leaders in court
27 September 2005
At least 20 bushmen have appeared in court in Botswana after being arrested
in violent clashes over the weekend.
Those arrested include Roy
Sesana, a traditional elder and leader of a bushmen lobby group.
The bushmen, or San people,
were trying to enter the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, which the
government has sealed off.
The government wants them to
move and abandon their traditional lifestyle - they refuse and have gone
The court proceedings were
adjourned on Monday to allow a lawyer to travel from the capital,
Gabarone, to represent the group and seek bail.
Roy Sesana says he was
trying to take water to other bushmen
The violence flared after the
police refused to let a group enter the reserve.
"The demonstrators broke into
a riot and attacked the police with an assortment of weapons," said a
statement from the president's office.
"The police were forced to fire three
rubber bullets, one of which hit and slightly injured one of the
demonstrators," it said.
Campaigning group Survival International
says that 28 people were arrested, including seven children, but the
authorities say just 21 were detained.
The government says the reserve has been
closed following an outbreak of animal disease.
But Survival fears it is a
deliberate policy to move the bushmen out of the area, even though the legal
challenge is still in court.
Spokesman Josephine Bobb told the
BBC that the police would not even let anyone take water into the reserve.