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Mbaye Diagne 1958 - 1994

The Senegalese UN Captain who tried to stop the genocide in Rwanda

Diagne Mbaye

Diagne Mbaye

After the assassination of the President of Rwanda on the evening of April 6, 1994 - which began the genocide of the Tutsis - the Presidential Guard's soldiers killed the Prime Minister Agathe Uwiliingiyimana and her husband, whom were escorted by over ten Blue Helmets of the UN.

A military observer of the UNAMIR (United Nations Assistance Mission for Ruanda), the Senegalese captain Mbaye Diagne, went to the site of the massacre and saved the Prime Minister's children, bringing them to safety. In the meantime, the Interahamwe Hutu militias started hunting for the Tutsis, exterminating them with machetes.

In the following days, all the foreigners were evacuated and the UN decreed the withdrawal of almost all of UNAMIR, leaving the country at the mercy of the slaughterers. Captain Diagne was among the 270 soldiers remained in Rwanda, under the guidance of General Romeo Dallaire. He did his best to save as many people as possible. In the trunk of his white off-road with the inscription "UN", Diagne secretly carried almost 600 people - hiding a couple of persons at time under blankets and various household goods - helping them to pass safely countless checkpoints to reach the border. In May 2013, however, a mortar shot fired from a roadblock killed him. 

His commander Romeo Dallaire called him "the bravest of the brave".

Diagne left his wife and two small children. Ms. Yacine is nowadays the President Association in her husband's name, created with the intent to spread the culture of peace.

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The Righteous, neither saints nor heroes

in praise of the daily-life virtues

The deeds, sometimes the entire life, of the Righteous, are there to prove that every human being can take up a personal responsibility to defend the weakest people and oppose the anti-democratic and repressive drifts of society.

Not only the Righteous among the nations awarded in Yad Vashem, but all the world's Righteous should be remembered, honored and praised for their key contribution to the fate of the human kind.

Learning about their biographies helps the construction of educational memory, able to speak to the younger people's hearts and minds.