Reports reaching Fatu Radio have indicated Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh is finally making good on his promise that gays and lesbians are not welcomed in The Gambia and if anyone is caught on suspicion of being one, he or she will “regret being born”. Over the weekend at least three men were arrested on suspicion of being gay at the Duplex Nightclub and are currently detained at National Intelligence Agency in Banjul.
Alieu Sarr (pictured above – L), Morr Sowe (pictured above – R) and Kemo Sanneh (17 year old) are all in custody on suspicion of being gay.
The arrest has sent a shocking wave of fear throughout the gay community in the tiny West African nation resulting to many fleeing to neighboring countries fearing that Jammeh might carry out his threats.
On Tuesday, November 11, 2014 also saw another group of gays fleeing to neighboring countries including a group of lesbians for fear of getting caught in the dragnet.
It has been brought to our attention that the investigators are now going from home to home with a man suspected to be gay to identify other gay people in the community. “This has caused a lot of concerns among Gambians” according to one of the NIA agents who spoke to us on condition of anonymity and is part of the arresting officers. The agent described the operation as a “witch-hunt,” lamenting that they cannot even identify who is gay or not.
President Yahya Jammeh who has made his hatred for gays and lesbians no secret, has been issuing threat after threat against the community for a long time. He has also backed up his threats with legislative action. The Gambia amended the criminal code last August to include a life sentence for “aggravated homosexuality”. This move was condemned by Human Rights groups and the international community as harsh and unjust.
“We will fight these vermin called homosexuals or gays the same way we are fighting malaria-causing mosquitoes, if not more aggressively.”
“Homosexuality is anti-humanity. I have never seen homosexual chicken or turkey.”
“Homosexuality is anti-god, anti-human, and anti-civilization. Homosexuals are not welcome in the Gambia. If we catch you, you will regret why you are born. I have buffalos from South Africa and Brazil and they never date each other. We are ready to eat grass but we will not compromise on this. Allowing homosexuality means allowing satanic rights. We will not allow gays here.”
“Let me make it very clear that, if you want me to offend God for you to give me aid, you are making a great mistake; you will not bribe me to do what is evil and ungodly.”
“Gays are ‘vermin’ and should be treated worse than mosquitoes.”
Yahya made these comments in speeches across the Gambia and the world including the UN General Assembly Session is 2013 and during the State Opening of the Parliament, a form a State of the Union address.
Political observers and analysts have opined that this latest move is yet another distraction strategy from the Gambia’s iron fist Jammeh. The want-to-be “King” of mainland Africa’s smallest country is facing increased opposition on the ground as rumors of efforts by youths to organize mass protests in the country are growing. “He is therefore trying to use gays as pawns to shift attention from the general discontent among the population since anti-gay actions are still popular among the majority Muslim population,” the observers and analysts agreed.
“We should fear the worst at this point since some or all of those arrested can be killed any moment if the International community and gay rights groups don’t intervene. We have seen this movie before with the execution of 9 mostly political prisoners back in August 2012,” one of the members of the Gambian gay community lamented.
At this moment, some of the members of the gay community are on the run and in neighboring countries are currently homeless with nowhere to stay and without food.