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    belgium returned a gold _____ belonging to late prime minister patrice lumumba of the democratic republic of the congo.

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    Remains of DR Congo’s independence hero returned from Belgium

    Patrice Lumumba’s remains to be buried in capital Kinshasa on June 30 - Anadolu Agency

    WORLD, AFRICA

    Remains of DR Congo’s independence hero returned from Belgium

    Patrice Lumumba’s remains to be buried in capital Kinshasa on June 30

    James Tasamba   | 22.06.2022

    KIGALI, Rwanda

    More than 61 years after his assassination, the remains of the first prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Patrice Lumumba, have been returned to his homeland from Belgium.

    Draped in the national flag colors, the coffin containing the remains of the slain Congolese independence hero was brought to the capital Kinshasa via a Congo Airways aircraft.

    On Monday, the Belgian government had returned the remains, including a golden tooth and finger bones, to the family of Lumumba.

    The remains will be buried at a mausoleum in the capital Kinshasa on June 30.

    Lumumba, an icon of Africa’s fight for independence, was assassinated in 1961 by a group of Belgian mercenaries.

    In 1999, former Belgian police chief Gerard Soete admitted publicly to being involved in Lumumba’s killing and dissolution of his body in acid.

    He also said that he kept his golden tooth and finger parts as “a kind of hunting trophy.”

    Soete died a year later without being prosecuted, and the relics were only taken away from his daughter in 2016 after she showed them in a TV interview.

    Lumumba’s daughter, Julianna, requested the restitution of her father's remains in 2020.

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    Remains of DR Congo’s independence hero returned from Belgium

    Source : www.aa.com.tr

    Belgium returns gold tooth of Congo independence hero Patrice Lumumba

    The only remnant of the murdered Congolese independence leader, a gold tooth, was returned to his family during a ceremony in Brussels. His 1961 murder is a reminder of Belgium's brutal colonial history.

    NEWS

    Belgium returns gold tooth of Congo independence hero Patrice Lumumba

    The only remnant of the murdered Congolese independence leader, a gold tooth, was returned to his family during a ceremony in Brussels. His 1961 murder is a reminder of Belgium's brutal colonial history.

    Lumumba (center) was ousted in a coup only months before to his assassination

    Belgian authorities returned the only known remains of assassinated Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba to his family on Monday.

    A gold-capped tooth belonging to Lumumba, in a blue box, was handed over to his family members by Belgium's federal prosecutor at a private ceremony in Brussels.

    A casket containing the tooth is set to be flown back to Congo, where it will be officially laid to rest at a memorial site.

    Congo will then observe three days of "national mourning" from June 27 to 30, its 62nd anniversary of independence, to mark the burial ceremony.

    Belgium's 'moral responsibility' for the killing

    Lumumba, Congo's first prime minister, was murdered by firing squad in 1961. His government was overthrown after only three months in power.

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    Watch video 01:53

    Patrice Lumumba, uncompromising independence fighter

    His body is said to have been buried in a shallow grave, and then dug up on orders from Belgian officers, severed into pieces and dissolved in acid.

    The gold-crowned tooth was all that remained. Gerard Soete, a Belgian police officer who oversaw the exhumation, later admitted to taking the tooth.

    There had been a lengthy campaign to get Lumamba's remains reclaimed by his family.

    In 2016, his family filed a complaint prompting Belgian officials to seize the tooth from the officer's family.

    "It isn't normal that Belgians held on to the remains of one of the founding fathers of the Congolese nation for six decades," Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said in a speech on Monday.

    De Croo said Belgium bears a "moral responsibility" over the killing.

    "I would like, in the presence of his family, to present in my turn the apologies of the Belgian government," he said. "A man was murdered for his political convictions, his words, his ideals."

    Belgium has also made other attempts at honoring the leader's legacy, including naming a square in Brussels after Lumumba.

    Earlier this month, Belgium's King Philippe expressed his "deepest regrets'' for his country's abuses in its former African colony.

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    Watch video 02:26

    Belgian king expresses regrets for colonial abuses

    asw/wmr (AFP, Reuters, AP)

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    Patrice Lumumba: Why Belgium is returning a Congolese hero's golden tooth

    All that remains of Congo's murdered leader Patrice Lumumba is handed to his family in Brussels.

    Patrice Lumumba: Why Belgium is returning a Congolese hero's golden tooth

    By Damian Zane

    BBC News Published 3 days ago

    IMAGE SOURCE, GETTY IMAGES Image caption,

    Patrice Lumumba led Congo to independence

    A gold-crowned tooth is all that remains of assassinated Congolese independence hero Patrice Lumumba.

    Shot dead by a firing squad in 1961 with the tacit backing of former colonial power Belgium, his body was then buried in a shallow grave, dug up, transported 200km (125 miles), interred again, exhumed and then hacked to pieces and finally dissolved in acid.

    The Belgian police commissioner, Gerard Soete, who oversaw and participated in the destruction of the remains took the tooth, he later admitted.

    He also talked about a second tooth and two of the corpse's fingers, but these have not been found.

    The tooth has now been returned to the family at a ceremony in Brussels.

    Soete's impulse to pocket the body parts echoed the behaviour of European colonial officials down the decades who took remains back home as macabre mementoes.

    But it also served as a final humiliation of a man that Belgium considered an enemy.

    Soete, appearing in a documentary in 1999, described the tooth and fingers he took as "a type of hunting trophy". The language suggests that for the Belgian policeman, Lumumba - who was revered across the continent as a leading voice of African liberation - was less than human.

    For Lumumba's daughter, Juliana, the question is whether the perpetrators were human.

    "What amount of hatred must you have to do that?" she asks.

    "This is a reminder of what happened with the Nazis, taking pieces of people - and that's a crime against humanity," she told the BBC.

    IMAGE SOURCE, JELLE VERMEERSCH Image caption,

    Gerard Soete's daughter showed the tooth, in a padded box, to a photographer in 2016

    Lumumba had risen to become prime minister at the age of 34. Elected in the final days of colonial rule, he headed the cabinet of the newly independent nation.

    In June 1960, at the handover of power, Belgian King Baudouin praised the colonial administration and spoke about his ancestor, Léopold II, as the "civiliser" of the country.

    There was no mention of the millions who died or were brutalised under his reign when he ruled what was then known as the Congo Free State as his personal property.

    This failure to acknowledge the past foreshadowed years of denial in Belgium, which it has only now begun to come to terms with.

    Lumumba was not so reticent.

    In an address that was not scheduled on the official programme, the prime minister spoke about the violence and degradation that the Congolese had suffered.

    In devastating rhetoric, interrupted by rounds of applause and a standing ovation when he concluded, he described "the humiliating slavery that was imposed on us by force".

    The Belgians were stunned, according to academic Ludo De Witte, who wrote a ground-breaking account of the assassination.

    Never before had a black African dared to speak like this in front of Europeans. The prime minister, who De Witte says had been described as an illiterate thief in the Belgian press, was seen as having humiliated the king and other Belgian officials.

    IMAGE SOURCE, AFP Image caption,

    Patrice Lumumba (R) and ally Joseph Okito (L) were arrested in December 1960

    Some have said that with his speech Lumumba signed his own death warrant, but his murder the following year was also wrapped up in Cold War manoeuvres and a Belgian desire to maintain control.

    The Americans also plotted his death because of a possible pivot towards the Soviet Union and his uncompromising anti-colonialism, while a British official wrote a memo suggesting that killing him was an option.

    Nevertheless, there seemed to be a personal element to the way Lumumba was vilified and pursued.

    The total destruction of the body, as well as a way to get rid of the evidence, seems like an effort to obliterate Lumumba from the memory. There would be no memorial, making it almost possible to deny that he existed at all. It was not enough just to bury him.

    But he is still remembered.

    Not least by his daughter Juliana - a prime mover in the campaign to get the tooth returned home, who went to Brussels to receive it.

    Media caption,

    Watch: A coffin containing Patrice Lumumba's gold tooth was passed to his family members at a ceremony in Brussels

    She lets out a warm chuckle as she recalls her childhood memories. As the youngest, and the only girl in the family, she says she was very close to her father.

    Ms Lumumba was "less than five" when he became prime minister. She remembers being allowed to be in his office "just sitting and looking at my father when he was working. For me it was daddy."

    But she recognises that her father "belongs to the country, because he died for Congo… and for his own values and convictions of the dignity of the African person".

    Source : www.bbc.com

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