Police on Sunday arrested 120 people at a bar in capital, Kampala, and are holding them for “frequenting a smoking place”. Authorities say narcotics were seized during the Sunday night operation.
According to the BBC, members of Uganda’s LGBT community patronise at the bar which hosts a popular party on Sunday.
Patrick Onyango, the spokesperson for the Kampala Metropolitan Police, says they were not aware of any LGBT patrons.
Recently government denied that it plans to introduce new legislation targeting the LGBT community. However, Several members of parliament had said they will table a bill making homosexuality punishable by death.
Last month, government sought to reassure sexual minorities that they are safe, saying it has no plans to introduce the death penalty for gay sex after reports of rising homophobic attacks.
The assurance came after LGBT+ rights campaigners in Uganda expressed concerns about a spate of attacks after a minister for ethics and Integrity said earlier this month that the government planned to reintroduce a bill colloquially known as “Kill the Gays”.
Minister Simon Lokodo said on Oct. 10 that the government planned to re-introduce an anti-homosexuality bill in parliament within weeks to curb the spread of homosexuality.
In a statement, President Museveni’s office denied that and said attacks on LGBT+ people should be reported to police for investigation so that perpetrators could be “brought to book”.
“(The) government of Uganda does not have any plans of reintroducing the anti-homosexuality bill on the floor of parliament,” said the statement signed by Esther Mboya, minister in charge of the presidency.
“On allegations that members of minority communities have been murdered, I would like to assert that protection of human life is enshrined in the constitution,” said the statement,
Gay sex carries a possible life sentence in Uganda, one of the most difficult countries in Africa to be a sexual minority where there is increasing confrontation over sexual freedom.
Members of the LGBT+ community say they risk physical attacks in their daily life and routinely encounter harassment, as well as facing prejudice over work, housing and health care.
Campaigners have reported a spate of attacks this year, including four murders. on Oct. 4 when a gay rights activist was bludgeoned to death.
Early October 2019, 16 LGBT+ activists were detained and charged for having gay sex after police raided their charity office and residence, forcing them to undergo anal examinations.
A gay Rwandan refugee also was beaten outside his office in Kampala and a lesbian woman physically assaulted by her doctor, say activists.