KAMPALA – Uganda Wildlife Authority – UWA has announced the death of their worker, Private Okawa Charles who was killed by poachers on December 5, 2022 while on duty in Kidepo Valley Conservation Area.
In a statement, UWA says the late Okawa together with eleven colleagues while on patrol inside the park in the evening on December 5th 2022, responded to gun shots between the Lorupe and Narus that led to a heavy exchange of fire between UWA personnel and poachers.
“Unfortunately, he was shot dead by enemy fire during the exchange. His colleague was injured and is receiving treatment from Yotkom medical hospital in Kitgum town. One of the poachers was killed and a gun recovered while three others fled.”
The Executive Director, UWA Sam Mwandha expressed sadness upon hearing that Okawa met his death at the hands of armed poachers while on duty. He said that it was unfortunate to lose people who are protecting our 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 encounter armed poachers shows his commitment to conservation. He put his life on the line so that our wildlife can be safe,” said the Mr. Mwandha.
“The late Pte. Okawa was hard-working and committed to protecting Uganda’s wildlife. UWA will greatly miss his commitment, hard work, bravery and passion for conservation. His death and others who have died at the hands of armed poachers shows the hostile environment in which we operate to protect and conserve Uganda’s wildlife heritage.”
The noted that his demise will not deter them from executing their mandate.
“We shall continue to protect our wildlife heritage for which Okawa and others paid the ultimate price.”
The late Pte. Okawa Charles served UWA for 14 years having joined the institution on April 10th 2008 as a private ranger and posted to Kidepo Valley Conservation Area.
He is survived by a widow and seven children.