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Patrice Lumumba relics to be returned by Belgium’s King Phillipe

The Late assassinated Prime Minister of Congo, Patrice Emery Lumumba’s, remaining ‘relics’ are to be returned to the African country by Belgium’s King Philipe in a welcome ceremony.

The news of the welcome ceremony was declared by DRC media and communications minister Patrick Muyaya Katembwe.

He said that the country’s president Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo will be in Brussels on 21st June to take part in a ceremony to receive the Lumumba relics, which will then be transported back to the DRC.

Belgium to return Patrice Lumumba's tooth to murdered Congolese leader's  family

Who is Patrice Lumumba?

Patrice Lumumba was the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He was at the fore front of the battle for Independence of Congo after being a Belgian state.

Congo had been a Belgian Colony since 1908 under the brutal regime of King Leoplod II, who had acquired the country as private property.

When Independence was achieved in June 1960, Lumumba was made the prime minster but he only led his country for two and half months before he was assassinated.

RELATED ARTICLE: Judge rules Belgium to return tooth of murdered Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba

Immediately after independence, the country split in two and a mutiny broke out in the army. Lumumba appealed to the US and the UN for help in suppressing a rebellion, but they refused, causing him to turn towards the Soviet Union.

That caused a clash with President Joseph Kasa-Vubu and his chief of staff Joseph-Desiré Mobutu.

It was Mobutu who had Lumumba arrested and delivered to Katanga province, where the secessionists were based, and his return was not planned.

Mobutu, meanwhile, became president in 1965 and remained in office until 1997.

How were his relics obtained?

Patrice Lumumba tooth had been seized from a Belgian policeman who admitted taking it while helping to dispose of Lumumba’s body after the politician was murdered in 1961.

In 2000 the Belgian police commissioner Gerard Soete confessed that he had dismembered Lumumba’s body and then dissolved the remains in acid. In a documentary screened the same year on German TV, Soete showed two teeth that he said had belonged to Lumumba.

Lumumba was overthrown, jailed, tortured and finally killed on 17 January 1961 by a firing squad. Forty years later, Belgium acknowledged that it bore “moral responsibility” for his death. The CIA had also laid plans to kill the 35-year-old politician.

The relics that remain of the late prime minster, according to Lumumba’s son Guy Patrice, are a finger and two teeth.

The President of Congo Tshisekedi will be the one to receive the relics which will then be transported back to the DRC to be toured around three provinces, including Katanga where he was assassinated.

Finally, the relics will be interred in the capital Kinshasa by a statue to Lumumba, “in the presence of the King of Belgium,” according to minister Muyaya.

Source: Brussels Times, The Guardian

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