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Attorney: Burkina Faso Leader Sankara Was Assassinated

FILE - Thomas Sankara

A lawyer for the family of Burkina Faso's late Marxist revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara said Tuesday that an autopsy proved he was assassinated in 1987.

The attorney said Sankara was killed by at least 10 gunshots to the head and legs and thrown into a grave with 12 others.

Sankara's relatives have always said they never got satisfactory answers on how he died. Sankara's successor, former President Blaise Compaore, always denied involvement in the killing but thwarted the family's demand for an investigation.

A popular uprising overthrew Compaore last year, and the transitional government in the West African country gave permission for Sankara's body to be exhumed.

Sankara took power in 1983 after a military coup and immediately went to work to help the poor in the former French colony. He changed the name of the country from Upper Volta, nationalized private industries, redistributed land, and increased educational and health opportunities for children.

He was overthrown by Compare in 1987.

Meanwhile, the date for Burkina Faso's presidential and parliamentary elections has been set for November 29. The elections were to have been held October 11 but were postponed after a failed coup attempt against the transition government that replaced Compaore.