10 Sep

We Have Received Photographs of the Buyende/Itukira Murders

Friends New Underground Railroad is now in possession of photographs from the site of the murder of six known or perceived-to-be gay, lesbian, and transgender people at the Itukira market in Buyende District, in eastern Uganda. The photos were taken the night after the killings. One of the bodies had been abandoned at crossroads in the area and was being picked up by the police. The photos are bloody and gruesome, and indicate that the individual had first been stoned, and then burned, as had been reported to FNUR by three independent people, and discussed in multiple reported radio reports including this one which we shared in a previous post.

“We will not be releasing the photographs,” emphasized FNUR co-manager Gabi Clayton. “We understand and appreciate the media’s interest in sensationalized visuals, but our paramount interest is in the safety of LGBT folks and their allies, many of whom are still in the area. Any linkage to the source of the photographs could prove deadly to the person who took them and possibly to others. We have been asked by the source of the photos not to release them at any cost, and we will honor that request.”

FNUR continues to receive reports of very heavy police presence in the area. Since the murders, conductors associated with the Underground Railroad worked to get 62 individuals from the area (58 LGBT and four straight allies who were in serious danger) to safety. With financial assistance from FNUR, 511 individuals have now managed to leave Uganda, with at least 281 settled in countries of final destination, including Sweden, Rwanda, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, South Africa, Norway, France, and Canada. With clearance from the Ugandan conductors, interviews and testimonies from those who felt compelled to leave Uganda are now being obtained and released.

“We still have people on our waiting list,” noted FNUR co-manager Talcott Broadhead. “The situation is still extremely dangerous in many places for LGBTQ individuals and their allies. We hope that LGBT and human rights groups in Kampala will continue the difficult work of fighting the re-enactment of a new, even stiffer anti-homosexuality law (which was reintroduced last week). But our passengers have found themselves in a position that, for their lives and safety, they simply can’t wait.”

Right now there are 11 expelled university students in hiding, waiting for funds to get them out of Uganda. At a cost of $185.00 each to transport them we need to raise $2035.00. Please donate to support the work of the brave Ugandan conductors who are hoping to aid these passengers soon!