Macron to release Burkina Faso murder files
France President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to declassify French documents on Burkina Faso’s assassinated leader and announced a €1-billion fund for African business.
Three civilians were wounded in an attempted grenade attack on French troops in the capital Ouagadougou shortly before Macron’s arrival on Monday.
Protesters later erecting a barricade and burned tyres near Ougadougou University where Macron gave a speech.
Stones were also hurled at a vehicle travelling with the French delegation, although Macron was not in the convoy, his spokesman said.
“I’m from a generation that doesn’t tell Africa what to do: I have come to listen,” Macron said at the university. “France has a historical link to Africa, Africa is engraved in French history, culture and identity. There were faults and crimes, there were happy moments, but our responsibility is to not be trapped in the past.”
Macron is also attending a European-African summit in Ivory Coast and visiting Ghana, a former British colony.
France still has about 4,000 mobile troops in West Africa’s Sahel region, deployed to oppose Islamist militants.
Macron touched on one of the West African country’s greatest traumas: the murder 30 years ago of popular leader Thomas Sankara, hailed as a hero across Africa.
“At present, except for documents which are classified and categorised as secret, the files are available and open to Burkinabe justice,” Macron announced.
“I have made a clear undertaking and I have just told President [Roch Marc Christian] Kabore: these documents will now be declassified for Burkinabe justice, which will have access to all the documents on the Sankara affair.”
Sankara, a charismatic army captain was killed on October 15, 1987, on his way to a cabinet meeting.
The Thomas Sankara International Memorial Committee on October 15 marched in Ouagadougou demanding the truth about his death.
Many of his supporters still believe France played a role in the subsequent coup that brought Sankara’s best friend, Blaise Compaore, to power.
Compaore ruled Burkina Faso as a dictator until October 2014, when he was ousted by a popular uprising.
Among those charged in connection with Sankara’s assassination were members of the presidential security squad.
Compaore, who lives in exile in Ivory Coast, faces an international arrest warrant over the killing.
Thomas Sankara (left) helping to make bricks in 1984. Picture credit: YouTube