Former president of Burkina Faso Blaise Compaore, who was given a life term in prison for the 1987 murder of Thomas Sankara has apologized to the family of the ex- leader. 

In a message read out by the government’s spokesman Lionel Bilgo, Blaise stated, “I ask the Burkinabe people for forgiveness for all the deeds I may have committed during my tenure. and especially the family of my brother and friend Thomas Sankara.” 

During the coup that overthrew and led to the assassination of Sankara on October 15, 1987, Compaore took over power in Burkina Faso. Thomas Sankara, a ferocious Marxist-Leninist who criticized the West for neocolonialism and hypocrisy, was assassinated by a hit squad less than four years after taking office as an army captain at the age of 33. 

In April, Blaise Compaore was sentenced to life in prison in his absentia for his part in the murder of Thomas Sankara. He was not extradited because he adopted Ivorian citizenship after being ousted in 2014 and his sentence has not yet been completed. 

“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 added. 

Compaore returned to Burkina Faso early July, without facing arrest, after the country’s military leader Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba invited him in the name of “national reconciliation”. 

Following Compaore’s visit, Political parties and civil society organizations expressed outrage at the visit, arguing that bringing the country together should not include protection from punishment. 

Damiba took over power in a January after a coup that ousted former president Roch Marc Christian Kabore, amid widespread anger at the government’s failure to deal with the bloody jihadist insurgency that spread from Mali in 2015. 

 

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