Belgium set to return Patrice Lumumba’s tooth, this June 30th
A new date has been set for the return of a tooth that was all that remained from the Congolese independence hero Patrice Lumumba.
DR Congo officials will receive what is believed to be Mr Lumumba’s only remains – a tooth – from Belgium on 20 June in Brussels, according to the authorities.
An initial plan to hand over the tooth in June last year was pushed following a wave of Covid-19 infections in the central Africa country.
Mr Lumumba’s children will be among the Congolese delegation to receive the tooth, the Belgian Prime minister said in a statement.
Mr Lumumba led Congo to independence from Belgium in June 1960 and became the country’s first prime minister.
However, he was overthrown and jailed before being killed by a firing squad in January 1961.
In 2002, Belgium admitted responsibility for its part in the killing.
A court in Brussels in 2020 ordered Belgian authorities to hand back the tooth to DR Congo, after it has been kept by a former colonial police officer.
In his statement, Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo said the return of the tooth “will be seen as a new corner in the history” of relations between the two countries.
The tooth is expected to be displayed in public on 30 June during its independence day celebrations in the capital, Kinshasa.
Belgium’s King Filip and Queen Mathilde are scheduled to visit the country in early June.