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Friday, August 19, 2016

Botswana’s War on Its Indigenous People: Shooting Kalahari Bushmen from Helicopters…


Botswana’s war on its indigenous population, the Bushmen of the Kalahari, has reached a new pitch, writes LEWIS EVANS. No longer content to arrest and intimidate them as they engage in subsistence hunting on their own land, the state has begun to shoot them from aircraft. These illegal, genocidal acts must stop!
Botswana police scour the Kalahari, looking for people hunting with spears to intimidate and arrest. Planes with heat sensors fly over the Bushmen’s lands looking out for ‘poachers’ – in reality Bushmen hunting antelope for food.
In a healthy democracy, people are not shot at from helicopters for collecting food. They are certainly not then arrested, stripped bare and beaten while in custody without facing trial.
Nor are people banned from their legitimate livelihoods, or persecuted on false pretenses.
Bushmen have hunted at subsistence levels in the Kalahari for millennia. Photo: Survival International.
Bushmen have hunted at subsistence levels in the Kalahari for millennia. Photo: Survival International.
Sadly in Botswana, southern Africa’s much-vaunted ‘beacon of democracy’, all of this took placelate last month in an incident which has been criminally under-reported. Nine Bushmen were later arrested and subsequently stripped naked and beaten while in custody.
The Bushmen of the Kalahari have lived by hunting and gathering on the southern African plains for millennia. They are a peaceful people, who do almost no harm to their environment and have a deep respect for their lands and the game that lives on it. They hunt antelope with spears and bows, mostly gemsbok, which are endemic to the area.

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