Autopsy declares ex-Burkina Faso leader shot about 10 times

By Editorial Board - 14 October 2015 at 3:03 pm

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — Burkina Faso’s former Marxist revolutionary leader, who was killed nearly three decades ago, was shot about ten times in the chest, legs and head according to an autopsy report, a family lawyer said Tuesday.

Authorities in May exhumed human remains from the purported grave of Thomas Sankara, who was killed during a coup in this West African country in 1987. The family was seeking more answers about his death after the man who overthrew Sankara, his former best friend, was ousted from power late last year.

Ex-president Blaise Compaore staged the coup in which Sankara and the others buried alongside him were killed. Compaore denies being a part of Sankara’s killing. He was forced from power in a popular uprising October 2014.

Automatic pistols, Kalashnikovs and grenades were used in the attack on Sankara and others, according to family lawyer Stanislas Benewinde Sankara, who is not related to the slain leader. He said he received the report Tuesday and it shows that Burkina Faso military weapons were used.

Eight former presidential guard members have been indicted in the case and four of them have been jailed, the lawyer said.

Sankara was believed to have been buried along with 12 others, though some have questioned whether the remains in the exhumed grave are in fact his. The lawyer said the family still awaits DNA results.

“For 18 years, we’ve been waiting for the truth. Now we think that we have it,” he said.

Authorities want to give Sankara a presidential burial with an official ceremony, he said.

During Sankara’s four years in power, Burkina Faso doubled the number of children in schools, reduced infant mortality, redistributed land from feudal landlords to poor families and planted 10 million trees that still help shade the capital, Ouagadougou.


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Editorial Board

Editorial Board

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