Anger erupts at funeral of murdered Burkina Faso leader


Mark Huband in Abidjan and agencies

The Guardian, 11 December 1991

Violence broke out yesterday at the funeral of a key Burkina Faso opposition leader assassinated in the centre of the capital, Ouagadougou, on Monday night by unidentified attackers who threw a hand grenade into his car.

An hour earlier, a second opposition leader had been shot and critically wounded during a night of attacks on President Blaise Compaore’s opponents.

The dead man, Clement Omarou Ouedraogo, had been Mr Compaore’s deputy until he launched his own Burkina Faso Worker’s Party, when a ban on multi- party politics was lifted in April.

Mr Ouedraogo and his wife had stopped at a crossroads when two men on a motorbike drove alongside and one threw the hand grenade into the car. Mr Ouedraogo was killed instantly and his wife suffered serious leg wounds, hospital sources said.

Enraged mourners threw stones at Burkina Faso’s defence minister yesterday during Mr Ouedraogo’s funeral.

Bodyguards of the minister, Lassana Ouangrawa, fired in the air to disperse the angry crowd, wounding one person.

In another attack on Monday night, the secretary-general of the opposition Democratic Revolutionary Group, Tall Moctar, was severely injured when his attackers opened fire with machine guns while he was travelling through a forested area of Ouagadougou. Mr Moctar, a university professor, was wounded in the shoulder.

Both opposition leaders played important roles in last week’s successful boycott of the country’s first multi-party presidential election for 16 years. Mr Compaore, who seized power in the 1987 military coup which saw the murder of President Thomas Sankara, resigned his army ommission to fight the election. He was the sole candidate.

Twenty opposition parties formed the Coalition of Democratic Forces (CFD) and boycotted the election because of the government’s refusal to hold a national political conference. The 76.12 per cent abstention rate has seriously undermined the regime’s credibility. The CFD was in emergency session last night amid fears of increased political unrest.

Several other attempts at intimidating opposition leaders occurred on Monday night, according to the defence minister. Mr Ouangroua condemned the attacks and distanced the government from the perpetrators.


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