Coup Leader Charged Over Thomas Sankara's Murder

Coup Leader Charged Over Thomas Sankara's Murder

Coup Leader Charged Over Thomas Sankara's Murder

General Gilbert Diendere/Reuters

According to reports, authorities in Burkina Faso have charged, General Gilbert Diendere, a general who led a failed coup in the 1987 which led to the assassination of President Thomas Sankara, widely referred to as "Africa's Che Guevara"

The murder of Sankara is one of the most high-profile killings in Africa's post-independence history and the charge against General Gilbert Diendere appears to represent a breakthrough in a case that has haunted Burkina Faso for many years. The news comes after a pledge by the transitional government to investigate the murder.

Senior security sources told Reuters that General Gilbert Diendere is formally charged in the Thomas Sankara case, with direct knowledge of the case. Diendere was charged last month with complicity in assassination and attack.

Diendere's lawyer, Mathieu Some, told Reuters on Sunday his client had been charged over Sankara's death and he would prepare his legal defense. The charges are yet to be made public.

Ten others, less senior than Diendere, have already been charged. The senior security official said most were soldiers in the elite presidential guard of former President Blaise Compaore, who was ousted in October 2014.

Diendere was Compaore's intelligence chief and right-hand man. In September 1987, he led the presidential guard in a short-lived coup in which soldiers took transitional President Michel Kafando and the prime minister hostage.

The coup failed and in its aftermath, the presidential guard was disbanded and Diendere sought refuge at the Vatican embassy. He was then arrested and charged with murder and threatening state security. He is still in detention.

 

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