Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Belgium 'sorry' for killing of Lumumba

Paul Ames
Wednesday 06 February 2002 01:00 GMT

Belgium formally apologised yesterday for its role in the assassination of the Congolese independence leader Patrice Lumumba in 1961.

In a symbolic gesture of reconciliation with its former colony, the Belgian Foreign Minister, Louis Michel, read the apology during a parliamentary debate on a report into the killing of Lumumba, the republic's first prime minister.

The parliamentary report, released in November after an 18-month inquiry, failed to link the Belgian government directly to the killing. But it found ministers bore a "moral responsibility" by failing to act to prevent the assassination after Lumumba was captured by Congolese rivals.

"The government believes that the time has come to present to the family of Patrice Lumumba and the Congolese people its profound and sincere regrets and apologies for the sorrow that was inflicted upon them by this apathy," Mr Michel told parliament.

He said Belgium was donating €3.75m (£2.3m) to create a Patrice Lumumba Foundation to finance "conflict prevention" projects and study grants for Congolese youths. (AP)

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in