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In Burkina Faso, a Mansion Offers a Glimpse into …

Robbie Corey-Boulet | Al Jazeera   in 
May 8, 2015

OUGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — Last October, at the height of an uprising that ended Blaise Compaoré’s 27-year rule in Burkina Faso, soldiers opened fire on demonstrators approaching the expansive residence of the president’s younger brother and adviser, François. According to Amnesty International, members of the Presidential Security Regiment gave no warning before shooting from moving vehicles at unarmed civilians, some of whom had their hands in the air.

François’s villa, situated on Charles de Gaulle Avenue across the street from the country’s biggest university, had been a forbidding presence for many in the capital even before this incident. Set back behind a high wall topped with bougainvillea, the blocky structure with its pillar-flanked entrance embodied the high life enjoyed by members of the president’s inner circle — as well as their remove from the problems facing ordinary citizens in one of the world’s poorest countries. Moreover, François had a reputation for ruthlessness, and rumors abounded that he used his home to perform human sacrifices and other rituals intended to stave off threats to the government.

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