Bushman woman found dead in reserve

November 10, 2005

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The latest victim of the Botswana government's eviction of the Gana and Gwi Bushmen died last week in the Central Kalahari. Qoroxloo Duxee is thought to have starved to death after wildlife scouts blockaded the reserve and stopped the Bushmen gathering food.

Qoroxloo Duxee told the BBC in June, ‘When I was young the men hunted and we got our water from the roots of plants. We lived well and people only died of old age.'

She died near the community of Metsiamenong, where Bushmen continue to resist efforts to force them out. The Bushman organisation First People of the Kalahari (FPK) said in a press release on Monday, ‘FPK suspects that she died of hunger and thirst as wildlife scouts would not let her gather food, or that the scouts killed her.'

Bushmen evicted from the reserve in recent weeks say that wildlife scouts threatened to kill them if they tried to hunt or gather food. Police fired teargas and bullets at Bushmen who tried to take food and water into the reserve in September, and then arrested them.

Diagnosed cases of HIV/AIDS in New Xade resettlement camp rose five-fold between 2001 and 2004. The local nurse believes that the true number of people affected is much higher than those diagnosed. Two Bushmen have died since the evictions began following torture by wildlife scouts, while many more have died of unknown causes in the resettlement camps.

Survival's director Stephen Corry said today, ‘The shocking tide of death and disease among the Bushmen is no surprise. Depriving tribal peoples of their land has always been disastrous for their health – just look at the Innu in Canada, who have the highest suicide rate in the world as well as widespread solvent abuse and diabetes. Few governments today would, however, contemplate the Botswana government's practice of actually starving the Bushmen off their land.'

For further information, please contact Miriam Ross on +44 20 7687 8734 or email [email protected]