Senegalese police are investigating a video circulating since Tuesday on social networks showing a man being manhandled by a crowd that hurls homophobic insults at him, a police official said Wednesday.
The case comes amid controversy over Paris Saint-Germain soccer player and Senegalese international Idrissa Gana Gueye, accused of refusing to join the fight against homophobia by wearing a rainbow shirt during a match in France.
Criticized in France, Idrissa Gana Gueye has received a flood of support in Senegal, including that of President Macky Sall Tuesday.
On several videos posted since Tuesday night on Youtube and TikTok, an angry crowd of several dozen men surround a young man in a street in broad daylight barefoot and dressed only in boxers.
The crowd shouted "homosexuality will not be accepted in Senegal". He is held tightly at the wrists, a trickle of blood on his shoulders, and slapped on the back and head.
"Dirty homosexual, with all these women within your reach, you decide to have a partner. Let us kill him before the police come," one of the videos says in Wolof.
In one of the videos, a crowd of people shouting the same insults is gathered in front of a police station in the HLM district in the center of the capital Dakar.
A police officer at the station confirmed on Wednesday on condition of anonymity to AFP journalists on the spot that the young man had been brought there the day before.
No information was given on his fate.
A digital investigation shows that the videos, viewed several thousand times, are recent, without being able to establish the source.
Fallou, who works nearby and witnessed the incident, told AFP that the events began in the neighborhood market. "The people who were driving him (escorting him, Editor's note) were beating him." "His body was bloody," he said.
"While he was being beaten, he did not shout or speak," the witness continued, saying he believed the young man was a stranger.
He added that he repeatedly called the police station to intervene, to no avail. "We then protected him with three other people to bring him to the police. People said he was mistaken for a homosexual because he was wearing a graft (a wig, editor's note) and women's clothes." "We didn't want him to be killed," he added.
A second witness, interviewed by AFP on condition of anonymity, described a crowd of "a hundred people" who led the young man to the police station.
He was "bloodied with wounds on his head and feet," he said.
"They say he is a homosexual," but "I don't think he (is)," this witness said. "He is a foreigner obviously," he said, adding that foreign women came to the police station to pick him up in a cab, from where they left with him.
A police official, also speaking on condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of the case, said investigations were underway.
In this 95% Muslim country, homosexuality is widely considered a deviance. The law punishes acts said to be "against nature with an individual of the same sex" with imprisonment of one to five years.
Homosexuals have complained of an increase in homophobic attacks and comments in recent years. They said a number of them had left the country to escape discrimination.