Dr. Félix Moumié (pictured) was the leader of the Union des Populations du Cameroun or the Union of the Peoples of Cameroon (UPC), a left-wing political party that began in 1947. In 1950, though, Dr. Moumié was assassinated by poisoning on this day in 1960, just two years after his successor was killed.
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As a member of the UPC, Dr. Moumié was identified as the reason why the party became more radicalized in 1953. The UPC was fighting for Cameroon’s independence from France, meeting heavy military resistance during its rise from the colonial rulers.
According to historian Bernard Droz, the UPC was given weapons by China and eventually seized control of 460 villages and boasted 80,000 members.
The party was forced in to exile in the summer of 1955, spreading to Egypt, Ghana, China, and other countries supportive of Cameroonian Independence. In 1956, the UPC resurfaced and challenged the colonial power via the international press. Moumié; Ruben Um Nyobé; the UPC’s Secretary General; and Ernest Ouandié and Abel Kingué, two vice presidents, signed a declaration of independence.
Um Nyobé was killed on September 13, 1958, giving rise to Moumié leading the UPC in to an even larger radicalized group against the French occupiers.
However, Moumié was poisoned by the French Secret Service while he was in Geneva.
A 2007 documentary film, “POLITICAL ASSASSINATIONS: Death in Geneva: The Poisoning of Felix Moumié,” shares more about the death of the leader that was nicknamed “Cameroon’s [Patrice] Lumumba.”
Watch a clip about Moumie’s assassination here:
Moumié’s body was sent to Guinea and embalmed then placed in a sarcophagus. According to the press release of the film, Cameroon refused to bury the body and Swiss authorities knew Moumié’s murderer but did not elect to press charges.
In the film, Moumié’s widow attempts to have her husband’s body buried in his homeland only to discover his grave had been defiled and his body missing.
The UPC continued fighting French forces despite the country’s independence in 1961.