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Ugandan police say LGBT organisation ‘masterminded’ break-in and murder at its own HQ

Joseph McCormick June 17, 2016
African protest

Police in Uganda have suggested that a break in during which a security guard was murdered at an LGBT rights organisation could have been “masterminded” by employees of the organisation.

A Ugandan organisation standing up for LGBT rights earlier in June shared photos of the people who broke into its headquarters and killed a security guard.

Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum Uganda (HRAPF) was broken into on 22 May and a security guard was killed as its offices were ransacked.

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The statement from HRAPF suggests that the four people who broke into the organisation made an attempt for “information rather than property”.

But the police investigation into the break-in has been criticised by human rights groups who say it was inadequate.

Ugandan police spokesman Fred Enanga said following the attack that it could have been “masterminded” by employees and managers at HRAPF. The basis of his claim was that managers had initially appeared hesitant to share CCTV images with authorities.

Legal activist Adrian Jjuuko rejected the claims, saying “nothing could be further from the truth.”

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The organisation previously shared four photographs of two of the men who broke in.

A statement from HRAPF at the time read: “There has been break in at our offices today in the night and our guard killed in cold blood in the process. Specifically, they broke into the office of the Executive Director and the Deputy Executive Director Programs. All lockers and shelves in the Executive Directors offices were ransacked. All cameras were cut and unplugged.

“Police has already surveyed the premises and investigations are going on. We have managed to get some footage on the cameras showing four people entering and pouncing on the security guard some of whose faces are visible on the footage. Evidence points more at information rather than property as the motive of the break in. We are now in the process of replacing what was destroyed and beefing up the security at the office. Our heartfelt condolences to Emma’s family family, the guard who died protecting our work.”

Adamantly homophobic Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni remained in office for a fifth term, as he won a general election earlier this year, amid accusations of corruption.

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President Museveni signed the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill in February 2014. The law called for repeat offenders to be sentenced to 14 years in prison and to make it a criminal offence not to report someone for being gay.

However, the country’s Constitutional Court later struck down the bill, finding that the speaker of parliament acted illegally by moving ahead with a vote on the law despite at least three lawmakers objecting to a lack of quorum.

Despite this, it still remains illegal to be gay in Uganda.

Uganda later passed a controversial new law, that could result in the closure of NGOs helping the country’s LGBT population.

The country’s parliament passed the controversial Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) bill, in a late-night sitting.

Museveni has previously claimed that Uganda is a “better destination” for tourists than Spain, that “Uganda is so rich, we should be the ones to give aid”, and that oral sex is a Western invention that is “more terrible” than homosexuality.

More: Africa, HRAPF, human rights awareness and promotion forum, Uganda, Uganda, yoweri museveni

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