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Former Burkina Faso President Wanted for Killing of Thomas Sankara

  • James Butty

FILE - Blaise Compaore addresses the U.N. General Assembly as Burkina Faso's president, Sept. 25, 2013.

FILE - Blaise Compaore addresses the U.N. General Assembly as Burkina Faso's president, Sept. 25, 2013.

A brother of the late Burkina Faso President Thomas Sankara says the family has come one step closer to getting justice for Sankara’s death during a 1987 military coup led former President Blaise Compaore.

On Monday, the new Burkina Faso government issued an international arrest warrant for former president Compaore for his alleged role in the killing of Sankara. Compaore fled into exile earlier this year after he was overthrown by a popular uprising and is believed to be living either in Morocco or Ivory Coast.

Earlier this month, authorities also brought charges against General Gilbert Diendere, a former Compaore chief of staff, for his suspected role in the death of Sankara.

Paul Sankara, the younger brother of Thomas Sankara, said he hopes the government of Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara will extradite Compaore if he is in the country.

The Sankara family has accused late Ivory Coast President Felix Houphouet Boigny of complicity in the overthrow and assassination of Thomas Sankara.

“It’s the question of the future of the two countries. The best diplomatic approach of the government of Ivory Coast should be to may be have a negotiations in order to keep the good relationship between the two countries. I’m pretty sure that the government of Ivory Coast, for the sake of the historical relationship between the people of Ivory Coast and the people of Burkina Faso, the government in the Ivory Coast, the government of Ivory Coast will have a positive reaction will have a positive reaction to the request to send Blaise Compaore back to Burkina Faso,” he said

Sankara hopes Burkina Faso’s new President Roch Marc Christian Kabore will continue to fight for justice. Otherwise, Sankara said the Burkinabe people whose agitation brought him to power will return to the streets to protest.

“I will say that the new elected government were part of the 27 years regime of Blaise Compaore. At the same time, they have something more powerful than what Blaise Compaore may represent, which the people of Burkina Faso. The people of Burkina Faso, especially the youth and civil society will work until they get the truth and justice for Thomas Sankara,” Sankara said.

He added that the Sanakara family is pleased that after requests for probes into the death of Thomas Sankara were ignored during the time Compaore was in power, the transitional government that followed him has been working to investigate the killing.

Also on Monday, the Sanakara family said a police lab determined that the state of the remains of Sankara made it impossible to detect any DNA. Sankara’s body and those of 12 former aides were exhumed in October for an autopsy to determine how they died.

It had been hoped that DNA tests could confirm that the remains were indeed those of Sankara, whose death certificate stated that he died of "natural causes."