Belgium in Brief: A moment of ’emblematic significance’

Belgium in Brief: A moment of ’emblematic significance’
Credit: Belga

Over 60 years after the assassination of the first Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Patrice Lumumba, Belgium will return his remains to his family next month.

In 1999, a former Belgian Chief of Police, Gérard Soete, admitted to assisting in Lumumba’s assassination in 1961, a year after Congo’s independence from Belgium, and dissolving his body in sulfuric acid.

He also took several of Lumumba’s finger bones and multiple teeth, one of which was covered in gold, as “a type of hunting trophy.” Those remains were kept in Soete’s possession until he died in 2000.

They were then kept by the family, and the man’s daughter, Godelieve Soete, even showed one of Lumumba’s teeth during a 2016 interview with Humo. Following the interview, the police searched her house, and the remains were taken to be stored in Brussels’ Justice Palace.

Now, the cabinet of Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo confirmed that the return of the remains will be a moment of “emblematic significance” for the Democratic Republic of Congo, “but also for Belgium and beyond.”

The return will happen on 20 June – ten days before the 62nd anniversary of the country’s independence from Belgium on 30 June.

About time? Let @Maajtee know what you think.

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