Belgium should return Congo leader assassinated, judge rules | world News


A Belgian judge has said that a tooth taken from the remains of the first elected leader of the Congo, Patrice Lumumba, must be returned to his family nearly 60 years after his assassination by Belgian authorities under the supervision of rebels.

The tooth was confiscated from a Belgian policeman who was taken to help locate Lumba’s body after the politician’s assassination in 1961. The then Belgian government, CIA and MI6, have also been implicated.

Eric Van Duys, a spokesman for the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office, said the tooth would be returned to the Democratic Republic of Congo, a former Belgian colony.

He described it as a symbolic gesture, as there was no “absolute certainty” that the tooth belonged to Lumamba. “No DNA test has been done; He must have destroyed it.

In June, Lumba’s daughter Juliana Amato Lumba called from Belgium to return “the remains of Patrice Emery Lumba to the land of her ancestors”.

A charismatic but volatile Pan-African who played a key role in the freedom struggle, Lumumba became the first democratically elected Prime Minister of his country, then known as the Republic of Congo, to gain independence from Belgium on 30 January 1960 Of.

Lumba soon fell victim to Cold War politics and internal power struggles, as order in the new state collapsed and rebel groups in the mineral-rich Katanga province sought to break up.

Western officials worried that Lumumba, who appeared impulsive and unpredictable, would favor the Soviet Union as a defender and allow Moscow access to strategically important resources such as uranium.

Lumamba was killed by a firing squad, imprisoned, tortured and eventually killed. Forty years later, Belgium acknowledged that it had “moral responsibility” for his death. The CIA had also planned to kill the 35-year-old politician.

In 2000, the Belgian police commissioner Gerard Soete admitted that he had lumped Lumba’s body and then dissolved the residue in acid. In a documentary screened the same year on German TV, Soet showed two teeth that he said belonged to Lumba.

In 2016, Ludo de Vitt√©, a Belgian academic, filed a legal complaint against Soete’s daughter during an interview given to a newspaper.

This came amid widespread reevaluation of Belgium’s brutal and exploitative rule of the Congo, which caused the deaths and horrific suffering of many millions.

In June, the Democratic Republic of Congo marked the 60th anniversary of its independence, with King Philip of Belgium expressing his “deepest remorse” for acts of violence in the Congo during his country’s rule, although lacking an apology Stopped.

Belgian prosecutors are investigating whether they can bring charges against people suspected of participating in Lumba’s murder.

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