Burkina Faso’s former-President Blaise Compaore returned from exile on Thursday, almost eight years after he was toppled in an uprising, to take part in a meeting with interim president Paul-Henri Damiba and other former leaders.
Compaore, 71, has returned to the West African country despite being convicted in absentia in April to life in prison for complicity in his predecessor Thomas Sankara’s murder.
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Lawyers for Sankara’s family have demanded that Compaore be arrested on arrival, although Burkinabe media have speculated in recent days that he could be granted a pardon.
Burkina Faso’s leader Damiba, who took power in a January coup, has invited Compaore and other ex-presidents to take part in a reconciliation summit on Friday amid rising insecurity linked to an insurgency in the north.
Compaore, who ruled Burkina Faso for 27 years, fled to Ivory Coast during a 2014 uprising sparked by his efforts to change the constitution to allow himself to remain in power.
He was handed a life sentence in April for his role in the 1987 murder of Sankara.