Thursday, October 5, 2017

Baka Woman's Testimony of Being Tortured By Eco Death Squad


Source: Forest Peoples Programme


Once, me, my husband Andre Bako, and my step brother Leon Béké left and went into the forest, just behind the village. There is a forest path from here. We arrived to where Leon has a hut, where he had a small field. A Bantu called Koba went into the forest and found us. He came out and told the ecoguards that we were there – that he didn’t know if we were hunting, but that we were there. The ecoguards came and found us and hit us. They made us sit on the floor, with our legs out and our feet flexed. They hit our bare feet with the flat edge of a machete. Then they hit us on our bottoms. They made us lie on our stomachs and stamped on our back. They hit us. My husband nearly lost his eye. It still hurts him today.They didn’t even ask if we were hunting or just walking. They just wanted us gone.

The forest they are forbiden to enter under pain of death, but which they depended on for their livelihood has been designated as Ngoyla-Mintom Reserve. This 'protect area' is a joint project between the World Bank and WWF. The WWF funds the eco death squads, mostly with USAID money, and the World Bank has invested $3.5M in the project. WWF is notorious for supporting human rights abuses against indigenous peoples around Africa while simultaneously allowing logging concessions on lands they claim to be preserving. And of course the World Bank is notorious for providing international corporate welfare regardless of the cost to human life.

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