October 10th, 2005
Botswana has denied reports that some of the last bushmen living in the Kalahari desert have been forcibly removed from their ancestral land. Survival International, the British-based group, has accused Botswana's government of ethnic cleansing, according to a BBC report.
Tension between the bushmen and the government has been growing.
The Botswana government wants the few hundred still living in the vast central Kalahari game reserve to move to nearby towns.
Last month, the police fired rubber bullets at a crowd of bushmen protesters who were trying to enter the game reserve.
According to Survival International, the Botswana police have evicted dozens of bushmen from the reserve at gunpoint and set fire to their homes. The Botswana government told the BBC that, over the past three days, it has moved about 35 bushmen out of the reserve, but not at gunpoint.
Survival International claims the bushmen are being forced out so the government can exploit diamond reserves in the Kalahari.
The government denies the allegations and has offered to provide the bushmen that move to towns with water, schools and health. It also says their continued presence in the Kalahari is a threat to wildlife, according to the BBC.