Home Today Burkina Faso to open trial on 1987 Sankara assassination

Burkina Faso to open trial on 1987 Sankara assassination

Ex-president amongst 14 who face expenses in killing of former chief Thomas Sankara 34 years in the past.

The trial of 14 males, together with a former president, is ready to start in Burkina Faso over the assassination of the nation’s revered revolutionary chief Thomas Sankara 34 years in the past.

Within the trial opening on Monday, former President Blaise Compaore and 13 others face an array of expenses within the demise of Sankara, described by his followers because the African Che Guevara.

The killing of Sankara, an icon of pan-Africanism, has for years forged a darkish shadow over the Sahel state.

Sankara and 12 others had been riddled with bullets by successful squad in October 1987 throughout a putsch that introduced his buddy and comrade-in-arms Compaore to energy.

Burkina FasoCompaore can be tried in absentia by the army courtroom within the capital, Ouagadougou [Lucas Jackson/Reuters]

Compaore dominated the nation for the following 27 years earlier than being deposed by a well-liked rebellion and fleeing to neighbouring Ivory Coast, which granted him citizenship.

He and his former right-hand man, Basic Gilbert Diendere, who as soon as headed the elite Presidential Safety Regiment, face expenses of complicity in homicide, harming state safety and complicity within the concealment of corpses.

In absentia

Compaore, who has at all times rejected allegations that he orchestrated the killing, can be tried in absentia by the army courtroom within the capital, Ouagadougou.

Final week, his legal professionals introduced he wouldn’t be attending a “political trial” flawed by irregularities, and insisted he loved immunity as a former head of state.

Diendere, 61, is already serving a 20-year sentence for masterminding a plot in 2015 towards the transitional authorities that adopted Compaore’s elimination.

One other outstanding determine among the many accused is Hyacinthe Kafando, a former chief warrant officer in Compaore’s presidential guard, who’s accused of main the hit squad. He’s on the run.

Burkina Faso coupDiendere is among the many 14 defendants within the Sankara homicide trial [File: Theo Renaut/AP]

A younger military captain and Marxist-Leninist, Sankara got here to energy in a coup in 1983 aged simply 33.

He modified the nation’s identify from Higher Volta, a legacy of the French colonial period, to Burkina Faso, which implies “the land of sincere males”.

He pushed forward with a socialist agenda of nationalisations and banned feminine genital mutilation, polygamy and compelled marriages.

Like Ghana’s former chief Jerry Rawlings, he grew to become an idol in left-wing circles in Africa, lauded for his radical insurance policies and defiance of the large powers.

Burkina Faso has lengthy been burdened by silence over the assassination – throughout Compaore’s very long time in workplace, the topic was taboo – and lots of are indignant that the killers have gone unpunished.

“The trial will mark the top to all of the mendacity – we’ll get a type of fact. However the trial won’t be able to revive our dream,” Halouna Traore, a comrade of Sankara and survivor of the putsch, stated in a TV interview.

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