The world football governing body, FIFA, and several African Football Associations have sent messages of solidarity to the people of Rwanda as the country commemorates the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
According to a statement from the Rwanda Football Federation (FERWAFA), the international football fraternity joined with Rwandans in remembering the victims of the Genocide that left over a million people dead.
In her message, the FIFA General Secretary, Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura said: “I have always commemorated the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi with all my friends and colleagues from the United Nations and I am wholeheartedly pleased with the people of Rwanda.”
“May this time help all Rwandans to mourn while continuing to remind all humanity of the absurdity of genocide. I did not know Captain Mbaye Diagne but I can only be proud of his bravery and nobility of his heart,” added the Senegalese born football official.
Captain Mbaye, born on March 18, 1958, died on May 31, 1994, was a Senegalese military officer who was serving under the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Rwanda during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi when he was killed in Kigali in the line of duty.
He is credited with saving many lives during the Genocide in several daring rescue missions.
For his heroic actions Rwanda posthumously presented him with a medal and was again praised by President Paul Kagame at the official opening of the 23rd Genocide anniversary in Kigali on Friday.
Gabonese Football Association president Pierre Alain Mounguengui said in a statement: “The 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi is a historical test for the present generations who didn’t witness it. I ask the good Lord to continue to protect Rwandans in this trying moment so they can become more united for the good of their amazing nation.”
Jamal Malinzi, the head of the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF), said, “Dear FERWAFA family, as you are commemorating the 23rd anniversary of 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, I wish your country peace and prosperity.”
His Liberian counterpart, Musa Bility, wrote: “The 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi is a constant reminder to each of us of our individual and collective responsibilities to preserve humanity.”
In another message of solidarity, the Namibia Football Association president Mbidi Frans said in a statement sent to FERWAFA: “Peace is not achieved through shedding of precious blood of friends and relatives. Please console those who lost dear ones with the prevailing peace in Rwanda and God bless you.”
The Ethiopia Football Association chief Juneidin Basha said he wished Rwandans continued peace.
Rwanda started the 23rd commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi on Friday and the official mourning will conclude on Thursday. As such, during this period all sports competitions have been suspended as the local sports fraternity joins with the rest of the country to remember all those that lost their lives during the 100 slaughter.