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Police in Cameroon arrest 25 people believed to be gay

The police raided a cabaret bar and a gay movie theatre

By Steve Brown

Police in Cameroon have arrested 25 people believed to be gay.

On Saturday (May 12), the police officers posed as customers entering the popular meeting place for gay people but after being refused entry by the staff, they forced the doors open.

Seven people, including a dancer, a waiter and the security guard, were arrested. The police then raided a gay movie theatre and arrested another 18 people.

All 25 were taken to the central police headquarters where they were questioned all night and one officer told the extent of the interrogations to a LGBT rights attorney Jathan Ndongo.

One who was arrested told “We informed them that the tavern was already closed, but they forced the door open.

“Then they took us [to jail] without any reason.”

In Cameroon, it is illegal to be gay and people can face up to five years in prison.

Police commander Parfait Nana claimed only two arrestees were interrogated during the night and met with five lawyers and activists who demanded their release.

In a statement, Nana said: “Among the 25 people held in custody, two who were witnesses at the scenes were released after a hearing.

“The remaining 23 will be interrogated; conclusions will be reached at the close of the investigations. I can reassure you that several types of violations have been identified, such as lack of a [nation identity card], possession of narcotics and homosexuality.

“Personally, I do not judge anyone and do not condemn anyone on the basis of their sexual orientation. However, Cameroon has laws to enforce.”

The 23 people remained in custody without food or drink.