Former Burkina PM charged with murder: Prosecutor

Luc Adolphe Tiao, the last prime minister of former Burkinabe president Blaise Compaore, has been detained and charged with murder over unrest that saw the latter unseated in 2014, the supreme court prosecutor general said Friday.

AFP| Last Updated: Sep 17, 2016, 02:56 AM IST

Région du Centre: Luc Adolphe Tiao, the last prime minister of former Burkinabe president Blaise Compaore, has been detained and charged with murder over unrest that saw the latter unseated in 2014, the supreme court prosecutor general said Friday.

Compaore lost power after 27 years following a popular uprising in October 2014 against his attempts to change the constitution to remain in office and last year the country`s transitional council indicted him and senior members of his government on charges of high treason.

The supreme court prosecutor told AFP Tiao had been detained and charged as part of its mandate to investigate the "popular insurrection" which accompanied the collapse of the Compaore regime.

"Former prime minister Luc Adolphe Tiao has been placed in detention and was taken to a prison facility at Ouagadougou this morning," chief prosecutor Armand Ouedraogo told AFP.

"He has been charged with murder, beating and deliberate wounding and complicity" in violence in connection with military attempts to put down the uprising, which cost 33 lives according to an official toll.

Ouagadougou prosecutor Maiza Sereme last week decried the "difficulties" encountered in pursuing the case against Tiao and former regime leaders citing a lack of "cooperation" from state authorities.

Tiao spent a year-and-a-half in exile in Ivory Coast but returned voluntarily to Burkina Faso last weekend after questioning of several members of his former cabinet who remain in the country.

Several sources have told AFP that former journalist Tiao is accused of having signed an order for the army to use force in putting down the popular uprising.

"Everybody knows it was him who gave authorisation to fire on demonstrators," said Ouedraogo, who added he could not say if other ministers in the government Tiao headed would also be detained.

In total, police have questioned 16 ministers from the Tiao government in connection with the killings linked to the anti-Compaore demonstrations at the end of 2014.

The remainder are in exile and some have found employment with international organisations abroad.

Following the suppression of the unrest, Amnesty International released a report on the anti-Compaore demonstration accusing the presidential security unit (RSP) of being behind the violence. The RSP was dissolved following last year`s abortive coup.

Compaore is currently in exile in Ivory Coast and the transitional council has also accused him of high treason and of abusing the constitution in seeking to stay in power.

He is the subject of an international arrest warrant in connection with the murder of former president Thomas Sankara, killed in the 1987 coup which brought Compaore to power.

Not least because it does not extradite to countries retaining the death penalty, there seems little chance that Ivory Coast will expel Compaore, who has taken Ivorian citizenship and who is a long-time ally of Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara.