Court Sends a Congolese National to 7 years Imprisonment for Wildlife Tracking

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Jailed Mbaya Bob, Congoles for Parrot Tracking

Buganda Road Chief Magistrate’s Court sentenced a Congolese national to serve 7 years in jail after finding him guilty of unlawful possession of protected species. The victim’s name was identified as Bob Mbaya Kabongo.

Chief magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu sentenced Kabongo on Thursday 14th April 2022, on Mbaya’s own plea of ​​guilt.

Mbaya was arrested in Kisoro district by a joint operation of UPDF, UWA, and Tourism Police in an operation conducted in Bunagana town at the Uganda border with DRC. He was arrested with a box containing 122 grey African parrots without a license which he claimed to have gotten from the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Chief Magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu said the punishment of seven years imprisonment will serve as a lesson to other would-be offenders.

“Non-Ugandans have turned this country into a hub of illicit trade which has led to increased crime related to Wild Life in Uganda which has put the protected species at risk of extinction. Therefore, the convict is sentenced to an imprisonment term of seven years,” Kamasanyu said.

Kamasanyu explained that there is a need to redeem Uganda’s image which has been tarnished by mostly foreigners that use the country as a hub for illicit trade in wildlife.

She also noted that the punishment will help warn others would wish to venture into this risky business to think twice before doing it.

The state Uganda Wildlife Prosecutor had requested the court to hand a 16-year jail sentence to the victim.

Mr. Bashir Hangi, the Communications Manager of UWA, said UWA welcomed the court ruling of the seven years given the parrot trafficker, Mbaya Kabonog Bob.

Hangi says, “the sentence will serve as a warning to others in the business of wildlife trafficking or those who intend to get involved in this business that Uganda cannot be used as either a transit route or a destination for trafficked wildlife species.”

“We applaud the judiciary and in particular, the judicial officer who presided over the case for swiftly dispensing justice for the parrots that were being trafficked and those that died in the process.” Said Hangi.

The African Grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus) is one of the endangered species whose population decline is attributed to harvest for international trade and habitat loss among others. The global population of the African Grey parrots is currently estimated between 40,000 to 100,000. We should therefore protect this bird.

The 122 parrots which were found with Mbaya are today kept at Uganda Wildlife Education Center.

 

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