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SUNDAY, September 25, 2022
Congolese parade Lumumba's coffin through Brussels streets

Congolese parade Lumumba's coffin through Brussels streets

WEDNESDAY, June 22, 2022

Dozens of people on Tuesday joined a festive funeral procession across the streets of Brussels to pay tribute to murdered Congolese independence hero Patrice Lumumba.

The cortege, which started in the Congolese embassy, was organized after Belgium had handed over a tooth to his family on Monday, the only known remains of the late political leader.

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.

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.

To honour their first prime minister, the mourners carried pictures and a giant replica of the tooth, as they walked through the Belgian capital's Matonge neighbourhood accompanied by musicians and dancers.

The area, named after a district in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is known all across the country for its hairdressers selling hair extensions, wigs and African cuisine.

Lumumba's son Roland said that he was happy with the restitution.

"In order for a soul to rest in peace it needs to be buried, even if it's just part of a person's fingernail or hair so that the mourning can be completed", he told Reuters.

A Belgian parliamentary investigation into his killing concluded in 2002 that Belgium was "morally responsible" for Lumumba's death.

Congolese parade Lumumba's coffin through Brussels streets


The tooth was reportedly taken from Lumumba's body by a Belgian policeman, Gerard Soete, who claimed to have dissolved much of Lumumba's body in acid and burned the rest.