To the long list of abuse meted out to suspected homosexuals in Africa, Senegal has added a new form of degradation: the desecration of their bodies. Madieye Diallo's body had only been in the ground for a few hours when the mob descended on the cemetery with shovels. They yanked out the corpse, spit on its torso, dragged it away, and dumped it in front of the home of his parents. The scene of was filmed on a cell phone and the video spread, sowing panic among gay men who say they now feel like hunted animals.
"I locked myself inside my room and didn't come out for days," says a 31-year-old gay friend of Diallo's who is ill with HIV. "I'm afraid of what will happen to me after I die. Will my parents be able to bury me?" In the past two years, at least four men suspected of being gay have been exhumed by angry mobs in cemeteries in Senegal. The violence is especially shocking because Senegal, unlike other countries in the region, is considered a model of tolerance.