Belgium on Monday handed during the last stays of slain Congolese chief Patrice Lumumba – one in every of his enamel – to his household, turning the web page on a grim chapter of its colonial previous.
Prosecutor Frederick Van Leeuw introduced family a small, shiny blue field containing the tooth at a televised ceremony, and mentioned the authorized measures they took to obtain the stays had achieved “justice”.
The tooth was to be positioned in a coffin and flown to what’s right now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which celebrates Lumumba, who was killed by Belgian separatists and mercenaries in 1961, as an anti-colonial hero.
Lumumba’s son Roland instructed a information convention in Brussels on Friday that the compensation would permit his household to “finish their mourning”.
Lumumba’s homicide – and the brutal historical past of Belgian management of the Congo – was a supply of ache between the 2 international locations.
Lumumba is very crucial of Belgium’s grasping rule, and have become the nation’s first prime minister after it gained independence in 1960.
However he fell out with the previous colonial energy and the USA and was overthrown in a coup simply months after taking workplace.
He was executed on January 17, 1961, on the age of 35, within the southern area of Katanga, with the assist of Belgian mercenaries.
His physique was dissolved in acid and was by no means discovered.
However the Belgian police officer stored the tooth as a trophy.
Belgian authorities confiscated the tooth in 2016 from the policeman’s daughter, Gerard Candy, after Lumumba’s household filed a grievance.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is scheduled to carry three days of “nationwide mourning” from 27-30 June – the 62nd anniversary of its independence – marking the burial of the stays in Kinshasa.
Belgium’s King Philippe additionally obtained on Monday the youngsters of Lumumba, who this month traveled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to specific his “deep remorse” over the colonial previous.
Historians say that tens of millions of individuals have been killed, maimed, or died of illness as they have been compelled to gather rubber beneath his rule. The land was additionally plundered for its mineral wealth, timber, and ivory.