Extremely disturbing reports from Abuja, the capital of Nigeria. Violent anti-gay vigilante mobs went door-to-door in one neighborhood to assault men who were believed to be gay, reports the Associated Press.
To add insult to their injuries: The police arrested the victims and threatened imprisonment!
A mob armed with wooden clubs and iron bars, screaming that they were going to "cleanse" their neighborhood of gay people, dragged 14 young men from their beds and assaulted them, human rights activists said Saturday.
Four of the victims were marched to a police station, where they allegedly were kicked and punched by police officers who yelled pejoratives at them, said Ifeanyi Orazulike of the International Center on Advocacy for the Right to Health. ... Police threatened that the men would be incarcerated for 14 years, he said, the maximum prison sentence under Nigeria's new Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, dubbed the "Jail the Gays" law. ...
Orazulike said he went to the police station later Thursday and met with a senior officer who ordered the four men released because there was no evidence that they were gay and they had not been caught having sex. "They said the police slapped and kicked them and swore at them," he said.
The extreme anti-gay law bans same-sex relationships, sexual relations between persons of the same sex and membership in pro-gay organizations. President Goodluck Jonathan signed the bill in secret on January 7. The legislation also bans same sex couples from living together, bans pro-LGBT websites or groups and prosecute their friends or human rights activists. The new law is expected to be extremely "popular" and should help President Jonathan's 2015 re-election campaign, adds The Guardian.
The attacks are only the latest examples in a surge of arrests and attacks against people perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. It's also part of a larger pattern of mob and vigilante justice, according to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.
Civil society organizations in Nigeria warn that the past couple of years have seen an increase of community violence directed at specific individuals thought to have committed crimes or transgressed cultural norms, with little apparent action from the Nigerian government to curb the violence. In 2012, for example, four students were lynched near Port Harcourt in southern Nigeria because they were mistaken for thieves. Throughout 2013, the media has reported mob violence against women wearing miniskirts or other clothing considered inappropriate by attackers.
Same-sex acts are currently illegal in at least 38 of 54 African countries. Four nations—Mauritania, Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan—boast the death penalty for gays or same-sex activity. South Africa and Seychelles are the only African nations that protect LGBT rights. South Africa is the only African nation that mandates equal marriage.
Some Background ...
Dozens Arrested After Anti-Gay Law in Nigeria
Nigerian President Signs Anti-Gay Law
NIGERIA: Katsina Approves Anti-Gay Legislation
NIGERIA: REPORT: Police Arrest "Gay Pastor"
NIGERIA: 3 Gay Men Stripped, Beaten by Mob
NIGERIA: Criticism After Actor Sentenced
Nigerian Actor Sentenced for "Unnatural Offences"
"Daily Sun" Warns "Homosexuals in Trouble"
NIGERIA: Activists Harassed During Testimony
Nigeria Advances Extreme Anti-Gay Bill
NIGERIA: Hearings Begin on Extreme Legislation
Nigerian Village Vows to "Stone Any Homosexual"
EU Considers Suspending Aid to Nigeria
Nigerian Legislators Vote to Ban Gay Marriages
EU: Level of Homophobia in Nigeria "Unacceptable"
Nigerian Mob Attacks Gay Activist
Nigerian Lynch Mob Storms Jail
Nigeria: 18 Gays Face Death Penalty
Nigerian Lesbian In Hiding After Reported Wedding
Nigeria's Homophobia Threatens Bid for Games
Nigeria One Step Closer to Outlawing Gays