OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — Burkina Faso’s military court has issued an international arrest warrant for former President Blaise Compaore for the assassination of the country’s ex-revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara, the tribunal director said Monday.
Sankara and 12 of his supporters were killed during a 1987 bloody coup that brought Compaore to power. An investigation into Sankara’s death was reopened after a popular uprising forced Compaore from office in October 2014 after a 27-year rule. Compaore has denied involvement in Sankara’s killing and now lives in exile in neighboring Ivory Coast.
Remains believed to be those of Sankara were exhumed earlier this year from a cemetery on the edge of the capital, Ouagadougou, and are being examined.
Sankara’s family’s lawyer, Stanislas Benewende Sankara, who isn’t related, said Monday “The state of the remains didn’t allow the laboratory to certify any DNA results.”
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Military tribunal director Col. Sita Sangare confirmed the arrest warrant for Compaore on charges of assassination, body concealment and assault.
Compaore’s ally, Gen. Gilbert Diendere, had been charged early in December for complicity in Sankara’s killing. Diendere is already in jail, arrested after taking power for a week during a short-lived coup by the presidential guard in September that overthrew the country’s transitional government.
The presidential guard, loyal to Compaore, has been disbanded. Several members have also been arrested for Sankara’s killing.
“I am glad with the step forward made in the case,” said Mousbila Sankara, a cousin of the late leader. “(But) I know it will be difficult to have the Ivorians agree to arrest Compaore and send him back home.”
Ivory Coast’s government didn’t immediately reply to requests for comment.
Burkina Faso held delayed national elections Nov. 29 that saw Roch Marc Christian Kabore become the country’s second elected civilian president since independence from France in 1960.