The meeting was a training by the Kenya AIDS NGO Consortium (KANCO) that had called a training of over 30 MSM and gay men from Mombasa.
A concerned lesbian activist from Mombasa told Identity Kenya that ‘KANCO did not take into account the security of the participants and ignored consulting or referring to PEMA KENYA, which is the LGBT and MSM group in Mombasa.’
Sources say that the harm reduction training, targeting 30 MSMs was a one week non-residential HIV and AIDS peer education training that was held at Likoni instead of Turdor Catholic Pastoral Center where KANCO’s offices are based, according to their website.
Questions are raised why KANCO did not consult PEMA-KENYA and changed the location from their otherwise safe offices to somewhere as volatile as Likoni.
A gay resident from Likoni told Identity Kenya ‘As a precautinary move, can the organisers not hold meetings in Likoni given the people? Likoni is not an ideal address for such meetings.’
‘Likoni is not a safe place to hold such a meeting since we know the attitudes and perceptions of people there,’ said the lesbian activist.
A witness says that they noticed Imams and local citizens walking in the training hall during the meeting. The more effeminate participants were marked out.
‘Some Imams came and sat down and looked at us without saying anything. Then more people started to come in. That is when things exploded,’ said the witness.
The same witness recounts being beaten by the residents and Imams and reports that one participant had his clothes torn and another is nursing a broken finger.
This incident comes just as a gay man by the name of Nicholas was arrested by police in Mombasa on account of ‘unnatural relations’ together with his boyfriend. They both were arraigned in court.
Officials from KANCO refused to comment on the story. One official showed surprise when Identity Kenya contacted the KANCO offices saying ‘I am the only one here at the office who knows this incident has occured. No one knows even my bosses.’ She added that there were two trainings targetting MSM for two weeks in Mombasa with the last one happening this week.
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