The office of the Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG), an LGBT advocacy group, was broken into and vandalized, with much its equipment having being stolen.
Activists say that the information stored on some of the computers, containing addresses and telephone numbers of LGBT Ugandans may now put them at risk.
In a statement released today (28 December 2012), SMUG noted that the robbery and vandalism was witnessed by a staff member.
‘SMUG offices were broken into and /vandalized and most office property stolen. This was noticed on the 26 December by one staff member who had gone to pick a couple of documents from office.’
According to Frank Mugisha, an LGBT rights advocate from Uganda, the incident poses risks to the country’s gay community.
Mugisha was quoted by the portal Identity Kenya as saying: ‘Since I got the news (of the vandalism) I am worried what those who stole will get from the information on the computers’.
The incident has been reported to the police and is awaiting investigation.
‘A police file has been opened at Naalya Housing estates police post (S/DREF: 07/27/12/2012) and all statements recorded from SMUG staff members. At the moment Police has started investigations to see if they can trace the offenders.’
Among the items stolen are computers, gas cooker, audio recorder and water dispenser.
The incident comes just under two weeks after Uganda’s parliament adjourned a debate for next year on the ‘Kill the Gays bill’, named as it provides capital punishment for homosexuality.
This is not the first time that an office of an LGBT organization in Uganda has been broken with vital equipment stolen.
In July 2011, the offices of Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG), a human rights organization that addresses discrimination against lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex women was broken into and items stolen included a members list.
No suspect was arrested over the incident despite police investigations being launched.
Fresh details emerging from the 2011 incident revealed that FARUG alleged that four days before the burglary of their offices, SMUG offices were broken into, however someone was present in the building.