Burkina Faso’s military court has issued an international arrest warrant for ousted President Blaise Compaoré over the assassination of Capt. Thomas Sankara, the country’s former revolutionary leader, the tribunal director said Monday.
Captain Sankara was killed along with 12 of his supporters during a 1987 coup that brought Mr. Compaoré to power.
Mr. Compaoré, who lives in exile in neighboring Ivory Coast, has denied involvement in Captain Sankara’s killing.
An investigation into Captain Sankara’s death was reopened after Mr. Compaoré was ousted in October 2014 in a popular uprising. Mr. Compaoré, who had been in power for 27 years, was toppled after mass protests against his attempts to change the nation’s Constitution and extend his rule.
Remains believed to be those of Captain Sankara were exhumed this year from a cemetery on the edge of Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou, and are being examined.
“I can confirm the warrant of arrest” for Mr. Compaoré, said Col. Sita Sangare, the military tribunal director, adding that he could not give more details.
Mr. Compaore’s ally, Gen. Gilbert Diendéré, was charged this month with complicity in Captain Sankara’s killing. General Diendéré is already in jail, arrested after taking power for a week in September during a short-lived coup that overthrew the country’s transitional government.
A presidential guard loyal to Mr. Compaoré staged the weeklong coup and has since been disbanded. Several members in addition to General Diendéré have also been arrested in connection with Captain Sankara’s killing.
“As a family member, I am glad with the step forward made in the case,” said Mousbila Sankara, a cousin of the former leader. But he added that “it will be difficult to have the Ivorians agree to arrest Compaoré and send him back home.”
Burkina Faso held delayed national elections on Nov. 29 that saw Roch Marc Christian Kaboré become the West African country’s second elected civilian president since independence from France in 1960.