Sankara widow urges Compaore arrest

Burkina Faso former President Blaise Compaore

A file picture taken on November 12, 2008 shows ex-Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore attending a high-level meeting at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) headquarters in Geneva.

Photo credit: Fabrice Coffrini | AFP

What you need to know:

  • Slain President Thomas Sankara’s widow has appealed to the Ivorian authorities to extradite ex-President Blaise Compaoré in keeping with an international warrant of arrest.
  • Ex-President Compaoré and the failed coup leader Gen Gilbert Dindéré who is also awaiting trial for last September’s failed coup, are alleged to be the masterminds of the assassination of Thomas Sankara and 12 of his companions in October 1987.
  • Captain Compaoré seized power after the assassination and ruled the country for 28 years, up to October 2014.

Slain President Thomas Sankara’s widow has appealed to the Ivorian authorities to extradite ex-President Blaise Compaoré in keeping with an international warrant of arrest.

Mrs Mariam Sankara made the appeal on Tuesday night on Radio France International.

A military court in Ouagadougou on Monday night charged ex-President Compaoré with the assassination of Thomas Sankara.

Mr Compaoré has been residing in neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire since he was ousted in October last year.

EXTRADITION

In her appeal, Mrs Sankare especially urged the Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara to facilitate the extradition of ‘‘his friend (Mr Compaore) so that he can say the truth’’ about the allegations.

‘‘I’m very anxious to see him (Compaoré) face the judges and tell them why he did that. We want him to explain to us all’’, she appealed in a shivering voice.

She expressed satisfaction over the progress being made by the interim government as well as the newly elected government in Burkina Faso to bring those guilty of assassinating her husband to court.

Ex-President Compaoré and the failed coup leader Gen Gilbert Dindéré who is also awaiting trial for last September’s failed coup, are alleged to be the masterminds of the assassination of Thomas Sankara and 12 of his companions in October 1987.

Captain Compaoré was then the number two man to Captain Sankara while Gen Diendéré was the commander of the special presidential guard battalion that protected President Sankara.

Captain Compaoré seized power after the assassination and ruled the country for 28 years, up to October 2014.

If found guilty, Mr Compaoré will spend the rest of his life in prison, legal sources said.

JUSTICE

Meanwhile, Paul Sankara, the younger brother of Thomas Sankara, says he hopes Burkina Faso’s new President Roch Marc Christian Kabore will continue to fight for justice.

Otherwise, Sankara said the Burkinabe people whose agitation brought him to power will return to the streets to protest.

“I will say that the new elected government were part of the 27 years regime of Blaise Compaore.

At the same time, they have something more powerful than what Blaise Compaore may represent, which is the people of Burkina Faso.

The people of Burkina Faso, especially the youth and civil society will work until they get the truth and justice for Thomas Sankara,” Mr Paul Sankara said.

He added that the Sanakara family is pleased that after requests for probes into the death of Thomas Sankara were ignored during the time Compaore was in power, the transitional government that followed him has been working to investigate the killing.

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