The French State, whose leaders like to give Human rights lessons to the whole world, has thus allowed one of the perpetrators of the September 2015 putsch in Burkina Faso to set foot on its soil. Sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2019, he was evacuated to France for medical reasons. After obtaining two authorisations to extend his stay, he was unable to obtain a third extension but did not return to his country to serve his sentence. He is therefore a convicted fugitive, whom France is welcoming with no qualms… And what’s more, to talk about peace!

The first time was in the great amphitheatre of the Sorbonne on 26 May 2023, to mark the centenary of the Académie des sciences d’outre-mer, and the second time on 22 June 2023, in the French Parlement, at the invitation of Michèle Tabarot and Bruno Fuchs, co-reporters of the mission of information on Franco/African relations

But who is Djibril Bassolet? After the assassination of Thomas Sankara on 15 October 1987, the gendarmerie, of which he was an officer at the time, held captive and tortured relatives of the assassinated President. He also sent his brigade of gendarmes to prevent a requiem mass in Ougadougou, in honour of Thomas Sankara.

Later, as a close collaborator to Blaise Compaoré, he became Minister of Security in order to quell the demonstrations by the Burkinabe populat(ion angry about the murder of journalist Norbert Zongo. He was then appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs, at a time when Blaise Compaoré was behind the destabilisation of various countries in the region. In particular, he supported Charles Taylor, the warlord in Liberia, and helped to circumvent the embargo against Jonas Savimbi, an ally of the apartheid regime in South Africa.

In October 2014, a powerful and massive popular uprising led to Blaise Compaoré’s flight to Côte d’Ivoire, exfiltrated by French troops, and the establishment of an exemplary transition. On 17 September 2015, as the elections approached, troops loyal to Blaise Compaoré attempted a coup d’état to overthrow the transition. A real popular resistance was organised, during which fifteen people were killed, while troops from all over the country laid siege to the capital, thus contributing to the failure of the putsch.

During the trial of the perpetrators of the putsch, Djibril Bassolet’s involvement was established. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and his accomplice Gilbert Diendéré, head of the presidential security regiment, to 20 years.

While Djibril Bassolet’s invitation seems to have gone unnoticed in France, it has sparked an outcry in Burkina Faso. At a time when French leaders are seemingly concerned about what they call anti-French sentiment, such an attitude appears at best a diplomatic blunder, at worst a provocation. We call on members of parliament and French organisations concerned with respect for democracy to protest to the French government against the leniency with which Djibril Bassolet can continue to be invited, in France, to give lessons in peace.

Signed in Ouagadougou, Dakar, Bamako, Niamey, Paris, Turin, Ottawa, Toronto, Las Palmas, Ajaccio, Toulouse, Nîmes and Bagnolet on 9 July 2023.

The international network Justice for Sankara, Justice for Africa


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