Thomas Sankara trial in Burkina Faso: Who kill di former president of di West African kontri?

Thomas Sankara at a summit in 1983.

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Thirty-four years afta, almost to di day, since di shocking killing of Burkina Faso former President, Thomas Sankara, 14 men dey go on trial.

Dem accuse dem say dem get hand for di murder of di man known as “Africa’s Che Guevara”.

Some soldiers bin shoot di charismatic Pan-Africanist dead at di age of 37 during one coup on 15 October 1987, wey make im close friend, Blaise Compaoré, come to power.

Four years before im death, two of dem bin stage di takeover wey make Sankara become president.

Oga Compaoré dey among di 14 pipo dem accuse but im currently dey exile for neighbouring Ivory Coast, wia im bin run go afta one mass protest force am to resign for 2014.

Im don repeatedly deny say im get hand for Sankara death and e don boycott di trial.

Despite di passage of time, Sankara remain something of an icon across Africa – stickers wey dem draw im face dey ontop taxis across West Africa, while across di continent for South Africa, radical opposition leader Julius Malema also see am as im inspiration.

Why Sankara trial take so long?

Im brother, Paul Sankara, say: “We don wait a long time, all along di 27 years of Blaise Compaoré regime.

Under im rule we no fit dream of di possibility of a trial.”

People stand next to graffiti wey read "justice for Sankara".

Sakara supporters don long dey demand justice

Im widow file one criminal complaint for 1997 ontop di murder of her husband, but e take 15 years for di Supreme Court to rule say di investigation fit continue.

However, dem make little progress afta di overthrow of Oga Compaoré for 2014.

Di following year, dem dig out di remains wey dem tink to be im own but DNA analysis no fit confam say na im own.

For 2016, di Burkina Faso authorities officially ask di French goment to release military documents about Sankara assassination.

Dem declassify di archives and transmit am to Burkina Faso in three stages – di final one for April 2021.

Who else dey on trial?

Burkina Faso Blaise Compaore for 2014 during im presidency.

Blaise Compaore seize power alongside Sankara and deny any any role for im death

Oga Compaoré former Chief of Staff General Gilbert Diendéré and 11 oda dey expected to dey di military tribunal. Dem dey face charges of “attacking state security”, “complicity for assassination” and “concealment of bodies”.

Diendéré don already dey prison, afta dem sentence am to 20 years for im role for one failed coup in 2015.

Among di accused na Diébré Jean Christophe, di doctor wey sign di death certificate, say di former president bin died from natural causes.

Dem charge am wit falsifying a public document.

Di oda man dem charge in absentia na Hyacinthe Kafando, Oga Compaoré former security chief, for who dem issue international arrest warrant.

Dem accuse am of leading di group wey carry out di killing of Sankara and 12 odas.

Which impact di trial go get?

Fears bin dey say di trial fit destabilise Burkina Faso, wey don already dey deal wit frequent attacks by jihadist groups linked to al-Qaeda and di Islamic State group.

Oga Compaoré still get considerable influence for di kontri and some analysts don warn say parts of di military wey remain loyal to am fit cause trouble.

Pipo wear T-shirts dey commemorate Che Guevara and Thomas Sankara for Ougadougou in 2007.

Dem sabi Sankara as “Africa Che Guevara”

On di contrary, President Roch Marc Kaboré hope say di trial go ease tensions and boost national reconciliation.

“I no believe say dis kain trial fit cause instability,” Mathieu Pellerin, one Sahel analyst for di International Crisis Group (ICG), tell French magazine Jeune Afrique for April 2020.

“Dem no dey really achieve reconciliation without justice,” im add am.