Burkina Faso has issued an international arrest warrant for
ousted leader Blaise Compaore in connection with the murder of
former president Thomas Sankara nearly 30 years ago, judicial
sources told Reuters on Monday.
The popular leaderâ€™s 1987 murder is one of
the most infamous assassinations of Africaâ€™s
turbulent post-independence period, and Burkina
Fasoâ€™s interim government has pledged to solve
A body believed to be Sankaraâ€™s was exhumed
earlier this year and an autopsy showed it was riddled with
bullets, strengthening assertions that he was executed in the 1987
coup that brought Compaore to power.
Compaore himself was driven from power last October by crowds
opposing his bid to change the West African
countryâ€™s constitution and extend his 27-year
rule. He fled to neighboring Ivory Coast, where he is now thought
to be based.
â€œI confirm that an international arrest
warrant was issued against (ex-)President Blaise Compaore by the
investigating judge,â€ Prosper Farama, a lawyer for
Sankaraâ€™s family, told Reuters. He said the
charges were murder and complicity in the assassination, among
Two other judicial sources who requested anonymity confirmed
the warrant, which they said was issued on Dec. 4. A Burkina
government spokesman was not available for comment.
Bruno Kone, Ivory Coastâ€™s government
spokesman, said, â€œThe government has not been
notified. We have nothing official and no comment to
The charges against Compaore mark a major step in the case as
interim authorities prepare to hand over power to former prime
minister Roch Marc Kabore, winner of a November presidential
Sankara took power in a coup in 1983 and pursued a philosophy
of Marxism and pan-Africanism that led him to be called
Guevara.â€ Many African intellectuals view him as a
Another family lawyer said on Monday that a team of French
investigators had failed to identify DNA from samples of a corpse
presumed to be Sankara. The family has two weeks to seek a second
At least 10 others have already been charged in connection
with his murder. They include General Gilbert Diendere, who led a
failed coup in September.