Sankara assassination trial: a first defendant recounts the events

Opening of the trial for the assassination of Thomas Sankara, in the banquet hall of Ouaga 2000, Burkina Faso, October 11, 2021. © AFP - OLYMPIA DE MAISMONT

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2 min

In Burkina Faso, the trial of the alleged assassins of President Thomas Sankara and his twelve assassinated collaborators went to the bottom.

An accused, who is one of the key figures in the events of October 15, 1987, admitted the facts but in court, he said he did not remember all of his actions on the day of the coup.


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With our correspondent in Ouagadougou,

Yaya Boudani

Accused of having killed with premeditation in consultation with Hyacinthe Kafando, and of complicity in an attack on state security, the first class soldier Élysée Ilboudo was at the time of the facts a driver in Blaise's close guard. Compaore.


I recognize the facts,

" replied the accused at the stand following the presentation of the charges against him. He explains that on October 15, the commando left from Blaise Compaoré's home in two vehicles on the instruction of Chief Warrant Officer Hyacinthe Kafando. “

 At the Council of the Entente, we made a stopover at Blaise Compaoré's pied-à-terre. Hyacinthe and the others went up to an apartment and went down,

”continues the soldier.

In his account, Élysée Ilboudo specifies that Hyacinthe Kafando seized the direction of his vehicle and directed it against the entrance to the building where President Sankara was meeting. “ 

When the vehicle broke down the door, Hyacinthe and his men got out and opened fire in disorder killing one of President Sankara's guards, continues Blaise Compaoré's ex-driver.

 Then the accused continues: " 

President Thomas Sankara came out and asked what was going on. 

In response, Hyacinthe Kafando and his men shot him


What types of weapons and ammunition did you use?

 »Asks the military prosecutor.

 I really don't know.

We had kalashnikovs and automatic pistols

 , ”retorts the accused, who was 28 years old at the time of the events.

According to the prosecution, the results of analysis after the exhumations showed that it was the incendiary, explosive and ordinary munitions that were used during the coup.

► Read also:

Trial of the assassination of Thomas Sankara: witnesses will be interviewed remotely

Former French Minister Jack Lang ready to testify

A list of sixty witnesses had been determined by the court on Monday.

Among the names which appear there, three French personalities including Jean-Christophe Mitterrand, son of the former president and then his adviser for African affairs, Roland Dumas, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Jack Lang, former Minister of Culture.

Contacted by RFI, the interested parties or their lawyer affirmed that they had not been informed of their summons.

However, Jack Lang said he was prepared to answer questions from the court.

► Read also:

Trial of the assassination of Thomas Sankara: witnesses will be interviewed remotely

I am ready to give a human and personal testimony [...] François Mitterrand was not pro-imperialist [...] I cannot even imagine for a second [that France and François Mitterrand could have played a role, Editor's note].

Very often, I have spoken to François Mitterrand about Thomas Sankara.

He had a lot of sympathy and friendship for him.

Jack Lang


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  • Burkina Faso

  • Thomas sankara

  • Justice