Senegalese student mob try to lynch student thought to be gay
23 maart 2016 - Last week, a student mob in Dakar, Senegal has tried to lynch a student they thought was gay. The crowd formed Tuesday 15 March at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar. One student accused another of hitting on him in the showers. The accused student was followed by an increasingly angry mob. He fled into a bank office on campus, which is also the office of the campus security. Frightening amateur footage shows the angry mob flocking into the bank building to demand the bank staff to release the homosexual to them.
Violence after the student escapes
The group is shouting you homosexual , showing their shoes (an Islamic custom to show contempt) and demanding the victim of their attacks to show his face to the camera. A security guard said a large group of young men had gathered on campus near the bank and a restaurant, before they started the riots. The head of security told the media that the mob wanted the student to come out. There was a heated discussion between the mob and the security personnel. The bank decided to evacuate its staff until the police arrived. The police fired teargas to disperse the students. Eventually the accused student could come out and escape. Then the angry students started burning down the buildings belonging to the campus security guards. They also destroyed the ATM outside the bank and the bank’s signs. They criticized the security guards for helping a homosexual man flee.
Ten cases of homophobic mob violence
Djamil Bangoura is the president of Prudence , an organization that supports the LGBT community in Senegal. He said mob justice was common in the country when someone was suspected of being gay. “This isn’t the first time that a mob has gone after someone suspected of being gay at Cheikh Anta Diop University. Since 2012, we’ve counted nine similar cases. Some of these students dropped out of school because of these events. These mobs are often sparked by mere suspicions or rumors that someone is gay, not by facts.” However, the head of security said this incident was the first time students attacked security guards.
Homosexuality is illegal in Senegal and punishable by up to five years in prison, a fine of 1.5 million CFA Francs or both. Last October, the Senegalese President said the country was not ready to decriminalize homosexuality.
Bangoura: "For awhile, we ran awareness campaigns on campus but we stopped because the reactions were too hostile. Some of our student members are too afraid to continue to come to our meetings. Even if we encourage them to accept themselves, we also encourage them to hide their sexuality and to be careful about how they dress and act."
A general context of violence
Violent clashes are not uncommon at Cheikh Anta Diop University. in 2014, one student was killed after clashes between students and the police. At that time, students demanded scholarships. The police responded with extreme violence and raided students bedrooms, destroying personal items including computers and mobile phones. In 2012 a dead student was found in the gardens of the medical faculty. Just a few weeks before the mob attack, the university was upset by 3 students setting themselves on fire. They had protested the refusal of the university to grant them their masters title after a change in the grading structure. After a hunger strike of 40 students, three set themselves on fire. It is unclear whether the homophobic incident is in any way related to the recent disturbances and more general violent environment oat this university.