14 men including Blaise Compaoré to face trial for Thomas Sankara’s assassination

14 men including Blaise Compaoré to face trial for Thomas Sankara’s assassination

Following the killing of charismatic Pan-Africanist, Thomas Sankara 14 men are going on trial, accused of complicity in the murder of the man known as “Africa’s Che Guevara”.

He was shot dead aged 37 by soldiers during a coup on October 15, 1987, which saw his close friend, Blaise Compaoré, come to power.

Notwithstanding, the two had four years prior, staged the takeover which saw Sankara assume the presidency.

Mr Compaoré is among the 14 accused but he is currently in exile in the neighbouring Ivory Coast, where he fled after being forced to resign during mass protests in 2014. He has repeatedly denied involvement in Sankara’s death and is boycotting the trial.

The widow of the former president, Mariam Sankara told the BBC “I have been waiting for this for a long time. I want to know the truth, and who did what.”

Sankara is one of the famous Pan Africanists who resisted oppressors and defined his own will and vigour for the people of Burkina Faso. He remains something of an icon across Africa – stickers emblazoned with his face adorn taxis across West Africa, while across the continent in South Africa, radical opposition leader Julius Malema cites him as one of his inspirations.

He called for a united Africa to stand against what he called the “neo-colonialism” of institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

As a result of his adoption of an anti-imperialist foreign policy which challenged the dominance of France, which retained huge influence in many of its former colonies in Africa, such as Burkina Faso. His widow Mariam has accused France of masterminding his assassination.

In 2016, the Burkina Faso authorities officially asked the French government to release military documents about Sankara’s assassination.

Those archives were declassified and transmitted to Burkina Faso in three stages – the final one in April 2021.

By: Elisha Aberiganya | Follow us on Twitter @activtvgh

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