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Two in Uganda sentenced to 12 years for poaching

 

 

A court in Kyenjojo western Uganda has sentenced two men to 12 years in jail for poaching.

The acting Chief Magistrate Kyenjojo, Her Worship Joy Nambozo on June 30, 2021 sentenced Habimana Sabanitah and Sobomaana Augustine residents of Rwamwanja refugee settlement in Kamwenge district to 4 years in jail for illegal entry into a protected area and 12 years in jail for killing a wildlife protected species.

The two were arrested on June 28 2021 by Uganda Wildlife Authority personnel inside Katonga Wildlife Reserve and were found in possession of a dead bush buck, 2 pangas, 2 spears and 8 wire snares that were used to kill the animal.

Upon arrest, the suspects were transferred to Kyegegwa police station and later produced before the Chief Magistrate court of Kyejonjo to take plea.

The accused pleaded guilty to the counts as charged of illegal entry and killing a protected wildlife species.

Prosecution led by Latif Amis argued that the two deprived the wider public and national economy the benefits of conservation including tourism, employment and foreign exchange earnings.

He noted that court needed to send a clear signal to the public to desist from such criminal acts especially now that tourism is seriously hit by the corona virus pandemic and that poaching doubles the jeopardy.

The Chief Magistrate conformed with the prayers of the state citing that tourism plays a key role in Uganda’s economy.

She sentenced the convicts to a fine of 100 currency points (UGX 2,000,000) or serve 4 years in jail for illegal entry and 10,000 currency points (UGX 200,000,000) or serve 12 years in jail for killing a protected wildlife species.

The sentences will run concurrently. Illegal hunting for bush meat and poaching for ivory are some of the crimes that Uganda is grappling with today.

In most cases, the wildlife trafficking supply chain starts around rural communities near wildlife habitats from where it feeds into the urban centers on its way out of the country.

To curtail this, Uganda Wildlife Authority put in place four units; law enforcement, Intelligence, Investigations and Prosecution.

These work in coordination with a focus on combating Wildlife crime.

Last year, the Uganda launched a National Wildlife Crime Coordination Task force comprised of 13 different Ministries and security agencies to combat wildlife crime and build synergies of the institutions involved in the fight against illegal wildlife trade in Uganda.

 

 

 

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Ms Pamela Amia is a Multimedia Journalist, Conservationist and traveler.

amiapamela@gmail.com

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