The former president of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaoré, condemned for the assassination of Thomas Sankara, would like to return to Ouagadougou. The family of the hero killed in 1987 sees it as an insult to the memory of Sankara.
The - almost fanciful - hypothesis of Blaise Compaoré's return to Burkina Faso is causing a lot of talk in the Burkinabe media. The ex-president, sentenced to life in absentia, on April 6, in the trial of the assassination of his predecessor Thomas Sankara would try to obtain a presidential pardon before a hypothetical return to the country. If possible free.
This is not the first time that such rumors have circulated. Last October, the Sankara trial opened after former President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré announced his refusal to negotiate any amnesty for Compaoré.
If the trial had almost ended after the January coup in Burkina Faso, justice had finally resumed its normal course. Not only did the trial continue, but it also quickly concluded with, among other things, a conviction of Compaoré.
The fact remains that today, if the family of Thomas Sankara remains lucid about the difficulty of applying the court decision - Compaoré being exiled in Côte d'Ivoire and protected by Alassane Ouattara -, they are once again worried about the possibility that the former head of state will be pardoned.
1/n We never run away from justice; in any case, not for eternity.
Burkina Faso, the country of honest men, is following in the footsteps of #Burundi🇧🇮 by charging Blaise Compaoré the alleged chief assassin of Pan-African leader Thomas Sankara, 33 years after his assassination. pic.twitter.com/Ka56Wjhqwl
— Appolinaire Nishirimbere (@ApolloSmile) April 15, 2021
From open secrecy to impunity
From now on, it is a question of the state of health of Blaise Compaoré. According to Jeune Afrique, the former Burkinabe president would, according to those close to him, have memory problems and seem "sometimes confused". A story that looks like the beginning of a new attempt to win back Ouagadougou to the former dictator, who would be homesick.
For the widow of Thomas Sankara, Mariam Sankara, if Blaise Compaoré were amnestied or pardoned, "it would be a serious fault, which would amount to legitimizing impunity".
Be that as it may, the military authorities of Burkina Faso do not seem inclined to consider preferential treatment for Compaoré. But it is above all Compaoré's successive demands that are irritating. Just as much as the protection which the murderous president enjoys from the head of the neighboring state, the Ivorian president Alassane Ouattara.
For researcher Yarri Kamara, the open secrecy surrounding the identity of Sankara's killers shows that justice took time to take an interest in this assassination. Kamara recalls that, under the dictatorship of Blaise Compaoré, the Burkinabés approached the identity of the killers of Sankara only half-words.
“In a play I watched 15 years ago in Ouagadougou, a character on stage shouted: 'Everyone knows who killed Sankara!'. His counterpart replied: 'Really?'. The first character muttered: 'Yes, it was malaria', before the audience burst out laughing,” recalls Yarri Kamara.
Now the truth has finally come out. But the impossibility of applying the sentence against Compaoré prevents the families of the former president from mourning.