With the imminent passage of the anti-LGBTQ+ bill into law in Ghana, a well-known anti-LGBTQ+ vigilante group, Safety Empire also known as Homosexual Hunters with the support of religious leaders has intensified its rampage on suspected gays in Alajo in Accra where one Salisu Mohammed has received incessant beatings over the years and was recently subjected to another severe assault, this writer can report.
According to a family source, Salisu Mohammed is so afraid of his life in his own community because of the stigma of being gay. Anybody in the neighbourhood will readily tell you that he is a well-known homosexual who is always being preached to by Islamic clerics and his family to change his sexual orientation since he was first attacked way back in 2010 on suspicion that his USA based friend, one Prince Awulye who also grew up in same community, and was in the country on holidays at the time was having sexual relationship with Mohammed.
They were beaten mercilessly to near-death by the Muslim youth led by the Chief Imam of Alajo, Sheikh Abdul Rahman, and the two only managed to escape after somebody called the Police to the scene. Next day, the irate youth marched to the house of Salisu and vandalised properties whilst also causing mayhem and warned his family that neither he nor his friend should ever return to the community, if they don’t want to be burnt alive.
A visibly shaken Prince Awulye, also known in the area as Sadat, never went back to the community and stayed in a hotel for barely days during which he changed his travel itinerary and left immediately to the US and has never been back.
“Homosexuality is the cause of natural disasters in the world and our aim is to wage a holy crusade against all gays. Islam and even our African tradition abhors such disgrace and disrespect to our religion. Sadat may have escaped but he should remain in America because next time he will not make it out of here,” the leader of the vigilante gang, Fuseini Sulley alias Doya Dundu who is famous around the Nima, Alajo environs, said openly.
This same Safety Empire are notorious for stripping suspected gays and whipping them, bathing them with hot water and parading them like thieves in the full glare of the public with the backing of religious and traditional chiefs.
Worse, they have expanded to other parts of Ghana including the Western Region capital, Takoradi where in May this year, the Muslim Chief Imam of Takoradi, Alhaji Mohammed Awal publicly condemned homosexuality as “dirty and abominable” in his sermon at the end of Ramadan festivities. This encouraged Safety Empire who immediately stormed a secret hangout spot for LGBTQ+, attacked the people there and burnt down the entire building and were left scot-free by the Police when they arrived at the scene. This was widely reported in the news.
Things like this have strengthened their operations and any suspected gay is a target for their barbaric acts, not least Salisu Mohammed who had nowhere to go and had no choice than to return to his home hoping his troubles were over but he has never known peace since and is always attacked at random especially when he is seen talking to another guy. In 2019, a friend of his, Yaw Benjamin was lynched in Nima when two men whose identities are well known, confronted him on suspected gay relationship with Mohammed. About 45 guys surrounded him and lynched him as Mohammed managed to escape again. Like all LGBTQ+ victims, the anti-gay culture inhibits him from reporting to authorities for fear of exposure and stigma.
“It’s not been easy for him at all, every day they keep disturbing him anywhere he is seen especially when he is seen speaking with another guy. He went to visit a friend in Maamobi last week, it seemed the gang already knew I was coming because they suspected my friend of being gay as well, so as soon he met his friend and they hugged each other, the attackers came from nowhere and beat them up, he was admitted to the hospital for three days,” the family source told this writer.
“He has never admitted to be gay but the people in the community have always accused him with many eyewitnesses ready to collaborate those stories but that does not mean we should kill him. If the law is passed against gays then I can’t imagine what will happen to people like Salisu,” the source added.
By Seidu Yahaya, freelance writer, Accra New Town