Court Sentences Two Poachers to 8 Years for Killing Six Lions

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The Utilities, Wildlife and Standards court in Kampala has sentenced two men for a punishment of 8 years and 7 months in prison. The two men we found guilty for killing 6 tree climbing lions at Ishasha Sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park.

The poachers are Vincent Tumuhirwe, a farmer and Robert Ariyo, a boda boda rider both from Kanungu district, were on Thursday sentenced by the court presided over by the Chief Magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu following their conviction on five charges last week.

The 3 charges were; entering a protected area without permission, hunting wild animals in a wildlife conservation area without permission and killing wild animals, wildlife species in a protected area without permission.

Magistrate Kamasanyu convicted the two saying, the prosecution produced evidence from 13 witnesses who proved beyond reasonable doubt, that the two entered the park through Habugombwa Kob Mating ground Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park in Kanungu district. The two involved in hunting and killing six climbing lions and ten white vultures with poison.

The court heard that the evidence proved sufficiently that Ariyo and Tumuhirwe were found in possession of four heads of lions, fifteen legs of lions, one tail of a lion, and a three-liter jerrican of lion fats without a valid wildlife use right.

The said illegal activities occurred in a radius of 5.4 kilometers inside the national park where the lions were found decomposing with some of their body parts missing in the protected area.

Kamasanyu indicated that the crimes are rampant in this country, saying that in 2018 eleven lions were killed and their killers have not been found to date.

It was terrible and gross for the two men to hunt and kill the innocent lions from a protected place where they are expected to be safe and most especially in a country like Uganda where it is known that lions are not edible, she added.

The magistrate also noted that the killing was not justifiable and the news about the incident was not only disturbing to Uganda. The judgement is also aimed at calming the world at large, and most especially tourists who have been contributing largely to the economy by visiting Uganda’s national parks.

Kamasanyu has further ruled that the pride of the lions was curtailed, having only one lioness left amidst four male lions saying it will be difficult for them to grow and multiply.

According to Kamasanyu, this kind of character shows how dangerous the convicts are and how they are most likely to be cruel to humans as well.

“I heard that you have children but because of your character, you have the high potential of raising murderers,” said Kamasanyu.

With her judgment, Kamasanyu sentenced the convicts to five years in jail on the first four charges and handed them eight years, seven months on the fifth offense of killing wild animals and protected wildlife species in a conversation area without permission.

According to the magistrate the sentence will be served concurrently.

The chief magistrate has made a 10 year sentence to the convict, but after deducting the two years spend on remand, she made conclusion judgment of 8yrs.

The State Attorney Joan Keko had earlier requested for a maximum punishment of life imprisonment for the convict saying the lions alone were contributed hundreds of millions of shillings inform of tourist attraction which were brutally and mercilessly killed.

However, the convicts on their side had requested for lenient sentence as they have families with children to look after, and they are also first time offenders.

The court considered both requests before making it arrived at the decision of 8 years imprisonment.

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