Kabale, Uganda – The Kabale Chief Magistrate’s Court yesterday sentenced Byamukama Felix to 11 years in prison for killing Rafiki, Nkuringo’s famous Silverback Gorilla 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 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 killing 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 six years on case file one. Therefore, he will serve a total of 11 years in prison.
Byamukama Felix a resident of Murole village, Nteko Parish, Nyabwishenya Sub County, Kisoro District was arrested on June 4, 2020 following the death of Rakifi 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 the charges and were remanded to Kisoro prisons.
Uganda Wildlife Authority’s Executive Director, Sam Mwandha welcomed the court’s decision saying that Rafiki has received justice.
“We are relieved 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” Mwandha said
He, further noted that the new law (Wildlife Act 2019) is tough and anyone involved in illegal wildlife activities will face its wrath.
On June 1st, 2020, Rafiki, the silver back of Nkuringo gorilla group was reported missing in the group and on June 2nd, 2020, Uganda Wildlife Authority team mounted a search for the missing silver back. The body of Rafiki was found in Hakato area inside BINP.
– Mountain Gorillas –
The mountain gorillas are a popular draw for visitors to the country and the Uganda Wildlife Authority relies on the tourists for revenue. They can be found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, and Mgahinga Gorilla National park which is part of the Virunga Massif. The parks in the massif also include Rwanda’s Volcanoes National park and the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Virunga National Park.