As Deposed Burkina Leader, Compaore Flees to Morocco, New PM Seeks Extradition

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Burkina Faso’s interim prime minister Isaac Zida said Thursday he will seek the extradition of former president Blaise Compaore from Morocco, and investigate a slew of cases from the exiled leader’s time in office.

Emerging from the first session of Burkina Faso’s new 90-member interim parliament, Zida also vowed to root out widespread corruption and open enquiries into the deaths of a former president and a journalist.

“We will ask Morocco… to place president Compaore at the disposal of Burkinabe justice,” Zida said told reporters late on Thursday in Burkina’s capital, Ouagadougou.

Compaore fled Burkina Faso in October after being ousted in a popular revolt sparked by his bid to extend his 27-year hold on power.

France acknowledged it had helped whisk away Campaore to neighbouring Ivory Coast following the violent unrest, during which the parliamentary building was torched. He has since found refuge in Morocco.

Disgraced Blaise Compaore Flees to Morocco

A Dictator on the run for his life

The military seized power after he fled, but faced with intense international pressure eventually agreed to hand power to an interim government that will lead the West African country until elections in November 2015.

Speaking to FRANCE 24 on Thursday, French President François Hollande said that what happened in Burkina Faso should “serve as a lesson” to other heads of state in Africa and around the world.

Digging in the past

Zida, who led the military takeover and has since been named prime minister, once more made it clear on Thursday that he will continue to play a prominent role in the future of his country.

He said companies suspected of corruption would face audits and “if necessary we will nationalise (them), because what was built with the money of the people must return to the people.”

Zida also pledged to reopen the case of popular former president Thomas Sankara, who ruled between 1983 and 1987 before being assassinated in a coup led by Compaore.

Zida vowed that “justice will be done” for Sankara, who was a widely loved Marxist and pan-Africanist leader considered by many as the “African Che Guevara”.

An investigation will also be opened into the death of journalist Norbert Zongo in 1998 while he was investigating the death of a driver working for Compaore’s brother, said Zida.


Background Story:

Burkina Faso’s deposed president Blaise Compaoré was en route to Morocco Thursday from the Ivory Coast, where he fled on October 31 following widespread demonstrations over his bid to seek re-election after 27 years in power.

Burkina Faso’s deposed president Blaise Compaore left Ivory Coast heading for Morocco on Thursday, the Ivorian presidency said.

He fled to Ivory Coast on October 31 after he was ousted in a popular revolt, but his presence had angered supporters of the former Ivorian president, Laurent Gbagbo.

Compaore is widely seen by Gbagbo’s camp as being behind a failed 2002 coup seeking to depose him, which plunged Ivory Coast into nearly a decade of conflict.

Compaore left Burkina Faso under pressure from mass protests triggered by his attempt to change the constitution to extend his 27-year reign of power.

Ivory Coast took him in, housing him and his sizeable entourage in a walled villa with neatly mown lawns in Yamoussoukro.

But on Thursday, Compaore, his wife Chantal and family members left for Morocco.

A source in the Ivorian government insisted his departure was not permanent and that he was “welcome to return”.

His arrival in Ivory Coast had triggered anger for some because the 2002 coup attempt effectively led to the country dividing in two, with rebels controlling the northern part bordering Burkina Faso and the south under the government’s control.

French sources alleged that hundreds of Ivorian rebels were trained in Burkina Faso.

Gbagbo’s decade-long rule of Ivory Coast ended in ignominy after he refused to accept defeat in an election in November 2010.

Clashes between his supporters and President Alassane Ouattara, who was proclaimed winner of the election, left 3,000 dead.

Gbagbo was arrested in April 2011 by pro-Ouattara forces and is due to go on trial in The Hague for crimes against humanity in July next year.



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