- Gay rights organisations - the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and Pan-Africa ILGA - condemned the arrest and detention of more than a dozen gay suspects in the Senegalese capital Dakar at the weekend, demanding the "immediate and unconditional release" of the men.
In a letter to the Senegalese Minister of Justice, the organisations expressed outrage and
concern over the issue.
Senegalese security clamped down on the men after a popular local magazine, Icones, splashed photographs of a marriage ceremony between two Senegalese men.
Believed to have taken place in a discrete location in Dakar more than a year ago, the
photographs of the marriage were reportedly sold to the magazine by the photographer for US $3,000.
The men, whose whereabouts are unclear, were reportedly arrested under the orders of a senior criminal investigation officer.
"Mass arrests of people simply because they are gay terrorize the entire community," said Paula Ettelbrick, IGLHRC's executive director.
"The inhuman treatment of gay men and lesbians must stop. We call upon the world community to enforce international human rights law."
The organisations blamed Senegal for violating the UN convention that protects sexual
"We are afraid for our lives, especially those of us shown in the photographs," a Senegalese gay activist who is hiding in a hotel told ILGA and IGLHRC. "Some of us have gone into hiding and others are fleeing the country," he said.
Homosexuality acts are outlaw by Senegal's penal code and those found guilty serve between one and five years prison sentence. Those found guilty are also fined not less than US $200 and not exceeding US $3,000.
There has been occasional arrests and convictions of gay men in Senegal, but the rampant "social stigma and blackmail have been the most prevalent abuses faced by gay men in the country."
Joel Nana, the Program Associate for IGLHRC in West Africa, found the arrests as "very
distressing" because Senegal has been attained tremendous progress on the issue of homosexuality.
"The government has included a commitment to fighting HIV among men who have sex with men in its national AIDS response plan since 2005."
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.