Dozens of gay men were arrested after they were taken “hostage” by police officers.
A gay bar in Cameroon was raided by police this weekend, leading to the arrests of all people inside.
Authorities began the raid by surrounding Mistral – a gay bar in Yaoundé – with vans and blockades in the early hours of October 9, making it impossible for patrons to flee the venue.
Although the bar is not advertised as a gay venue due the country’s harsh anti-gay laws, Mistral is seen as a safe haven for the area’s LGBT community.
Following the blockade, police officers entered the bar, before informing customers that they were all under arrest, leading some to compare the raid to a hostage situation.
“People became anxious as they began to think of themselves as hostages,” one activist wrote on 76 Crimes.
“Police then ordered people to leave the bar and checked for identification cards at the exit,” they added.
However, all patrons were loaded into police vans, regardless of the identification they were carrying.
“Police patrols were stationed at every corner of the cabaret — in front, beside, inside, behind,” the activist – who wrote under a pseudonym – continued.
“As if it were a commando operation, armed police searched inside the bar for people hiding there.
“Some bar-goers tried to escape out the back, but another police truck was parked there.”
It remains unclear how many people were eventually arrested – with some activists claiming it was “dozens” – or what police plan to charge them with.
A gay asylum seeker from Cameroon recently revealed he could be facing deportation from the UK because he doesn’t have enough ‘proof’ of his sexuality.
Homosexuality is illegal in Cameroon, with gay men living in fear of facing up to five years in jail.