Ex-Burkinabe leader Compaoré apologizes to family of slain revolutionary icon Sankara

Former Burkina Faso president Blaise Compaore, sentenced in absentia to life in prison for the 1987 assassination of revolutionary icon Thomas Sankara, apologized to the former leader’s family on Tuesday.

“I apologize to the people of Burkina Faso for all the acts that I may have committed during my mandate, and in particular to the family of my brother and friend Thomas Sankara”, he declared in a message read by the door- word of government Lionel Bilgo.

Compaoré seized power in the West African nation in a 1987 coup that overthrew and killed incumbent leader Sankara.

A Burkinabe court sentenced him to life in absentia in April for his role in the assassination.

“I take responsibility and I regret from the bottom of my heart all the suffering and the tragedies experienced by all the victims during my tenure at the head of the country and I ask their families to grant me their forgiveness”, he said. added.

Compaoré, 71, has lived in exile in neighboring Ivory Coast since being ousted from power by mass protests in 2014.

He returned to Burkina Faso for several days this month, without risking arrest, after the country’s military leader, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, invited him in the name of “national reconciliation “.

The visit sparked an outcry among civil society groups and political parties, who said uniting the nation should not come with immunity from sanctions.

Compaoré expressed his “deep gratitude” to Burkina Faso’s military-dominated transitional government.

He called on his compatriots to adhere “to a sacred union, to tolerance, to moderation, but above all to forgiveness so that the national interest prevails”.

A fiery Marxist-Leninist who castigated the West for its neo-colonialism and hypocrisy, Sankara was shot dead by a commando on October 15, 1987, just over four years after he came to power as an army captain in only 33 years old.

Damiba seized power in a January coup that toppled former President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, amid widespread anger over the government’s inability to deal with a bloody jihadist insurgency that spread from neighboring Mali in 2015.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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