpse-like Senoufo statues depicting armless ghosts of ancestors and the dark wooden Baoule masks with elongated eyes and narrow mouths.

They saw delicate Akan pendants abstractly depicting animals in shiny gold, sacred Yohoure masks of antelopes with a human faces, and Baoule chest ornaments made of beads and golden disks etched with images of fish and crocodiles.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Speak Your Mind

*