A popular gay-friendly bar, cabaret and cinema has been raided by local police in the Cameroon capital of Yaoundé, arresting 25 individuals.
According to reports, the crackdown took place at Le Mistral, following officers attempting to gain entry into the bar while pretending to be patrons. However, when they were refused, as it had closed for the night, the police officers forced their way in.
One of the 25 who was arrested told Rights Africa that, “we informed them that the tavern was already closed, but they forced the door open. Then they took us to jail without any reason.”
In total, seven people, including a dancer and other staff members were arrested in the cabaret area, while 18 were arrested in the gay cinema, with allegations that some individuals were beaten by police with batons.
Following the arrests, the individuals were all taken to police headquarters where they were interrogated for the rest of the morning and were detained, allegedly without food and water, for around two days.
It’s claimed that when the parents of some of those arrested went to the police station, they were told that their offspring are homosexuals and “deserve their fate.”
Police Commander of Yaoundé, Parfait Nana has since been quoted saying, “I already can reassure you that several types of violations have been identified, such as lack of a CNI (national identity card), possession of narcotics and homosexuality.”
Nana added, “Personally, I do not judge anyone and do not condemn anyone on the basis of their sexual orientation. However, Cameroon has laws to enforce.”