August 7, 2022

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Burkina Faso: Sixty years of independence and the memory of Sankara

Burkina Faso: Sixty years of independence and the memory of Sankara

The Burkina Faso army announced its decision to bury Thomas Sankara’s remains, without specifying a specific date, an act of justice for many Africans coinciding with the 60th anniversary of independence.

The procedure is part of an operation that began in 2015 with the exhumation of the remains to present the remains for DNA tests and combined with the results of the trial conducted in 2021 against those involved in the assassination, a claim current military authorities have agreed to.

The memory of August 5th is part of a complex political environment, when the military junta of Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Henry Sandaugo D’Améba gains strength, and a debate rages on the return of former President Blaise Compaore, the key figure involved in the country. Sankara was assassinated and a terrorist attack occurred.

However, despite its ups and downs, the “country of worthy men,” as the pan-African martyr envisioned it, prevails over political adversity in its difficult context in the Sahel and survives adversity, while trying to confront your present with optimism.

Upper Volta, a French colony officially established in 1919, became known as Burkina Faso in 1984 during the government of Thomas Isidore Noel Sankara, known in continental history as the African Che Guevara for his progressive thinking and actions.

There is little political alternation in the country’s history: from 1960 to 1966, citizen Maurice Yamyogo ruled, and he was overthrown by Colonel Sangoli Lamizana, who remained in power until 1980, when Colonel Sai Zerbo ousted him, sacked in 1982 by the government. Major Jean-Baptiste Ouedraogo.

Months later, in the midst of escalating disagreements between the different tendencies, Sankara led the government at the head of the National Council for the Revolution (CNR), until the 1987 assassination perpetrated by conspirators allied with Blaise Compaoré, the presidency until 2014.

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Overthrown by massive popular protests, Compaoré went into exile in Ivory Coast, where he recently returned to meet the country’s new strongman, Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaugo D’Améba, who rose to the top with a January coup that displaced Roch civilians. Mark Christian Kabore.

The sixty years of independence were marked by the military incursion into the affairs of the state, which nevertheless does not escape the threat of religious extremism of a sectarian character, whose battalions (detachments) have struck Burkina Faso.

The north is the worst affected region in the country and where the worst terrorist massacre in its history occurred in 2021, when an attack on the Salhan mining village, carried out mostly by child soldiers, killed more than 160 people, demonstrating the need to curb fundamentalist violence across the Sahel region .

Until 2015, Burkina Faso was not threatened by armed radicalism, unlike its neighbors Mali and Niger, two countries of aggression in the western subregion, where, according to experts, fundamentalism is increasing dramatically.

Today the situation is different, terrorism is multiplying, in July 31 people were killed in two attacks, 22 of them in the rural town of Burasso, western Burkina Faso, actions that have also encouraged clashes between communities and the increase of self-defense militias, which helps calm. for insecurity.

This is how the “country of worthy men” is being brought into a sub-regional dynamic that would have been unimaginable six decades ago, and which must be overcome to continue making history.