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A government witness in the Bushman court case admitted yesterday that there was no evidence that Bushmen living in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve had been hunting using guns and vehicles, or hunting too many animals.
The government has repeatedly justified the evictions by claiming that the Bushmen had 'radically changed their traditional lifestyles' and regularly hunted animals with high-powered rifles from four wheel drive vehicles.
The witness - Joseph Matlhare, former Director of Wildlife – also failed to support his claim that Bushmen had a serious negative impact on the ecology of the reserve before they were evicted in 2002.
When asked whether mining for diamonds in the game reserve would not also cause an unacceptable disturbance from an ecological point of view, Matlhare answered, ’I don't see what you mean, acceptable or unacceptable. If you're going to mine anyway, you would have to accept the disturbance.'
Survival's director Stephen Corry said today, ’Both the Botswana government and De Beers have alleged that the Bushmen hunted in the reserve using rifles and trucks. This false and damaging allegation has now been demolished in court. It's a tragedy that it's taken an expensive court case for them to admit this.'
Photos and footage available. For more information contact Miriam Ross on (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or email [email protected]
For background information on the court case, click here