Burkina Faso’s former president Blaise Compaoré, who is currently living in exile in Côte d’Ivoire, will stand trial for the assassination of his predecessor Thomas Sankara, during the 1987 coup in which he took power, lawyers told AFP on Tuesday.
The case was referred Tuesday to the military court in Ouagadougou, after the confirmation of charges against the main defendants, including Blaise Compaoré, 34 years after the death of the a pan-African icon, according to defence lawyers and civil parties.
The former president, who was ousted from power by a popular uprising on 31 October 2014, was caught up in the case that he himself had filed away during his 27 years in power.
Exiled in Côte d’Ivoire since his fall, Compaoré is indicted for attacking state security, complicity in murder and receiving corpses in the Sankara case.
A total of 14 people are due to appear before the court in this case.
The Sankara case, long considered a taboo subject in the country, was reopened in 2015 with the arrival in power of Roch Marc Christian Kaboré.
Thomas Sankara, assassinated on 15 October 1987 at the age of 38 by a group of soldiers, was considered a revolutionary leader. From 1983 to 1987 he led Upper Volta, which was renamed Burkina Faso – land of men of integrity – in 1984.
Part of Sankara’s agenda was to abolish corruption and make his country self-reliant, while most African countries at the time were dependent on foreign aid. His foreign policies were centered on anti-imperialism, debt reduction, nationalizing all land and mineral wealth as well as reducing the power and influence of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
He was also famous for the domestic policies he introduced, concentrating on land reforms, preventing famine, literacy, public health and women empowerment. Sankara’s legacy remains revered throughout Africa today due to the progress he made through his ground breaking reforms in just 4 years as the president.
Kola Tella with AfP report