Patrice Émery Lumumba, born on July 2, 1925, was the first prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) between June and September of 1960. He played a key role in the fight for the independence of the DRC as he led an anti-imperialist and pan-Africanist movement in his country. One of Patrice Lumumba’s most renowned moments is the speech he delivered following Congo’s declaration of independence on June 30, 1960, whereby he denounced and condemned the atrocities committed by Belgium during their colonial reign over the Congo. The speech was broadcasted on radio stations across the world. It has been said that this same speech was a contributing factor to his death in 1961. In September 1960, president Joseph Kasa-Vubu dismissed Lumumba as Prime Minister following a telegram from the Belgian Prime Minister Gaston Eyskens. He was subsequently imprisoned by troops under the command of the chief of staff Joseph-Désiré Mobutu and spent the next few months being detained and beaten in different prisons across the country. On January 17, Lumumba was flown to Elisabethville where he was brutally beaten and tortured. In the evening of January 17, he was driven to an isolated spot not far from a colonial villa where he was executed by a firing squad. Following his execution, his corpse was dismembered and then dissolved into sulfuric acid. Lumumba’s death was not announced until February 13. In 2002, Belgium issued an official apology for its role in the assassination of Lumumba.
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