On May 12, a judge in Uganda’s specialized court for wildlife crimes sentenced Bob Mbaya Kabongo to a seven year jail term for smuggling 122 African grey parrots into the country from the Democratic Republic of Congo. His arrest and swift prosecution and sentencing has been welcomed by conservation organizations as well as the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
On Apr. 14, Mbaya was arrested with the African greys (Psittacus erithacus) in Kisoro District, in western Uganda. The Congolese national was arrested in a joint operation conducted by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), the army and the police.
Appearing in court, Mbaya pleaded guilty to importing wildlife into Uganda without a valid license, and unlawful possession of protected species in violation of Uganda’s wildlife act.
Reading out his sentence, Chief Magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu said that “a custodial sentence will send a message to other foreigners that Uganda is not a hub of abusing Wildlife creatures.”
Bashir Hangi, communications manager for UWA, said, “I think what is important is that the law has taken its course, and we have seen justice being dispensed by the judicial officers. Of course we ask for harsher punishments in future, but for now, we thank them and applaud them.”
Lead Image: African grey parrot. Image by Tambako the Jaguar via Flickr (CC BY-ND-2.0).
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