River, Boca join forces to support families of missing members

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(Reuters) - Argentine rivals Boca Juniors and River Plate launched a joint project on Friday aimed at giving a voice to the families of club members who went missing during the country’s right-wing dictatorship in the 1970s and 1980s.

The two clubs, along with Racing and Argentinos Juniors, called on family members to get in touch so that members can be reinstated and their stories can be told to a wider audience.

“We are rivals, not enemies,” said Boca Juniors in a statement. “And for the victims of state terrorism we fly the same flag.” Other clubs made similar statements.

Argentina’s official truth commission said 8,960 people went missing during the military dictatorship that ran the country between 1976 and 1983 but human rights groups estimate as many as 30,000 were killed.

Most were left-wing students, union leaders or dissidents murdered for their political beliefs.

The initiative comes 18 months after an emotional and widely hailed ceremony at Banfield. The capital club gave the families of 11 former club members who went missing official membership cards.

Argentinos Juniros reinstated seven members on Thursday and Racing said it would do the same.

(Reporting by Andrew Downie, editing by Pritha Sarkar)