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Congo to create city in honor of Patrice Lumumba

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May 14, 2013 12:12 PM EST | AP


KINSHASA, Congo — The Congolese government is naming a town after Patrice Lumumba, the country's first prime minister whose assassination more than 50 years ago made him a liberation symbol worldwide.

The new city in central Congo, named Lumumbaville, will be made of several existing communities in the Kassai-Oriental province and will be more than 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) from the capital.

Government spokesman Lambert Mende said Tuesday that Lumumbaville will "honor the memory of a great Congolese statesman."

Lumumba was elected prime minister when Belgium granted independence to Congo in 1960 after almost a century of colonial rule.

The responsibility for Lumumba's 1961 death remains a mystery. Lumumba's son, Laurent, welcomed the creation of a town in his father's honor but called on the government to conclusively determine who assassinated him.