Cameroon: Homophobic attack on a gay man in Bertoua

An old photo of Meyo Bilounga Audrey from Facebook.
An old photo of Meyo Bilounga Audrey from Facebook.

A known homophobic ex-convict last month attacked and blackmailed a leader of the LGBTI organization Health and Human Rights Cameroon in Bertoua. In effect, the assault evicted the group’s leader from his house and deprived the city’s LGBTI residents of a meeting place.


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By Jacks Oke

Bertoua-Cameroon
The location of Bertoua in Cameroon.

At about 2 a.m. on  Jan. 16, the administrative and financial director of the organization Health and Human Rights Cameroon (2HRC) was assaulted in his home by an ex-con.

The 2HRC leader, Krys (a pseudonym) had been discreet about his sexual orientation while he lived for several years in the city of Bertoua, working as a community leader and health adviser for LGBTI people, who would meet at his home.

On Jan. 16, while Krys was asleep, Meyo Bilounga Audrey approached the home, armed with a dagger. Meyo began beating on the door, screaming, “Hey, homo! You fag, open your door! I know you’re in there, you devil!”

Krys panicked and opened the door. Soon he found himself negotiating with the intruder, who demanded 250,000 CFA francs (about U.S. $475). Meyo began beating him and telling him that he would inform his entire family and his colleagues about his sexual orientation. Meyo also threatened to stab him.

Krys, who had 83,000 CFA francs (about $125) in his Orange mobile-money  account, gave Meyo his phone and his password so Meyo could transfer the money to his own account.

But Meyo wasn’t satisfied with the 83,000 CFA francs, so he resumed beating Krys.

Krys suggested getting the money from a friend. Meyo agreed, so the two men set off to go to the friend’s house.

Once outside, Krys spotted a police patrol and cried out to them for help. Meyo fled, taking with him Krys’s phone, his computer and his keys. Meyo promised to return later.

Police recorded Krys’s complaint about his assailant, whose name he did not then know. That investigation has not ended.

As a result of the attack, Krys’s neighbors have learned his sexual orientation so they have declared him persona non grata. At present, he is staying with friend. He does not have enough money to move on his own to a safer city.

He and often human rights defenders at 2HRC are afraid was what might happen next. They also worry about how to help other LGBTI people in Bertoua.

Krys asks:

    “How can we protect vulnerable people if our own safety is not assured? “

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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, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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