Burkina trial: Who killed Thomas Sankara?

APA- Ouagadougou Who killed Thomas Sankara is one of several key questions judicial officials in Burkina Faso would be asking as the trial over his assassination thirty-four years ago got underway at a military court in the capital Ouagadougou. Thomas Sankara, who led the Burkinabe revolution, came to power on August 4, 1983 and was killed with 12 of his aides on…

APA – Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) Who killed Thomas Sankara is one of several key questions judicial officials in Burkina Faso would be asking as the trial over his assassination thirty-four years ago got underway at a military court in the capital Ouagadougou.

One of the main accused, ex president Blaise Compaore is snubbing the trial while denying any involvement in the 1987 killing of Mr Sankara widely celebrated on the continent as Africa’s Che Guevara.

Thomas Sankara, who led the Burkinabe revolution, came to power on August 4, 1983 and was killed with 12 of his aides on October 15, 1987.

Thirty-four years later, the trial in Ouagadougou is intended to shed light on the circumstances of his assassination.

The five members of the Ouagadougou military court (two professional magistrates and three military assessors) will have to decide on several questions: Who killed Thomas Sankara and 12 of his companions? Was this crime premeditated and, if so, who gave the order? Who were the accomplices?

“We want to know who made the decision, who committed the act, who supported it and why,” says Celine Bamouni, the daughter of Paulin Bamouni, then head of the presidential press, who was killed next to Thomas Sankara.

Burkina Faso’s military prosecutor has charged 14 people, including former President Compaore, who now lives in exile in Cote d’Ivoire, his former security chief General Gilbert Diendere, who is serving a 20-year prison sentence for a 2015 coup attempt, and former Sergeant Hyacinthe Kafando, Compaore’s bodyguard at the time of the events.

Compaore, ousted from power in 2014 by a popular uprising, has decided not to appear.

The former president has been living in Cote d’Ivoire since his fall from power.

Now protected by his recently acquired Ivorian nationality, he will be tried in absentia at the same time as Hyacinthe Kafando, who has not been found since 2015.

Compaore’s lawyers denounce the judicial proceeding as a “political trial” and call the military tribunal a “special jurisdiction.

The former president’s advisers are also invoking his parliamentary immunity, conferred by his status as a former head of state, to oppose his subpoena.

This legal marathon is expected to last at least four months, according to judicial sources, and should help bring out the truth and finally seal the process of reconciliation in Burkina Faso.

CD/fss/abj/APA

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