Pygmies Battle Neighbors; 20 Die
Clashes between pygmies and their neighbors in southwestern Uganda have left 20 dead in the last three weeks, the official New Vision newspaper said Tuesday.
Police officers in Rukungiri told the government-owned paper that a group of pygmies set up a roadblock and fired arrows at their non-pygmy neighbors, killing five. The neighbors, armed with clubs, machetes and spears, retaliated and killed 15 pygmies.
They accused the pygmies of theft while the pygmies, who stand less than 5 feet tall, felt they were being victimized.
“A pygmy living in this part of the country cannot have land on which to settle,” a spokesman called Mushoro told the paper.
“A pygmy cannot go to a bar and have a beer. When one’s goat gets lost, they claim it is us who stole it. Aren’t we people like others? Why do they hate us when even some of them have married our daughters?” Mushoro said.
The pygmy people moved to the area, near Uganda’s Impenetrable Forest, after leaving Rwanda in the 1970s.