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Thomas Sankara’s Murder: Former President Compaoré’s Trial and France’s Involvement

In Burkina Faso, a tribunal has opened a trial against the presumed killers of Thomas Sankara. Testimonies reveal that France was involved in the putsch in 1987, but it is not clear if France was also complicit in the murder.

The tribunal has decided to open a trial against Blaise Compaoré. He is accused of having organized in 1987 the putsch against Thomas Sankara and his killing. Recent interrogations revealed that France was directly involved in the putsch, and maybe more.

Thomas Sankara, who was called the Che Guevara of Africa, lead in the 80’s a popular revolution in Burkina Faso that eradicated the famine in four years time and made the country self-sufficient on food production. He also called all the African leaders to suspend the debt payment to the World Bank and the IMF. Months later, he was killed.

Decades after the murder of Thomas Sankara, Burkinabe judges have interrogated former members of the murder commando, like Gilbert Diendéré. Journalists had access to the minutes of the report. It reveals the presence of French personnel just after the assassination.

Blaise Compaoré will soon become Paris’ main guy in the region. The overthrow of Sankara in 1987 was not possible without the green light of Ivory Coast and the explicit support of Paris, in particular of Jacques Chirac who was then prime minister.

Chirac really disliked Thomas Sankara. Was France also complicit in the killing of Thomas Sankara? To answer that question, all the classified archives have to be opened.

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In 2017, French President Emmanuel Macron promised in Burkina Faso to declassify all the archives concerning the assassination of Thomas Sankara, but only diplomatic and other public documents have been sent.

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Experts suspect that French military might prevent the opening of all the archives because that could reveal the truth about Operation Barkhane. France is more and more criticized in Mali, and the anti-French sentiment in Burkina Faso is also growing.

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