A Belgian judge has ruled that a tooth was taken from the remains of assassinated Congolese independence leader Patrice Lumumba be returned to his family.
Lumumba was a charismatic but volatile pan-Africanist who played a key part in the fight for independence, Lumumba became the first democratically elected prime minister days before his country, gained independence from Belgium on 30 June 1960.
Western officials worried that Lumumba, who appeared impulsive and unpredictable. Lumumba was overthrown, jailed, tortured, and finally killed by a firing squad.
In 2000 the Belgian police commissioner Gerard Soete confessed that he had dismembered Lumumba’s body and then dissolved the remains in acid. Soete’s daughter later showed a gold tooth, which she said had belonged to Lumumba.
In June, Lumumba’s daughter Juliana Amato Lumumba called on Belgium to return “the relics of Patrice Emery Lumumba to the land of his ancestors”. Belgium acknowledged that it bore “moral responsibility” for his death and will make it a point of duty to return all that belongs to the family to them.