Patrice Émery Lumumba (1925-1961)

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Patrice Émery Lumumba (1925-1961) was a Congolese independence leader and the first legally elected Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo after he helped win its independence from Belgium in June 1960. Only ten weeks later, Lumumba’s government was deposed in a coup during the Congo Crisis. He was subsequently imprisoned and murdered in circumstances suggesting the support and complicity of the governments of Belgium and the United States. To fellow Africans he was a hero -the man who had won his country’s independence from the Belgians. But for the secret services of the western powers he was a threat. It was at the height of the Cold War, when the superpowers of both East and Western blocs were competing for spheres of influence in the New Africa. Congo was vital to Western interests because of its vast mineral resources. The West believed Lumumba was pro-soviet and would open the door to communist control of this mineral rich region. CIA agent Larry Devlin received 100,000 dollars from the Agency along with telegraphed instructions to make the “elimination of Lumumba ”the “priority goal” of his covert action. Within months of becoming Prime Minister, Lumumba was ousted by an army coup, inspired by the West. It was led by a turncoat colonel, Désiré Mobutu who would be the Congo’s military dictator for the next 30 years. In early December 1960, Patrice Lumumba and two of his Ministers were killed by members of the Belgian Secret Service. After Killing him, his enemies, cut his body and put it in acid all that was left was some teeth and the skull. None of the murderers -or the men behind them -has ever been indicted, but Lumumba’s voice still echoes throughout Africa today. Patrice Lumumba is considered by many as the greatest African Leader of all time

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