Wave of harassment marks Bushman anniversary

February 8, 2004

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The Botswana government is marking the second anniversary of its expulsion of Gana and Gwi ’Bushmen' from their land by carrying out a new wave of harassment.

Over the weekend wildlife officials arrested and charged seven Bushmen with hunting near the bleak resettlement camp where they now live. Several Bushmen were ordered to confess at gunpoint that they had been hunting. The officials have plied some Bushmen with alcohol and cannabis to try to obtain information about others who have been hunting.

Tension caused by the harassment spilled over into a spate of stone-throwing against the wildlife officials, who have been sighted today heading back into the camp in larger numbers. The Bushmen who have been charged now face up to two years' imprisonment.

Apart from what little they can obtain by hunting in the barren land around the camps, the Bushmen are almost totally dependent on government handouts for their food.

A Bushman spokesman said today, ’The wildlife officials are searching our houses and threatening us at gunpoint. Please tell the world what is happening.'

Photos and footage available. For more information contact Miriam Ross on (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or email [email protected]

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