There are reports that five men have been arrested in Zimbabwe, near the capital Harare, on charges of “committing acts of sexual immorality”.

According to the state-controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), the men – described as “a 55 year old white male” and “four black male accomplices” – were arrested in the village of Domboshava.

The police were alerted apparently after a bottle store owner saw the black men spending money in an “unusual manner”.

In clearly biased language, the ZBC added that the incident left “Domboshava residents in shock” and that they “condemned the practice saying it goes against cultural norms and the laws of nature”.

Through its tone and by highlighting the race of the arrested men, the report further serves to reinforce perceptions that homosexuality is an imported European phenomenon that is somehow corrupting Africans.

As of Tuesday, the men were said to still be detained at the Domboshava police station awaiting trial.

Gay sex – along with members of the same sex holding hands, hugging or kissing – is illegal in Zimbabwe with penalties of up to three years in jail. LGBT people and activists are routinely harassed by officials and police.

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