24 arrested in anti-gay crackdown

Police officers in Burundi have arrested 24 people as part of a security crackdown on “homosexual practices”,¬† AFP¬†reported on Saturday.

According to the publication, the arrests took place on February 23 in the political capital Gitega, where members of MUCO Burundi, a non-profit organisation that focuses on HIV/AIDS, were attending a seminar.

“They are accused of homosexual practices and of inciting homosexual practices among adolescent boys and girls to whom they give money”, AFP quoted an activist who spoke on anonymity.

Further, the publication quotes the activist calling the claims “absurd and baseless”.

“There is not a shred of evidence for these serious accusations.”

A judicial source says that neighbours had alerted security officials when they saw “adolescent boys and girls” at the MUCO office.

Police then “found condoms and documents on the rights of homosexuals at the scene”, the source said.

Burundi has criminalised homosexuality since 2009 with a prison sentence of up to two years for consensual same-sex acts.

On Wednesday, President Evariste Ndayishimiye urged citizens to root out homosexuality from the country.

“I ask all Burundians to curse those who indulge in homosexuality because God cannot bear it,” he said in a speech.

“They must be banished, treated as pariahs in our country”, he said.

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Antony Nyongesa
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