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Burkina Faso issues international warrant for ousted leader Compaoré

Sia Kambou, AFP | Burkina Faso's ousted leader Blaise Compaoré at a meeting in Ouagadougou on July 26, 2014

Burkina Faso has issued an international warrant for ousted leader Blaise Compaoré for his suspected role in the 1987 killing of his former comrade, ex-president Thomas Sankara, a judicial source said on Monday.


Compaoré, who was ousted in October 2014 and is living in exile in neighbouring Ivory Coast, has been charged with assassinating Sankara, a Burkinabe judicial source told FRANCE 24’s sister radio station RFI.

Sankara – a popular Burkinabe revolutionary figure dubbed “Africa’s Che Guevara” – was killed on October 15, 1987, during a military coup that brought his former comrade in arms Compaoré to power. But the exact circumstances of his death remain unclear.

Speaking to RFI, Sankara’s widow, Mariam Sankara, welcomed the latest reports. “We would be pleased if it’s true,” she said.

Sankara’s killing has been one of Africa’s most compelling murder mysteries, sparking rumours and allegations.

While Sankara’s stature as a legendary figure grew across the continent, with fans adopting his signature red beret and protesters waving his photograph, the mystery and intrigue behind his assassination has only increased.

Compaoré, who ruled the impoverished West African nation for 27 years before his October 2014 ouster, has long been suspected of involvement in Sankara’s murder.

No DNA traces yet

A police lab helping investigate the killing of the iconic former president on Monday said it had not managed to detect any of his DNA in the remains presumed to be his, according to a family lawyer.

Remains believed to be those of Sankara and 12 former aides also killed during the coup were exhumed from a cemetery in the capital Ouagadougou in May.

At least five other people, mostly former soldiers, have been charged in connection with Sankara's killing – including General Gilbert Diendéré, Compaoré's former chief of staff, who led a failed coup in September.

The charges against Compaoré mark a major step in the case as interim authorities prepare to hand over power to former prime minister Roch Marc Kaboré, winner of a November presidential election.


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