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Burkina Faso issues warrant for ex-leader Compaore over Sankara murder

Burkina Faso has issued an international arrest warrant for ousted leader Blaise Compaore for his alleged role in the killing of ex-president Thomas Sankara. Sankara died under suspicious circumstances in 1987.

A judicial source speaking on condition of anonymity told the AFP news agency that Burkina Faso's ousted leader Blaise Compaore had been charged with "attack" and "assassination."

A lawyer representing Sankara's family confirmed the charges to the Reuters news agency:

"I confirm that an international arrest warrant was issued against President Blaise Compaore by the investigating judge," Prosper Farama told Reuters.

Thomas Sankara

Almost 30 years after his death, Thomas Sankara is still regarded as a hero across west Africa

Sankara had been killed on October 15, 1987 during the coup that brought his friend and former comrade Blaise Compaore to power. He is still regarded as a hero by many in west Africa and has been dubbed Africa's "Che Guevara."

At least five other people have been charged in connection with Sankara's killing - including

General Gilbert Diendere

, Compaore's former chief of staff, who led a

failed coup

in September.

Blaise Compaore, who is currently living in exile in the Ivory Coast, was toppled from power by a

popular uprising in October 2014

after ruling Burkina Faso for 27 years.

No DNA to prove identity of remains

AFP also reported that a police laboratory in France helping with the investigation into Thomas Sankara's killing could not find any "detectable DNA" in human remains that are presumed to be his.

According to a family lawyer there was "no detectable DNA in accordance with the current state of science."

Nearly three decades after his death, remains believed to be those of Sankara and 12 former aides were exhumed from a cemetery in the capital Ouagadougou in May.

The remains believed to belong to Sankara were riddled with bullet holes. Several reports have suggested that Sankara was executed by a hit squad at government headquarters on October 15, 1987 - an account that appeared to be supported by the results of the autopsy. However, his official death certificate stated "natural causes" of death.

ss/jm (AFP, Reuters)

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