BANJUL, Gambia — Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh said Tuesday that LGBTQ people are “vermin” and said his government would tackle them in the same way it fights malaria-causing mosquitoes.
Jammeh made his remarks in a televised appearance marking Gambia’s 49 years of independence from British rule.
“We will fight these vermins called homosexuals or gays the same way we are fighting malaria-causing mosquitoes, if not more aggressively,” said Jammeh. “We will therefore not accept any friendship, aid or any other gesture that is conditional on accepting homosexuals or LGBT as they are now baptized by the powers that promote them.”
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“As far as I am concerned, LGBT can only stand for Leprosy, Gonorrhea, Bacteria and Tuberculosis; all of which are detrimental to human existence,” he said.
Jammeh has drawn strong international criticism over Gambia’s poor human rights record particularly after he executed a number of prisoners in 2012.
The Gambian president also earned a place as one 2013’s worst anti-gay villains by the New York based Human Rights Watch after he referred to gays as a threat to humanity, saying a year ago that gay rights were a “great mistake” for Africa and that “human beings of the same sex cannot marry or date.”
Article continues belowIn 2008, he was criticized by European Union officials after he vowed to introduce laws stricter than those in Iran, where gay acts between men are punishable by death. Jammeh later retracted a threat to decapitate gay people in Gambia, but said they would be driven out of their homes.
Same-sex relationships and sexual activity are prohibited in Gambia, and punishable by up to 14 years in prison.
Jammeh took power in a July 1994 military coup and was elected as President in 1996; he was re-elected in 2001, 2006, and 2011.