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Six Young Men Arrested in Nigeria for Being Gay

Brad Loekle

The group of friends, branded as a "gang of homosexuals" by local authorities, could face prison charges of up to 14 years.

Six men, ranging in age from 20 to 24, were arrested late last week by anti-vice officials in Benin City, the Edo state capital, Gay Star News reports.

Police boasted to the media that they had apprehended the "gang," who confessed to committing what police referred to as the "crime of homosexuality" since 2006. 

The youngest individual who was arrested allegedly came forth with accusations against an older member of the group, saying he was raped. But it is believed that this was a manipulation on the part of the police, urging the young man to incriminate his friends for the promise of a lesser sentence or anonymity in the media. 

The Inspector General of Police in Benin City had this to say about the case: "You would agree with me that this offense is an offense against humanity and nature, an abominable act that should be condemned in every ramification by all."

This, while at the same time Senegal's president Macky Sall released an ill-timed, misguided and homophobic call to Western countries to let Africa "deal with [homosexuality] following our tradition and choice.” He is also quoted as saying that the West has to "accept that Africans don’t believe in gay rights." 

Surely, there are many, many Africans who do, and others who will stand with them to battle this backwards, hateful message.

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Dan Heching, CNN