Following his powerplay to take the presidency from Thomas Sankara, Blaise Compaore took control of Burkina Faso. Helping him on October 15, 1987, coup were Henri Zongo and Jean-Baptiste Boukary Lingani, two members of the old Communist Officers’ Group when Burkina Faso was still the Republic of Upper Volta. As it would happen, Lingani and Zongo were also instrumental in the 1983 coup that put Sankara in power.
These two would supposedly attempt to oust President Compaore in what is known as the 1989 Burkinabe Coup. Of course, as is the case with anything surrounding a coup, things are extremely murky depending on the side you believe.
The Alleged 1989 Burkinabe Coup
In 1989, President Compaore, Zongo, and Lingani were steadily undoing Sankara’s policies and destroying his legacy. In those almost two years something happened. Either cracks began to appear in the power triangle or Compaore had plans to remove them all along.
According to Compaore and law enforcement, in late September 1989, while Compaore was away on a diplomatic trip to China, Captain Gilbert Diende found out about an attempt to either arrest the president or take a less accountable approach and bomb the plane.
Ultimately it didn’t matter as Zongo and Lingani were pulled as prime suspects. The two were labeled as fascist enemies of the state and executed in short order. Because Compaore controlled the narrative, the 1989 Burkinabe Coup was presented as a legit attempt for some time afterward.