Kampala—30, July 2020: On Wednesday 29, July 2020, the Kabale Chief Magistrate’s Court yesterday sentenced Byamukama Felix to 11 years in prison for killing Rafiki, the silverback of Nkuringo Gorilla group and other wildlife in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Byamukama pleaded guilty to three counts. The counts are illegal entry into a protected area, killing a gorilla and a duiker.
The Chief Magistrate, His Worship Julius Borere, sentenced him to 5, 6 and 5 years respectively to be served concurrently.
In a second case file, Byamukama pleaded guilty to counts of killings a bush pig, being in possession of bush pig and duiker meat for which he was sentenced to 5 years on each count, to run concurrently after serving the first 6 years on case file one.
Byamukama Felix who is a resident of Murole village, Nteke parish, Nyabwishenya sub-county, Kisoro district was on June 4, 2020 following the death of Rafiki, a silverback of Nkuringo group and was found in possession of bush pig meat and several hunting devices including a spear, rope snares, wires snares and a dog hunting bell that were recovered from his home.
His three colleagues, Bampabenda Evarist, Museveni Valence and Mubangizi Yonasi denied all charges and were remanded to Kisoro prison.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) Executive Director, Sam Mwandha welcomed the court’s decision saying that Rafiki has received justice.
“We are relived that Rafiki has received justice and this should serve as an example to other people who kill wildlife. If one person kills wildlife, we all lose, therefore we request every person to support our efforts of conserving wildlife for the present and future generations,” Mr Mwandha said.
He further says that the new law (Wildlife Act 2019) is tough and that anyone involved in illegal wildlife activities will face the wrath of the law.
On June 1, 2020, Rafiki, the silverback of Nkuringo gorilla group was reported missing in the group and on June 2, 2020, UWA team mounted a search for the missing silverback. The body was found in Hakato area inside Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.