The household of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s murdered independence hero, Patrice Lumumba, buried his solely recognized stays – a tooth – within the capital, Kinshasa, on Thursday, 61 years after his demise by the hands of Belgian-backed secessionist rebels.
A whole bunch gathered in an unlimited sq. for the event, waving flags and looking out upon a big photograph of Lumumba, along with his trademark horn-rimmed glasses and side-swept hair, framed by white flowers.
Lumumba was killed by a firing squad on 16 January 1961 within the south-eastern province of Katanga after being ousted as prime minister the earlier yr, all inside months of DRC’s independence from Belgium.
A banner with the phrases “Many thanks, nationwide hero” was suspended over the group, which included the president of neighbouring Republic of the Congo, Denis Sassou Nguesso, Belgium’s overseas minister and a number of other African ambassadors.
“Lastly the Congolese individuals can have the honour of providing a burial to their illustrious prime minister,” President Félix Tshisekedi mentioned. “We’re ending … mourning we began 61 years in the past.”
The funeral was held on the 62nd anniversary of the central African nation’s independence. On that day, Lumumba gave a fiery speech lambasting Belgium’s 75-year colonisation of Congo.
Congo’s first democratically elected prime minister, Lumumba alarmed the west with overtures to Moscow on the top of the chilly battle.
His authorities lasted simply three months earlier than he was overthrown and assassinated. Supporters and a few historians accuse the CIA of involvement. A Belgian parliamentary investigation into Lumumba’s killing concluded in 2002 that Belgium was “morally accountable” for his demise.
The physique was by no means discovered. His solely remaining tooth was reportedly taken by a Belgian police officer, Gerard Soete, who claimed to have dissolved a lot of the corpse in acid and burned the remainder.
Belgium, whose King Philippe visited DRC for the primary time this month, handed the tooth over to Lumumba’s household on 20 June.
“Your return residence, the honours you might be receiving listed here are a web page of the historical past you proceed to write down,” mentioned considered one of his granddaughters in a letter to Lumumba she learn on the funeral. “With you, at this time, Africa is writing its personal historical past.”