Nigerian police raid alleged gay wedding, arrest 67 people

FILE PHOTO: Some of the men charged with public displays of affection with members of the same sex are seen gathered outside a court

By Tife Owolabi

YENAGOA (Reuters) -Nigerian police raided an alleged gay wedding, which is illegal in the country, in the southern city of Warri in Delta state, and arrested 67 people, authorities said in a statement, following a tipoff from a person who knew of the event.

The tipoff about the ceremony came during police interrogation on Aug. 27 of a male cross-dresser, who was dressed as a female, Delta police spokesman Edafe Bright said in a statement late on Tuesday. The statement didn't say when the raid took place.

Bright said those arrested would be charged soon in court.

In Nigeria, like in most parts of Africa, homosexuality is generally viewed as unacceptable, and a 2014 anti-gay law took effect despite international condemnation. Cross-dressing is not illegal but tends to be socially not accepted.

"The policemen chased and arrested a total number of 67 suspects" for allegedly conducting and attending a same-sex wedding ceremony, Bright said.

Investigations revealed that a drunk guest, who was arrested during the raid, was allegedly raped by a suspect who is now at large, he said.

Efforts were under way to arrest others who fled the scene, Bright said.

Africa's most populous nation's anti-gay law includes a prison term of up to 14 years for those convicted, and bans gay marriage, same-sex relationships, and membership of gay rights groups.

(Reporting by Tife Owolabi; Writing by Elisha Bala-Gbogbo; Editing by Bernadette Baum)