Opposition Leader Killed After Leading Boycott of Presidential Vote
OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) _ An opposition leader was killed and another critically injured, state radio said today, after leading a campaign to boycott an election in which President Blaise Compaore was the only candidate.
Clement Oumarou Ouedraogo, secretary-general of the Worker’s Party and former No. 2 man to Compaore, was killed Monday night in his car when a bomb tossed by a motorcyclist exploded in the city center. Ouedraogo’s wife was seriously injured, according to state radio and the main opposition force.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the slayings.
The Confederation of Democratic Forces opposition said a short while after the bombing that Tall Moctar, a leader of the Democratic Revolution Group, was shot and critically wounded inside his car on the outskirts of the city.
Defense Minister Laffane Ouangawa today condemned the attacks as ″loathsome and abominable.″
Burkina Faso, with 9 million residents, is a former French colony that was called the Upper Volta until 1984. It borders Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, Ghana and the Ivory Coast in West Africa.
Opposition parties have accused Compaore of ordering several bombing attacks on opposition homes and offices head of the Dec. 1 election.
The government has criticized the opposition for inciting supporters to rampage through the capital, pillaging supermarkets and setting vehicles ablaze.
The political parties of both men belong to the Confederation, an umbrella group of opposition parties that succeeded in a campaign to keep about 75 percent of the voters home during the voting.
The parties boycotted the voting on the ground that Compaore, who took power in 1987 when his forces killed a military ruler, Capt. Thomas Sankara, had broken a promise to set up a transitional government to oversee the voting.
Compaore had promised to return democracy to this impoverished nation on the edge of the Sahara Desert that has sustained four coups and several coup attempts in 10 years.
Twenty-one African governments, due to pressure from strikes or demonstrations or foreign aid cuts, have agreed in principle the past two years to commit to pro-democractic reforms.
Compaore had invited opposition candidates to contest the election. They refused, saying Compaore’s officials would ensure he won and the poll would legitimize his military-led government.
The National Electoral Organizing Committee has accused the opposition of scaring voters into staying home. It said 42 polling stations were attacked by ″irresponsible elements″ and 20 people arrested during voting.
Official results gave Compaore 86 percent of the votes cast. The commission said three-quarters of the 3.4 million registered voters abstained from voting.