Rhino killer jailed for 18 years


A court in Zomba has sentenced a 28-year-old man to 18 years in prison for killing a rhino called Jabesi.

The Zomba Chief Resident Magistrate Court also sentenced two other men to 10 and 8 years imprisonment because they helped the poacher keep the rhino’s horns.

The poacher is Esau Billy while the other men are Aaron Billy Masaka, 56, and Lloyd Shaibu aged 21.

CourtState Prosecutor Senior Superintendent Dickens Mwambazi told the court that Esau Billy and two others who are at large, on 9th July, 2017 killed a black rhino nicknamed Jabes at Liwonde National Park.

Billy then took the horns to his father Aaron Billy Masaka before taking it to his cousin Lloyd Shaibu who kept them in a deep freezer while they were looking for a market.

And on 12th July, rangers discovered the missing of the rhino as it was not located through their devices and reported the matter to their office.

The following day African Park officials started searching it using a helicopter and the signal was located at St. Marys Trading Centre at Ntaja in a shop of Lloyd Shaibu.

After noticing this, the officials reported the matter to Ntaja Police who went to search in the said shop and the rhino horns were found kept in a deep freezer wrapped in black plastic papers.

During the raid, Police also recovered 25 live ammunitions and an assault rifle AK47 which was used to kill the rhino that is valued at MKW54, 672, 466.

Following this, the three were arrested and Esau Billy was charged with six counts while Aaron Billy Masaka and Lloyd Shaibu were charged with three counts each.

Esau Billy was charged with dealing in government trophy which is contrary to section 91(1) as read with section 110(B), being found in possession of  enlisted species which is contrary to section 86)1) as read with section 110(B), entering a protected area without authority which contrary to section 32(1) as read with section 108(a), killing listed species without authority which is contrary to section 35(a) as read with section 108, possession of a prohibited weapon without authority contrary to section 16(2) of Fire Arms Act and conveying a prohibited weapon into the National Park contrary to section 33(1) as read with section 110(A)(d) which are all under National Parks and Wildlife Act.

Aaron Billy Masaka and Lloyd Shaibu were all charged with three counts which are dealing in government trophy, possession of a listed species and failure to report or surrender government trophy which are against sections in National Parks and Wildlife Act

The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges except Lloyd Shaibu who pleaded guilty to some of the charges levelled against him but the three were found guilty of all charges after the state paraded witnesses.

In his submission before sentence, Senior Superintendent Dickens Mwambazi asked the court to impose a stiff sentence to the convicts. He said, Malawi’s rhino population became officially extinct in 1992, significantly due to poaching like what the three did.

In their mitigation, the three asked the court not to give them stiff sentences as they are first offenders and that they have families to look after.

Chief Resident Magistrate for the Eastern Region Texious Masoamphambe said the offence committed is a serious one as it attracts a maximum penalty of a fine of MK15, 000,000 and to imprisonment for thirty years.

He therefore sentenced Esau Billy to 18 years imprisonment with hard labour for dealing in government trophies, 18 years for being found in possession of listed species without licence, 18 months for entering into a protected area without permit, 18 months for killing a listed species without authority, 10 years for possession of a prohibited weapon without authority and 18 years for conveying a prohibited weapon into a National Park.

Masoamphambe sentenced Aaron Billy Masaka to 10 years for the first count of dealing in government trophies and 10 years for the second count of being found in possession of listed species without licence. Masaka was also sentenced to 30 months imprisonment with hard labour for failing to report or surrender government trophy.

Lloyd Shaibu was sentenced to 8 years for the first count of dealing in government trophy, 7 years for the second count of being found in possession of enlisted species without licence and 18 months for failing to report or surrender government trophy.

The sentences are to run concurrently which means Esau Billy will spend 18 years behind bars while Aaron Billy Masaka and Lloyd Shaibu will serve 10 and 8 years respectively.

The court further ordered that the recovered items be forfeited to the government for disposal while deep freezer which was used to keep the horns has been given to Liwonde National Park.



  1. I would have preferred if they’d cut his nose off and let him bleed to death! Hope he does in prison the garbage he is!

  2. Wopha kapena kupezeka ndi ziwalo za anzathu ma albino mukanati muziwatero bwenzi achipongwewa atasiya khalidwe lonyasali. Ndiyekha yo oweruza waku Mzuzu anayesesa kulanga mfitizi. Woweruza wapanga za chipembereyunso/rhino mwinatupange assign kuza anthuzi.

  3. Gud example ndi chaponda.anaba ma bilion and zina a ACB adachita kukamulandako but luk at the end akt chaponda is a free man alibe m’landu which means ndende ndi za anthu osauka

  4. Ovala suti pa bwalo la milandu amapatsidwa chigamulo chochepa koma ovala zapakaunjika chigamulo mtolo abale ukametanso ka blush zonse boo koma dziko ili

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  6. these lazy bones shud have been caged for 30 yrs.out of all the available sources of money u thought killing a rhino would get u out of poverty, foolish fools.

  7. Hahahaha palibe showing sempathy apa he went by himself to search to search for 18 years behind bars all the best man see you when you’re back

  8. Amawona ngati udolo.Nyama imeneyo ndiyotetezedwa kwambiri.Owononga mitengo plz do the same. If madzi sakutuka& magesi sakuyaka chifukwa chakutha kwa mitengo.

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