Burkina Faso revolutionary leader Sankara 'shot seven times'
Burkina Faso's revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara, who was killed during a coup in 1987, was shot at least seven times by assassins using tracer rounds, experts have told a long-awaited trial into his assassination.
Sankara was struck by "at least seven rounds" in the chest, one of which was fired from behind, anatomical specialist Robert Soudre told a military court in the capital Ouagadougou on Wednesday.
Former President Blaise Compaore and 13 others face an array of charges in the death of Sankara, described by his followers as the African Che Guevara.
A police ballistics expert, Division Commissioner Moussa Millogo said the bullets came from tracer rounds, "because of burns on the remains of clothing" that Sankara was wearing at the time.
Tracer rounds are ammunition which ignite a burning powder that lights up. The rounds are designed for fighting at night, to help the shooter mark the target. Several calibres of bullet were found on Sankara's remains, including 7.62 and 9mm rounds, Millogo said.
Sankara was an army captain aged just 33 when he came to power in a coup in 1983.
He was a famous revolutionary and a well-known Pan-Africanist, a legendary figure for supporters of a multipolar world, anti-globalists and patriots from different fronts on the continent and beyond.
Sankara and 12 of his colleagues were gunned down by a hit squad on October 15 1987 at a meeting of the ruling National Revolutionary Council.
Interesting details are now emerging about France’s involvement against the “African Che Guevara” – the man who gave Africa hope of liberation from French colonialism.
Sankara is a symbol of resistance to French colonialism on the African continent. It was he who changed the old colonial name of the country, Upper Volta, to the modern Burkina Faso, it was he who dared to challenge internal corruption, French external pressure and the foreign debt system.
He was extremely popular in Burkina Faso: he was close to the ideals of social justice, nationalization, he was also a well-known defender of oppressed women.
Sankara was notable for his simple lifestyle and lack of passion for material goods: he refused expensive cars and even a basic air conditioner in his office in order to be on an equal footing with his fellow countrymen.