The search for prison escapees in Moroto is yielding fewer results after the inmates reportedly mixed up with the local community.
According to Frank Baine, the Prisons spokesperson, 219 inmates overpowered the security at the facility and broke into the armoury before escaping on Wednesday this week. 13 of the prisoners allegedly ran away with guns, raising security stakes in a fragile region, characterized by cattle rustling and gun crime.
Following the escape, the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) was called to lead the search operations. But only nine of the escapees had been recaptured by Thursday evening. Baine said that joint forces were pursuing the armed group from Kotido who were heading northwards through the jungles of Moroto close to the Kenyan border.
He, however, acknowledged that after more than 24 hours, their hope was equally fading. Baine added that the said the Kotido group was the mastermind of the escape. Baine said the terrain is not conducive for motorised pursuit and poor visibility has equally affected the use of helicopters.
Maj. Peter Mugisha said that the community aided the infamous escape of the inmates by providing them with a haven for shelter and civilian clothing to hide their identity. But, he added that the pursuit was ongoing despite thin hopes of finding the escapees who have scattered in the rangeland of Karamoja.
Last week, 30 inmates from Moroto were moved to Jinja after testing positive for COVID-19 and all inmates and most staff were placed under quarantine.
Adopted from URN