Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has revealed that armed poachers on December5, 2022 killed one of its game rangers, Private Charles Okawa while on duty in Kidepo Valley Conservation Area.
According to UWA, the late together with 11 colleagues while on patrol inside the park in the evening of December 5, 2022, responded to gunshots between Lorupe and Narus that led to a heavy exchange of fire between UWA personnel and the poachers.
Unfortunately, UWA says, Okawa was shot dead by the enemy fire during the exchange.
His colleague was injured and is receiving treatment from Yotkom medical hospital in Kitgum town.
UWA adds that one of the poachers was killed and a gun recovered while three others fled.
The statement adds that the UWA Executive Director, Sam Mwandha has expressed sadness upon hearing that Okawa met his death at the hands of the poachers while on duty.
He said that it was unfortunate to lose people who are protecting Uganda’s wildlife heritage to armed groups.
“This is a big loss to UWA. We have registered a tremendous increment in the population of key wildlife species because of dedicated staff like Okawa. Losing him is saddening. His bravery to counter armed poachers shows his commitment to conservation. He put his life on the line so that our wildlife can be safe,” Mwandha said.
Okawa has served UWA for 14 years. He leaves behind a widow and seven children.
UWA says the death of Okawa and others who have died at the hands of armed poachers shows the hostile environment in which they operate to protect and conserve Uganda’s wildlife heritage.