apr 102013
 

British spies admitted helping to organise the detention and execution of the first prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1960s, a peer has claimed.
British spies admitted helping to organise the detention and execution of Patrice Lumumba the first prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1960s, a peer has claimed. Photo: AP

Baroness (Daphne) Park of Monmouth, who was the senior MI6 officer in the African country at the time, said she had “organised it”, according to the Labour peer Lord Lea.

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, Lord Lea of Crondall, claims he was told by Baroness Park herself that MI6 had also played a role.

He made the revelation in response to a review of a book by Calder Walton in to 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.

By Tom Whitehead

6:46PM BST 01 Apr 2013

Find this story at 1 April 2013

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