Posted by News Express | 2 April 2013 | 3,729 times
Over 50 years after the deed was done, British spies have admitted helping to organise the detention and execution of the first prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1960s.
A report in Britain’s Telegraph quoted Baroness (Daphne) Park of Monmouth, who was the senior MI6 officer in the African country at the time, as saying that she had “organised it.” Independence leader Patrice Lumumba was arrested, tortured and executed just months after becoming the first democratically elected prime minister of the DRC in 1960.
Although rebel forces carried out the killing, it has long been claimed that foreign intelligence agencies played a part.
Belgium, from which Lumumba won independence, apologised in 2002 for having some responsibility by failing to prevent his death, while in 2006 documents showed the CIA had plotted to assassinate him but the plot was abandoned.
However, according to the Labour peer, Lord Lea of Crondall, claims he was told by Baroness Park herself that MI6 had also played a role.
Lea reportedly made the revelation in response to a review of a book by Calder Walton on British intelligence in the London Review of Books.
Lord Lea wrote: “Referring to the controversy surrounding the death of Patrice Lumumba in1960, Bernard Porter quotes Calder Walton’s conclusion: ‘The question remains whether British plots to assassinate Lumumba ever amounted to anything. At present, we do not know’ .
“Actually, in this particular case, I can report that we do. It so happens that I was having a cup of tea with Daphne Park – we were colleagues from opposite sides of the Lords – a few months before she died in March 2010.
“She had been consul and first secretary in Leopoldville, now Kinshasa, from 1959 to 1961, which in practice (this was subsequently acknowledged) meant head of MI6 there.
“I mentioned the uproar surrounding Lumumba’s abduction and murder, and recalled the theory that MI6 might have had something to do with it. ‘We did,’ she replied, ‘I organised it.’”
Lord Lea went on to claim Baroness Park had indicated that the reason was because of concerns that Lumumba may be a communist siding with Soviet Russia.
•Photo of late Patrice Lumumba courtesy insidewatchafrica.com.
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