Two lesbian Cameroonian LGBT activists have been attacked for their sexual orientation, resulting in them sustaining serious injuries.
Renee and Soltera are two leaders of Cameroon’s Women In Front, an organisation that advocates for the sexual and reproductive health of lesbian, bi, trans and queer women in Yaounde, the country’s capital city.
According to the organisation’s recent press statement, translated by 76 Crimes, the two activists faced insults, intimidation and death threats from the son of their deceased landlord, who wants to evict them from their home due to their sexual orientation.
When they refused to leave, the son allegedly attacked them with a thick board, shouting that they should die because they are witches for identifying as lesbian women.
The son reportedly escaped the scene, leaving the victims injured with broken arms and various bruises. The attacker returned after three days with a group of accomplices, allegedly to “finish off the witches”, chasing the two activists through the neighbourhood.
Renee and Soltera received medical and psychological attention. However, they are still reportedly barricaded in their home out of fear of being attacked again.
Their attacker and one of his accomplices have been arrested, while the others are still free. The activists said they are in need of financial assistance in order to relocate outside the neighbourhood for security reasons, while receiving medical and psychological care. They are also in need of money for legal representation costs and for transportation relating to the ongoing investigation.
Section 347-1 of Cameroon’s penal code states that same-sex sexual activity is banned in the country, with a penalty of up to five years in prison. In May this year, about 25 individuals were arrested at a popular gay-friendly Le Mistral bar by Baton-wielding police.