Belgium has returned the tooth of Lumumba.Mr Lumumba’s killers dissolved his remains in acid, though some kept his teeth as macabre mementoes.Mr Lumumba’s killers dissolved his remains in acid, though some kept his teeth as macabre mementoes.
Belgian authorities have returned a tooth of the Congolese independence hero Patrice Lumumba to his family, 61 years after he was murdered by agents of the former colonial power.
The tooth is all that remains of Mr Lumumba, the first prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and a fiery revolutionary who led his country’s campaign for independence from Belgium.
He was an icon of the struggle against colonialism in Africa, but was murdered by separatists and Belgian mercenaries in 1961. His killers dissolved his remains in acid, though some kept his teeth as macabre mementoes.
A tooth was retrieved from a Belgian police commissioner, Gerard Soete, who in 2000 confessed to being a party to Mr Lumumba’s murder.
According to The UK Guardian, the gold-capped tooth was handed in a light blue case to a group of family members at the Egmont Palace in Brussels on Monday morning.
It was placed in a casket that will be taken to the embassy of the DRC.
Mr Lumumba’s son, Roland Lumumba, said last week that the return of the tooth meant his family would be able to “finish their mourning”.
According to Alexander de Croo, Belgian prime minister, “this is a painful and disagreeable truth, but must be spoken.”
“A man was murdered for his political convictions, his words, his ideals,” he added.