By Spy Uganda Correspondent
A former army soldier admitted in a trial Tuesday that he had helped transport an assault squad to assassinate Burkina Faso’s revolutionary leader and Pan Africanist Thomas Sankara 34 years ago.
The trial unfolding in a military court in Ouagadougou is being closely watched by the Burkina Faso public, many of whom hope it will shed light on one of their country’s darkest chapters.
Fourteen people are on trial for the 1987 murder in which Sankara and 12 others were killed in a hail of bullets at a high-level government meeting.
The defendants include Sankara’s friend and former comrade in arms, Blaise Compaore, who came to power after the bloodbath.
In court testimony, 62-year-old former private Yamba Elise Ilboudo admitted a charge of complicity in endangering state security.
But he said his actions were not premeditated: he had not participated in any meeting to plan the murder, nor had he participated in the shooting.
He said that on the day of the coup on October 15, 1987, he was “at Blaise Compaore’s house” with other men.
“We were reporting to Hyacinthe Kafando, as head of security,” Ilboudo said.
Kafando, who became a chief petty officer in Compaore’s presidential guard after the coup, was reportedly in charge of the strike squad. Kafando is currently on the run.
Ilboudo said Kafando told him to drive to the meeting Sankara attended. When they arrived, Kafando and another individual named Maiga, “who was driving Blaise Compaore’s car, came out and opened fire,” he testified.
Compaore has always denied the suspicions that he himself designed the murder and, in the same way, is being tried in absentia.
Compaore ruled for 27 years before being deposed by a popular uprising in 2014 and fleeing to the neighbouring Ivory Coast.