Bushman woman starved to death in government blockade

November 30, 2005

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The postmortem report of Bushman woman Qoroxloo Duxee has confirmed that she died of dehydration, starvation and shock in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana. The government's blockade of the reserve has now lasted for three months, during which time armed guards have prevented Bushmen inside from hunting, gathering or obtaining water. Bushmen who have tried to bring food and water to their relatives in the reserve have been arrested.

Qoroxloo Duxee died earlier this month near Metsiamenong, where Bushmen continue to resist government efforts to evict them. Her relatives obtained copies of the official postmortem report last week.

Duxee had 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.'

Almost all the Bushmen who had returned to their reserve since the 2002 evictions have been re-evicted since its closure on 1 September. They told Bushman organisation First People of the Kalahari that wildlife guards threatened to kill them if they tried to hunt and gather. They are now living in the bleak resettlement camps. Police fired bullets and teargas at Bushmen who tried to take food and water into the reserve, and then arrested them.

Survival's director Stephen Corry said today, 'We fear for the lives of those Bushmen still resisting eviction. More and more organisations are sure to take up this cause if this campaign of starvation and violence continues.'

To read the postmortem report, click here

For more information call Miriam Ross on +44 20 7687 8734 or email [email protected]