October 20, 2021

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Gov’t probes shooting of poachers in Murchison Falls

Chief Whip Thomas Tayebwa

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The Government Chief Whip, Hon. Thomas Tayebwa, has urged legislators to dissuade their constituents from poaching or illegally entering areas gazetted as habitats for wild animals.

This follows concerns raised by Hon. Helen Kahunde (NRM, Kiryandongo) about killings reportedly caused by game rangers in Murchison Falls National Park.

According to Kahunde, reports point to the game rangers shooting and killing three people in the national park.

The dead included: Geoffrey Ochaya (43), Robert Jaoyambe (32) and Steven Ogen (42), all residents of Gwara II Cell, Karuma Town Council in Kiryandongo district.

“This was revealed by a survivor, Micheal Otto (28), who managed to run and dive into River Nile. His swimming skills saved him from death,” said Kahunde.

She added that there were allegations that game rangers at Murchison Falls National Park abandon bodies within the park or throw them into the River Nile when they kill poachers or illegal entrants.

Kahunde asked Parliament to investigate the killings and also consider compensating families of the deceased.

She urged Government to restrain game rangers from the shoot to kill approach but rather arrest and handover poachers or illegal entrants in the national parks to relevant authorities for further action.

The Government Chief Whip said some poachers are a danger to the game rangers because they act aggressively when accosted by the custodians of the park.

“I am going to link up with the minister in charge of Tourism to ensure investigations are done and a report is made. If bodies are indeed being held by the rangers, they should be released to the families for decent burial,” said Tayebwa.

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