DAKAR, Senegal — One of the extremely anticipated trials ever to happen in Africa opened on Monday within the capital of Burkina Faso, aiming to ascertain who killed Thomas Sankara, the nation’s former president and a revolutionary chief as soon as famend throughout the continent.
Mr. Sankara was assassinated 34 years in the past by a success squad within the capital, Ouagadougou, after solely 4 years in energy.
Now, 14 males accused of plotting his demise are on trial within the capital. Amongst them is a person as soon as generally known as his shut pal, Blaise Compaoré, who went on to succeed Mr. Sankara as president — and stayed in energy for 27 years. Mr. Compaoré is being tried in absentia; makes an attempt by the federal government of Burkina Faso to extradite him from the Ivory Coast, the place he lives in exile, have been unsuccessful.
A lot of the accused arrived on the courtroom on Monday in a white bus. Moreover Mr. Compaoré, the person suspected of main the group that killed Mr. Sankara, Hyacinthe Kafando, was additionally absent, his whereabouts unknown.
“We’ve been ready for this second,” stated Mariam Sankara, Mr. Sankara’s widow, arriving on the trial on Monday from her dwelling within the south of France. She had pressed for years to deliver his killers to justice.
Mr. Sankara was president of Burkina Faso, a landlocked and numerous nation in West Africa, from 1983, when he took energy in a coup, to 1987. He was 37 when he was killed, and already revered in lots of African international locations for talking out towards the vestiges of colonialism and the impression of Western monetary establishments just like the World Financial institution and the Worldwide Financial Fund.
“The revolution’s principal goal,” Mr. Sankara stated not lengthy after taking energy, “is to destroy imperialist domination and exploitation.”
He renamed the nation, altering it from Higher Volta, as labeled by France — to Burkina Faso, which implies “the land of upright individuals” in Mossi, the language of the nation’s largest ethnic group.
The trial, which is anticipated to final a number of months, is a army tribunal presided over each by civilian and army officers.
Essentially the most anticipated testimony could possibly be that of Gilbert Diendéré, who was the one accused man to attend the trial in army uniform. A former normal and the right-hand man of Mr. Compaoré, he’s accused of attacking state safety, complicity to homicide, concealing corpses, and bribing witnesses.