Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Burkina Faso: Ex-soldier admits role in murder of Thomas Sankara

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Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.
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A former soldier has admitted his role in events leading to the death of former leader of Burkina Faso Thomas Sankara, 34 years ago.

Yamba Elise Ilboudo, 62 is currently on trial, charged with complicity in endangering state security.

The ongoing trial at a military court in Ouagadougou is hoping to bring closure to the assassination of Sankara, considered a revolutionary leader of Burkina Faso.

Ilboudo on Tuesday said he helped transport a hit squad to assassinate Thomas Sankara.

In his testimony to the court, the 62-year-old former soldier said on the day of the October 15 1987 coup, he was “at Blaise Compaore‘s home” with other men.

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“We were under the orders of Hyacinthe Kafando, as head of security,” Ilboudo said.

Kafando became chief warrant officer in Compaore’s presidential guard after that coup.

He is alleged to have been in charge of the hit squad. Kafando is currently on the run.

Compaore who has boycotted the trial and always denied allegations that he engineered the assassination is also being tried in absentia.

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According to Ilboudo he was told by Kafando to drive to the meeting which Sankara was attending.

He testified that when they arrived, Kafando and another individual called Maiga, “who had been driving Blaise Compaore’s car, got out and opened fire.”

Kafando, according to the ex-soldiers testimony then ordered the men in the two cars to get out with some going “to the rear of the building where President Sankara was”.

Ilboudo said he remained in the car during the subsequent incidents and did not open fire.

He admitted to the charge of complicity in endangering state security but said his actions were unpremeditated since he had not taken part in any meeting to plan the assassination, nor had he taken part in the shooting.

Fourteen people are on trial for the 1987 assassination in which Thomas Sankara and 12 others were killed at a top government meeting.

The accused include Sankara’s friend and former comrade-in-arms, Blaise Compaore, who came to power after the bloodbath.

Compaore ruled for 27 years before being deposed by a popular uprising in 2014 and fleeing to neighbouring Ivory Coast.


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