Belgium announced that on June 20 the remains of Patrice Lumumbawill be returned to relatives of the former Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which was kept by one of the assassins of the politician, former commissioner of the Belgian police Gerard Soete .
Who is Patrice Lumumba?
Patrice Lumumba — Congolese politician, leader of the movement for the independence of the Congo from Belgian colonialism and the leader of the National Movement of the Congo party since its foundation in 1958 . During the mass protests in the Congo in 1959 which led to the country declaration of independence, Lumumba was arrested, but under pressure from the protesters, he was released and included in the delegation for negotiations with the Belgian government . After gaining independence and holding the country's first elections in May 1960, he became Prime Minister.
As a result of the Congo crisis and a military coup organized by Colonel Mobutu with the support of Western countries, he was arrested and killed in January 1961 . The involvement of foreign countries in the murder of Lumumba has long been denied in the West as “Soviet propaganda” and was only recognized decades later.
The vibrant political life and the tragic death of Patrice Lumumba made him a hero and one of the symbols of the struggle of the African peoples with Western colonialism.
What caused the Congo crisis?
Despite the recognition of independence, Belgium sought to maintain control over the former colony, primarily over the key province of Katanga, rich in deposits of copper, tin, uranium, cobalt, radium and diamonds. In July 1960, Belgium sent troops ostensibly to protect its citizens from violence, and the Belgian navy shelled Matadi, the country's main seaport, resulting in civilian casualties. Most of the Europeans fled to the province of Katanga, which, with the support of the Belgian army and foreign mercenaries, announced the separation from the Congo.
The government of the Congo sent a protest to the United Nations, which adopted a resolution on the immediate withdrawal of Belgian troops and the introduction of a peacekeeping contingent. However, despite Lumumba's visits to the UN and the USA, neither the UN nor the Western countries were in a hurry to provide real support against the Belgian intervention. As a result, Lumumba turned to the USSR and African countries for support. This was perceived by the United States as a threat, and in in November 1960, a military coup was organized by the Chief of General Staff, Colonel Mobutu, with the support of Western intelligence agencies.
The ensuing civil war in the Congo, which is called the proxy war between the US and the USSR during the Cold War, claimed more than 100,000 people. lives.
What is known about Partis Lumumba's death?
Patrice Lumumba was blockaded in his house, which was guarded on the one hand by UN peacekeepers who prevented the arrest of Lumumba, and c on the other — troops loyal to Mobutu. In December 1960, the UN General Assembly recognized the new authorities of the Congo, after which Lumumba left the capital with several political associates and family and went to supporting regions. In the village of Lodi, Mobutu's soldiers seized his wife and younger child, for the sake of whom he surrendered himself to captivity. Since the Congolese soldiers were sympathetic to the deposed prime minister and hesitant with a new government, on order the last Belgian Minister of Colonies, Comte d’Apremont Linden, January 17, 1961, Lumumba was transferred to the province of Katanga.
There, Katangese and Belgian officers tortured Lumumba and his associates, after which they secretly shot them. An investigation completed in Belgium already in the 21st century found that President of Katanga Moise Tshombe was present at the executionand two other ministers, and also four Belgian officers. The bodies of the executed were thrown into an unmarked grave, but due to fear of publicity, they dug up and transported them to the border with Northern Rhodesia. To further cover up the murder, Belgian gendarmerie officer Gerard Soete and his team re-dug up the corpses, dismembered and dissolved them in sulfuric acid.
Officially, his death was announced on the radio on February 13: it was alleged that Lumumba was killed by angry villagers three days after escaping from prison.
A group of soldiers of Colonel Mobutu hold Patrice Lumumba. Photo: www.globallookpress.com/imago stock&people via www.imago
Who was involved in Lumumba's murder?
In 1999, Gerard Soete confessed to his participation in the murder of Patrice Lumumba and assisted in the concealment of the remains. A Belgian police officer died in 2000 and s s s suffering responsibility for the political assassination. In February 2002, the Belgian government officially apologized to the Congolese people and acknowledged the “moral responsibility” and "an irrefutable part of the responsibility for the events that led to the death of Lumumba".
The 2001 Belgian Commission of Inquiry report also describes previous US attempts to assassinate Lumumba, which were sanctioned byUS President Dwight Eisenhowerin 1960 In 2013, the US State Department acknowledged this. Journalistic investigations indicate that CIA station chief Larry Devlin assisted in the search and transport of Lumumba to Katanga, and the head of the CIA base in Elizabethville (the capital of Katanga) was in direct contact with by assassins on the night Lumumba was killed. John Stockwell, CIA officerin the Congo, then CIA station chief, wrote in 1978 that a CIA agent kept Lumumba's body in the trunk of his car to help get rid of him. At the same time, the CIA feared that the newly elected President John F. Kennedy would release Lumumba — because the African politician was assassinated three days before Kennedy's inauguration.
Also in June 2001, documents were made public about the possible involvement of the British MI6 in the assassination of an African politician. In April 2013, in a letter to London Review of Books, British MP David Lee reported that MI6 officer Daphne Parkshortly before her death in March 2010, she confirmed to him her participation in organizing Lumumba's assassination.
What happened to Lumumba's remains?
Remains of a politician — several teeth and fragments of finger bones — were taken to Belgium by Gerard Soete among the “hunting trophies” from Africa. Subsequently, they were inherited by their daughter Soete. The bones of the politician were found by the federal prosecutor's office during a search in 2016 and are now in the Palace of Justice in Brussels.
The transfer of the remains to the Congolese authorities and Lumumba's family is scheduled for June 20, 2022 ;of the year. The Belgian authorities said that the transfer will take place as part of an official ceremony at the Egmont Palace.
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