German Lutheran Bishop Petra Bosse-Huber speaks at a ceremony commemorating the people killed in the the Herero and Nama uprising between 1904 and 1908 in Berlin Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018 before the repatriation of the remains to Namibia. (Gregor Fischer/dpa via AP)

Windhoek - The remains of 27 people murdered during Germany's colonial rule of present-day Namibia have arrived back in the country, two days after an official handover ceremony in Berlin.

"I stand here ashamed, knowing that this constituted genocide," Michelle Muentefering, a senior official in the German Foreign Ministry, said in the Namibian capital Windhoek on Friday, asking for forgiveness "from the bottom of my heart."

"I cannot undo the work of our ancestors," she added, speaking of the mass killing of members of the Herero and Nama tribes in what was then German South West Africa.

Tens of thousands of indigenous people were massacred during a series of protests against colonial rule between 1904 and 1908 or died from hunger and exposure in prison camps.

The paramount chief of the Hereros, Vekuii Rukoro, repeated his demand at the ceremony in Windhoek for the German government to officially apologise for the atrocities

Speaking of the returned remains, he said, "After 114 years, we say welcome back home but let the battle for restorative justice continue."

At Wednesday's ceremony, the German government returned 19 skulls as well as bones and skin to a Namibian delegation. They are to be put on display at a museum in the African country.

The German government first recognised the killings as genocide in 2015. Germany has never formally apologised for the massacres or offered direct reparations.

Members of the Herero and Nama ethnic groups are currently fighting a class action lawsuit in a US court demanding reparations.

Namibia was a German colony between 1884 and 1915.