In 2000, a former Belgian police officer recounted that he had cut up Lumumba's body and dissolved it in acid because he had received orders to make the corpse disappear.
In an official ceremony held on Thursday, the family of the martyr of the independence of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Patrice Lumumba, buried his only known remains, a tooth, in the mausoleum built in his honor in Kinshasa city.
Hundreds of people came together to remember Lumumba, who was assassinated by secessionist rebels backed by Belgium and the U.S. Waving national flags, they carried a photo in which he appears with his characteristic tortoiseshell-rimmed glasses.
Lumumba was killed by a firing squad on January 16, 1961 in the province of Katanga, in the southeast of the country. This happened after he was overthrown as prime minister in 1960, a few months after the Congo's declaration of independence.
"Finally, the Congolese people can have the honor of offering a burial to their illustrious prime minister. We are ending a mourning that we began 61 years ago," DRC President Felix Tshisekedi said during the 62nd anniversary of his country's independence.
On June 20, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo recognized the "moral responsibility" of his country's authorities for the assassination of Patrice Lumumba and apologized to his family. After assassinating the pro-independence leader, the Belgian mercenaries dissolved his corpse in acid so that he could never be found.
"In 2000, Gerard Soete, a former Belgian police officer, recounted that he had cut up Lumumba's body and dissolved it in acid because he had received orders to make the corpse disappear," the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia recalled.
"He kept two of Lumumba's teeth... Soete died that year, but much later, in 2016, the justice seized a tooth attributed to Lumumba in a registry at the house of the Belgian policeman's daughter, who also had not resisted the temptation to show that 'trophy' in public."
Today we commemorate Patrice Lumumba, who died fighting for a free Democratic Republic of the Congo.— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) January 17, 2018
Patrice Lumumba's dreams for the Congo were hindered due to U.S. and European-backed sabotage. Today, the Congo continues to be ravaged by capitalist and imperialist aggression. pic.twitter.com/xfLVqUcb2r