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What Really Happened in Congo

The CIA, the Murder of Lumumba, and the Rise of Mobutu

Author: Stephen R. Weissman
July/August 2014
Foreign Affairs


It didn't take long for Congo's transition from Belgian colony to sovereign state to turn ugly. Both the Soviet Union and the United States were keeping a close eye on the mineral-rich country at the heart of Africa when, on June 30, 1960, it gained independence under a democratically elected government headed by Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba. A charismatic nationalist, Lumumba led the only party in parliament with a nationwide, rather than ethnic or regional, base.

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