A court in Rumphi has sentenced two men to 15 years in prison with hard labour each for entering a protected area and killing a protected animal.
According to deputy public relations for Rumphi police Tupeliwe Kabwilo, the two are Happy Munkhondya, 36 and Lekani Chilongo, 28.
Kabwilo said the court heard that the two committed the offence on March 3, 2020 at Kamphyongo Village where they were found with 6 kilograms of Red Forest Duiker meat after they killed the animal at Chikando Forest inside Nyika National Park.
Appearing before court, the two men pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing meat of a Red Forest Duiker meat which is an endangered species without permit and possession of firearm with five live ammunition and one empty cartilage.
They were convicted for breaching section 86(1) as read with section 110A(b) and section 12 (2) of National Park and Wildlife Act and Fire Arm Act respectively.
In mitigation, the two asked the court for leniency, saying they will not commit the crime again and that they are breadwinners for their families.
However, state prosecutor Inspector Kelvin Ng’ambi prayed for stiff punishment though the convicts were first offenders.
Passing sentence, Senior Resident Magistrate Kandulu concurred with state’s submissions and pronounced in that it is a felony to possess a firearm without permit and entera protected area without permit.
He then slapped the two with 15 years jail term each to send as a deterrent to would be offenders while the firearm and 5 ammunitions have been forfeited to Government.
Both convicts come from Kamphyongo Village in Traditional Authority Nthalire in Chitipa District.