Blaise Compaoré, ex-Burkina Faso president, charged with 1987 murder of Thomas Sankara

Blaise Compaoré, former president of Burkina Faso, has been charged with the murder of Thomas Sankara, his predecessor.

According to Reuters, Compaoré was charged by a military tribunal on Tuesday with complicity in the assassination, undermining state security, and receiving cadavers.

Compaoré, who was charged in absentia, had, in October 2014, resigned and fled to Ivory Coast, following an uprising that followed his attempt to amend the constitution to extend his 27-year administration.

He was part of the coup d’état that deposed Jean-Baptiste Ouedraogo on August 4, 1983, and subsequently produced Thomas Sankara as president.

Compaoré took over power on October 15, 1987, in a coup which resulted in the death of Sankara, which he had described as “an accident”.

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Gilbert Diendere, Compaoré’s former right-hand man who was present at the court, was also charged with several crimes related to Sankara’s killing, including complicity in the assassination — he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Another Compaoré loyalist, Djibril Bassole, a former foreign minister who was accused of being the coup’s mastermind, was also sentenced to 10 years in prison for treason.

During his time in office, Sankara was praised for his efforts to improve the economy through local production, as well as promoting policies to reduce excessive spending by public officials.

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