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Burkina Faso to exhume grave of revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara, colleagues

  • A member of the security force prevents people from entering the Dagnoen Cemetery, as the graves of thirteen people including Burkina Faso  revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara, are exhumed on the outskirts of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Monday, May 25, 2015. Sankara, a widely admired figure across Africa, was killed along with 12 others under unclear circumstances in the 1987 coup that brought his former best friend Blaise Compaore to power. (AP Photo/Theo Renaut)

    A member of the security force prevents people from entering the Dagnoen Cemetery, as the graves of thirteen people including Burkina Faso revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara, are exhumed on the outskirts of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Monday, May 25, 2015. Sankara, a widely admired figure across Africa, was killed along with 12 others under unclear circumstances in the 1987 coup that brought his former best friend Blaise Compaore to power. (AP Photo/Theo Renaut)  (The Associated Press)

  • Graves are exhumed at Dagnoen Cemetery, of thirteen people including Burkina Faso  revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara, are exhumed on the outskirts of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Monday, May 25, 2015. Sankara, a widely admired figure across Africa, was killed along with 12 others under unclear circumstances in the 1987 coup that brought his former best friend Blaise Compaore to power. (AP Photo/Theo Renaut)

    Graves are exhumed at Dagnoen Cemetery, of thirteen people including Burkina Faso revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara, are exhumed on the outskirts of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Monday, May 25, 2015. Sankara, a widely admired figure across Africa, was killed along with 12 others under unclear circumstances in the 1987 coup that brought his former best friend Blaise Compaore to power. (AP Photo/Theo Renaut)  (The Associated Press)

  • People are prevented from entering Dagnoen Cemetery, as the graves of thirteen people including Burkina Faso  revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara, are exhumed on the outskirts of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Monday, May 25, 2015. Sankara, a widely admired figure across Africa, was killed along with 12 others under unclear circumstances in the 1987 coup that brought his former best friend Blaise Compaore to power. (AP Photo/Theo Renaut)

    People are prevented from entering Dagnoen Cemetery, as the graves of thirteen people including Burkina Faso revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara, are exhumed on the outskirts of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Monday, May 25, 2015. Sankara, a widely admired figure across Africa, was killed along with 12 others under unclear circumstances in the 1987 coup that brought his former best friend Blaise Compaore to power. (AP Photo/Theo Renaut)  (The Associated Press)

Burkina Faso is exhuming the graves of thirteen people including revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara, whose death nearly 30 years ago in a coup has remained a mystery.

Interim president Michel Kafando last year said investigations into Sankara's death would go forward "in the name of national reconciliation." In March, the exhumation was authorized.

Sankara and 12 colleagues were killed in a 1987 coup by his former best friend, Blaise Compaore, who seized power.

The exhumations began Monday morning at the Dagnoen Cemetary, on the eastern outskirts of Ouagadougou, and are expected to be a lengthy process.

Local gendarmerie and forensic experts from Burkina Faso and France are performing the exhumations. DNA tests will follow to prove the identities of the remains and causes of death.