Former Burkina-Faso President, Blaise Campaore has asked the people of Burkina Faso and the family of Thomas Sankara to forgive him for acts committed during his reign.
Mr. Campaore’s letter of apology was read on July 26 by government spokesperson, Lionel Bilgo.
“I ask for forgiveness from the people of Burkina Faso for all the acts I may have committed during my term of office, especially to the family of my brother and friend, Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara,” the letter reads in part.
“I assume and deplore, from the bottom of my heart, all the suffering and tragedies experienced by all the victims during my mandate at the helm of the country and ask their families to forgive me,” Blaise Compaoré wrote.
Campaore received a life sentence in April for his role in the killing of Thomas Sankara.
The charismatic Pan-Africanist was shot dead aged 37 by soldiers during a coup on October 15, 1987, which saw his close friend, Blaise Compaoré, come to power. Both men had staged a coup four years earlier which brought Sankara to power.
Reacting to Campaore’s apology, the sister of Thomas Sankara, Blandine Sankara, suggested the former President could have used a different approach instead of sending a letter to be read by someone else.
“Is this a way of asking for forgiveness? We are all surprised (…) He (Blaise Compaoré) knows well where the family is. He knows well how to contact the family. It is his family, even if he thinks today that it is no longer the case. We learn this like any other Burkinabè. That means that others have had it before us. Is this for the people concerned?”, asked Blandine Sankara.
“I don’t know if it is addressed to the family. None of us was informed,” she complained.
Noting that Campaore was a son of the Sankara family, Blandine continued.
“So, when you address your family, people with whom you were very close, I don’t think it’s in this way. It’s not to be vindictive, but we say that the manner is an insult again. Once again, it’s an insult. Let us not be put at odds with the Burkinabe people. It is to say to the people of Burkina Faso, “we are taking the step but on the other side, we are reluctant”. This is not the case. Let everyone put themselves in the place of these families,” said Thomas Sankara’s sister.
Prosper Farama, the lawyer for the family of Thomas Sankara, recognized that it was “a good step’’ to ask for forgiveness. But insisted the apology won’t change much “to the legal and judicial situation of the case. For Me, the request for forgiveness does not spare any Burkinabè from the execution of a sentence.”
“Everyone must ask for forgiveness for the faults they have committed and be ready to assume responsibility and the consequences of their actions. And of these consequences, is the execution of a court decision. That is all! Otherwise, it would simply mean that all those who are in the MACO (House of arrest and correction of Ouagadougou, editor’s note) and who have committed crimes against other Burkinabè, it is enough for them to ask for forgiveness and if they are forgiven, they get out of prison” concluded the lawyer.