A mob in Senegal have “burned” and “ransacked” buildings at a university in search of a gay student.
The crowd formed last Tuesday at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, after one student accused another of hitting on him in the showers.
Amateur footage showed the group going around various buildings of the institution, shouting “you homosexual” and telling the victim of their attacks to show his face to the camera.
When the man was able to escape, the group turned violent burning and trashing various buildings.
A security guard at the university said hoards of young men gathered on campus near a bank and a restaurant, before causing riots.
Speaking to France 24, he said: “They were screaming ‘We are going to kill him!’ and the young man, who was being chased, hid inside the offices of the head of campus security.
“The mob wanted him to come out and there was a heated exchange between them and the security personnel.
“The bank decided to evacuate its staff until the police arrived.
“The police fired teargas to disperse the students so the young man could come out.
“The angry students went on to burn down the buildings belonging to the campus security guards. They also destroyed the ATM outside the bank as well as the bank’s signs. They openly criticised security guards for ‘helping a homosexual’ man flee.”
The guard also added that the incident was the first time he had witnessed students attack security guards.
Djamil Bangoura, president of Prudence, an organisation that supports the LGBT community in Senegal, said mob justice was common in the country when someone was suspected of being gay.
“This isn’t the first time that a mob has gone after someone suspected of being gay at Cheikh Anta Diop University,” he said.
“Since 2012, we’ve counted nine similar cases. Some of these students dropped out of school because of these events.
“These mobs are often sparked by mere suspicions or rumours that someone is gay, not by facts.”
Homosexuality is illegal in Senegal and punishable by up to five years in prison, a fine of 1.5 million CFA Francs or both.
Last October, the Senegalese President said the country was not ready to decriminalise homosexuality. There have been numerous reports of people being arrested and charged over the years, including 11 men who were accused of taking part in a wedding celebration.