Burkinabe revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara ‘shot seven times’

Captain Thomas Sankara

Burkina Faso’s revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara, who was gunned down 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 killing.

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.

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.

A fiery Marxist-Leninist, he railed against imperialism and colonialism, often angering Western leaders but gaining followers across Africa 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.

Their assassination coincided with a coup that brought Sankara’s erstwhile comrade-in-arms, Blaise Compaore, to power.

He ruled for 27 years before being deposed by a popular uprising in 2014 and fleeing to neighbouring Ivory Coast


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