Two LGBTI leaders in Cameroon are barricaded in their homes and too afraid to leave after a homophobic attack.
Renée and Soltera are the leader of Women in Front Cameroon (WIFC) which advocates for women’s and queer rights in the African country.
According to a media statement the women their landlord’s son allegedly attacked them. He had tried to evict them because of their sexuality. After they refused to leave the property, he allegedly beat them with a wooden panel.
‘For more than a year, Renée and Soltera have been facing insults, intimidation and death threats from the son of their deceased landlord, who wants to evict them from their home on the grounds of their sexual orientation,’ the statement read.
‘When they refused to leave, he savagely assaulted them at home and beat them with a thick board. He ignorantly declared that, as lesbians, they must die because they are witches.’
The women suffered severe bruising, a broken arm and broken hand.
A second attack
But that wasn’t the end of their ordeal, three days later their attacker returned with a group of people wielding knives and iron bars.
‘The attacker returned at night three days later with accomplices who were armed with knives and iron bars. Their goal was to “finish off the witches”,’ WIFC said.
‘They chased Renée and Soltera through the neighborhood. Had it not been for the intervention of a few neighbors, they would surely have been stabbed or even killed.’
Police managed to arrest the main culprit and one of his accomplices.
But because the other attackers remain at large, the women are ‘barricaded in their home’ in fear of their lives.
When will the violence end?
WIFC and some if its members helped pay for the medical care.
But the women will still need money to pay for relocation, ongoing medical and psychological support, legal fees and transportation.
‘Will violence stop in this world? Why can a person who judge others and to inflict punishment on them?’ WIFC wrote on Facebook.
‘Why is there so much cruelty, why is there so much intolerance, why so much hate?’
Cameroon outlaws gay sex under Article 347-1 of the Penal Code. People convicted of homosexuality face jail terms of up to five years. The ban extends to lesbians, who routinely face persecution and discrimination.
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