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August 5, 2011

IconThieves target LGBTI groups in Uganda

Computers containing a member list were stolen from the office of LGBTI women’s group Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG) last weekend. The raid happened just four days after a failed break-in targeting Sexual Minorities Uganda.

“Five computers, two printers, server, microwave and some docs including the members electronic database were stolen,” said group leader Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera. “A jerrican of acid, one computer, all paddlocks filled with acid and a huge metallic pipe were left in the compound. The office lines were also taken and thus we shall only be able to be contacted on our personal phones and the office mobile hotline”.

“It seems they were looking for information and data. These are not ordinary thieves,” Nabagesera later added. “We wish to inform all other human rights organizations in the country to be security conscious whether this was a targeted burglary or not.”

The police did not initially respond to calls for help. They eventually began an investigation three days after the break-in following an intervention by FARUG’s lawyers.

International group Human Rights First argue that the police “don’t appear to be giving the case much attention”. They have launched a petition calling upon police Inspector General Edward Kale Kayihura to oversee an appropriate investigation into the burglary.

FARUG have asked for “all kinds of support financially, technically and emotionally” following the break-in. The group intends to go ahead with a planned hate crime initiative targeting homophobia and transphobia.

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Ruth Pearce

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