Moroto, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda Prisons chief Johnson Byabashaija has confirmed several inmates have escaped in Moroto, but promised “we shall get them.”
“We had a break and 14 guns taken. Three so far recaptured and 1 killed by sentries. We are in pursuit. It’s a matter of time. We shall get them,” Byabashaija said on Twitter after the news broke.
Reports indicate that more than 50 inmates escaped from Moroto Government Prisons. They escaped at around 5:00 pm on Wednesday after reportedly breaking into the armoury and stealing guns, with Byabashaija puting the number at only 14, while other reports indicate 30 guns.
The prisoners are reported to have fled towards Tapac and Loputuk Sub Counties.
A prisons officer who spoke on condition of anonymity said the inmates attacked an officer on duty and broke into the armoury.
Gunfire rocked Moroto town for at least 30 minutes as a combined force of the army, police and prisons engaged the armed inmates in a gunfire for at least 30 minutes.
Moments later two military helicopters were seen hovering over Mount Moroto where the inmates are believed to have been hiding.
According to UPDF spokesperson Gen Flavia Byekwaso, their is also an operation by UPDF in pursuit of escapees from Singila prison in Moroto to re- arrest them and recover the stolen guns continues. ” The population therefore is advised to stay calm,” she said.
Grace Nali a crime Preventer in Singila Cell, Moroto Municipality said they heard gunfire and saw a lot of inmates running.
“Some were naked while others were in their yellow uniform. They were armed and were exchanging fire with the security forces,” said Nali.
Last week, Moroto Government Prison was closed to new inmates after 30 inmates tested positive to Covid- 19. All the 30 were evacuated to Jinja Isolation Centre for treatment while over 200 other inmates were placed under quarantine.