2 generals get jail terms over 2015 Burkina Faso coup

Conviction is a victory for Burkinabe people, says lawyer

James Tasamba   | 02.09.2019
2 generals get jail terms over 2015 Burkina Faso coup

KIGALI, Rwanda

A military court in Burkina Faso Monday sentenced two senior allies of Burkina Faso’s former president Blaise Compaore to 10 and 20 years in prison respectively, after finding them guilty of organizing a 2015 coup attempt against a transitional government, local media reported.

The military tribunal in the capital Ouagadougou found General Gilbert Diendere, Compaore’s former right-hand man guilty of murder and threatening state security – handing him 20 years in prison; while former foreign minister Djibril Bassole, who was accused of masterminding the coup was sentenced to 10 years in prison for treason, local media reported.

In 2014, angry protesters opposed to Compaore’s attempt to amend the constitution to extend his 27-year rule forced him to flee the West African country.

General Gilbert Diendere was commander of the troops from the elite Presidential Security Regiment which took members of the transitional government hostage, less than a month before elections which had been planned the following year.

The week-long attempted coup failed, but it left 14 people dead and more than 250 others wounded.

Compaore now lives in exile in neighboring Ivory Coast.

The media quoted Prosper Farama, a lawyer for people injured in the coup attempt, as saying the conviction was a victory for the Burkinabe people, and a victory for democracy and the rule of law.

The convicts have 15 days within to appeal.

Burkina Faso has been ridden by jihadist and inter-ethnic violence over the last couple of years.

Last month, suspected Islamist militants killed 24 soldiers in the deadliest attack on the country’s military base.

There has been growing Islamist violence in Burkina Faso, with three key Islamist militant groups raking havoc in north and east.

Reports indicate hundreds of people have been killed so far this year and more than 150,000 fled their homes due to attacks which spill across the Sahel region.

Last December, a state of emergency was declared in several northern regions, allowing security forces extra powers to search homes and restrict freedom of movement.

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