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Turning Off Congo’s Looting Machine

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has been pillaged by foreign governments and corporations for more than 500 years, and this sordid pattern continues to this day. Given this history, is it any wonder that the country suffers from massive corruption, perpetual conflict, and state capture?

WASHINGTON, DC – Last month, the Belgian government returned a gold-capped tooth that was ripped from the mouth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s first elected prime minister, Patrice Lumumba, more than 60 years ago. Lumumba was assassinated in 1961 by a Belgian execution squad that dissolved his body in acid, taking the tooth as a “hunting trophy.” Now, the Belgian government has been attempting to make amends for the crimes that Belgium visited upon the Congolese people in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.