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Ugandan activist suffers horrific wounds in suspected anti-LGBTQ+ knife attack

Steven Kabuye Activist Coloured Voices Media Foundation Uganda city center
twitter/X @SteveKabuye5; Shutterstock

Steven Kabuye blames political leaders for scapegoating the LGBTQ+ community with potentially deadly consequences.

An LGBTQ+ activist in Uganda who suffered life-threatening wounds in a horrific knife attack on Wednesday blamed politicians and the country’s Anti-Homosexuality Act passed last year for inciting hatred against the community.

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Steven Kabuye, an activist and editor with Coloured Voices Media Foundation – Truth to LGBTQ Uganda, was recovering in the hospital today after he was attacked by two men on a motorcycle wielding a knife as he walked to work yesterday morning. According to a police spokesperson, Patrick Onyango, one of the helmeted men jumped off the bike and swung the knife at Kabuye focusing specifically on his neck.

“Kabuye managed to shield his neck with his right arm, resulting in a stab wound to his hand,” Onyango said in the statement. “Despite attempting to flee, the assailants chased and stabbed him in the stomach, and left him for dead.”

Kabuye was discovered by residents and taken to an area hospital where he underwent emergency surgery.

Kabuye posted a video of the wounds to X, formerly known as Twitter, immediately after he was attacked. The short but disturbing video showed a bleeding Kabuye lying on his side with a large, deep gash and a large knife still embedded in his stomach.

While the X profile for Kabuye remains active, the X profile for Truth to LGBTQ Uganda no longer exists.

On Thursday, Kabuye told the AP the two men did not try to rob him but instead seemed intent on taking his life. He said he had suspicions he was being followed in recent days.

Kabuye also said he feared someone may try to kill him while in the hospital.

“I don’t know who to trust right now,” he told the AP.

Despite those fears, Kabuye was not hesitant about assigning blame for the current anti-LGBTQ+ climate in the country, pointing the finger at “politicians who are using the LGBTQ+ community as a scapegoat to move people away from what is really happening in the country.”

Uganda last year passed a draconian law targeting the LGBTQ+ community. The Anti-Homosexuality Act was signed into law by President Yoweri Museveni last May. People found to be “engaging in acts of homosexuality” now face up to life in prison and the law calls for the death penalty in cases of “aggravated homosexuality” which refers to people living with HIV engaging in same-sex sexual relations and repeat offenders.

Local Ugandan LGBTQ+ activist Frank Mugisha also blamed the new law for increasing a climate of hatred against the community in his country.

“The deep hate for sexual minorities that the law unleashed created an atmosphere in which such attacks are happening,” Mugisha was quoted by Reuters.

Kabuye further criticized the law in a post to X Twitter last September.

Multiple Ugandans have been charged under the law since its passage.

In August, a 20-year-old man became the first person to face the death penalty under the law after he allegedly performed what prosecutors described as “unlawful sexual intercourse” with a 41-year-old man with diminished mental capabilities.

In October, two men were allegedly caught having sex by a peeping tom. The incident occurred during a heavy rainstorm in Kampala on the afternoon of Friday, October 20. A student sought shelter from the downpour on the veranda of a salon when he heard sounds coming from within the salon.

“It was at this point that the student heard funny screaming sounds inside the salon,” Fred Enanga, a spokesperson for the Uganda Police, told reporters on Monday, October 23. “The student picked up his phone and recorded the two suspects in the act of sodomy.”

President Joe Biden condemned the law in May, calling it “a tragic violation of universal human rights — one that is not worthy of the Ugandan people, and one that jeopardizes the prospects of critical economic growth for the entire country.” He called for the immediate repeal of the law.

And in August, the World Bank cut off new funding to Uganda over the new law.

“Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act fundamentally contradicts the World Bank Group’s values,” the World Bank said in a statement at the time.

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