Teens arrested for same-sex dancing as nationwide ‘gay hunt’ begins in Burundi
Two gay teens have been arrested for dancing together.
Police in Burundi have begun a nationwide official hunt for gay people, as the government cracks down on its LGBT population.
The move came two days after police arrested seven other LGBT people, two of whom were children.
The Burundi government made being gay illegal in 2009, when it secretly signed a ban into law.
Homosexuality is still punishable in the country by up to two years imprisonment and a fine of 100,000 francs.
Victims are being held in prison and asked to pay large bribes for their freedom, which many of them cannot afford.
Jean Daniel Ndikumana, an LGBT rights advocate from Burundi, said he believes police found a video of the men dancing together on Facebook, according to GSN.
“I was afraid when I saw this video, given the situation of Burundi for LGBTI people,” he said.
“I know them very well because I was their project manager from 2010 to 2013.”
The activist, who now lives in Belgium, added: “Thankfully, I was able to leave my country because of my sexual orientation, as I was in danger due to my activism.”
The African country was one of 13 – including the US – to vote against a UN motion this month which moved to condemned the death penalty for homosexuality.
Burundi’s crackdown comes as other countries conduct similar police actions targeted at LGBT people.
Elsewhere in Africa, Egyptian authorities have made at least 33 arrests in recent weeks.
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A number of people were detained last month after a rainbow flag was waved at a concert by the Lebanese band Mashrou Leila, whose lead singer is openly gay.
And the incident sparked a wider police action, with reports that Egyptian authorities have begun actively targeting the gay community.
In Azerbaijan, at least 100 people have been detained, beaten and forced to give up friends to authorities, according to activists in the country.
Some of those detained have reportedly had their heads shaved for the purposes of humiliation.