Patrice Lumumba is killed

Patrice Lumumba

Tuesday, 17 January 1961

The first and only elected Prime Minister of the Congo Republic, Patrice Lumumba, was assassinated a few months after Congo gained formal independence from Belgium. The killing of Lumumba remained a secret for years. In later years it was alleged that it was sanctioned by the Belgian government and the Dwight Eisenhower administration, acting through the local agents of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the Congo, and was funded and advised by Brussels and Washington. A staunch enemy of Lumumba and President of Katanga, Congo independent province, Moise Tchombe, and Mobuto Sese Seko, who became Prime Minister after the death of Lumumba, allegedly took part in the plot. The killing of Lumumba haunted the Belgium government until a Commission of Inquiry, chaired by the MP Geert Versnick, was set up to address its past relations with its colonies. On 5 February 2002 the Belgian Forein Minister Louis Michel apologised for his country's role in the assasination of Lumumba and offered a $3,25 million fund in Lumumba's name to promote democracy in Congo.



The Star, 5th Feb.2003, Milestones

Last updated : 17-Jan-2018

This article was produced by South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011

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