France's shadow hangs over trial into murder of Burkina Faso president Thomas Sankara


In 1987 Burkina Faso's president Thomas Sankara, a revolutionary leader, hero of the pan-Africa movement and fierce opponent of imperialism, was gunned down in a coup d'État. Now, 34 years later, the trial of his alleged assassins is shortly to begin in the capital Ouagadougou. As Rémi Carayol reports, the circumstances of the murder are well known. But what we still do not know is who gave the orders for Sankara's assassination, which brought his Burkina Faso revolution to a bloody end. Nor do we know the role, if any, of foreign powers - including the former colonial power France - in his demise.

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On Monday October 25th 2021 the trial is due to begin in Ouagadougou over the 1987 assassination of the Burkina Faso president Thomas Sankara and twelve of his staff and supporters. His widow Mariam Sankara, who has lived in exile in the south of France, and who has rarely returned to the country of her birth, says she is planning to attend the trial. “I expect justice to be done and for the truth finally to be known,” she said. “And I'm not alone, the whole of Burkina is waiting for that.” Indeed, one could say the whole continent.