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Lesbians arrested in Cameroon for homosexual acts

Conflicting reports by news agencies say between three and 10 women were arrested in the remote village of Amban, Cameroon.

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Two delegates greet one another at an international conference on sexual orientation in Cape Town, South Africa. Homophobia is said to be on the rise around the continent. (Rodger Bosch/AFP/Getty Images)

The BBC reported Friday that several women, alleged to be lesbians, had been brought in front of prosecutors in Cameroon for homosexual offences.

On Friday, it was unclear how many women had been arrested in the remote village of Amban, with conflicting reports by news agencies saying between three and 10.

It is the first case to involve women being charged under homosexuality laws in Cameroon, said the BBC, which is punishable by up to five years in prison.

The Daily Mail quoted gay rights defender and Cameroonian, Alice Nkom, as saying that detainees in Cameroon are frequently tortured in police stations to force them confess.

More from GlobalPost: Africa divided on gay rights

She was also quoted by the Morning Star as saying that "intense homophobia" was an increasingly serious problem throughout Africa.

The BBC received word from a local reporter that the women were arrested after a domestic dispute that led to a scorned husband going to the police.

The case has been adjourned until March 8.

Homosexuality is illegal in most African countries, including Cameroon.

In the nearby West African nation of Liberia, lawmakers are currently debating a tough anti-homosexuality bill that would ban same-sex marriage and increase punishments for homsexual offences.

More from GlobalPost: The Rainbow struggle: A global battle over gay rights

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/120224/lesbians-arrested-cameroon-homosexual-acts