Gambian President says gay people are 'vermin' and should be tackled like malaria-causing mosquitoes

Yahya Jammeh also said 'LGBT can only stand for Leprosy, Gonorrhoea, Bacteria and Tuberculosis' in a speech on Tuesday

Heather Saul
Wednesday 19 February 2014 17:31 GMT
President Yahya Jammeh on walkabout in November 2011
President Yahya Jammeh on walkabout in November 2011 (AFP/Getty Images)

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The Gambia President has described gay people as "vermin" and warned the Government will tackle them in a similar way to malaria-causing mosquitoes, as part of a renewed crackdown on same-sex relationships.

Yahya Jammeh made the threats in a speech on state television to mark the 49th anniversary of The Gambia's independence from Britain on Tuesday.

“We will fight these vermins called homosexuals or gays the same way we are fighting malaria-causing mosquitoes, if not more aggressively,” Jammeh said.

“As far as I am concerned, LGBT can only stand for Leprosy, Gonorrhoea, Bacteria and Tuberculosis; all of which are detrimental to human existence,” he added.

His comments come as Nigeria outlawed same-sex relationships and Uganda voted for life imprisonment for some homosexual acts in recent months.

Britain and some other Western nations have threatened to cut aid to governments that pass anti-gay laws.

But Jammeh said his country would defend its sovereignty and Islamic beliefs, and not yield to outside pressure on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues.

“We will therefore not accept any friendship, aid or any other gesture that is conditional on accepting homosexuals or LGBT as they are now baptised by the powers that promote them,” he said.

Jammeh, who seized power in a 1994 coup, drew strong international criticism after he executed a number of prisoners in 2012.

In September 2013, he used his address to the United Nations General Assembly to attack gays and lesbians, calling homosexuality one of the three “biggest threats to human existence.”

Additional reporting by Reuters

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