General Gilbert Diendere military coup Burkina Faso
General Gilbert Diendere, who led a failed coup against Burkina Faso's transitional government, charged with murder of former leader Thomas SankaraGetty

Government authorities in Burkina Faso have charged General Gilbert Diendere, who led an unsuccessful coup recently, with the assassination of former president Thomas Sankara. Officials say the military general was complicit in Sankara's murder, which took place in 1987.

The murder accusations are in addition to the charges he already faces for launching the week-long failed coup in September 2015. Tribunal director Colonel Sita Sangare confirmed to the Associated Press about the latest charge, which is thought to have been filed against Diendere a week earlier.

Sankara's murder was one of the most high-profile assassinations in the continent as he was widely known as "Africa's Che Guevara". The former revolutionary leader took over the country in a coup in 1983.

Sankara was expelled in a coup by his one-time friend Blaise Compaore in 1987. However, Compaore has denied any hand in the former president's killing as it was blamed on the presidential guard. The presidential guard, led by Diendere, is also the same outfit that attempted a coup in September 2015 in Ouagadougou. Several other elite members of the presidential guard have also been charged with Sankara's assassination.

Members of Sankara's family have been seeking an intensified investigation into the murder ever since Compaore was also toppled in an army-engineered coup in October 2014. The transitional government has pledged to launch a thorough investigation into the assassination. As part of the probe, officials had also exhumed the remains of Sankara earlier in the year.