Nigerian authorities who arrested a “homosexual cross-dresser” as the “mastermind” behind a failed assassination attempt, which killed 80 bystanders, have been accused of using the suspect as a convenient LGBT scapegoat.
It was reported on Wednesday that a suicide bomber had driven into a military convoy, targeting retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari, a former Head of State and current opposition figure. Although Mr Buhari was unharmed, three of his aides were injured and reportedly over 80 bystanders were killed by the explosion.
The Nigerian military announced on Friday that, immediately after the explosion, troops apprehended “a young man… disguised as a woman, clad in female garb”, who had been attacked by crowds at the scene. The reliability of the suspect’s subsequent confession has been called into question, following accusations that it may have been exacted using beatings and torture.
Osun Defender, a Nigerian news website which described the arrest of “a clearly homosexual man dressed as a woman”, claimed it was “most obvious… that the homosexual cross-dresser suspect arrested likely had no connection to the Buhari bombing”.
The All Progressives Congress (APC), a coalition of opposition parties in Nigeria, has since issued a statement calling for an “urgent international inquiry into the attack” and suggesting that the suspect was merely a convenient LGBT scapegoat.
The statement reads: “Could the person who drove the vehicle that was rammed into the General’s convoy have survived the explosion that was triggered by that action? Could the innocent passers-by who died in the blast not have been arrested and paraded as the ‘suspected masterminds’ if they had survived the blast?
“Clearly, the arrest of the pervert and his sickening description as a ‘suspected mastermind’ have kick-started the process of muddling the waters, as is usually the case with such high-profile cases.”
It is not clear from the Nigerian sources whether the suspect is a cisgender gay man or a transgender woman.