While giving a speech to supporters last week, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh threatened to slit the throats of homosexuals in his country, seeming to mock the notion that Western countries could stop him.
Jammeh's speech in the north was in the local Woloff language, but a translated copy was provided to VICE News. As has become the norm, Jammeh did not mince words when speaking about homosexuality: "If you do it [in the Gambia] I will slit your throat."
"[I]f you are a man and want to marry another man in this country and we catch you, no one will ever set eyes on you again, and no white person can do anything about it," he reportedly continued.
Last week's comment wasn't Jammeh's first death threat against gay and lesbian Gambians, nor the first to reference Western countries' efforts to dissuade Jammeh from following through on his inflammatory rhetoric.
"Some people go to the West and claim they are gays and that their lives are at risk in The Gambia, in order for them to be granted a stay in Europe," Jammeh said a year ago. "If I catch them I will kill them."
He followed up on those comments in September, declaring: "Those who promote homosexuality want to put an end to human existence. It is becoming an epidemic and we Muslims and Africans will fight to end this behavior…. Homosexuality in all its forms and manifestations which, though very evil, antihuman as well as anti-Allah, is being promoted as a human right by some powers."
Jammeh has also compared homosexuals to malaria-spreading mosquitos and claimed that LGBT actually stands for "leprosy, gonorrhea, bacteria and tuberculosis" rather than lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual.
Jammeh, who seized power in a coup in 1994, has been reportedly making good on his threats in recent months, as LGBT activists have fled the country and reports surfaced of Gambian authorities torturing a man suspected of being gay.
Hayes Brown is a world news editor and reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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