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Gays put in safe house after homophobic attacks

More than 25 gays and lesbians are hiding in a safe house on Ngong Road after they were evicted from their houses by angry residents.

The hostilities against them began after they held a demonstration protesting at Uganda’s President Museveni’s decision to sign the anti-gay bill, their neighbours could not stand them.

The gays and lesbians were attacked last week and evicted from their houses in Kariobangi, Kasarani, Kinoo, Kawangware, Uthiru and Mukuru kwa Njenga, with some of them sustaining serious injuries.

Harriet, 28, said: “It all started when we mobilised over 300 gays and lesbians to demonstrate outside the Uganda High Commission on Riverside Drive after President Museveni signed the anti-gay bill.

Unfortunately, our faces appeared on media and our neighbours identified us and threatened us.”

Neck and head

Harriet’s partner, Mercy, was attacked immediately at their Uthiru home and she sustained injuries on her neck and head.

“I was alighting from a matatu at Uthiru when the touts, boda boda riders and some passersby descended on me. They strangled me and beat me up, calling me ‘the devil’s wife’. Luckily, I was able to escape but I could not go back to our house in Uthiru,” said 24-year-old Mercy.

Alex, 23, said he had managed to keep his sexual orientation a secret until last week when he found himself on the receiving end of homophobic attacks.

“Harriet is a very close friend of mine. She frequents my cereals shop. When neighbours saw her face in the media, they put two and two together and knew that I was gay. They raided my house and wanted to burn the entire flat. My landlord kicked me out  to safe his house,” Alex said.

Alex’s partner, who, luckily, is still in the closet, works in Nyeri and  could not do much to help Alex. As a result, Alex ended up in the safe house, helpless and at a loss on what to do next.

The couples say this is not the first time they have been on the receiving end of homophobic attacks from Kenyans, and they are now asking the government to intervene.  “We want the government to know that they are dealing with human beings. The government ought to protect us from such attacks,” said Harriet.