Three dozen Bushmen holding out in Reserve

January 12, 2006

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Around three dozen Bushmen have been surviving on little other than melons and water since September at the community of Metsiamenong in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana. The community, which includes around fifteen children, are refusing to leave their ancestral land in the face of threats and intimidation from armed guards.

In an attempt to force the Bushmen to leave the reserve, the Botswana government has prohibited them from hunting and gathering and their livestock have been removed, leaving them to subsist on starvation rations.

The whole game reserve has been sealed off for more than four months. Already one woman has died of starvation and dehydration. Recent rains have made things easier for those who remain, but their food supplies are critically short.

A group of Bushmen living outside the reserve were recently allowed to return home briefly for a funeral. They reported that people in the reserve were scared and hungry, but determined to remain on their land.