Police in Dakar, the capital city of the West African nation of Senegal, have arrested three men in connection with the violent street mob that assualted an American musician last month when around 100 locals attacked the man they (falsley) assumed was gay because of the way he dressed
According to the local Seneweb, the unidentified American man is a musician who was visiting Senegal with friends for Dakar Biennale, a renowned arts festival when he was attacked, stripped to his underwear, and led through the streets after locals took objection to his "flamboyant" clothing. The attack took place May 17, and the arrests were made May 23.
A blurry yet disturbing video of the event posted to social media showed the unidentified American man being led barefoot, shirtless, and wearing only his boxer shorts being subjected to vile homophobic abuse and threats as he was led through the streets of the capital city.
The attack took place on the same day Senegalese soccer star Idrissa Gueye, who plays for Paris Saint Germain (PSG) of France’s Ligue 1 soccer league, sat out a game rather than wear a jersey emblazoned with rainbow colors in recognition of the World Day Against Homophobia. Gueye, 32, is a devout Muslim and this was the second year in a row he did not appear in the game with the rainbow jersey. Last year the team claimed Gueye sat out with a stomach ailment. This year they said he sat out for personal reasons.
The move by Gueye was supported by Senegal’s President Macky Sall who said the soccer star’s religious beliefs must be respected.
LGBTQ+ travelers to Senegal must contend with a conservative population that is 92 percent Muslim and decidedly unwelcome for queer folks. Earlier this year, Senegal failed to further strengthen its anti-LGBTQ+ laws, which are among the most draconian in the world. Same-sex sexual relations are currently punishable in the country by up to five years in prison and a fine of approximately $2,500. Human rights groups have noted that the climate for the LGBTQ+ community has worsened in recent years, with an increase in arrests and reports of abuse.
“Senegal's law criminalizing consensual sexual conduct is deeply destructive for many communities, particularly gay men,” Dipika Nath, a researcher at Human Rights Watch, said. “People live in constant fear of losing their jobs, their families, their livelihoods, their freedom, and their very lives because they are seen as different.”
Check out this guide to the most dangerous (and safest) places around the world for LGBTQ+ travelers to visit. (Senegal is listed as 121 out of 150, as ranked from best to worst)