Uganda Prison Services authorities have confirmed 219 prisoners escaped from a government prison in Moroto district on Wednesday.
Frank Mbaine, the spokesperson for the prison services said majority of the escapees were Karamajong raiders (rustlers). “Yesterday, at around 4:15 PM, inmates were having their dinner and took advantage of the security. They grabbed the gatekeeper and broke into the armory where they stole 14 guns.”
Out of the 219 escapees, Mbaine said seven have been recaptured so far while two had been put out of action by the time we published this story.
“Karamoja is not an easy place to operate. The Karamojong are very well coordinated. Once they get an opportunity they grab it,” Mr. Mbaine told NBS Morning Breeze in an interview.
He said they were struggling to escape to Kenya but vowed to recapture them no matter what. They’re crossing to Kenya but we know we shall get them. They will run but not forever because we know them and we are sure one time they will have to return home.”
Mr. Mbaine also disputed claims that the prisoners could have escaped due to poor infrastructure which is synonymous with most prisons in the country. He said “the prison is still new and it’s well enclosed”.
However, he said he thought there must have been some human error in managing the gate.
He said investigations were still ongoing and that it was too soon to make conclusions.
The army spokesperson Brig Gen Flavia Byekwaso Wednesday evening said one soldier had been killed by the escapees in an exchange of fire with a joint security force.
She also added that the army had tried to use an helicopter to hunt for the criminals but they later resorted to using land personnel as it had turned dark in the hills.
This website is however not yet able to ascertain whether the use choppers was resumed on Thursday morning.