Musée Régional André Grenard Matsoua, Congo-Brazzaville
Instituto Nacional de Estudos e Pesquisa, Guinea-Bissau
Sierra Leone Public Archives Office, Sierra Leone
PRAAD, Regional Office, Ho, Ghana

One of the musuem’s pillaged exhibition halls Congolese Museum Looted during Fighting in 1998-1999

Kinkala, République du Congo (Brazzaville) — In the fighting between the army and southern rebel groups that occurred in 1998-1999, the Musée Régional André Grenard Matsoua was looted. All 807 pieces from the main collection were carried off, but one of the museum’s storage facilities, located 30 km away at Nkankata, was spared.

The museum is looking for international funding to reorganize and preserve the Nkankata collection, which consists of about 5000 objects. These ethnographic objects are mainly ancient ritual objects collected in the 1960’s as part of the Croix-Koma anti-fetish movement. The needs of the institution are spelled out at length in Projet: Réaménagement de la Réserve d’Objets Ethnographiques de Nkankata (20 pages, PDF format), which includes photographs of some of the Nkankata objects. Photos of both the pillaged museum and the current state of the Nkankata storage facility are also available.

INEP staff tries to recover damaged historical photographs

Conflict in Guinea-Bissau destroys much of the Instituto Nacional de Estudos e Pesquisa (INEP)

Bissau, Guinea-Bissau — The Instituto Nacional de Estudos e Pesquisa (INEP) complex in Bissau, which houses the country’s Biblioteca Nacional, Arquivos Históricos, and the Museu Etnografico Nacional, sustained massive damage during the civil conflict which broke out in June 1998 and continued intermittently through the first part of 1999. The damage resulted from the complex’s occupation by Senegalese troops and the resulting shelling of the complex. Reconstruction efforts at INEP have been underway since early 1999, but the scope of the loss will necessitate further international assistance for many years to come. Photo essays testify to the destruction at INEP in January 1999 and the reconstruction efforts as of July, 1999.

Interim National Records Centre pending construction of a new National Archives and Records Centre building

Funding for Sierra Leone Archives Scarce as Country Rebuilds

Freetown, Sierra Leone — Although the Peace Agreement of June 7, 1999 and the U.N. disarmament program has brought peace to Sierra Leone, the Sierra Leone Public Archives Office remains starved of funds, as the government dedicates scarce resources to the rebuilding of the country’s infrastructure. A 2002 proposal prepared by the the Archivist requests international funding to review the archives’ holdings, develop a comprehensive cataloguing system, and conserve fragile documents in order to prevent further deterioration and irreplaceable loss.

One of two storerooms crammed with the records of Ho Province Lack of Space Endangers Archival Materials in south-eastern Ghana

Ho, Ghana — Archival staff at the Public Records & Archives Administration Department, Regional Office, Ho struggle heroically to preserve archival records related to the Ewe people of southern Ghana. The 500,000 files–dating back to 1919 and coming to the repository from 12 districts–are tightly packed into two storerooms lacking air conditioning or humidifiers with only a total of 1440 cu. ft of space. Photos show the storage problems and difficult working conditions the staff faces. The current Director requests international assistance to help acquire a new building.