OUGADOUGOU. — French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to declassify documents related to ex-Burkinabé leader Thomas Sankara’s assassination on October 15, 1987. Macron arrived in Burkina Faso on Monday, on the start of his first Africa tour.
“These documents will be declassified for Burkina’s judiciary, which will have access to all the documents on the Sankara case,” Macron announced at a press briefing, after meeting with Burkina President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré. The Thomas Sankara International Memorial Committee (ICD-TS) on October 15 marched in Ouagadougou demanding the truth about his assassination.
The demonstrators stopped at the French Embassy, and also delivered a memorandum at the military justice tribunal in Ouagadougou. They asked France to help facilitate the process to reach the truth, and encouraged the Burkinabè military justice authorities who have possession of the Thomas Sankara assassination file.
The ICD-TS had also asked for the opening of a judicial inquiry in the Sankara case, to “situate the responsibilities of the French in the planned assassination.” Meanwhile, the French president told African youths in Burkina Faso yesterday that he belonged to a new generation of French leaders who would build partnerships with the continent rather than tell it what to do.
But a youth protest against him, stones pelting one of his delegation’s vehicles and a botched grenade attack on French troops hours before his arrival in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou showed the hostility that still lingers after decades of an often tense France-Africa relationship.
Macron was also subjected to rowdy student questions at the university after his speech in the capital, and was sometimes left fruitlessly hushing as he struggled to get his answers heard above the crowd. In his speech, peppered with references to African nationalists such as Nelson Mandela and Burkina’s revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara, Macron promised a break with a past in which France often seemed to call the shots to former colonies.
“I am from a generation that doesn’t come to tell Africans what to do,” Macron said during a speech to university students, prompting an applause. I am from a generation for whom Nelson Mandela’s victory is one of the best political memories.” The 39-year-old is on a three-day visit to Burkina Faso, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire aimed at boosting cooperation in education, the digital economy and migration.
“I will be alongside those who believe that Africa is neither a lost continent or one that needs to be saved,” he said. — News Agencies/HR.