Menu

InstagramTwitterYouTubeFacebookSnapchat
Globe Icon
Current Affairs

Cameroon police arrest and torture 25 men for being gay

Josh Jackman May 15, 2018

The murderer invited his victim to his home before attacking him (Pexels)

Police in Cameroon have arrested 25 men on suspicion of being gay.

Homosexuality is illegal in Cameroon, with those convicted of homosexuality facing up to five years in prison.

The arrests were made in the early hours of Saturday morning, as police raided institutions in the capital city of Yaoundé which are known to be popular with the local gay community.

Soldiers of the 21st Motorized Infantry Brigade patrol in the streets of Buea, South-West Region of Cameroon on April 26, 2018. - A social crisis that began in November 2016 has turned into armed conflict since October 2017. Several small armed groups demand the independence of the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon, bordering Nigeria. (Photo by ALEXIS HUGUET / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALEXIS HUGUET/AFP/Getty Images)
(ALEXIS HUGUET/AFP/Getty)

The officers broke the door down at Le Mistral, a cabaret, after failing in their attempts to convince staff that they were simply customers trying to get into the locked venue.

One of the seven people arrested at the cabaret – which included a dancer, a waiter and security guard – said: “We informed them that the tavern was already closed, but they forced the door open.

“Then they took us [to jail] without any reason,” he added, according to news site Erasing 76 Crimes.

attends a session of the One Planet Summit on December 12, 2017, at La Seine Musicale venue on l'ile Seguin in Boulogne-Billancourt, west of Paris. The French President hosts 50 world leaders for the "One Planet Summit", hoping to jump-start the transition to a greener economy two years after the historic Paris agreement to limit climate change. / AFP PHOTO / LUDOVIC MARIN (Photo credit should read LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty Images)
Cameroon’s President Paul Biya (LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty)

The raid on the bar had echoes of a similar incident in 2016, when dozens of men were reportedly arrested in Mistral on suspicion of homosexuality after being trapped inside by officers.

After police carried out the raid on Saturday, they immediately moved on to a cinema often used by gay people in the area, arresting 18 moviegoers.

The 25 men who were arrested were then taken to the police station.

Soldiers of the 21st Motorized Infantry Brigade patrol in the streets of Buea, South-West Region of Cameroon on April 26, 2018. - A social crisis that began in November 2016 has turned into armed conflict since October 2017. Several small armed groups demand the independence of the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon, bordering Nigeria. (Photo by ALEXIS HUGUET / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALEXIS HUGUET/AFP/Getty Images)
(ALEXIS HUGUET/AFP/Getty)

Police Commander Parfait Nana said that two people had been released because they were “witnesses.”

He promised: “The remaining 23 will be interrogated; conclusions will be reached at the close of the investigations.

“I already can reassure you that several types of violations have been identified, such as lack of a [national identity card], possession of narcotics and homosexuality.”

BEIJING, CHINA - MARCH 22: President of Cameroon Paul Biya with Chinese President Xi Jinping (not pictured) attend a signing ceremony at The Great Hall Of The People on March 22, 2018 in Beijing, China. At the invitation of Chinese president Xi Jinping, President Paul Biya of the Republic of Cameroon will pay a state visit to China from March 22nd to 24th. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
(Lintao Zhang/Getty)

The commander said that despite the raids, he was not acting out of malice towards gay people.

“Personally, I do not judge anyone and do not condemn anyone on the basis of their sexual orientation,” he said. “However, Cameroon has laws to enforce.”

The remaining 23 people were interrogated and tortured for two days.

Cameroon police officers walk with riot shields on a street in the administrative quarter of Buea some 60kms west of Douala on October 1, 2017. A young man from Cameroon's English-speaking region was shot dead by security forces in the city of Kumba on the eve of an expected symbolic declaration of independence by anglophone separatists, medical and security forces told AFP. / AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
(STR/AFP/Getty)

They were then released on Monday without charge.

One of the 23 victims said: “Despite threats by the police, we kept our cool. We were brutalised and then we were released.”

Before they were allowed to leave, parents of the arrested men reportedly attempted to convince officers at the station to let them go, only to be told that they were gay and therefore deserved to be punished.

It is common in many countries around the world for people to be arrested for homosexuality.

Indonesian police guard men arrested in a recent raid during a press conference at a police station in Jakarta on May 22, 2017. Indonesian police have detained 141 men who were allegedly holding a gay party at a sauna, an official said on May 22, the latest sign of a backlash against homosexuals in the Muslim-majority country. / AFP PHOTO / FERNANDO (Photo credit should read FERNANDO/AFP/Getty Images)
(FERNANDO/AFP/Getty)

Indonesian police have repeatedly done so, with two men who were arrested for having gay sex in April currently facing up to 100 lashes as punishment.

In October 2017, a total of 12 men were arrested in Tanzania for “promoting homosexuality” – that is, for having gay sex.

Also in October last year, the Egyptian purge escalated as 33 people were reportedly arrested for being gay.

More: Africa, Africa, Cameroon, Cameroon, Gay, Law, police

Read comments (0)

Close icon