- Title: Trial over murder of 'Africa's Che Guevara' opens in Burkina Faso
- Date: 11th October 2021
- Summary: OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO (FILE - 2018) (REUTERS) GENERALS DJIBRIL BASSOLE (FAR LEFT), GILBERT DIENDERE (MIDDLE LEFT), AND OTHER CO-ACCUSED LEONCE KONE (MIDDLE RIGHT) AND HERMANN YAMEOGO (FAR RIGHT), SEATED DURING TRIAL IN 2018 DIENDERE'S FACE DIENDERE AND KONE SITTING VARIOUS OF DIENDERE WITH LAWYERS AT START OF TRIAL
- Embargoed: 25th October 2021 12:14
- Keywords: 1987 coup Africa's Che Guevara Blaise Compaore Thomas Sankara trial
- Location: VARIOUS
- City: VARIOUS
- Country: Burkina Faso
- Topics: Africa,Crime/Law/Justice,Judicial Process/Court Cases/Court Decisions
- Reuters ID: LVA006EYPSYTJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:The trial of 14 people accused of plotting to assassinate Burkina Faso's former president Thomas Sankara started on Monday (October 11), more than 30 years after he was gunned down in one of the most infamous killings in modern African history.
Sankara - a charismatic Marxist revolutionary widely known as "Africa's Che Guevara" - was killed in 1987 during a coup led by his former ally Blaise Compaore.
Compaore, the main defendant, was charged in absentia in April with complicity in the murder. He is living in exile in neighbouring Ivory Coast and has always denied any involvement in Sankara's death.
Compaore's former head of security, Hyacinthe Kafando, is also being tried in his absence. Twelve other defendants are due to appear in front of military tribunal in the Ouaga2000 conference centre in Ouagadougou. They have pleaded not guilty.
More than 100 journalists from across the world packed into the conference centre at the start of the hearing.
Sankara seized power in a 1983 coup at the age of 33 with promises to tackle corruption and the dominance of former colonial powers.
The former fighter pilot was one of the first African leaders to raise awareness about the growing AIDS epidemic. He publicly denounced the World Bank's structural adjustment programmes and banned female circumcision and polygamy.
Sankara won public support with his modest lifestyle, riding to work on a bicycle during his time as a minister and selling the government's fleet of Mercedes vehicles when he was president.
But critics said his reforms curtailed freedoms and left ordinary little better off.
(Production: Parul Gupta)
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