Attacks continue in Cameroon against LGBT people and the human rights activists who defend them.
The latest target was the program director of Camfaids (the Cameroonian Foundation for Aids), which fights against Aids and for the recognition of the human rights of LGBTI people.
Jean Jacques Dissoke, the group’s legal coordinator, reported and commented on the incident in the organization’s monthly newsletter. This is a loose translation:
Always insecure and often tormented in Cameroonian society, LGBTI people are denied the stability they need to thrive as well as the protection of human rights that society owes them.
The latest demonstration of that injustice came in an incident that began on Monday, Oct. 12, at about 7 p.m. in the Mimboman district of Yaoundé, Cameroon’s capital. Joshua Mbarga, director of programs for Camfaids, was the victim of an attempted murder that grew out of a robbery in his home.
In his account of the incident, Mbarga said:
“After a long day of work at the Camfaids center, I was lying on my couch when suddenly someone tried to force my door, which was locked from the inside. I asked who was there.
“An unknown voice answered that he was the brother of a neighbor and that he urgently needed a screwdriver to repair a broken electricity meter.
“So I opened my door to see the person and went rummaging for a screwdriver, but I did not find one anywhere.
“When I returned, I found this stranger, suspiciously, looking through my personal property. When I asked him to leave, he lunged at me and tried to suffocate me with a pillow.
“I tried to call for help from my neighbors, but instead my attacker’s accomplice, named Yaya, arrived. I lost consciousness and they stripped me of 47,000 CFA francs (about US $80), a laptop, my phone, my personal items and more.
“My neighbors, alerted by the barking of dogs, managed to keep my first attacker [named Mbara Salle] from leaving. But Yaya escaped with all the loot.
“Police investigators at the Emombo station talked to the attacker, who said that he had been overcome with emotion on being told that I had proposed to have sex with his little brother, Yaya.
“That changed the course of the investigation. Now the investigator began asking me about my sexual orientation and threatened to check with the mobile phone company to find out whom I had telephoned.”
Mbara Salle was interviewed by television journalists from the national station, CRTV, and a private channel, CH2. He told them:
“I had come to kill him, this homosexual, because that is the fate that all homosexuals deserve.”
In the weeks since the attack, Yaya has not been found. Mbara Salle was arrested on assault charges.
It should be noted that this was not Yaya’s first brush with the law. He has been investigated for similar offenses in the past.
This incident is all too typical of the life of LGBTI people in Cameroonian society. It’s a life that is insecure, with no protection against human rights violations.
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- Gay life in Cameroon: Battered, with no legal recourse (76crimes.com)
- Quick response to new anti-gay persecution in Cameroon (76crimes.com)
- LGBTI life improves in homophobic Cameroon (76crimes.com)
- Alice Nkom: Struggle and hope for LGBTI Cameroonians (76crimes.com)