'In Senegal, homophobia follows you even after death': Corpse exhumed, burned by mob

© Observers

A mob in a small town in Senegal dug up the body of a man suspected of being gay, dragged his body through town and then burned it during the night of October 28, 2023. While there have been other instances of exhumations of people suspected of being gay, the incident that took place in Kaolack, a town 200 kilometres southeast of Dakar, is different because it was filmed and posted online, says our Observer, a member of a group dedicated to the upholding the human rights of LGBTQ Africans.

WARNING: This article contains descriptions of violence that some readers may find distressing. We have included screengrabs but have decided not to share the videos.

A number of videos posted on social media document a group of men digging up a man’s body, tying his remains with rope and dragging them on the ground, before burning them on a pyre made of old tyres and bales of hay. The footage shows men turning around the fire in a frenzy and throwing things into the flames in front of dozens of onlookers, who film the scene with their cellphones.

Out of respect for the victim, our team has decided not to share explicit images of the exhumed body. In one of the videos, shared as an Instagram livestream and then reposted on TikTok and X (formerly Twitter), a man explains to the camera in Wolof and then in French: "We caught a homosexual and we burned him," as the body is seen behind him.

Other videos show a large crowd gathering in front of the cemetery of the Léona Niassène mosque, watching the scene. A number of these onlookers film the scene.

In many of the videos of the event circulating online, you can hear people saying "goor-jigeen", which literally means "man-woman" in Wolof and is used to refer to gay men.

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