Six men targeted by mob attacks in Ivory Coast after photo IDs them at Orlando service
A group of gay men have said they were made to flee their homes after being attacked for signing a book of condolence for victims of the Orlando Pulse mass shooting.
Six gay men in Ivory Coast said they were targeted by a mob, who found out their identities from a photo uploaded by the US Embassy there.
A photo of the six men were uploaded by the Embassy with the caption: “LGBTI community signing the condolence book”, for the 49 victims killed and 53 injured at a hate crime mass shooting at the Orlando gay club.
One of the men who only used the nickname Louna, said he was targeted by the mob walking near his home. His phone and wallet were stolen in the attack and he was beaten.
The 36-year-old said: “I don’t have a life any more”.
A friend called him to alert him to the fact that his photo was posted online.
Speaking to the Thomson Reuters Foundation from Abidjan, where the photo was taken, he said: “I can’t go out. I don’t know who might recognise me.”
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A second man is confirmed to have been attacked, and the photo was circulated around social media.
The attacks were confirmed by the head of a gay rights group, who remains anonymous.
The head of the gay rights group said he did give permission for the Embassy to post the photo, but that he did not realise what the caption would read.
“We are afraid now. There is no security,” he said.
Same-sex acts are legal in Ivory Coast, but LGBT people still face widespread abuse and attacks.
As of Wednesday, the photo of the men remained published on the Embassy’s website.