By Richard Akandwanaho
The Kabale chief magistrate’s court yesterday sentenced Felix Byamukama 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 the three counts of illegal entry into protected area, killing a gorilla and a Duiker.
The chief magistrate His worship Julius Borore sentenced him to five, six and five years respectively to be served concurrently. In a second case file, Byamukama pleaded guilty to counts of killing a bush pig, being in position of bush pig and Duiker meat for which he was sentenced to five years on each count to run concurrently after serving the first six years on the case file one. Therefore Byamukama will serve a total of 11 years in prison.
Felix Byamukama a resident of Murole village Nteko parish Nyabwishenya Sub County Kisoro district was arrested on 4th June 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, ropes, snares, wires, and a dog hunting bell which were recovered from his home.
Byamukama;s three colleagues, Evalist Bampenda, Valence Museveni and Yonasi Mubangizi denied the charges and were remanded to Kisoro prisons.
The Excetive Director UWA Sam Mwanda welcomed the court’s decision saying that Rafiki has received justice adding that this should serve as an example to other people who kill wildlife.
Mwanda added that If a person kills wildlife, all Ugandans lose, requesting all people to give a hand in efforts of conserving wildlife for the present and future generation. Mwanda further said that the new law (Wild Life Act 2019) is tough and that anyone involved in illegal wildlife activities will face the wrath of the law.
On June 1st 2020, Rafiki the Silverback of Nkuringo gorilla group was reported missing in the group and on June 2nd 2020, a team from UWA mounted a search for the missing silverback. The bod of Rafiki was found in Hakato area inside Bwindi Impenetrable national park.