Police block anti-gay violence in Senegal

Senegal's location in Africa.
Senegal’s location in Africa.

In a refreshing change, police in an African country have acted to block anti-gay violence rather than encouraging it or perpetrating it.

The Associated Press reports today:

DAKAR, Senegal — Police in a city outside Senegal’s capital have arrested four young men accused of carrying out attacks in a bid to rid their neighborhood of gay people.

Mamadou Faye, a police official in the city of Rufisque, said Monday the four men remained in custody after being arrested Friday. He said they are accused of targeting five gay men during a nighttime raid on Jan. 30, injuring some of them and destroying property.

Faye said the suspects “wanted to clean their neighborhood, which they said is infested with homosexuals.”

In contrast, in Cameroon on Feb. 1, a police officer arrested a transgender sex worker on homosexuality charges for allegedly failing to be female enough for the officer’s satisfaction. (“Cameroon sex worker jailed for not being a girl“)

In Ivory Coast last week, police allegedly refused to respond to a request for help from an anti-AIDS, pro-LGBT-rights group that was under attack by anti-gay mob. (“Anti-gay attacks disrupt AIDS efforts in Ivory Coast“)

In Senegal, as in Cameroon but unlike Ivory Coast, homosexual activity is punishable by up to five years in prison.

In the Rufisque neighborhood, some residents were unhappy with the police action and said they would protest to have the young men freed.

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, and editor / publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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Destination: Cameroon. Goal: LGBT health, justice