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31 Oct 2007 16:18
Botswana police and wildlife guards are torturing Bushmen arrested for hunting, Survival International claimed on Wednesday.
They made three Bushmen run through the desert in blistering heat for hours while chasing them in vehicles, Survival said in a statement. They then beat the men with sticks, kicked them, jumped on them and throttled two of them by tightening car inner-tubes around their necks.
“Botswana’s police and wildlife guards have tortured or beaten at least 63 Bushmen for hunting over the past three years, and they’ve arrested 53 this year alone,” said Survival director Stephen Corry.
“Their policy couldn’t be clearer—to terrorise the Bushmen so that they’re too afraid to go home.
The Botswana High Court ruled last year that the government had illegally evicted the Bushmen from their land in 2002 and found the government’s refusal to issue them with hunting permits unlawful.
However, not a single permit has yet been issued, Survival said.
The latest arrests for hunting were of 15 men in Kaudwane resettlement camp, late in September, it said, adding that 10 of them had been tortured.
The three men chased through the Central Kalahari Game Reserve desert were Vitanon Mogwe, Mphato Mothoiwa and Nabedao Mamou.
“Another group of three were made to run through the desert in a separate incident. Other Bushmen were beaten with sticks, threatened, punched, slapped, held without food or water, and had handcuffs tightened around their wrists until they were forced to confess to hunting,” Survival claimed.
“One of the wildlife guards told Mphato Mothoiwa: ‘If you don’t tell us the truth that you killed an eland, we will do to you what we did to Selelo.’”
Bushman Selelo Tshiamo died in 2005 a few weeks after being beaten and tortured by wildlife scouts.
Officials at Botswana’s embassy in Pretoria could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.—Sapa
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