The head of one of Ghana’s ten regions has reportedly ordered the arrest of all gays and lesbians in the Western Region of the country.

According to Joy News, Western Region Minister Paul Evans Aidoo has “asked the Bureau of National Investigations and all security agencies to smoke out persons suspected to be engaging in same sex”.

It also claims that he has “enlisted the services of landlords and tenants to provide reliable information which will lead to the arrest of homosexuals”.

The website says that the region is “a beehive of activities linked with homosexuality” and that recent reports claiming that there are about 8,000 gays and lesbians in the area has led to protests by a network of churches.

In an interview with Joy News, Aidoo dismissed the figure of 8,000 as being exaggerated by certain groups, but confirmed that “all efforts are being made to get rid of these people in the society”.

Aidoo also said that the country’s current laws again homosexuality will be tested once those arrested are brought before the courts.

Homosexuality is considered to be illegal in Ghana, somewhat ambiguously, as “unnatural canal knowledge” in the criminal code, but this has yet to be confirmed by the courts.

Last month, it was reported that Ghana’s Bureau of National Investigations was investigating “the growing rate of homosexuality” in parts of the country.

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