Saturday, April 13, 2024

Burkina Faso: Compaore sentenced to life for Sankara assassination

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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.

A military tribunal in Burkina Faso has sentenced to life in prison former President Blaise Compaore for his role in the murder of former leader Thomas Sankara.

The pan-African leader was assassinated over three decades but it is only now that a trial is taking place to reveal the facts.

Compaore was tried and sentenced though in absentia by a military tribunal on Wednesday. He is in exile abroad.

Compaore was sentenced along with his then-security chief, Hyacinthe Kafando, who also received a life term.

The tribunal said it found the men “guilty of attack on state security, complicity in murder and concealment of a corpse.”

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Sankara’s widow Mariam Sankara who was present for the sentencing told the media she was “satisfied” with the verdict, but “wished” Compaore and Kafando were present.

“It is not good that people kill other people and stop the process of development of a country without being punished,” she told reporters.

Last year when the trial started a former soldier admitted his role in events leading to the death of Thomas Sankara.

Yamba Elise Ilboudo, 62 who was on trial, charged with complicity in endangering state security told the tribunal that 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.

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

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.

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 boycotted the trial has always denied allegations that he engineered the assassination.

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


Remembering Thomas Sankara



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