Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has referred to gay people as “vermin”, saying they should be dealt with in the same way as mosquitoes which “cause” malaria.

President Jammeh made the comments on Tuesday. He has in the past referred to gays as a threat to humanity, saying a year ago that gay rights were a “great mistake” for Africa and that “human beings of the same sex cannot marry or date”.

“We will fight these vermins called homosexuals or gays the same way we are fighting malaria-causing mosquitoes, if not more aggressively,” he said in a speech made to mark the country’s 49th anniversary of independence from Britain.

Echoing similar sentiments made by a representative of the Ugandan Government also today, the Gambian president suggested the country would not accept aid from any country if the  welfare of LGBT people is a condition.

“We will therefore not accept any friendship, aid or any other gesture that is conditional on accepting homosexuals or LGBT as they are now baptised by the powers that promote them,” he said.

“As far as I am concerned, LGBT can only stand for Leprosy, Gonorrhoea, Bacteria and Tuberculosis; all of which are detrimental to human existence,” he added.

Mr Jammeh has ruled Gambia since a military coup in 1994.

In 2008, he was strongly criticised by EU officials after he vowed to introduce laws stricter than those in Iran, where gay acts between men are punishable by death.

The president retracted a threat to decapitate gay people in Gambia, but said they would be driven out of their homes.

Same-sex activity in the country is punishable by up to 14 years imprisonment.

Earlier today a Ugandan minster said Ugandans would rather “die poor” and give up international aid, than give up a soon-to-be introduced law which further criminalises homosexuality.