1 Journalist Killed in Burkina Faso since 1992/Motive Confirmed

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Norbert Zongo


December 13, 1998, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

Zongo, editor-in-chief of the weekly newspaper L'indepéndent, was found dead in his car, along with his brother, his chauffeur, and a fourth, unidentified person. The inside of the vehicle was burnt and the bodies were charred, although the exterior of the car was not burnt. A rear door was riddled with what appeared to be gunshots. The private newsweekly had recently published articles accusing President Blaise Compaore's brother of complicity in the death of his chauffeur. CPJ wrote President Compaore urging that he launch a thorough and impartial investigation into Zongo's death and that he bring the perpetrators to justice.
In early August 2000, three members of President Blaise Compaore's Guard Regiment (RSP) went on trial for the murder of chauffeur David Ouedraogo. The three guards were found guilty of killing David Ouedraogo and sentenced to between 10 and 20 years in jail. The court also awarded the victim's family 200 million francs (US$227,000) in damages. But it would be another six months before authorities acknowledged any link between the death of Ouedraogo and the murder of Norbert Zongo and his friends.
In early January 2001, one of the jailed guardsmen was found dead in his prison cell "after a long disease," according to a government press release. A month later, RSP guardsman Marcel Kafando was indicted for murdering Zongo. Kafando, already serving a 20-year sentence for Ouedraogo's murder, is the first person to be formally accused of killing Norbert Zongo and his companions. The state prosecutor said that the indictment resulted from "contradictions noted in [Kafando's] alibi for December 12 and 13 of 1998." No trial date has yet been set.

Medium: Print

Job: Editor

Gender: Male

Local or Foreign: Local

Freelance: No

Type of Death: Murder

Suspected Source of Fire: Military Officials

Impunity: Yes

Taken Captive: No

Tortured: No

Threatened: Yes