OUT IN AFRICA

Cameroonian Gay Activist Brutally Tortured And Killed In His Own Home

eric-o-lembembeCameroonian LGBT activist and journalist Eric Ohena Lembembe was found dead in his home on July 15, his body bearing signs of torture. Lembembe was an outspoken activist and executive director of the Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS (CAMFAIDS).

According to a press release from the Human Rights Watch (HRW):

Lembembe’s friends discovered his body on Monday evening after being unable to reach him by telephone for two days, and went to his home. They found his front door padlocked on the outside, but could see Lembembe’s body lying on his bed through the window. Lembembe’s friends alerted the police, who broke down the door. According to one friend, Lembembe’s neck and feet appeared to have been broken, and his face, hands, and feet had been burned with an iron.

“Everyone is devastated, sad, and emotionally distraught,” said Damian Ugwu, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission  (IGLHR) Africa Regional Program Coordinator. “Some could not sleep because of fear. They think, ‘I could be next.’ No one knows what happened to Eric or who killed him, so people are afraid they might meet the same fate. Given the recent spate of homophobic attacks in Cameroon, there is strong speculation that Eric’s death is connected to his sexual orientation and his work.”

Lembembe’s death is the latest in a series of violent attacks against Cameroon’s LGBT community. Though each has been reported, Cameroonian  authorities have yet to apprehend a single suspect. Earlier this month, Lembembe criticized the government for fostering a “climate of hatred and bigotry.”

HRW senior LGBT rights researcher Neela Ghoshal is calling for President Paul Biya to “break his silence” on the spate of violence and “publicly condemn this brutal attack.” Other activists, though frightened by Lembembe’s murder, remain undaunted in the fight for equality.

“Some might go underground for a while,” he said. “Eric’s death is very painful to the movement, but I do not see this as stopping LGBTI Cameroon in the long-term. I see a very committed movement.”

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #africa #cameroon #ericlembembe stories and more

19 Comments

  • 2eo

    The true face of christianity. Butchering and genocide in 2013, they’ll never change.

  • Deepdow

    @2eo:

    It’s Abrahamic religions in general, which has at it’s core a veangeful god, a history steeped in war and symbolism which reflects death, mortality and blood.

  • tardis

    What a heartbreaking story. I can’t even begin to imagine the suffering he endured at the hands of his tormentors. The anti-gay sentiments in Africa are frightening, appalling and disturbing. With a country overrun by religious fanaticism, I wonder if these individuals even have a chance for a peaceful life. What baffles me more is the hypocrisy. If they’re as Christian as they claim, how can one commit monstrous acts onto another individual? Humanity is scary.

  • grero

    @2eo: Yeah, it’s hard to imagine if paganism survived in the West that this nonsense would have spread all over the world. All the male Greek gods had male lovers.

  • 2eo

    @tardis: They are christian and they are literally doing what the bible and their belief system says. People have got into a habit of distancing their particular sect of christians away from others, they are all christianity.

  • ouragannyc

    RIP bro.

  • litper

    This is so terrible. Rest in peace, man. You did the right thing and never gave up. Weak religious fantatics are too afraid of strong people!

  • LadyL

    I grieve for him and for what he suffered.
    But I take this comfort and I hope his friends and loved ones will also: Eric Lembembe will always be larger in death than his killer-tormenters will ever be in life.

  • Kieran

    Sadly, and shamefully, there will be no African-American vigils held to protest the barbaric, savage murder of this young black man.

  • Nyruinz

    @Kieran:

    Why can’t vigils be held by the LGBT community as well?

  • northwest

    So disgusting, heartbreaking and infuriating.

  • Tackle

    @Kieran: Like you really care. Maybe because the majority of US Blacks do not know who Eric Ohena is. Never heard of him. And this happend in the Cameroon where I’m sure members of Cameroons GLBT will protest and hold vigils. And BTW, Blacks don’t need someone like you insinuating who and when it’s appropriate to hold a vigil for. And what’s really sad, shameful and disgusting is you using this post to air your bigotry.

  • 2eo

    @Tackle: There’s been a massive upswing in racially motivated posts here since the Zimmerman travesty sadly. Kieran, Miagoodguy, JT Hawkins etcetera are a group of hardcore rightists whose job it is to troll sites with humans and present their bigotry as if it’s reasonable

    Their IP’s match a group that has existed for many years.

  • Tackle

    @2eo: Thank’s for that info.

  • Kieran

    @2eo and tickle: If you can’t take the heat stay the hell out the kitchen, assholes.

  • Spike

    Nothing that the southern evangelicals wouldn’t do the gays here in the US, if they could get away with it. Having the front door padlocked from the outside seems rather problematic.

  • Spike

    @2eo: I’ve noticed similar, thank you for confirming, at least as it involves those three.

  • Larry

    We in the USA think this cant happen here but it does. Thank you conservative wingnuts and Christians who preach and believe this. I will NOT put all Christians in this boat notice.

  • Kangol

    Absolutely tragic, and what’s especially galling is how right-wing evangelical American Christians are helping to foment homophobia and hate in Africa even as they’re losing ground in the USA.

    These right-wing anti-gay Christian fanatics are the complete antithesis of Christian or Christianity.

Comments are closed.