In Brief

Ex-US Afghan contractor flees Kenya over persecution

A former US contractor who worked for Dyncorp International has fled Kenya over allegations of sexual persecution from his community.

Mr James Angawa Gayah who worked as a chef in a US Military Base in Afghanistan between 2017 and 2020 claims he became gay during his stay there which sparked off a family feud upon his return forcing him to flee the country for the Netherlands.

He says his relatives have threatened to kill him over family honour after his wife made his sexual orientation public. He had reported the matter to the police and the case is under investigations.

Mr Gayah says that after knowing that he was bisexual, his step brother and clansmen fenced off his portion of land and threatened his life.

Kenyan LGBTQ often face backlash from their community and are ostracized for their sexual orientation which in extreme cases have resulted in violence.

“In 2020 I lost my job due to COVID-19 pandemic…I thought that by being near my wife will make me change from loving men but it didn’t change….Mid 2022 my wife discovered that I was gay and that’s when hell broke open…She was mad about it… The whole community came to know that I was bisexual and I started getting threatening calls…all this calls were death calls,” Mr Gayah said.

He left his home around Kisumu and moved North to Mandera thinking that it was safe there, only to realize that they traced him there. He said he has tried hiding in Coast, Kitale, Tala, Kikuyu, and Thika but his family were still able to find him.

Realizing that he wasn’t safe in Kenya, he decided to apply for a Cruise ship job and luckily got a contract with Royal Caribbean which he was to embark on of January 2023. However, they cancelled his assignment which felt like a death sentence to him and he decided to flee for Europe.