A Trial in Burkina Faso Puts Sankara’s Legacy Back in the Spotlight

A soldier walks past a poster of Thomas Sankara outside a bar that was attacked by al-Qaida-linked extremists in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Jan. 17, 2016 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).
A soldier walks past a poster of Thomas Sankara outside a bar that was attacked by al-Qaida-linked extremists in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Jan. 17, 2016 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).

OUAGADOUDOU, Burkina Faso—Dressed in green leopard-patterned fatigues, Gen. Gilbert Diendere was ready for battle in early November as he stood in the witness dock of a converted court room in Ouagadougou. Lawyers fired questions from all directions about his involvement in the assassination of Burkina Faso’s revolutionary president, Capt. Thomas Sankara, as well as eight of his bodyguards and four civilians on Oct. 15, 1987.  Diendere, who has been accused of complicity in the killings, seemed to have an answer for all of them. He heard gunshots and saw Sankara’s dead body, he claimed, but didn’t see the shooter, echoing […]

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