Gay Activist Killed: Journalist Eric Lembembe 'Murdered, Tortured' In Cameroon

A prominent LGBT activist and journalist, Eric Ohena Lembembe, has been found murdered in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon, according to reports.

Friends reportedly found the body of Lembembe, who is the executive director of the Cameroonian Foundation for Aids, in his home in the country's capital on Monday evening. They went searching for him after he failed to attend a scheduled meeting on Saturday.

Lembembe's body was reportedly found with signs of torture, including a broken neck and feet, and multiple burn marks on his body, according to Human Rights Watch, which was one of the first to report on the alleged murder.

Human Rights Watch [HRW] is now calling on the Cameroon government to thoroughly investigate Lembembe's death.

"The police should not rest until the perpetrators of this horrific crime are brought to justice. President Biya should break his silence on the wave of homophobic violence in Cameroon and publicly condemn this brutal attack," said HRW researcher Neela Ghoshal in a statement.

Ghoshal told The Associated Press that she is concerned the police and government will not take any significant action regarding Lembembe's death.

"What worries us is that in the previous incidents of homophobic threats or violence, the police have done the basics but it's never gone beyond taking statements," Ghoshal told AP. "It remains to be seen whether the police will carry out a serious investigation into this matter."

According to The Associated Press, Lembembe is the most prominent African activist for the LGBT community to be killed since 2011. 

Lembembe's death comes weeks after the activist publically condemned a string of break-ins happening at pro-gay organization headquarters in Cameroon.

"There is no doubt: anti-gay thugs are targeting those who support equal rights on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity," Lembembe said in a statement on July 1 posted on the Human Rights Watch's website.

"Unfortunately, a climate of hatred and bigotry in Cameroon, which extends to high levels in government, reassures homophobes that they can get away with these crimes," Lembembe added in the statement.

Other recent crimes near the Yaounde area include lawyer Michel Togue, who often represents those accused of being involved in same-sex activity, being robbed of his laptop and legal files, and reportedly receiving death threats.

Additionally, in June, the headquarters of the HIV services organization Alternatives-Cameroun was burned down, according to BBC.

Cameroon is one of several African countries in which homosexual acts are illegal, including Uganda, Kenya, and Senegal, among others.

Earlier this year, a student in Cameroon, Roger Jean-Claude Mbédé, was sentenced to three years in prison after sending an amorous text message to another male, which prohibited the country's laws against homosexuality.

Lembembe began his career as a journalist in Cameroon, often times advocating for the LGBT community through his publications. He later became the executive director of the Cameroonian Foundation for Aids, and also contributed to the Erasing 76 Crimes blog, which is dedicated to decriminalizing homosexuality globally.