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Advocates of the Chagossians (see links below) charge that the number of Chagossian residents on Diego Garcia was deliberately under-counted in order to play down the scale of the proposed ethnic cleansing.
The slaves came from what are now Mozambique and Madagascar via Mauritius.
Thus, the original Chagossians were a mixture of the Bantu and Austronesian peoples.
Three years before the depopulation plan was created, the British Governor of Mauritius, Sir Robert Scott, estimated the permanent population of Diego Garcia at 1,700.
However, in a BIOT report made in June 1968, the British government estimated that only 354 Chagossians were third-generation "belongers" on the islands. Later in 1968, the British government asked for help from the legal department of their own Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in creating a legal basis for depopulating the islands.