NewsWorldDR Congo: 61 years after his death, Patrice Lumumba...

DR Congo: 61 years after his death, Patrice Lumumba has returned home

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Published on: 22/06/2022 – 23:24 The coffin of Patrice Emery Lumumba, hero of the independence of DR Congo executed in 1961, left Brussels and returned to the country on Wednesday. Ceremonies in Onalua, the village where he was born, are planned for two days, before a journey that will end on June 30 in Kinshasa where, after a three-day national mourning, a mausoleum will host a burial ceremony. More than 61 years after his assassination, the coffin of Patrice Lumumba was brought back to the land of his ancestors on Wednesday June 22, two days after Belgium returned a tooth to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo). remains of the remains of the independence hero. “Mr. Prime Minister”, the national police and the armed forces of DR Congo “are lined up to pay their respects on the occasion of your return to your native village”, solemnly said a policeman standing at attention in front of the coffin on his arrival at Tshumbe airfield, in the province of Sankuru (center). Leaving Brussels on Tuesday evening aboard a Congo Airways plane, the coffin and the accompanying delegation had stopped in Kinshasa early in the morning. They then borrowed three small planes, which landed one after the other at the beginning of the afternoon on the dirt track, in a festive atmosphere, with a welcome committee, customary chiefs, orchestra and traditional dancers. The first two carried family and officials, including the President of the National Assembly, the third the relic. A bit heavy atmosphere From Tshumbe, the procession then traveled 25 km to get to Onalua, the village where Lumumba was born in 1925 , where two days of tributes are planned. Onalua has been part of a town called Lumumbaville since 2013 in memory of the first head of the government of the independent Congo. Transported by an army pick-up, covered with a Congolese flag, the coffin made its entrance to the sound of drums. -tams on the village square, where a modest podium in the colors of the DR Congo (yellow-blue-red), tents, large posters bearing the image of the national hero have been erected. There were no tears, but the atmosphere was less joyful, a little heavy even. AFP shared between the joy of finally being able to “mourn” his uncle and the “sadness” of knowing that he had “really been murdered”. “His spirit, which was imprisoned in Belgium, is coming back here”, he consoled himself. Apologies and regrets The ceremonies in Onalua, which will continue until Friday morning, mark the start of a nine-day journey in the country, which will stop at emblematic sites in the life of Patrice Lumumba and will end on June 30 in Kinshasa where, after a three-day national mourning, a mausoleum will host a burial ceremony. Patrice Emery Lumumba entered into legend on the 30 June 1960, day of the proclamation of the independence of the former Belgian Congo, with a speech with very strong words against the racism of the colonists. From the following September, the head of the first government of the independent Congo was overthrown, then executed on January 17, 1961 with two brothers in arms, Maurice Mpolo and Joseph Okito, by separatists from the Katanga region (south), with the support of Belgian mercenaries. He was 35. His body, dissolved in acid, was never found. It took decades to discover that human remains had been kept in Belgium, when a Belgian police officer involved in the disappearance bragged about it in the media. A tooth that this policeman had in his possession was seized in 2016 by Belgian justice. Contained in a box, it was placed in a coffin given to the Congolese authorities on Monday in Brussels in the presence of the family of the assassinated leader, during a ceremony full of emotion. With AFP

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