Two Burkina Faso generals were both convicted and jailed on Monday by a military court for masterminding a coup in the fragile Sahel state in 2015.
General Gilbert Diendere was convicted on charges of murder and harming state security and handed a 20-year prison term, while General Djibrill Bassole, accused of treason, was ordered jailed for 10 years.
The coup, carried out by troops loyal to ousted president Blaise Compaore, was thwarted by public protest but at the cost of 14 lives and nearly 300 wounded.
The two generals were the leading figures in a 19-month trial of 84 people accused of the attempted overthrow of Burkina’s transitional government.
The coup was mounted by an elite unit of the army, the Presidential Security Regiment (RSP), on September 16 2015, less than a month before scheduled general elections.
It fizzled out within a week after army-backed street protestors attacked the rebels’ barracks.
Compaore had fled to Ivory Coast in 2014 after 27 years in office marked by assassinations and mounting public unrest.
He was forced out by a revolt sparked by his attempts to extend his grip on power, and a transitional government took the helm.
Diendere, 60, who had been Compaore’s right-hand man and a former head of the RSP, took the head of the putschists’ governing body, the so-called National Council for Democracy.
Bassole, 62, was a foreign minister under Compaore.
Both had denied the charges.
But the prosecution, which had sought life sentences, said the pair had been instrumental in events.
Diendere was “the main instigator in the coup” and Bassole “helped to prepare (it),” said military prosecutor Pascaline Zoungrana.