Bushmen hunting charges withdrawn

Twenty-one Botswana Bushmen arrested in June and July for hunting to feed their families were celebrating today after all charges against them were dropped.

They appeared yesterday before a magistrate in Gantsi. After an attorney had presented arguments on their behalf, the police withdrew all charges.

However, six Bushmen arrested last week, also for hunting, are still waiting for their case to be heard.

Last December the High Court of Botswana ruled that the Bushmen had the right to live on their ancestral lands in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and that the government had acted against the law in 2002 when it refused to issue them with hunting permits and then evicted them from their lands.