Cameroon: Police arrest 12 teens on homosexuality charges

For 12 teenage boys, yesterday’s celebration of Youth Day in the city of Bertoua in eastern Cameroon ended with their arrest on suspicion of homosexuality.


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Grand Palace Restaurant in Bertoua.

By Courtney Stans

Bertoua's location in Cameroon. (Map courtesy of Google Maps)
Bertoua’s location in Cameroon. (Map courtesy of Google Maps)

Feb. 11, 2021, will remain unforgettable for 12 boys arrested and taken to the Nkolbikone police station after they were spotted kissing each other near the Grand Palace Restaurant in Bertoua.

Among the patrons at the restaurant was the top official (prefect) of the Lom and Djerem department, which has Bertoua as its capital.

The youths had gathered in Bertoua for a Youth Day fair organized by the Adventist College of Bertoua. Four of them had come from Douala in coastal Cameroon to take part in the festivities.

After patrons of the restaurant saw the boys kissing, a police squad seized the youths and took them to the police station, where they were beaten.

Grand Palace Nightclub in Bertoua.

At 9:30 p.m., members of the LGBTQ+ advocacy group 2HRC and some of the youths’ parents went to the police station and arranged for eight of the youths to be released immediately. The four visitors from Douala were still being held. A lawyer contacted by 2HRC was working for their release.

Cameroon in the past year has seen a series of arrests of alleged homosexuals: 53 people in Bafoussam in June 2020, four men in Kekem in June 2020, a man in Ebolowa arrested in December 2020 after police caught a glimpse of a red thong he was wearing and two trans women including online celebrity Shakiro arrested in Douala on Feb. 8.

 

Courtney Stans, the author of this article, is a Cameroonian journalist who writes under a pseudonym. Contact her at info@76crimes.com.

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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