Government denies Bushman torture and prosecutes victims

July 28, 2005

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The Botswana government has denied the torture of seven Gana 'Bushmen' by wildlife officials last month. Two of the Bushmen have now been charged by police with hunting without a licence.

Torture victim Kganne Kgadikgadi spoke on Monday night on BBC TV's flagship news programme, Newsnight. 'We've been beaten, tortured and taken to court for hunting eland,' he said. 'Why? Why can't we hunt in our own land, like we have for thousands of years?'

The seven Bushmen were tortured in June in Kaudwane, a resettlement camp close to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Victim Letshwao Nagayame told Survival, 'They beat us up badly. I think they wanted to kill us…. The officials pulled my testicles and penis, beat me up, and kicked me, while one man smashed my knuckles on the hard floor.'

Bushman spokesman Roy Sesana says in the BBC report, 'It's because of the mines that the people have been moved.' The report continues, 'Although mining hasn't started in the reserve yet, dozens of new exploration concessions have been sold throughout Botswana, not least within the reserve, where there were only a few before the latest eviction of Bushmen.'

Survival understands that a longer version of the BBC report will be shown worldwide this weekend:

BBC World – Saturday 18.30, Sunday 04.30 and 09.30 GMT.
BBC News 24 – Sunday at 00.30, 10.30 and 23.30 (UK)

The Bushmen's court case against the Botswana government recommences on 2 August.

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