A magistrate’s court in Kiboga on Wednesday sentenced a total of 76 poachers to a fine of 100,000 shillings each or serving a four month jail term after they pleaded guilty to the charges of illegal hunting and being in possession of wildlife species.
Grade one magistrate Masitula Mulondo convicted the 76 men led by Saul Ssentongo from the districts of Butambala, Gomba and Mpigi in central Uganda who had descended on Kyankwanzi district farms to embark on indiscriminate hunting of wildlife. The hunters armed with spears, nets, pangas and hunting dogs were arrested by authorities in Kyankwanzi district after their transporter reported to the sub county chairman having delivered a group of hunters who would reportedly help the farmers to get rid of marauding wild animals.
The arrested were arrested at Kyankwanzi police station where charges of illegal hunting and illegal possession of wildlife species were preferred against them. They later appeared in court where several exhibits including animal carcasses, dogs, spears, nets, pangas and other hunting gear were paraded.
Upon their own plea of guilt, each of them was sentenced to 50,000 shillings for each of the two counts or a prison sentence of four months. Prosecution was led by Uganda Wildlife Authority’s prosecutor Mr. Charles Okeny who prayed for a stiff sentence that would deter any other people with intentions of wiping out wildlife.
In her ruling, the magistrate agreed with prosecution that rampant acts of illegal hunting would lead to extinction of wildlife causing loss of revenue to government I terms of tourism income and depriving the future generations of the opportunity to enjoy their natural heritage. She also ordered for the destruction of the exhibits.