Kenya promises arrest of gay blackmailing gang

Nairobi police are urging gay people to come forward to aid investigations of a group known for extorting, and sometimes raping, gay men and women

Kenya promises arrest of gay blackmailing gang
03 January 2013

Police have promised to arrest the ringleaders of a notorious gang which targets closeted gay men for extortion, blackmail and rape.

Speaking to gay activists, Nairobi police officer Akello Odhiambo is urging any gay person who has fell victim to the blackmail ring to come forward and aid investigations.

According to previous reports from Identity Kenya, men and women pretend to be gay on social networking sites, invite married men on ‘dates’, and photograph their victims in compromising positions.

Some people have alleged that if the victims cannot be photographed to a point where they can be blackmailed, then in some cases they are raped.

It is believed the gang is operating in Embakashi estate, but reportedly move around to avoid being caught.

The latest victim has alleged the gang is demanding 65,000 in Kenyan shillings ($755, £465, €570) and were calling him threatening to expose the nude photos to his wife and friends.

The Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK) say these incidents of blackmail are growing, stating extortion is one of the biggest crimes facing gay Kenyans today.

In a statement, GALCK’s legal officer Anthony Olouch said: ‘Blackmail and extortion is illegal in Kenya and LGBTI people should not hesitate to report such cases.

‘A blackmail case shall be treated as such regardless of the circumstances that landed you in the hand of the blackmailers.’

While same-sex relations are illegal in Kenya, punished by up to 14 years imprisonment, arrests and convictions are reportedly rare.

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