Burkina Faso’s former president, Blaise Compaore, has reportedly been indicted by a military court in the country’s capital for the 1987 assassination of political revolutionary, Thomas Sankara. Hailed as a national hero, Sankara was assassinated alongside 12 other government officials in a coup led by Compaore before he ascended to power. In 2014, Compaore was forced to resign from his 27-year-long rule and seek exile in the Ivory Coast after continued mass demonstrations. 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
According to AFP, lawyer to the family of Sankara, Guy Hervé Kam, responded to the news saying, “The time for justice has finally come. A trial can begin. It will be up to the military prosecutor to determine a date for the hearing.”
The indictment is certainly a pivotal moment in the now 34-year-long quest for justice for not only Sankara’s family, but the entire nation. While Compaore had repeatedly denied calls to exhume Sankara’s remains during his time in office, following his resignation, Sankara’s remains were exhumed in 2015 and described by his widow, Mariam Sankara, as having been “riddled with more than a dozen bullets,” Al Jazeera reports.
Sankara, who was known as a vocal Pan-Africanist and anti-imperialist, was beloved among the Burkinabe people with his assassination at the tender age of just 37, cutting deep into the socio-political fabric of the country even till today.
In four years as president, he became the first African leader to denounce the menace of AIDS, took a stand against the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and promoted women’s rights by opposing female genital mutilation and polygamy.
While a date for the trial has not as yet been set or announced, Kam is optimistic that it will be soon. There have also been several attempts to extradite Compaore in the past, however, Ivory Coast has refused to hand him over.