Human Lives Human Rights: Patrice Lumumba was a high-ranking official who was deliberately and purposefully assassinated by another country.
Lumumba was a Congolese politician and independence leader who served as the first Prime Minister of the independent Democratic Republic of the Congo, who waged a continuing struggle against the colonial rule of the Belgian monarchy in this country.
Ideologically an African nationalist and pan-Africanist, Lumumba led the Congolese National Movement (MNC) party from 1958 until he was assassinated.
Led by young Lumumba, the movement was able to stir up a sense of independence in millions of Congolese citizens through tribal ethnic strife.
On On 30 June 1960, Congo Independence Day, Lumumba delivered an impassioned speech against the Belgian colonization of his country and ultimately, after the independence of the Congo, Lumumba was elected as the Prime Minister of the country.
However, Lumumba had many sworn enemies, both inside and outside the country. Among his internal enemies was Moïse Tshombe, who declared independence in the southern Congolese state of Katanga and declared himself the president of Katanga. And among his foreign enemies were the US government during the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower and the government of the Kingdom of Belgium.
During his 67-day presidency, the United States and Belgium repeatedly tried to oust him in various ways, each of which failed for reasons ranging from their attempt to poison him with infected toothpaste or confining his physical state.
Finally, just 67 days after he took office, the Belgian government, in collaboration with General Joseph Mobutu, overthrew Lumumba in a coup. Lumumba was arrested and handed over to Moïse Tshombe at the request of the Belgian government.
Tshombe ordered to transfer Lumumba to the depths of the forests. He then put Lumumba and his two ministers, in front of a fire brigade and executed them under the direct supervision of Belgian officers.
One of the Belgian officers present at the execution scene said that after burying the body of Lumumba and his entourage, the Minister of the Interior of the self-proclaimed government of Katanga told the Belgian officers that you had killed him and that the body should be dismembered. “I do not care how you do that.”
A Belgian officer named Gerard Soete revealed that the bodies of Lumumba and his companions were pulled out of the ground, dismembered, and then and dissolved in sulfuric acid while the bones were ground and scattered.
The brutal assassination of Patrice Lumumba is yet another manifestation of the aggressive nature of the colonial governments. In fact, it can be said that Lumumba’s murder was a deliberate and premeditated murder, because the intention to physically remove him had existed for a long time, and the governments of Belgium and the United States worked hard for this.
Lumumba’s only crime was that he sought the independence and unification of his country from the colonization of the Western countries, which was not at all in line with the policies of the United States and Belgium.
Meanwhile, it must be noted that despite the documents that have been leaked in recent years about the US government’s role in assassinating Lumumba or the coup against him, the United States has so far refused to apologize.
Georges Nzongola, a professor of African history who teaches at the University of North Carolina, believes that the deliberate assassination of Lumumba and the overthrow of Congo’s first legitimate government have had far-reaching consequences for the country over the past 60 years.
Ethnic conflicts in the Congolese civil and regional wars have continued for the past half century. In 2008, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) announced that the number of victims of the Congolese civil war between 1996 and 2003 was 5,400,000. This international firm, called the Congolese civil war the bloodiest war since World War II.
Regardless of the grave human and social dimensions of Lumumba’s murder, it should be noted that this crime violated many principles of the international law and humanitarian law. Lumumba was the legal and elected Prime Minister of the Congo. Therefore, this crime was a violation of the independence and political sovereignty of the Congo.
Lumumba’s murder was a planned and intended crime. He had no means of self-defense. Lumumba was not at war with his internal or external enemies. No verdict had been issued against him in any of the international authorities. Therefore, from any point of view, the murder of Patrice Lumumba was a deliberate and planned murder and a crime against humanity.