Patrice Émery Lumumba (2 July 1925 – 17 January 1961) was a Congolese independence leader and the first democratically elected leader of the Congo.
As founder and leader of the mainstream Mouvement National Congolais (MNC) party, Lumumba played an important role in campaigning for independence from Belgium.
Within twelve weeks of Congolese independence in 1960, Lumumba’s government was deposed in a coup during the Congo Crisis following his attempt to solicit support from the Soviet Union against Katangan secessionists.
This led to growing differences with President Joseph Kasa-Vubu and chief-of-staff Joseph-Désiré Mobutu as well as foreign opposition from the United States and Belgium.
Lumumba was subsequently imprisoned by state authorities under Mobutu and executed by firing squad under the command of the Katangan authorities.
The United Nations, which he had asked to come to the Congo, did not intervene to save him.
Belgium, the United States, and the United Kingdom have all been accused of involvement in Lumumba’s death.
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