Killer of Rafiki, Uganda’s rare silverback mountain gorilla, jailed

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The killer of one of Uganda’s best known mountain gorillas, Rafiki, has been jailed for 11 years.

Felix Byamukama pleaded guilty to illegally entering a protected area and killing a gorilla.

Byamukama had previously said the gorilla attacked him and he had to kill Rafiki in self defence, according to the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).

Mountain gorillas are endangered with just over 1,000 in existence and the UWA said “Rafiki has received justice”.

Byamukama also pleaded guilty to killing a small antelope, known as a duiker, and a bush pig, as well as being in possession of bush pig and duiker meat.

He admitted to the UWA previously that he, and three others, had gone to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park with the intention of hunting smaller animals and that he killed Rafiki in self-defence when he was attacked.

Investigations showed Rafiki was killed by a sharp object that penetrated his internal organs.

The gorilla went missing on 1 June and his body was discovered by a search party the following day.

A UWA team tracked Byamukama to a nearby village, where he was found with hunting equipment.

Three others denied the charges and have been remanded in jail, awaiting trial.

Byamukama will serve several sentences concurrently, leading to 11 years in jail which falls far shorter of the life sentence it was predicted he could have been given.

-BBC NEWS

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