Burkina Faso’s Deposed Leader Returns to Ivory Coast

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ABIDJAN —Burkina Faso’s deposed president Blaise Compaore arrived in

Ivory Coast on Friday on the latest stage of an odyssey which has

taken him to several countries since he was toppled.

Should he seek to stay, his presence could complicate relations

between the two West African neighbors and prove politically awkward

for the Ivorian government as President Alassane Ouattara seeks

re-election next year.

A senior official in the president’s office said Compaore, who sought

refuge in Ivory Coast immediately after fleeing mass protests in

October, had arrived in the capital Yamoussoukro after spending time

in Morocco, Gabon and elsewhere.

“He came back here. He’s free to go wherever he wants,” the official

said, adding that it was unclear how long Compaore planned to remain

in the country. “The president has already said that he is free to

stay as long as he likes. It’s up to him.”

Ivory Coast’s government spokesman Bruno Kone said he could not

confirm Compaore’s presence in the country.

“I don’t know why the question keeps coming up. He is a free

individual. He’s free to come and go. It’s not a question for us,” he

told Reuters. “He is a friend of Ivory Coast.”

Compaore has a close relationship with Ouattara, and was lodged in a

state villa when he first arrived after his fall from power.

The Ivorian opposition accuses him of backing pro-Ouattara forces that

fought against and defeated former president Laurent Gbagbo in 2011

after he failed to recognize his defeat to Ouattara in an election.

With polls due again next year, Compaore’s continued presence could

therefore prove sensitive.

The possibility that Burkina Faso may seek Compaore’s extradition to

face trial could also create complications.

“If it happens, I think the authorities will study the situation, but

we’re not there for the moment,” the Ivorian presidency source said.

Burkina Faso’s interim Prime Minister Isaac Zida has promised to open

enquiries into the suspected involvement of Compaore’s government in

several high-profile killings, a key demand of the protesters who

ended his 27 years in power.

Compaore took power in a 1987 coup in which then-President Thomas

Sankara was killed in unexplained circumstances. The interim

authorities have said they will exhume a grave thought to contain the

remains of Sankara, a revolutionary folk hero in the West African


Credit: Reuters

Kofi Oppong Kyekyeku

I am a Ghanaian Broadcast Journalist/Writer who has an interest in General News, Sports, Entertainment, Health, Lifestyle and many more.

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