By Melanie Nathan, July 24, 2013.
Two weeks after the murder of activist Eric Lembembe, I have received word of yet another murder of a young gay man in Cameroon. The murder of Henry Mbah occurred two days ago in Muyunge, a village in the Muyuka subdivision in the South West Region of Cameroon. Mob killings is not unusual in Cameroon as we recall the murder of a trader in January who was beaten and stoned by a mob after being caught having intimate relations with a man.
The Brutal murder of Henry Mbah, 35 and the love of Elevis Atabong, 24:
Henry and Elvis have been lovers for almost five years. Two years ago Henry’s concerned parents were pestering him to marry a woman. However because of the strong anti-gay fervor in Cameroon Henry was afraid to tell his parents he was gay. He had told friends that he had no feelings toward women and he was not interested in getting married.
Apparently Henry, then 33, after many family meetings and a report of concern from the local Catholic Church, finally married a woman by the name of Hellen.
According to my informant, Henry was in love with Elevis and not attracted to Hellen and so when she “never enjoyed marital privileges” she became suspicious that he was cheating on her, having an affair and extra marital relations.
It was Elevis’s birthday and Henry went to visit him. Henry did not know that Hellen was following him. Expecting to catch him with another woman she was shocked to find Henry embracing Elevis and she screamed out. People, startled by the screams started to arrive outside the room, and before long a crowd formed, dragging Henry out. They started to beat him and pelted him with stones. By the time the police arrived on the scene, Henry was already dead.
Of course, being in Cameroon, where the laws criminalize gays and the Government has participated in the recent heightened persecution of gays, the police did not arrest any single one of the assailants or murderers of Henry. They did however detain Elevis.
It is reported that the police offered Elevis an ‘out’ by suggesting to him that this was his first time with a man an dthat he had been drugged by Henry. The source informed me that the police are trying to cover the story from the facts, to justify the mob beating and stoning, by making Elevis look like a victim, rather than a gay lover. As if the mob had come to his rescue.
But a courageous Elevis, is apparently refusing to deviate from the truth, and is sticking by his story, that in fact he is Henry’s lover. He wants justice for Henry. And he wants the responsible murderers arrested for the crime. And so the police have continued to detain Elevis, who through his admission, will be subject to five years in prison, if he admits or there is evidence that he is gay.
Elevis is now in detention in Muyunge.
A member of the LGBT community, currently in hiding and with personal knowledge, verifying this story commented: “I wish I could do something to help Henry’s family and Elevis at time, and it is at this time that we miss Eric, he was our voice for the voiceless. Now I remember what Eric told me some weeks back, that there will be a time when the Cameroon government will want to wipe out all the gays and lesbians in Cameroon and I see it happening.”
Note: At this time, due to highly sensitive nature of this story and the anti-gay sentiment by authorities in the region, this story has not been verified by local police or Government authorities. I hope outlets with greater resources than mine will look further into this story. I published it, nonetheless, because the LGBT sources in hiding and on the ground in Cameroon are desperately seeking international attention and feel voiceless. I am an advocate and not a journalist and so was willing to take this risk. Any comment or report back is welcomed.
UPDATED 7/26 : We have just received word that a group of people came to the place where Elevis is being detained demanding his release. They were dispersed apparently by tear gas from Police. I am not sure of the group were for or against Elevis – seeking further mob justice ot seeking to help him. This information has not been verified. I am again asking anyone who can verify to report back to me. There is an AP reporter who contacted me who will be on the ground looking further into this and I will keep readers posted.
I was also informed that Henry’s store had been burnt down and he has already been buried. If there is more information on this it would be greatly appreciated.
Story and Article by Melanie Nathan © 2013 All rights reserved.
Cameroon Gay Rights Activist Tortured and Murdered
Cameroonian authorities should immediately conduct an effective and thorough investigation into the torture and killing of Eric Ohena Lembembe, an activist and journalist who was found dead at his home in Yaoundé on the evening of July 15. Lembembe, executive director of the Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS (CAMFAIDS), was an outspoken activist who defended the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people. READ MORE.
Cameroon men found guilty of being gay sentenced to prison terms
By Melanie Nathan, July 23, 2013.
Two men have been found guilty and sentenced to time in prison for being gay. The court in Yaounde, Cameroon sentenced Joseph Omgba, one of the men accused of homosexuality, to two years in prison and a younger man was sentenced to one year probation. READ MORE
- U.S. State Department condemns murder of Gay activist in Cameroon (oblogdeeoblogda.me)
- Cameroon Gay Rights Activist Tortured and Murdered (oblogdeeoblogda.me)
- Prominent Gay Rights Activist in Cameroon Found Dead, Tortured (towleroad.com)
- Cameroon gay activist ‘killed’ (bbc.co.uk)
- Prominent gay rights activist brutally murdered in West Africa… (abcnews.go.com)