The Uganda Prisons Service yesterday dispatched a team of investigators to establish the cause of prisoners’ escape from Moroto government prison.
Mr Frank Baine, the Uganda Prisons Service spokesperson, told Daily Monitor that the escape of the prisoners, who fled with guns and ammunition, is a strange incident.
On Wednesday at around 4.30pm, 219 prisoners, who were serving various sentences, escaped from the prison with at least 15 guns and ammunition.
The escapees reportedly broke into the prison armoury and overpowered a guard.
They grabbed 15 guns and 480 bullets and fled to Mount Moroto, which is less than two kilometres away.
One of the officers at the prison, who declined to be named, told Daily Monitor that some time back, they wrote several letters to the headquarters in Kampala about the security of the armoury being in the same compound and building that houses prisoners but received no response.
“If you go to the headquarters and read the files, you will find at least six letters that Moroto prison administration wrote to Kampala, calling for the relocation of the armoury from inside the prisons dormitories to outside but we never got any response,” he said.
One of the inmates, who has one week to finish his three-year sentence, claimed the prisoners had been covertly planning the escape and excluded non-indigenous inmates from the scheme.
“They didn’t want some of us who are not Karimojong to be part of their team because they said the Bantu are not well versed with the geography of Karamoja,” he said, but could not explain how the inmates staying under one roof could discuss such a plan without their colleagues knowing about it.
However, Mr Baine said he was not aware of such information but said the investigation team from the headquarters would establish the truth about the incident.
He said the prisons service have all the details of the escapees, adding that 180 of them had appeared before the General Court Martial and the army has their records.
“We have the records of all those who have escaped from prisons and we shall give all the necessary information to other relevant authorities about those who have escaped,” Mr Baine said.
More troops deployed
By yesterday, more security forces had been deployed to pursue the escapees but no gun had been recovered.
Major Peter Mugisha, the UPDF 3rd Division spokesperson, told Daily Monitor that a joint forces of police, army and Uganda prisons squad were on the ground to track the escapees.
He, however, noted that most of the escapees have hidden guns and they have come down the mountain where they have mixed with the local community.
“We shall get them by all means and they will produce those guns and the rounds of ammunition they took,” he said.