JUSTICE SERVED: Silverback Rafiki killer gets 11 years in prison

JUSTICE SERVED: Silverback Rafiki killer gets 11 years in prison

KABALE- The Chief Magistrates Court sitting in Kabale has sentenced a man who was arrested over allegations of killing a silverback gorilla in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to 11 years in prison.

The Chief Magistrates Julius Kyaka Barore sentenced Felix Byamukama  to 11 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to killing Rafiki the Silverback of Nkuringo Gorilla groups and other wildlife in Bwindi impenetrable National park .

Prosecution told Court that was Felix Byamukama with Bampabenda Evarist, Museveni Valence and Mubangizi Yonasi between June 1st and 2nd 2020, while in the Southern Sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, caused the death of a Gorilla, named Rafiki  a Silverback of the famous Nkuringo group.

Court also heard that  Byamukama Felix a resident of Murole village, Nteko Parish, Nyabwishenya Sub County, Kisoro District who 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 on June 4th 2020. 

When Byamukama was produced in court yesterday July 29th 2020, he was charged with three counts of illegal entry into a protected area, killing a Gorilla and dulker and he pleaded guilty to all the charges and he asked court to forgive him saying he killed the same after it charged on him with his colleagues as they were hunting for wild meat. 

His Worship Borore then sentenced him to 5 years on each account to run concurrently after serving the first six years on entering a protected area and killing a Gorilla and dulker. 

The other suspects who were arrested will  with Byamukama who include Bampabenda Evarist, Museveni Valence and Mubangizi Yonasi are currently still on remand at Kisoro Government Prison since they pleaded not guilty. 

The Executive Director of Uganda Wildlife Authority Sam Mwandha has welcomed the court’s decision for sentencing Byamukama saying it has served 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 and we therefore request for every person to support our efforts of conserving wildlife,” Mwandha said.

Mountain Gorillas are endangered species and about 700 of them can only be found in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo where their natural habitat in the Virunga Volcanoes is found.