Burkina Faso’s former president Blaise Compaore (left in the picture) was sentenced to life in prison for involvement in the 1987 murder of his predecessor Thomas Sankara (right in the picture) in a coup, a military tribunal ruled on Wednesday. The captivating young leader was gunned down in the West African nation’s capital Ouagadougou at the age of thirty-seven years old, four years after he took power in a previous putsch. Two of Compaore’s former top associates, Hyacinthe Kafando and Gilbert Diendere, were also sentenced to life imprisonment.
Compaore, who lives in Ivory Coast, was sentenced to life along with his former head of security Hyacinthe Kafando and Gilbert Diendéré two of the army commanders during the 1987 coup. Fourteen people were charged in total for Sankara’s killing in the trial, which began in October. Eight other people were found guilty of a range of charges including giving false testimonies and complicity in undermining state security.
Thomas Sankara became president on August 4th, 1983, after an internal power struggle at the end of a coup. At the age of thirty-three, he was one of the youngest leaders in modern African history. His type of leadership of nationalization, land redistribution and mass social welfare was hailed as transformative, over a four-year rule of one of the world’s poorest countries. The Sankara government was credited for leaps in education and healthcare provision, and social reforms towards ending polygamy and female genital mutilation.
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