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Burkina Faso commemorates 34th anniversary of Sankara's death

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Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso commemorated Friday the 34th anniversary of the death of former revolutionary president Thomas Sankara, assassinated on October 15, 1987, and whose bust was unveiled at the university that bears his name in Ouagadougou, in the presence of his widow Mariam.

"This work placed at the entrance of the university is a work of remembrance and memory for current and future generations of teachers and students," said Mariam Sankara in inaugurating the bust.

"My dream is that this statue reminds us daily of the memory of the revolution led in our country by Thomas Sankara and his comrades between 1983 and 1987. It will be the image of a leader who loved his country and who devoted himself to its transformation, brutally interrupted by the enemies of Burkina," she added.

To the students of the Thomas Sankara University, the second in Ouagadougou, she said that they had "the heavy task of acquiring knowledge and putting it at the service of the Burkinabe people in particular and African people in general.

Mrs. Sankara, who usually lives in France, came to Ouagadougou to attend the trial of the alleged killers of her husband, who was killed in a coup d'état on October 15, 1987, along with 12 of his comrades. He had been in power for four years and was only 37 years old.

On Monday a trial to open nvestigations into his sankaras killing was opened Monday before the military court in Ouagadougou, but was suspended until October 25.

Twelve of the 14 defendants were present at the opening of the trial, including General Gilbert Diendéré, one of the main leaders of the Burkinabe army during the coup.

On the other hand, Blaise Compaoré, brought to power by this putsch and who led Burkina for 27 years, was the great absentee: he lives in exile in Ivory Coast - a country of which he obtained the nationality - since his fall in 2014 and did not want to appear at "a political trial" before "a court of exception", according to his lawyers.

"The duty of memory requires us to recognize the work done by this exceptional man, in four years of commitment and sacrifice for his country and for Africa. The memory of Thomas Sankara remains alive," President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré wrote on Twitter.

The head of state had previously laid a wreath in the afternoon at the foot of the huge statue of Thomas Sankara, erected in 2019 on the site where he was assassinated and where a memorial has been created.

Mrs. Sankara did not attend this ceremony: she and her family were opposed to the creation of the memorial on the site of the death of the "father of the Burkinabe revolution".

The Thomas Sankara memorial currently consists only of the statue, but will eventually house an 87-meter high tower - recalling the year of his death - topped by a lighthouse, an exhibition hall, a museum and a library.

During Blaise Compaoré's 27-year reign, the circumstances of Sankara's death were completely overshadowed, and ceremonies in his honor only began after Compaoré was forced out by an insurrection.

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