U.S. pastor Steven Anderson was arrested and deported from the African nation of Botswana after calling for gay people to be killed, President Ian Khama told Reuters Tuesday, just days after the pastor was banned from neighboring South Africa over his anti-gay views.
Anderson, of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Arizona, notoriously welcomed the gunning down in June of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida by saying “there’s 50 less pedophiles in this world,” including Omar Mateen, the mass shooter.
Khama told Reuters he had ordered Anderson’s immediate arrest and deportation after the pastor said in an interview with a local radio station in the capital Gabarone that gays and lesbians should be killed.
“He was picked up at the radio station. I said they should pick him up and show him out of the country,” Khama said in an interview. “We don’t want hate speech in this country. Let him do it in his own country.”
The president said Anderson had been put on a visa watch list two days ago after being barred from South Africa but appeared to have slipped into Botswana before all border posts were fully alerted.
Banning him from South Africa on Sept. 13, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba also equated Anderson’s views with hate speech.
However, Anderson denied he was being deported. “I am not being arrested. I am leaving Botswana voluntarily,” he told witnesses at the radio station, adding in the local Setswana language that he loved Botswana very much.
During Tuesday’s radio interview, in which he also called for pedophiles and adulterers to be killed and said the Bible barred women from preaching in church, Anderson said he had arrived in Botswana last Thursday from Ethiopia.
Onkokame Mosweu, a commentator on gay and lesbian affairs, welcomed the government’s move to remove Anderson, adding, “He should have never been allowed to come to Botswana in the first place.”
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