OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — A Burkina Faso military tribunal on Tuesday charged former President Blaise Compaore with complicity in the murder of Thomas Sankara, whom he ousted in a 1987 coup.
Thirteen other people were charged in connection with the killing, including Compaore’s former right-hand man, Gen. Gilbert Diendere. Charges against Compaore include undermining state security and concealing corpses, according to military documents seen by The Associated Press.
Among the accused is General Gilbert Diendere, Compaore’s former right-hand man and a former head of the elite Presidential Security Regiment (RSP) at the time of the coup.
Currently serving a 20-year sentence in Burkina Faso for masterminding a plot in 2015 against the West African country’s transitional government, Diendere, now 61, is believed to have headed the commando that killed Sankara.
Burkina Faso’s communications minister said an official government statement on the indictment will likely be issued on Wednesday. Eddie Komboigo, leader of the Compaore-founded Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP) party, declined to comment on the court’s announcement.
Compaore, who has been in exile in neighbouring Ivory Coast since 2014, has always denied involvement in Sankara’s assassination.
Sankara, who became an iconic revolutionary West African leader, took power in 1983 at age 33 after he and Compaore launched a leftist revolution to overthrow a moderate military faction. In 1987, Compaore turned on his former friend, staging the coup and ruling with an iron fist for more than 27 years before being ousted in a popular uprising in 2014. He now lives in exile in neighboring Ivory Coast.
Compaore’s trial will end a longstanding taboo in Burkina Faso politics and address his legacy head on, Alexandre Raymakers, senior Africa analyst at Verisk Maplecroft, a risk consultancy told AP.
But Compaore is unlikely to face extradition from Ivory Coast, Raymakers said. In 2015, Burkina Faso issued a warrant for his arrest but Ivory Coast has refused to hand him over