Police in Ghana reportedly saved a pair of women from being lynched by a mob who believed they were lesbians.
According to a report from Ghanaweb.com, a group of young people stormed a home where they believed two women in their twenties were “engaging in lesbianism.”
Even with police on the scene, the group wanted to attack the couple.
“The aggrieved youth threw a stone at us,” the police chief told a local radio station. “As a result, one officer was injured.”
Homosexuality is illegal in the West African nation, with punishments of up to three years in prison. Police often collude with blackmailers and assailants rather than protecting victims. Last year, two gay men arrested for having sex in a hotel room were forced to pose naked for photographs spread on social media to shame them.
In January, Human Rights Watch reported that authorities’ “failure to actively address violence and discrimination relegate[s] LGBT Ghanaians to effective second-class citizenship.”
This isn’t the first time, however, that police have responded appropriately to abuses: In April, authorities in the capital city of Accra arrested a pair of blackmailers who threatened to publish naked photos of a gay man.
But substantive change is likely to be a long time coming: President Nana Akufo-Addo faced widespread backlash in December simply for acknowledging there might be a time when it’s possible for Ghana to decriminalize homosexuality.