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Ugandan LGBTQ Activist Steven Kabuye Attacked in Kampala

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Drew Mcgee

Jan 4, 2024

Rising Concerns for LGBTQ Safety Following Harsh Anti-Gay Laws in Uganda

Ugandan LGBTQ activist Steven Kabuye receives treatment at a hospital after he was attacked and stabbed by unknown people, in Kitende on the outskirts of Kampala, Uganda, Jan. 3, 2024 file by VOANEWS

Steven Kabuye, a 25-year-old Ugandan LGBTQ activist, was critically injured in a knife attack by unknown assailants on a motorbike. The attack occurred on the outskirts of Kampala, Uganda's capital, as Kabuye was on his way to work. He suffered serious knife wounds and was left for dead before being discovered by local residents.

Kabuye had been receiving death threats since March 2023 and had shared this information with police investigators. According to police spokesman Patrick Onyango, Kabuye reported that two individuals on a motorcycle approached him during the attack. One of the attackers targeted Kabuye's neck with a knife, but he managed to block the attack with his arm, resulting in a stab wound to his hand. Despite his attempt to escape, the assailants continued the assault, stabbing him in the stomach before fleeing the scene. Local residents found Kabuye and transported him to a medical clinic.

Richard Lusimbo, head of the Uganda Key Populations Consortium, a community action group, indicated that Kabuye was in critical condition, though police later stated he was out of danger. Kabuye, who works with the Colored Voices Media Foundation advocating for LGBTQ youth, had returned to Uganda in December after traveling abroad.

This incident has raised concerns among human rights defenders, especially in the wake of Uganda's adoption of one of the world's harshest anti-gay laws last year. This legislation makes "aggravated homosexuality" a potentially capital offense and imposes life imprisonment for consensual same-sex relations. The law has been met with widespread condemnation from rights advocates and Western countries and is currently being challenged in Uganda's constitutional court. President Yoweri Museveni's government has maintained a defiant stance, with officials accusing Western nations of pressuring Africa to accept homosexuality​​​​.

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