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Botswana denies plan for Bushmen

September 10, 2017 11:54 PM
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Botswana denies plan for Bushmen

Johannesburg - Botswana denied Sunday plans to remove hundreds of Bushmen from their land to make way for a wildlife park.

Earlier this week, the indigenous rights group Survival International claimed that authorities were going to evict the community who have been based in the southern settlement of Ranyane for generations.

But Botswana government spokesman Jeff Ramsay said the allegations from what he described as the “London based neo-apartheid organisation” were false.

“The government of Botswana has no plans to remove those who wish stay at Ranyane,” Ramsay said in a statement.

The Bushmen, the indigenous people of southern Africa, live off the land, hunting and gathering, grow their own food, and have limited access to health care.

Survival International on Friday raised concern over reports that local government officials would send trucks to evict hundreds of Bushmen from Ranyane.

The Bushmen live on the site of a proposed wildlife park that lies between two of the country's premier safari reserves, the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

According to Survival International, Botswana's nature-loving president, Ian Khama, sits on the board of the United States organisation Conservation International that is implementing the wildlife corridor.

He said authorities had had five meetings with the Ranyane Bushmen, who numbered just 182, according to 2011 electoral data.

In the past years, Botswana has forcefully driven Bushmen from their land to make way for conservation parks, sparking international outrage.

Those who returned were denied access to water and threatened with prosecution.


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