BURKINA FASO: Blaise Compaore, the former President of Burkina Faso sentenced to life in jail in absentia for the assassination of pan-Africanist leader, Thomas Sankara in the 1987 coup, apologised to Sankara’s family on Tuesday.
“I ask the Burkinabe people for forgiveness for all the acts I may have committed during my tenure,” Compaore pleaded. Adding to it, “And especially the family of my brother and friend Thomas Sankara.”
He also said, “I take responsibility for and regret from the bottom of my heart, all the suffering and tragedies experienced by all victims during my terms as leader of the country and ask their families to grant me their forgiveness.”
Compaoré’s pleas were conveyed in a message read out by Lionel Bilgo, the country’s spokesman.
In his message, Compaore, while expressing gratitude to Burkina Faso’s military transitional government, urged the compatriots to join “A sacred union, tolerance, moderation, but above all forgiveness so that the national interest prevails”.
Compaore was sentenced in absentia to a life jail term in April this year. However, he has not served his jail term as he is yet to be extradited to Burkina Faso.
The 1987 coup that claimed Sankara
On October 15, 1987, Compaore seized power in a coup that led to Sankara’s death. Before his cruel death, Sankara was an activist who fingered the Western world for neo-colonialism and hypocrisy in Africa. He would later become the leader of Burkina Faso at 33 but was gunned by a hit squad four years after.
After his role in the bloody coup, Compaore went into exile on Ivory Coast. Eight years later, he flew to his country this month to attend the ex-leaders summit. In other reports, the country’s leader, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba invited for “national reconciliation.”
The purported “reconciliation” visit was greeted by condemnations from civil society groups and political parties who argued that “Uniting the country should not come with immunity from punishment.”
Lieutenant-Colonel Damiba, according to research, seized power from president Roch Marc Christian Kaboré in January this year, following the unabated insurgency ravaging the country since 2015.
ALSO READ: The History of Islam in Africa