Belgium Returns the Remains of Congolese Leader Patrice Lumumba

By Abayomi Azikiwe

Since January 17, 1961, the circumstances surrounding the kidnapping and assassination of Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba have remained a symbol of the legacy of colonialism on the African continent.

Lumumba rose to prominence during 1958-1960 due to his involvement in independence politics when the people of the former Belgian colony of Congo rose up in rebellion to demand national liberation.

His only known bodily remains, a tooth, had been held in Belgium as a souvenir from those who carried out his torture and execution. As an act aimed at making amends for the legacy of colonialism in the Belgian Congo, the tooth was returned to the DRC and given a proper burial by the current government of President Felix Tshisekedi.

The details of the murder of Lumumba and two of his cabinet members, Maurice Mpolo, Minister of Youth and Sports along with Joseph Okito, the Second Vice President of the Senate, were gruesome. After being taken to Thysville, located approximately 100 miles from Leopoldville, a disagreement erupted among the Congolese troops who were divided over whether to support the MNC-Lumumba….

Patrice Lumumba and Kwame Nkrumah

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