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Tuesday, 5 February, 2002, 15:13 GMT
Belgian parliament debates Lumumba murder

Parliament in Belgium has begun a debate on whether the country should accept moral responsibility for the assassination of the first Prime Minister of the Congo, Patrice Lumumba, in 1961.

The debate is focusing on a report by a parliamentary commission which concluded last November that Belgium did bear moral responsibility for the killing.

Mr Lumumba is the only elected leader the Democratic Republic of Congo has had since it won independence from Belgium in 1960.

A charismatic nationalist, Lumumba was overthrown four months after he took office, and was later murdered, in an act widely blamed on the American intelligence services and Belgium.

Mr Lumumba's son, Francois, who is an opposition leader in the DR Congo, is due to attend the debate.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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