This file photograph taken on August 4, 1985, shows then President of Burkina Faso Captain Thomas Sankara, as he reviews troops in a street of Ouagadougou, during celebrations of the second anniversary of the Burkina Faso's revolution.
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Thirty years ago, the leader of Burkina Faso's revolution, Thomas Sankara, was cut down in a hail of bullets -- a bloody end to a turbulent yet charismatic life that today has gained cult status in Africa.Once in power after an August 1983 coup, Sankara would rebaptise the country Burkina Faso, or "land of upright men", and introduce progressist policies that distanced his regime from other former colonies in what France regarded as its backyard in Africa.By the next coup in January 1983, Sankara was back in favor and became prime minister, but a power struggle erupted within military ranks.Just turned 33, Sankara cast himself as the symbol of a proud, young Africa.The Sankarist spell in Burkina lasted only four years. On Oct. 15, 1987, on his way to a special cabinet meeting, Sankara was assassinated in a putsch that left his buddy Compaore alone in power -- some say he was behind the coup -- and blaming Sankara for poor relations with France and Ivory Coast.
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