BRUSSELS, Belgium handed over a tooth, the only known remains of the murdered Congolese independence hero Patrice Lumumba, to his family during at a ceremony in Brussels on Monday.
Lumumba became the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) first democratically elected prime minister after independence from Belgium in 1960, but alarmed the West with overtures to Moscow at the height of the Cold War.
He also angered Belgium with a speech criticizing the colonization of the African country.
His government lasted just three months before he was overthrown and assassinated by a firing squad. His supporters and some historians accuse the CIA of having ordered his killing. His body was never found.
Chief prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw gave his relatives a small, bright blue box containing the tooth in a televised ceremony at Egmont Palace in central Brussels on Monday. He said legal action they had taken to receive the relic had delivered “justice”.
“There’s a feeling of satisfaction after several years,” one of his sons Roland Lumumba told state broadcaster RTBF before the ceremony.
The tooth is to be placed in a casket and flown to the DRC.
According to numerous reports, his body was dug up, dismembered and dissolved in acid by Belgian officers and never found. One of them pocketed a tooth as a “trophy”.
In 2016, Belgian authorities seized the tooth from the daughter of the policeman, Gerard Soete, after Lumumba’s family filed a complaint.
The DRC is set to hold three days of “national mourning” on June 27-30 – its 62nd anniversary of independence – to mark the burial ceremony in Kinshasa of the remains.
Source: Nam News Network