A Ugandan lesbian activist is in a coma after she was apparently lured into an ambush and was attacked by a mob in the town of Jinja.
According to various unconfirmed reports, 25-year-old Jennifer Ikanza from the Gender Equality and Health Organisation (GEHO), received a call from a woman claiming to be bisexual and in need of urgent help.
It appears that the call was fake and Ikanza, who is the Health & Care Program Coordinator at the organisation, was attacked by the mob on her way to meet the woman.
GayNZ.com reported that when GEHO Executive Director Andrew Waiswa reached the scene of the assault, Ikanza was already severely injured.
She is now in a coma in hospital and is said to be fighting for her life. The organisation is struggling to pay for Ikanza’s treatment.
“She is suffering multiple organ failure due to internal bleeding. Her health is in grave danger. She is at the hospital where she is slowing dying,” said Charlotte Robinson on her blog.
Earlier this month, around a hundred LGBT activists held Uganda’s second annual gay Pride event, despite living in one of the most homophobic countries in the world.
Same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Uganda, with penalties including life imprisonment. The pending Anti-Homosexuality Bill could add the death penalty as an additional punishment for repeat “offenders”.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the group Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) warned that gay rights activists and staff of civil society organisations advocating for their rights are “under intense pressure” in Uganda.
“Against the backdrop of the yet to be passed draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill, many have faced physical attacks while senior government and political figures have incited their persecution with incendiary rhetoric,” said the organisation.
In July, LGBTI group Spectrum Uganda Initiatives was forced to relocate its offices and suspend its work as a result of ongoing threats from members of the public and neighbouring tenants.