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Burkina Faso5 February 2001

Presidential Guard member charged with murder in the Norbert Zongo case
Reporters Without Borders strongly objects to the immunity enjoyed by the Head of State and his brother

Reporters without Borders was reassured to learn that Adjudant Marcel Kafando has been charged with "murder" and "arson" as a result of the inquiry into the death of Norbert Zongo, managing editor of the weekly L’Indépendant. "Adjudant Kafando, one of the commanders of the Presidential Guard Regiment (RSP), President Blaise Compaoré’s security guardsmen, cannot possibly have acted without the approval of his superiors. As a result of this indictment, Blaise et François Compaoré can no longer be kept out of this inquiry or of the trial of Norbert Zongo’s murderers," stated Robert Ménard, the organisation’s General Secretary. "Reporters without Borders will not accept any form of justice that is satisfied with putting the perpetrators of this murder on trial, while allowing those who ordered it done to continue leading the country," he added.

According to information gathered by Reporters without Borders, Adjudant Marcel Kafando was charged with "murder" and "arson" on 2 February 2001 by Attorney General Abdoulaye Barry. Marcel Kafando was one of the six "serious suspects," all members of the RSP, implicated by the independent commission of inquiry set up by the Burkina government following the death of Norbert Zongo. On 17 January 2001, François Compaoré was heard by the examining magistrate in charge of the Norbert Zongo murder case.

On 13 December 1998, the bodies of Norbert Zongo, managing editor of L’indépendant, and three of his companions, were found in Sapouy (100 km south of Ouagadougou). Each of them had been shot and their car set on fire. Norbert Zongo had for some time been investigating the case of David Ouédraogo, François Compaoré’s chauffeur, who had been tortured to death by members of the RSP.

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