Frank Mugisha, SMUG Executive Director

The offices of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) have been broken into and vandalised over the Christmas period, leading to fears that its members could be at risk.

According to a statement by the group, the robbery was only noticed when a staff member went to collect documents from the office on 26 December.

Among the stolen items were five desktop computers, a water dispenser, a fridge, an audio recorder and a number of other items.

It’s unclear if the incident was linked to the group’s activities, but, according to Frank Mugisha, Executive Director of SMUG, the robbery could have grave consequences for members of the LGBTI community.

“Since I got the news (of the vandalism) I am worried what those who stole will get from the information on the computers,” he told Identity Kenya.

Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda and many LGBTI people fear being publicly exposed.

In 2010, a local tabloid outed a number of gay people, which reportedly led to attacks on some of those named.
In January 2011, Mugisha’s colleague at SMUG, David Kato, was bludgeoned to death with a hammer in his home.

Uganda’s Ethics and Integrity Minister, Simon Lokodo, has threatened to ban LGBTI organisations while the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which would further criminalise homosexuality, remains pending in parliament.

A robbery case has been opened with the police who are said to be investigating the break-in.

SMUG’s offices were previously broken into in July 2011 with that case yet to be solved by the authorities.

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