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Burkinabe Want Justice After Coup Leader Surrender

FILE - Presidential guard soldiers are seen on the grounds of the Laico Hotel in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Sept. 20, 2015.
FILE - Presidential guard soldiers are seen on the grounds of the Laico Hotel in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Sept. 20, 2015.

The leader and chief negotiator for the Confederation of Labor Unions in Burkina Faso said the Burkinabe people want justice, now that the leader of last month’s failed coup has surrendered to authorities.

General Gilbert Diendere turned himself in Thursday following negotiations with officials in the capital, Ouagadougou.

VOA’s French to Africa service reports that Diendere received assurances that he would not be killed and that he and other soldiers who took part in the September 16 coup will receive a fair trial.

Labor union leader Bazie Bassolma said the people want justice because of General Diendere’s actions.

“There are many, many, many things. The first thing is that we have found his name in many problems in our country. We also know that at this moment there are many bodies in our hospitals. So we need to try him to get justice for our people,” he said.

Bassolma said General Diendere is also believed to have had a hand in the death of Burkina Faso’s charismatic revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara and may have had a connection to Liberia’s civil war.

“It is not only Thomas Sankara; there are others like Dabo Bokari and Charles Taylor in Liberia and Angola. His name is found on many, many problems his name was found,” said Bassolma.

He said the unions and civil society do not accept granting amnesty to General Diendere and other members of the failed coup because they have the blood of Burkinabe on their hands.

“We cannot accept that terrorists killed many people and now want to get amnesty. We will not accept,” Bassolma said.

Bassolma said while elections are an important democracy tool, the answer to the problems afflicting Burkina now cannot be solved by democracy alone.

“You know the solution to our problem is not in election. If we are not organized, if we are not mobilize it would be difficult to find solution to our problems,” he said.

Bassolma thanked Africans around the continent for their support.

“The first thing is to thank our brothers and sisters in other countries who helped us in this difficult situation. We are fighting for democracy in Burkina Faso but also for Africa and the world," he said.