Uganda’s army and prison officials are pursuing a group of 210 inmates who escaped from jail with at least 15 guns while stripped half-naked to avoid detection. Seven escapees from the prison located on the foothills of Mount Moroto in north-eastern Uganda have been recaptured and two killed.
In all, 219 inmates escaped from the jail late Wednesday after breaking into the prison armory and stealing 15 AK-47 rifles, 20 magazines, and other ammunition, according to CNN. The inmates killed a soldier after they broke out of the facility.
“It’s a mass escape … these were hard-core criminals,” a military spokeswoman, Brigadier Flavia Byekwaso, said, adding they included murderers, robbers, and rapists.
“The pursuit is going on,” said Frank Baine, a prisons service spokesman.
“But of course these are warriors on their home ground. They know all the tactics about the army: scattering, hiding, stripping [naked] and the like.
“The moment they got out of the prison, they ran into different directions. But most of them were heading for Mount Moroto, where it is almost a no-man’s land and they can move without being intercepted.”
“They’ve had a whole night to disperse and hide, it complicates our efforts but we shall get them,” said Byekwaso, adding that a helicopter was “waiting to be called in to fire on the prisoners” if necessary.
The prison facility, which has a population of more than 600 inmates, has since been put under lockdown as officials investigate the jailbreak incident.
This is Uganda’s third prisoner escape since the coronavirus outbreak in March. Inmates have made efforts to escape Ugandan jails over fears that they might contract the virus. At least three cases of the coronavirus have been reported in Ugandan jails.