New York December 14, 2015–The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the arrests on Saturday of three people in Burkina Faso in connection with the 1998 murder of Norbert Zongo, editor-in-chief of the weekly newspaper L’Independant.
Three soldiers, members of the recently disbanded presidential guard, have been charged in connection with the murder, according to news reports. Zongo, whose bullet-ridden body was found next to his burned out car on December 13, 1998, had reported on allegations that the brother of then-President Blaise Compaore had been complicit in the death of his chauffeur.
“We praise Burkinabe authorities for taking this step and call on them to ensure that the mastermind of this murder is identified and prosecuted,” said CPJ’s Africa program coordinator, Sue Valentine. “After 17 long years, the family, friends, and colleagues of Norbert Zongo deserve a thorough and transparent investigation leading to full justice.”
Previous efforts to identify and prosecute Zongo’s killers were frustrated by pressure from Compaore’s government, including the harassment of journalists and activists, CPJ research shows.
Compaore relinquished his 27-year grip on power in November 2014 in the face of widespread public protests that followed his attempts to extend his rule, news reports said. Last month, Burkina Faso held its most democratic elections, according to news reports, electing a former prime minister, Roch Marc Christian Kabore, as the country’s new president.