The Kabale Chief Magistrates Court on Wednesday sentenced Felix Byamukama to 11 years in prison for killing Rafiki- a rare silverback mountain gorilla of Nkuringo gorilla group and other wildlife in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Byamukama pleaded guilty to three counts of illegal entry into a protected area, killing a gorilla and a dulker. The Chief Magistrate His Worship Julius Borere sentenced him to 6 and 5 years respectively to be served concurrently.
In a second case file, Byamukama pleaded guilty to counts of killing a bush pig, being in possession of bush pig and dulker meat for which he was sentenced to 5 years on each account, to run concurrently after serving the first six years on case file one. Therefore , he will serve a total of 11 years in prison.
Byamukama, a resident of Murole village , Nteko Parish , Nyabwishenya sub county , Kisoro district was arrested on June 4, 2020 following the death of rafiki and he was found in possession of bush pig meat and several hunting devices including a spear , rope snares , wire snares and a dog hunting bell that were recovered from his home. His three colleagues Evarist Bampabenda, Valence Museveni and Yonasi Mubangizi denied the charges and were remanded to Kisoro prison.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority Executive Director Sam Mwanda welcomed the court ruling saying that Rafiki had finally received justice.
“We are relieved that Rafiki has received justice and this should serve as an example to other people who kill wildlife. If a person kills wildlife we all lose, therefore we request every person to support our efforts of conserving wildlife for the present and future generations.”
Rafiki went missing on June 1, 2020 and the following day, a team from UWA mounted search for the missing silverback only to find its body in Hakato area.
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