In Congo, one of the most excruciating and brutal assassinations in African history occurred. Congolese people have been subjected to a variety of terrible encounters and torture. Patrice Lumumba, the one guy who stood up for his people and was once Prime Minister of Congo, was assassinated by the Belgian government, and the real criminals are still at large.
Patrice Emery Lumumba was born in Onalua village, near Katako-Kombe Town, in the Sankuru area of north-eastern Kasai, Congo, on July 2, 1925. (modern-day the Democratic Republic of Congo).
Lumumba was brilliant, but he had a habit of asking too many difficult questions. Lumumba was ambitious and aspired to rise through the social ranks, namely to become a member of the “evolue,” the upper echelons of the middle class; the highest status that indigenous Congolese could achieve in the Belgian colony.
After attending the All-African Peoples’ Conference in Ghana in 1958, Lumumba was inspired by Africa’s independence drive. This inspired him to organize nationalist rallies in his country, which resulted in fatal riots, resulting in his detention and subsequent release to negotiate Congo’s independence.
He led the Democratic Republic of Congo to independence on June 30, 1960, after the country was given to Belgium as a colony in 1908 by King Leopold II, who had taken control of it as his private property in the 1880s.
Patrice Lumumba, enraged, delivered a scathing address, underlining “humiliating enslavement, which was imposed on us by force.” Belgium’s disinterest in Lumumba was heightened by the fact that his government was already being attacked by his political competitor and president, Joseph Kasavubu.
After receiving a telegram from Belgian Prime Minister Gaston Eyskens, Congolese President Kasavubu fired Lumumba as Prime Minister in September. Kasavubu was likewise deposed by Lumumba. This paved the way for army head Colonel Mobutu Sese Seko’s takeover, which saw Lumumba confined under house arrest and guarded by his forces and UN troops.
Lumumba escaped in late November, hiding in the back of a car leaving his home with his wife and young son. They traveled east to Kisangani, where he had a dedicated following (then Stanleyville). On his route, he engaged villagers, and Mobutu’s men appeared on the evening of December 2 as they waited for a boat to cross the Sankuru River.
He was apprehended, and a new appeal to the UN to save him fell on deaf ears. He was flown to Léopoldville (now Kinshasa) and publicly humiliated in front of journalists, UN officials, and his wife, Pauline.
His detention was ordered by Mobutu to a military jail in Thysville, about a hundred kilometers from Léopoldville. Lumumba was held in cells for six weeks, during which time he addressed letters to the United Nations requesting assistance and to his wife to ease her anxiety.
While Lumumba’s jail lectures caused consternation, Belgian Minister of African Affairs Harold d’Aspremont Lynden pressed the government to move him from Thysville to a location where he could be released by his supporters.
According to Belgian sociologist and historian Ludo De Witte, who made public the gory details of Lumumba’s death in a book published in Dutch in 1999, despite a discussion by the Belgian parliament against the decision that would result in his death, Lynden insisted on Lumumba being transferred to Katanga.
Patrice Lumumba’s Execution
According to De Witte, Lumumba and his two former ministers were flown to Katanga on January 17 while being battered so violently that the pilot warned the flight was in danger.
They were semi-conscious by the evening and had been visited by Katangese cabinet ministers as well as President Tshombe himself. Around ten o’clock, a decision was made on their destiny, and they were carried from Villa Brouwe into a neighboring jungle, where they were met by a firing squad.
Belgian Captain Julien Gat oversaw the execution, with Belgian Police Commissioner Frans Verschurre in charge of the overall command, according to De Witte’s book, which is based on records found in Belgian archives. As President Tshombe and two of his cabinet officials looked on, they were shot independently by a large tree. The remains were placed into shallow graves as fast as possible.
The Lumumba Conspiracy
The following morning, January 18, Interior Minister Godfried Munongo summoned a top Belgian police officer, Gerard Soete, to his office and ordered the bodies to be removed.
“You annihilate them, and they vanish. It doesn’t matter to me how you do it. The only thing I want is for them to vanish. Nobody will talk about it after it is completed. Soete remembered Munongo’s commands and said, “Finished.” Lumumba, Patrice
Soete and a coworker exhumed the bodies and “hacked them in pieces and threw them into the acid,” according to him.
In terms of our acid, we had two large bottles similar to that of acid, but we didn’t have enough, so we burned what we could in those bottles. For the rest, I know that my assistant lit a fire and threw them in, and we burned everything down.
“We stayed for two days. We did things that no animal would. That’s why we were completely inebriated. Things like that would be impossible for us to do. Nobody could declare, “It’s there now, it happened.” That’s impossible; you couldn’t do it,” Soete said in a BBC documentary, Who Killed Lumumba?, which aired in 2000 and was based on accounts from De Witte’s book, which was published in English in June 2001.
Last Words of Patrice Lumumba
“It is not I who counts, whether I am dead, alive, free, or imprisoned on the orders of the colonialists. It is the Congo, our people, for whom independence has become a prison in which we are judged from the outside… History will have its say one day, but it will not be the history taught in Brussels, Paris, Washington, or the United Nations, but rather the history taught in countries free of colonialism and its puppets… a glorious and dignified past.”
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