- A petition to keep searching for the real killers of Burkina Faso editor Norbert Zongo is gathering strong support, well in time to commemorate the tenth anniversary of his assassination on 13 December.
Mr Zongo was Burkina Faso's most prominent and outspoken independent journalist and director of the weekly newspaper 'Indépendant' when he was suddenly tortured and killed on 13 December 1998 alongside three others, including his brother and friend. He was investigating an affair involving the family of still-ruling President Blaise Compaoré when he was abducted and killed.
A murder investigation was launched, but the backgrounds for the assassination were never revealed, due to political pressure, the Burkinabe press still holds. The President's brother, François Compaoré, is being set in connection to the murder by the press and the public, but his involvement in the killing was never investigated.
Ten years after his assassination, Mr Zongo has become an icon of resistance to corruption, poor governance and political oppression in Burkina Faso. Nothing has been done to resolve the murder case and the Burkinabe judiciary has declared the case closed. Also press reports on François Compaoré's assumed involvement in the killing have been declared illegal by a Ouagadougou court.
But the Burkinabe press, both officialist and independent, will not give up on its demand to end impunity in the country. Burkina Faso's media association - named the "Centre de Presse Norbert Zongo" by a united press - again has launched an international campaign to demand justice.
"Let us refuse impunity through the cancelling of the case," says Cheriff Moumina Sy, himself an outspoken Burkinabe editor and a co-organiser of the petition. He has asked members of the media and any person in favour of universal human rights to join the Centre de Presse Norbert Zongo "to carry on the struggle in order to discover the murderers and their silent partners."
So far, the petition has had a large success, in particular in Burkina Faso, where practically every media practitioner has signed the demand. But also ordinary Burkinabe in the country and abroad have shown great support. And the demand is creating world-wide engagement, with editors from Dakar to Khartoum and Kinshasa signing the petition.
Diagne Madiambal, chief editor of Senegal's daily 'Le Quotidien', is among many African media leaders hailing the initiative and Mr Zongo's memory. "Our colleague Norbert deserves full justice to be done," Mr Madiambal says. "We must see it be done," he urges.
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