One of Uganda’s most famous gorillas called Rafiki has been killed. Four suspected poachers have been arrested by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) personnel following the death of the gorilla in the Southern Sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
The four have been identified as Byamukama Felix, Bampabenda Evarist, Museveni Valence and Mubangizi Yonasi.
In a statement released by UWA that has been accessed by Nile Post, the four were arrested following investigations into the death of the gorilla, whose postmortem report had revealed that the it had sustained an injury by a sharp device that penetrated its left upper part of the abdomen up to the internal organs.
Rafiki, the silverback of Nkuringo gorilla group, had been reported missing in the group on June 1, 2020 and on June 2, 2020, UWA mounted a search and its body was found in Hakato area inside Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
“The team arrested Byamukama Felix, a resident of Murole Village, Nteko Parish Nyabwishenya Sub County, Kisoro District who was found in possession of bush pig meat and several hunting devices including a spear, rope snares, wires snares and a dog hunting bell that were recovered from his home on June 4th, 2020,” the statement reads.
” Byamukama confessed to killing the gorilla in self-defence. He says that he had gone hunting in the park with Bampabenda Evarist where they came into contact with the group. When the Silverback charged at them, he speared it.”
UWA revealed that Byamukama shared the bush pig meat with Museveni Valence and Mubangizi Yonasi whom he said were fellow poachers.
“The UWA team working with the Chairman LC1 of Murole village Mr. Ngabirano Pascal, arrested Bampabenda Evarist, Museveni Valence and Mubangisi Yonasi on June 7th, 2020,” UWA revealed.
The four suspects are currently being detained at Kisoro Police Station awaiting trial in the courts of law.
The Nkuringo Gorilla Group were Rafiki hailed from is the first group to be habituated in the Southern Sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in 1997.
At the time, the group had 17 members with one silverback, three blackbacks, eight adult females, 2 juveniles and three infants.