Thursday, 3 April 2014
An African Hero.
Time and again the history of post-colonial Africa records atrocities committed by the armed forces of the various African states. We have grown used to images of the African soldier swaggering through yet another scene of rape and carnage as misery is heaped upon misery for the ordinary folk who long for nothing but some peace. It is now twenty years since the Rwandan genocide and it's good that one man in particular is being remembered. Mbaye Diagne was a young Senegalese Army officer posted to Rwanda as a UN observer. But observing was never going to be enough for Mbaye who time after time put his life on the line to save defenceless civilians. He charmed his way through roadblocks with a winning smile and perhaps a bottle of whisky until that final roadblock where he was killed by a stray mortar round. He was due to return home in just a couple of weeks. Capt. Mbaye Diagne could be a role model for the armies of Africa and the world. The soldier as a humanitarian. Diagne is remembered on Newsnight tonight and you can find Mark Doyle's moving tribute to the man here.