Witness admits armed guards in Bushmen reserve

March 30, 2006

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A senior Botswana government official admitted under cross-examination this week that wildlife and police officers were camped around the Bushman community of Metsiamenong in December 2005 and January 2006.

The government has consistently denied that armed guards have been camped in the reserve to intimidate the Bushmen who refuse to abandon their homes and land.

Witness Joel Moragoshele was responsible for Bushman development, welfare and poverty reduction in New Xade resettlement camp (where many of the evicted Bushmen are forced to live), yet he claimed never to have talked to Bushmen in New Xade about conditions in the camp.

Moragoshele admitted that Bushmen in the camp are heavily dependent on government handouts.

He also admitted that despite having worked in New Xade for two years prior to the 2002 evictions and having been to the reserve six times per year, he was never aware that relocation was an issue and had never discussed it with Bushmen living inside the reserve.

He said he was not concerned about the impact of terminating water supplies and other services as he 'did not have any business to enquire about the issue'.