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Lesbian refugee in Kenya brutally beaten and raped by ‘gang of eight ruthless men’

Josh Milton April 28, 2020
Nankinga Sophia, 22, is a lesbian refugee staying at the Kenyan refugee camp in Kakuma. She was found bloodied, beaten and raped, a fellow refugee has alleged. (Facebook)

Nankinga Sophia, 22, is a lesbian refugee staying at the Kenyan refugee camp in Kakuma. She was found bloodied, beaten and raped, a fellow refugee has alleged. Pictures have been supplied to PinkNews already censored to protect identities. (Facebook)

She was found curled up on the floor of her shelter, writhing in pain and quietly sobbing in a blood-stained dress in the Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya.

At around 6.30pm on April 24, Nankinga Sophia, 22, was allegedly walking along the dust-covered roads of the camp when eight men approached her and demanded to know “why” she is a lesbian.

Sophia has, according to trans camp resident who wished to remain anonymous, been left “traumatised” after the gang of “ruthless men” brutally beat her before raping her, dragging her back to her shelter.

Activists recoiled in horror as the news radiated across social media that evening in what, they say, is becoming an all too familiar sight for LGBT+ Kakuma camp residents.

Daily beatings, death threats, persecution, they claim, from camp authorities – this unwavering spectre of violence against queer asylum seekers, many from Uganda, comes after the pathos of their plight occurred earlier this month, the death by suicide of one of their own.

Lesbian refugee raped by eight ‘ruthless men’, claims camp resident. 

Kakuma, a small town in northwestern Kenya, is the site of one of the largest and most bustling refugee camps in the country.

(PinkNews)

While people seek safety there each year, huddling into plastic shelters and thatched-roof huts, it is a “dungeon” to its LGBT+ refugees, one refugee said.

The camp is co-managed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Kenyan government and the Kenyan Department of Refugee Affairs.

Due to the dizzying rates of violence inflicted upon them by fellow refugees, many queer asylum seekers live together in the camp.

A refugee at Kakuma camp told PinkNews that Sophia was “angrily questioned [by the men] to tell them whether it is right or wrong to be a lesbian”.

A refugee waits patiently for Nankinga Sophia to receive treatment in clinic seven at the Kakuma refugee camp, a fellow queer asylum seeker claimed. (Facebook)
Pictures have been supplied to PinkNews already censored to protect identities. (Facebook)

Her attempts to dampen their rage was fruitless, however, the camp resident alleged, as she was quickly pelted with punches. The men then proceeded to rape her, leaving her coiled-up on her shelter floor, her clothing littering it.

After fellow queer refugees found her, Sophia was reportedly rushed to a clinic, in the south of the camp, to receive medical assistance from healthcare providers.

Why are queer Ugandans fleeing to Kenya?

Often rejected by their families, queer Ugandans are forced to flee and seek refuge in neighbouring Kenya.

Uganda, an east African country snarled by severe anti-LGBT+ legislation, has become a battleground for queer rights.

In the last few years, government officials have ramped up ruthless attacks on the community.

An alleged plan to introduce the death penalty on gay sex struck terror in Ugandan activists last year, who have said anti-LGBT+ violence has rocketed since.

LGBT+ refugees from South Sudan, Uganda and DR Congo walking to the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Kenya to demand protection (YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty)

Last year alone, queer Ugandans have been bludgeoned with machetes, had community centres mobbed only for LGBT+ staff to be arrested, a doctor crack the skull of a lesbian and a gay-friendly club raided leading to 127 LGBT+ people being arrested by army and police officers.

Embattled queer folk have fled to Kenya, but last year the country’s courts called to continue criminalising gay sex.

More: Homophobia, Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya, rape, sexual assault, Uganda

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