/ languages

Choisir langue

Liberia/Burkina Faso - RFI exclusive

Liberian general implicates Burkina Faso President in predecessor's assassination

Article published on the 2008-10-27 Latest update 2008-10-28 09:50 TU

Prince Johnson.(Photo : AFP)

Prince Johnson.
(Photo : AFP)

The current President of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaoré, apparently ordered the assassination of his predecessor, Thomas Sankara, in 1987 before taking office himself, former Liberian guerrilla leader Prince Johnson told RFI in Monrovia on Sunday.

Compaoré, who was Sankara’s number two at the time of the 1987 coup d’état, has always denied having any role in the killing.

Prince Johnson, along with a group of Liberian mercenaries, were in Burkina Faso at the time to plot a coup in their own country when they were contacted by Compaoré

“The number two, Blaise Compaoré, asked for help in removing Thomas Sankara from power,” Johnson said in an interview with RFI’s French-language service.

“He said that it was the only way for us to live safely in Burkina. And Sankara was killed. We did it because it was the only way for us to stay in Burkina and prepare our attack against [Then President of Liberia Samuel] Doe,” he said.

“We didn’t want to be sent back to Liberia where we’d be chased by the police, so we were obliged to carry out the request of the number two, Blaise Compaoré, and oust Sankara from power. This is how he came to be assassinated.”

“Blaise Compaoré was everything. He controlled the emergency services, the special forces and the commandos were responsible for the presidential palace. So it was easy to get inside.”

Burkina Faso’s government spokesperson, Philippe Sawadogo, denied the accusations that he called “fabrications” that were “based on elements not worthy of fiction.”

Sawadogo claims that Johnson’s accusations are simply attempts to scuttle the diplomatic talks that were recently started between the two west African neighbours.

Johnson had already admitted to being involved in Sankara’s assassination during testimony at Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in August, though he wouldn’t divulge who was giving the orders.