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).
- Cameroon police re-arrest 2 gay men whom court freed (76crimes.com)
- Report: 4 lesbians arrested in Cameroon (76crimes.com)
- LGBTI in Cameroon: Celebrations, mourning in 2 cities (76crimes.com)
- Cameroon: Rights Abuses in ‘Homosexuality’ Prosecutions (hrw.org)
- Cameroon: Spate of Attacks on Rights Defenders (hrw.org)