The trial of 14 males, together with a former president, has opened in Burkina Faso over the assassination of the nation’s revered revolutionary chief Thomas Sankara 34 years in the past.
The killing of Sankara, an icon of pan-Africanism, has solid a shadow over Sahel state, fuelling its popularity for turbulence and bloodshed.
Sankara and 12 others have been shot by successful squad in October 1987 throughout a putsch that introduced his buddy and comrade-in-arms Blaise Compaoré to energy.
Compaoré dominated the nation for the subsequent 27 years earlier than being deposed by a well-liked rebellion and fleeing to neighbouring Ivory Coast, which granted him citizenship.
He and his former righthand man, Gen Gilbert Diendéré, who as soon as led the elite presidential safety regiment, face prices of complicity in homicide, harming state safety and complicity within the concealment of corpses.
Compaoré, who has all the time rejected suspicions that he orchestrated the killing, is being tried in absentia by the navy courtroom within the capital, Ouagadougou.
His attorneys introduced final week that he wouldn’t be attending a “political trial” flawed by irregularities and mentioned he loved immunity as a former head of state.
Diendéré, 61, is serving a 20-year sentence for masterminding a plot in 2015 towards the transitional authorities that adopted Compaoré’s ouster.
One other distinguished determine among the many accused is Hyacinthe Kafando, a former chief warrant officer in Compaoré’s presidential guard, who’s accused of main the hit squad. He’s on the run.
Sankara, a military captain and Marxist-Leninist, got here to energy in a coup in 1983 aged 33.
Sometimes called the African Che Guevara, he tossed out the nation’s identify of Higher Volta, a legacy of the French colonial period, and renamed it Burkina Faso, which implies “the land of trustworthy males”.
He pushed forward with a socialist agenda of nationalisations and banned feminine genital mutilation, polygamy and compelled marriages.
Like Ghana’s former chief Jerry Rawlings, he turned an idol in leftwing circles in Africa, lauded for his radical insurance policies and defiance of the large powers.
Burkina Faso has lengthy been burdened by silence over the assassination – throughout Compaoré’s very long time in workplace, the topic was taboo – and lots of are indignant that the killers have gone unpunished.
“The trial will mark the top to all of the mendacity – we are going to get a type of fact. However the trial will be unable to revive our dream,” Halouna Traoré, a comrade of Sankara and survivor of the putsch, mentioned in a TV interview.