By OUMAR ZOMBRE and SAM MEDNICK
OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) — Burkina Faso’s former President Blaise Compaore returned to the West African country Thursday, the first time since being ousted in a popular uprising eight years ago.
The former leader arrived at the Ouagadougou airport, according to Western diplomats and the Emir of Lipatko, a traditional leader.
Compaore, who’s been in exile in neighboring Ivory Coast since 2014, came back to be part of an unprecedented meeting on Friday of former heads of state to discuss Burkina Faso’s future, said a statement by the government.
Compaore is to join past presidents Michel Kafando, Yacouba Isaac Zida, Jean-Baptiste Ouedraogo and Roch Marc Christian Kabore, according to the statement.
It’s unclear how long Compaore will stay in the country.
Friday’s meeting has been called by the ruling junta led by Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba who seized power in a coup in January and has had himself appointed interim president.
The summit meeting of former leaders comes as Burkina Faso grapples with soaring jihadi violence linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group that’s killed thousands and displaced nearly 2 million people.
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