Burkina Faso to open trial on 1987 Sankara assassination

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

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

In the trial opening on Monday, former President Blaise Compaore and 13 others face an array of costs within the loss of life 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 have 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 will likely be tried in absentia by the army court docket within the capital, Ouagadougou [Lucas Jackson/Reuters]

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

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

In absentia

Compaore, who has all the time rejected allegations that he orchestrated the killing, will likely be tried in absentia by the army court docket within the capital, Ouagadougou.

Last 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 removing.

Another 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 is 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 Upper Volta, a legacy of the French colonial period, to Burkina Faso, which implies “the land of honest men”.

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 massive 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 plenty of are offended that the killers have gone unpunished.

“The trial will mark the end to all the lying – we will get a form of truth. But the trial will not be able to restore our dream,” Halouna Traore, a comrade of Sankara and survivor of the putsch, mentioned in a TV interview.

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