Three Nigerian men have gone into hiding after suffering a gruesome assault where they were stripped naked, paraded in public and endured savage beatings for allegedly having gay sex.
In a story reported by GSN earlier this week, the three men were taken to their tribal chief and handed over to the police, at the village of Ekwe near the city of Umuaka in a remote corner of the south eastern state of Imo.
According to reports from a relative of one of the men, police will not take action against them nor against the perpetrators of the assault.
The relative also reported that the three men were ruthlessly beaten and wounded, sustaining severe injuries.
They have now fled into hiding, as they fear for their lives from further attacks and are in receipt of medical treatment.
Human rights activists are investigating the case while stressing that the incident highlights a grim reality for LGBT people in Nigeria.
Speaking with GSN, Steve Aborisade, coordinator for The Nigeria HIV Info, a group dedicated to the protection of the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS, said: ‘I spoke with an uncle of one of men who confirmed they are all suffering from multiple bruises after being ferociously, beaten up and assaulted.
‘They were really lucky not to have been lynched as it appears that was the intention of the local community.
‘They are now in hiding but they are still pretty weak, traumatized although in receipt of medical treatment.
‘It may be that we will need to look into resettling them as the case and pictures have received unprecedented media attention throughout Nigeria.
‘The families of the three men are confused, distressed and taking the news very poorly’.
Aborisade said he would be meeting the men and some of their families on Monday evening for further assessment.
He stressed that such brutal attacks happen throughout Nigeria highlighting the plight of the LGBT community in the country.
He said: ‘I have been personally attacked for my advocacy group.
‘In fact, I estimate that many similar incidents to this occur throughout the country and don’t even ever get reported.
‘Throughout Nigeria there are extreme anti-gay sentiments due to lack of information and exposure to sometimes fanatic religious ideas.
‘Such sentiments not only lead to verbal and physical abuse but strike fear into gay people and cause them to take risky behavior, driving them into hiding and often getting infected by the HIV virus.
‘Then there is absolutely no support here for them once they get ill they simply drop dead, its appalling.
‘The National Action Committee of HIV/AIDS Nigeria doesn’t help LGBT people, when it should raise awareness on how homophobia is not only wrong but harms society as a whole by increasing HIV transmission.
‘Nigeria must have a rethink’.