34 years after the assassination of Burkina Faso’s leader, Thomas Sankara, a panel has been set up to try the 14 people who have been accused of having a hand in his untimely death. His death which took place on 15th of October 1987 after he was gunned down has so far been classified as one of the gruesome killings in the history of Modern Africa.
One of Sankara’s mantras was to fight corruption and colonial powers. Somehow, he was able to endear the heart of the entire country of Burkina Faso to himself especially through his modest lifestyle in contrast to other African leaders. He was known to ride bicycles as a minister. In an anti-corruption move as a president, he also sold the government’s vehicles. Sankara was also known to stop polygamy and female circumcision. When AIDS was still new in Africa, he was one of the people that created awareness about the pandemic.
Unfortunately, his tenure was short-lived after he was overthrown by Blaise Campaore who accused him of breaching international relations with their neighbor, Ivory Coast as well as their colonial master, France. Campaore was overthrown in 2014 and had since been in exile in Ivory Coast.
The hearing of this case has attracted hundreds of journalists across the globe into the West African country.
His widow, Mariam Sankara on the new development of opening the trial of the suspects behind the infamous killing stated, ‘It is a moment we have been waiting for.’ She was hopeful that the trial would lead to the justice of the other 12 victims that were killed during the coup.
In her words, she reiterated, ‘it is important to all these families. This trial is needed so that the culture of impunity and violence that still rages in many African countries, despite the democratic façade, stops indefinitely.’
The trial extends to Comparore’s former head of security, Hyancinthe Kafando who is absent. Campaore’s non availability at the trial is said to be caused by the refusal of Ivory Coast to extradite him as stated by his lawyer.