The Gambia’s notorious dictator Yahya Jammeh recently intensified his anti-homosexual rhetoric, threatening to slit the throats of gay men living in the small West African nation while seeming to claim that the West could do nothing to stop him, according to a translation provided to VICE News of a speech he made last week on a nationwide agricultural tour.
The 49-year-old president, who has ruled the country since 1994, was speaking during a tour stop last week in the country’s North Bank Region when he delivered his latest inflammatory comments.
“If you do it (in the Gambia) I will slit your throat — if 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 said in the Wolof language to a crowd in the town of Farafeni as he spoke about fostering a healthy atmosphere for the country’s youth.
Jammeh is regularly criticized for abuses, including disappearances and executions. He is one of Africa’s most vocal anti-gay leaders and has previously threatened to behead sexual minorities found in his country.
In October 2014, Jammeh signed a bill into law that calls for life imprisonment for some homosexual acts, prompting the U.S. to drop Gambia from a free trade agreement in response to human rights concerns and the targeting of LGBT people under the new law.
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Last year, in a televised appearance marking Gambia’s 49 years of independence from British rule, Jammeh called LGBTQ people “vermin” and said his government would tackle them in the same way it fights malaria-causing mosquitoes.
Article continues belowThe Gambian president also earned a place as one of 2013′s worst anti-gay villains by the New York-based Human Rights Watch after he referred to gays as a threat to humanity, and that gay rights were a “great mistake” for Africa.
He has previously warned that gays are not allowed in Gambia, and if caught, “will regret” being born.
In December, Jammeh survived a botched coup attempt; among the conspirators were a handful of U.S. nationals.