CAIRO (PANA)—Family members of the former Congolese leader,
Patrice Lumumba, have denied accepting a recent apology from the Belgian
government for its role in the assassination of Mr. Lumumba, an Egyptian
paper reported March 3.
The weekly Al-Arabi quotes Mr. Lumumba’s son, Patrice P.
Lumumba, as saying that contrary to reports, "we have not accepted any
apology from the Belgian government." According to Al-Arabi,
Patrice P. Lumumba said the Belgian government has invited him and his
family to a future session of the Belgian Parliament in memory of their
father. Patrice P. Lumumba, who has lived in Egypt for 34 years,
revealed that "just before his assassination in 1961, my father asked
former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser to take care of his
children," the weekly Al-Arabi added.
"My father was convinced that my brothers and I would be killed, one
after the other, if we happened to be by his side at the time of his
arrest. He was really worried about our safety. Initially, my father
considered the idea of sending each of us to a different African country
run by friends of his, such as Nkrumah and Sekou Toure, but then decided
to send us to Egypt to be taken care of by Nasser," said Patrice P.
Lumumba, who was 9- years-old when he arrived in Cairo for the first
time in 1961.
The elder Lumumba’s children left their country through the
assistance of the then Egyptian charge d’affaires in Kinshasa, Mohammed
Abdul Aziz Ishak and Saad Eddine Shazli, an Egyptian army officer
serving at the time under the UN command, Al Arabi reported,
quoting Mr. Lumumba’s son.
"My father was under house arrest when we left our home in the middle
of the night in a UN car. We left the country thanks to the Egyptian
charge d’affaires who managed to register us in a new passport as his
children from an African wife," said Patrice P. Lumumba.
The airport of Kinshasa was under the joint control of the UN and
former dictator Mobutu Sese Seko’s forces, added Lumumba, the son.
"We reached Cairo after flying to Algiers and Barcelona and then
Switzerland," he said, adding, "my mother and youngest brother joined us
later in 1961 and we all lived together in a residential area in Cairo
known as Zamalek for 34 years."
"The first time we returned to our country was after Mobutu promised
to democratize the country and invited Lumumba’s children to be part of
what he called a new political life," Patrice P. Lumumba said.
The African nationalist leader was ousted from office, and then
arrested in 1960, with the active complicity of Western intelligence
services and troops. The newly independent country had been until June
1960 under the colonial rule of Belgium, which played a key role in
ousting the elder Lumumba from office by supporting a secessionist
movement in the mineral-rich province of Katanga.
It also provided active support to Mr. Mobutu, who arrested Mr.
Lumumba and handed him over to his assassins just after the country’s
independence. Belgium recently apologized for the part it played in the
politics of DR Congo following the country’s independence in1960.