BY TALLA AGHA CHRISTOPHER
A man suspected to be homosexual, has been arrested in Mbalmayo, Center Region of Cameroon,for seducing other men. About 25 years old, fair in complexion and medium height, with curly hair, the man according to state radio, CRTV, looked well kempt.
The man whose name CRTV quoted as Amougou, is said to have boarded a taxi dressed like a woman. On the way, he began to seduce the taxi driver and eventually made advances to him. The taxi driver who became interested scheduled an appointment, to meet ‘her’ the following day. The next day the taxi driver discovered that he was indeed a man. The taxi driver drove him directly to the police station where he was taken into custody. The alleged homosexual, Amougou was presented to the public prosecutor and placed in custody at the Mbalmayo prison.
It would be noted that homosexuality is illegal in Cameroon and culprits can be punished with jail terms ranging from six months to five years with a fine from 20000 to 200000 francs FCFA, according to section 347 of the Penal Code. According to Human Rights Watch, at least 28 people in Cameroon have been charged, under the country’s anti-gay laws in the past three years – more than any other African Nation. But homosexual activities are on the rise in the country and police and gendarmes have stepped up efforts to clampdown on this.
This was the case in May 2005 when 11 men were arrested at a night club in Yaoundé on suspicion of sodomy and the government threatened to conduct medical examinations to ‘prove’ their homosexual activity. Many other alleged homosexuals have been arrested and detained under section 347 of the Penal Code.
One of these Jean Claude Roger Mbede was arrested by security forces for sending love SMS messages to male acquaintances and sentence to three years imprisonment at the Kondengui Central Prison. The sentence was protested by international Human Rights organizations including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, the latter of which named him a prisoner of conscience. Mbede later died in prison. He had not received medical treatment for a month before he activists said. In November 2011, a Cameroonian court convicted two young men, Jonas Kimie and Frank Ndome, who had been arrested for homosexuality outside a nightclub in Yaoundé based solely on their appearance and behavior to five years imprisonment.
In July 2013 a prominent Cameroonian gay rights activist and Journalist, Eric Lembembe, was found murdered in his house in Yaoundé. Lembembe’s neck and feet appeared to have been broken and his face, hands and feet burned with an iron, Human Rights Watch had said.
Mbando Jude Njimileke a native of Ediki Bekoli in Mbonge Sub Division is another Cameroonian gay rights activist. In 2017 one of his write ups on same sex activities in Cameroon that was at the verge of publication was intercepted in the news room of the country’s daily. According to reports the article had been used to brainwash many university students into acts of homosexuality. Due to the consequences created by the unpublished article that went viral in the university, Mbando Jude Njimileke, has since then became a target for arrest and subsequent prosecution in the law courts, more especially as a paralegal in a Law Chambers. Reports from family members ,hold that as of early May ,2018, Mbando Jude Njimileke who is currently a PhD research Student out of the Country is been hunted by the regime.
Barrister Alice Nkom who has been fighting for rights of homosexuals said ’I accuse the state. If there had not been criminalization of homosexuality, he would not have gone to prison and his life would not be over. His life was finished as soon as he went to prison.
It should be recalled that the office of a Human Rights activist who fights for homosexuals rights Barrister Alice Nkom, have also been ransacked by unknown assailants. Most Homosexuals believe their lives are constantly in danger as they continuously being persecuted not only by security operatives but also by the public.
Barrister Atoh Walters Tchemi, a Kumba based Legal Practitioner and head of the Time Law Firm, a gay rights activist, was recently attacked, molested and tortured by unknown individuals, for defending a homosexual Fonya Cornelius who unfortunately was jailed by the Limbe Court of First Instance.