Former president of Burkina Faso wanted on international arrest warrant

Blaise Compaore, ousted in a popular uprising in 2014, has denied involvement in the 1987 assassination of revolutionary party leader Thomas Sankara.


Blaise Compaore in 2012. He came to power in a bloody coup in 1987 and was president of Burkina Faso, in West Africa, until ousted in a popular uprising in October, 2014.

OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO — Burkina Faso’s military court has issued an international arrest warrant for former President Blaise Compaore for the assassination of the country’s ex-revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara, the tribunal director said Monday.

Sankara was killed along with 12 of his supporters during a 1987 bloody coup that brought Compaore to power. An investigation into Sankara’s death was reopened after Compaore was ousted in October 2014 in a popular uprising. Compaore, who was in power for 27 years in the West African nation, has denied involvement in Sankara’s killing and now lives in exile in neighbouring Ivory Coast.

Remains believed to be those of Sankara were exhumed earlier this year from a cemetery on the edge of the capital, Ouagadougou, and are being examined.

“I can confirm the warrant of arrest” for Compaore, said military tribunal director Col. Sita Sangare, adding he could not give more details.

Compaore’s ally, Gen. Gilbert Diendere, had been charged early in December for complicity in Sankara’s killing. Diendere is already in jail, arrested by authorities after taking power for a week in September during a short-lived coup that overthrew the country’s transitional government.

The presidential guard loyal to Compaore staged the weeklong coup and has since been disbanded. Several members have also been arrested for Sankara’s killing.

“As a family member, I am glad with the step forward made in the case,” said Mousbila Sankara, a cousin of the late leader. “(But) I know it will be difficult to have the Ivorians agree to arrest Compaore and send him back home.”

Burkina Faso held delayed national elections on Nov. 29 that saw Roch Marc Christian Kabore become the West African country’s second elected civilian president since independence from France in 1960.