A former president of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore, has been sentenced to life imprisonment over his complicity in the murder of his predecessor, Thomas Sankara, during a coup in 1987.
Aside from the former president, the military tribunal sitting in Ouagadougou, the country’s capital, has also sentenced Compaore’s former Head of Security, Hyacinthe Kafando, to the same punishment as his ex-boss.
Before the tribunal delivered its ruling on Wednesday, Compaore and his aide were said to have been arraigned and n charged in absentia along with his former Head of Security that was also accused of aiding him.
The tribunal stated that both have previously denied any involvement in Sankara’s death along with 12 other defendants accused of involvement in the plot.
Meanwhile, of the 12 brought before the tribunal, three have been discharged and acquainted with the murder that occurred over 34 years ago in the West African nation.
of whom were declared innocent.
“The court finds Blaise Compaoré and Hyacinthe Kafando guilty of attack on state security, complicity in murder, and concealment of a corpse,” it said.
Before his ouster, Compaore ruled for 27 years before being ousted in another coup in 2014, resulting in his fleeing to Ivory Coast, where he was still believed to live.
It would be recalled that Sankara, fondly called Africa’s “Che Guevara”, came to power on a promise to thwart corruption and post-colonial influences, denouncing foreign aid as a control mechanism.
He rolled out mass vaccination against polio, banned female circumcision and polygamy, and was one of the first African leaders to publicly recognise the growing AIDS epidemic as a threat to the continent.