Anti-gay Cameroon resumes arrests; 7 nabbed in raid

Logo de Camfaids
Camfaids logo

Police in Yaoundé arrested seven people on homosexuality-related charges yesterday after a raid on a home where police said they found men engaging in prostitution and homosexual acts.

The arrests brought to a close a period of several months during which Cameroon police had not arrested LGBTI people on homosexuality-related changes.

This account of the incident was provided by the human rights group Camfaids (the Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS), which sent leaders of its legal section to interview police and the arrestees.

The raid was conducted at the home of a man, identified here as XX, near the government offices in the Kondengui area of the city.

After the raid, the arrestees were held at the police station across from the central prison in Kondengui.

The seven arrestees were charged with homosexual relations, prostitution and pimping.  Each of them had previously served time at Yaoundé Central Prison on similar charges.

During the raid, XX escaped to the roof of the house and so avoided arrest.

Camfaids leaders interviewed Donatus Sembe, the police officer in charge of the case, who said that police will not negotiate for the release of the prisoners and that the cases will be presented for prosecution. XX is a repeat offender, Sembe said, and has been involved in homosexuality cases previously.

Neighbors had alerted police that XX’s home was frequented by effeminate homosexuals, he said. Police had been following these people for a while and had delayed their raid until the group was gathered in the house, Sembe said. Police then smashed through the door and found people engaged in homosexual sex, he said.

Sembe said, according to Camfaids:

“Lesbians, gay men, men who sleep with men, women who sleep with women, men who act that way — all that is illegal. It’s non-negotiable, except at the prosecutors’ office. These are people who are controlled by an evil spirit.”

Camfaids leaders also interviewed the prisoners and gave them psychological support and food (juice and bread).

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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