Four men have been arrested in Cameroon for allegedly being gay.
According to gay rights activist Stephane Koche, the men were arrested in their homes on December 28 and are being held in custody at the central police station of Kumba, a town in the south west of the African country.
Koche, who works for the Association of Defence of Homosexuals (ADEFHO) in Cameroon, says police officers arrested each of the men because they behaved like women.
He told Gay Star News: ‘There are many people arrested for being gay in Cameroon. Our organization provides legal and medical assistance to people who have been imprisoned.
‘These people are often abandoned by family, friends or neighbors and they need help with everything.
‘They are in unhealthy conditions and need food and money.’
At least 10 men have been arrested and imprisoned for homosexuality in Cameroon so far this year, not only for what they allegedly did, but for who they are, or even appeared to be.
‘We exhort you to never give up in to the discouragement and to never weaken in your mobilization for us and for the LGBT cause,’ the message reads.
‘Your support represents for LGBT in Cameroon in general and specially for us who are in prison…the hope.
'The hope to be one day, released from the prison in which we’ve been thrown, but also the hope that one day, LGBT people can walk quite freely in Cameroon, without any humiliation.’
The prisoners have been named as Jean Claude Roger Mbede, Singha Jonas, Ndome Ndome Frankie, Ombwa Joseph Magloire, Tiomela Lontsie Emma, Ntamack Nicolas and Ntsama Séraphin.
According to human rights campaigners Amnesty International, homophobia is endemic in Cameroonian society.
Arrests, prosecutions and trials of gay men occur on a regular basis in the country.