John M. Becker

Anti-Gay Horrors Continue in Nigeria

Filed By John M. Becker | February 18, 2014 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Africa, anti-gay violence, assault, humiliation, Jail the Gays Bill, mob justice, Nigeria, vigilante justice

nigeria-map.jpgMob attacks on people known or believed to be gay are intensifying in the west African country of Nigeria, one month after the country's president signed a sweeping and draconian law criminalizing virtually every aspect of LGBT public life.

The New York Times reports that gay people in the capital city of Abuja are being dragged from their homes and beaten with nail-studded clubs and whips as part of an effort to "cleanse" the country of homosexuality:

[One] attack took place late Wednesday night in the Gishiri neighborhood, and one victim was beaten nearly to death, [a] witness said. Afterward, the mob of about 50 young men dragged four of the victims to a nearby police station, where the police further beat and insulted them, said the witness, who gave his name as John. His last name is being withheld for his safety...

In Abuja, the witness and the activists said, some in the mob were shouting, "We are working for Jonathan!" About 14 young men were assaulted, the activists said, and no members of the mob were arrested. "They all had weapons," John said. "Some were having wires, whips. Some had broken furniture. They said they wanted to kill. They were moving around from one person's house to another."

John said he was cowering in his apartment, extinguishing his candle and hiding as the mob tried to break down his door. "I heard them beating one guy up," he said. "The guy was pleading with them and begging them. They beat until he could not fight back."

John says that at the station, the police participated in the violence, slapping and beating the men, calling them names, and accusing them of spreading HIV. They also threatened them with incarceration. A healthcare worker who knows some of the victims says they are in hiding and don't dare to speak to reporters because they fear for their lives. "They were told 'If you come back, we will kill you,'" he said.

A second attack reportedly terrorized the neighborhood on Saturday. Details, after the jump.

GBM News reports:

Speaking to GBM News, Jessica Stern, Executive Director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), said, "We have been notified that 10 men, suspected to be gay, were rounded up and beaten last night in the town of Geshiri, near Abuja, by a mob of about 40 people." Stern added that five of the victims were taken to a police station and detained before their eventual release.

The U.S. Embassy in Abuja issued a statement condemning the attacks. "Since the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act was signed, we have expressed concern as a friend of Nigeria that it might be used by some to justify violence against Nigerians based on their sexual orientation," it reads. "Recent attacks in Abuja deepen our concern on this front."

Additionally, a video has surfaced online that allegedly shows two suspected gay men being beaten to death with wooden planks. A mob surrounds the half-naked men, shouting epithets. Gay Star News, which found the video on the "uncensored reality" video sharing site, says the video appears to have been filmed in Nigeria, but they have not been able to confirm its authenticity.

After being repeatedly struck with the wooden weapons without any offer of medical assistance, the men stop moving. Their skulls are surrounded by blood.

The video is astonishingly violent, so I will not embed it here. Click here if you want to watch it, but be warned, it's terrifying.

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