BUSHMAN RECEIVES DEATH THREATS.
GOVERNMENT STARVING BUSHMEN FROM THEIR HOMES
23 September 2005
The Bushmen of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana are being
starved from their homes by Botswana wildlife officers, reports a Bushman today. Matsipane Mosetlhanyane was arrested inside the reserve
on Monday after he tried to stop nineteen armed wildlife officers entering his hut without a search warrant. He was held for three days
and is only now able to give interviews.
He reports that in the settlements of Gugamma and Mothomelo, officials
have been patrolling day and night with rifles and have been preventing
residents from gathering the roots that they rely on for food and for
their water supply. The Bushmen will be forced to leave the reserve
within a few days or die of thirst and hunger. Mosetlhanyane said
today,' Everyone in the reserve is very frightened. My family don't even know
where I am. People want to die there without food and water rather than
leave their homes'.
As the pressure on the Bushmen daily worsens, an employee of Bushman
human rights organisation First People of the Kalahari, Jumanda
Gakelebone, has received five death threats, including a threat to burn
his house down while he sleeps. Yesterday he was approached by a police
officer who said, 'They (the police) are looking for you and they are
going to kill you'. Gakelebone stated today, 'Whatever happens, I will
continue with the struggle for the CKGR'.
Botswana government officials have reportedly told enquirers that they
will have to wait for the death of Survival International's
director, Stephen Corry, for the campaign to end. Corry said today, 'I don't know
if this is a threat similar to those made recently to Gakelebone, but of
course our work does not depend on me personally. Over 250,000 people
have supported our Bushman campaign and it will carry on long after I am
gone. We will never be deterred by bully-boy tactics. On the
contrary, they make us strive even harder by underscoring why the Bushmen need
international help so desperately'.
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