Rafiki, a member of the silverback family from Nkuringo Group in Bwindi Impenetrable national park was the head of a group of 17 habituated mountain gorillas. He went missing for a day when eventually, his body was discovered. He was thought to be around 25-years-old at the time of his death.
Byamukama, who was arrested together with Evarist Bampabenda, Valence Museveni and Yonasi Mubangizi, later confessed to having speared the gorilla to death in self-defence after the group charged at him while he was chasing a wild pig. He was also found in possession with rope snares and a dog hunting bell.
But after pleading guilty, Byamukama pleaded for pardon. But Kabale chief magistrate Julius Kyaka Borere sentenced him to 11 years in jail because he did not waste court time by swiftly admitting to the crime.
Byamukama will serve five years for killing a bush pig, and five more years for killing a duiker and for the illegal entry into a protected area. These two sentences will be served concurrently. Upon the completion of the two, he will then serve six more years for killing the gorilla.
His co-accused; Bampabenda, Museveni and Mubangizi who denied the charges were remanded back to Kisoro government prison until further notice.
UWA executive director, Sam Mwandha welcomed the judgement saying that justice for Rafiki has been received. He says that if wildlife is killed, the department also loses. He adds that it is everybody’s role to conserve wildlife.