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Burkina Faso’s former president Blaise Compaore, sentenced in absentia to life in jail for the 1987 assassination of revolutionary icon Thomas Sankara, has apologised to the ex-leader’s family.

“I ask the Burkinabe people for forgiveness for all the acts I may have committed during my tenure, and especially the family of my brother and friend Thomas Sankara,” he said in a message read out by government spokesman Lionel Bilgo on Tuesday.

The message was brought by a government delegation on a visit from Côte d’Ivoire, where Compaore has been living in exile since being ousted from power by mass protests in 2014.

Compaore seized power in the West African nation in a 1987 coup in which Sankara was gunned down by a hit squad.

The violent death of his former comrade-in-arms was a taboo subject throughout his 27 years in power.

A Burkina court handed him a life term in absentia in April for his role in the assassination.

“I take responsibility for, and regret from the bottom of my heart, all the suffering and tragedies experienced by all victims during my terms as leader of the country and ask their families to grant me their forgiveness,” Compaore said.

Source: Read or Listen to this story on the RFI website.