Uganda court sentences killer of mountain gorilla to 11 years

Man who killed Rafiki, Uganda's rare silverback mountain gorilla, jailed

Poacher who stabbed gorilla to death is jailed for 11 years

His body was found on June 2, a day later. A post-mortem report later said a sharp objected had penetrated Rafiki's internal organs, causing its death.

A Ugandan court has sentenced a poacher to 11 years in jail for killing a rare, endangered mountain gorilla, a conservation official said Thursday.

Felix Byamukama pleaded guilty to a number of wildlife offences committed at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

While appearing in court on Wednesday, Byabakama pleaded guilty to the crimes he committed and was served his sentence by the Kabale Chief Magistrate Court justice, Julius Borere.

He also killed a small antelope, known as a duiker, and a bush pig. At that time, he was found to be in possession of bush pig meat and several hunting devices.

Three others who were arrested alongside the hunter however pleaded not guilty to the charges and have been remanded in prison custody.

Rafiki - "friend" in Swahili - led the Nkuringo troop of more than a dozen gorillas.

Felix Byamukama, a resident of Murole village, Nteko Parish, Nyabwishenya Sub County, Kisoro District was arrested on June 4, 2020 on suspicion of killing Rafiki.

UWA said that even when Rafiki's brother Christmas left the group to start his own group, at times, he (Christmas) would return and be part of the Nkuringo group - like that prodigal son, and Rafiki always let his brother return home.

The head of the Ugandan wildlife authority, Sam Mwandha, welcomed the verdict, which is an example.

"If one person kills wildlife, we all lose, thus we ask for each particular person to help our initiatives of conserving wildlife for the existing and long run generations", he included.

Officials say tough new legislation introduced in 2019 means that "anyone involved in illegal wildlife activities will face the wrath of the law". Tabu is taking the second in command role. The gorillas in the forest were said to be habituated to human contact, and Rafiki himself was described as popular among the tourists.

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