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Burkina Faso Labor Leader Welcomes Murder Charges in Sankara Case

by James Butty December 08, 2015

The leader and chief negotiator for the Confederation of Labor Unions in Burkina Faso said the Burkinabe people are happy that authorities have brought charges against General Gilbert Diendere for the murder of the country's revolutionary President Thomas Sankara.

Sankara was assassinated in a 1987 military coup led by Diendere and Blaise Compaore. His body and those of 12 former aides were exhumed earlier this year for an autopsy to determine how they died.

Diendere, a former Compaore chief of staff, also led a failed coup in September of this year against Burkina Faso's transitional government.

Labor union leader Bazie Bassolma says the authorities must also charge former president Blaise Compaore and investigate other African and world leaders who are believed to have had a role in Sankara's death, including former Togolese President General Gnassingbé Eyadéma, Felix Houphouet Boigny of Cote d'Ivoire and former French President Francois Mitterrand.

"My reaction is a good one because we are fighting always and always to get some justice because Thomas Sankara is one of our presidents in Burkina Faso who was killed by Blaise Compaore and Diendere. So if in this moment we find the killers, it is a good thing," he said.

Compaore fled into exile earlier this year after he was overthrown by a popular uprising and is believed to be either in Morocco or Ivory Coast.

The unions played a major role in the protests and general strikes that eventually led to his overthrow.

New Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Christian Kabore served as prime minister and speaker of parliament under Compaore.

Bassolma said the new president must know that the people will take to the streets again if they find that their demands are not being met.

"Protestation is not finished; it is not finished because workers have many, many problems with no solutions. We have a problem of justice; we have a problem of labor organizations liberty and democracy liberty. We called on each candidate before the election to tell them our problems. So, if we have a new president, we think he knows already our problems. We are waiting for solutions to our problems," he said.

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