Burkina Faso Charges Former President With Murder of Sankara

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A Burkina Faso military tribunal charged ex-President Blaise Compaore and other officials with the murder of Thomas Sankara, the iconic West African leader killed in a 1987 coup.

Compaore, one of his top aides, Gilbert Diendere, and 12 others should face trial for the killing the former president known as “Africa’s Che Guevara,” the tribunal said Tuesday in a ruling in the capital, Ouagadougou.

Compaore has been living in exile in Ivory Coast since being removed from power in a popular revolt in 2014. His party finished second in elections in November and his supporters last month urged the government to allow him to return to the country.

Burkina Faso Charges Former President With Murder of Sankara

Sankara was an army captain and anti-imperialist who seized power in a 1983 coup. He led the country for four years until his murder at the age of 37. Burkina Faso’s transitional government reopened the case of his murder, which remains unresolved after more than three decades.

Compaore, who fled the country after three decades in power, blocked all attempts to investigate the killing of his one-time comrade. Sankara is still admired in West Africa for his policies such as promoting women and improving health and education, and held up as an example of a leader by a generation of Burkinabe born after he died.

Critics say Sankara’s National Council of the Revolution also imprisoned union leaders without trial, sometimes abusing military rule.

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