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Lumumba’s Family Closes a Painful Chapter

The family of Democratic Republic of Congo’s murdered independence hero Patrice Lumumba has buried his only known remains, a tooth, in the capital Kinshasa, 61 years after his death at the hands of Belgian-backed secessionist rebels.

Hundreds gathered in a vast square for the occasion on Thursday, waving flags and looking upon a large photo of Lumumba, with his trademark horn-rimmed glasses and side-swept hair, framed by white flowers.

Lumumba was killed by a firing squad on January 16, 1961, in the southeastern province of Katanga after being deposed as prime minister the previous year, all within months of DRC’s independence from Belgium. A banner with the words “Many thanks, National Hero” was suspended over the crowd, which included the president of neighbouring Congo Republic, Denis Sassou Nguesso, Belgium’s foreign minister and several African ambassadors.

The funeral was held on the 62nd anniversary of the central African country’s independence. On that day, Lumumba had given a fiery speech lambasting Belgium’s 75-year colonisation of Congo.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

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