Four-time presidential candidate and former inmate, Dr.Kizza Besigye has said the Moroto prison break incident is likely to have caused by overcrowding in the prison.
At around 4:30 pm on Wednesday afternoon, inmates overpowered prison warders at Singila prison in Moroto District and broke into the armory and took off with 15 guns and ran towards Mt.Moroto.
However, Besigye who was detained at the prison in 2016 after swearing himself as the duly elected president said the time he was at the facility, it was overcrowded and this is most likely to have been the reason behind the recent incident.
“I was imprisoned in Moroto Prison after the 2016 overthrown election. Overcrowding in this prison was far beyond what I’d witnessed in other prisons where I’ve been remanded in over the years. This is a likely a factor in this breakout,” Besigye tweeted.
Following the Wednesday incident, a joint team between the UPDF and the police was deployed to look for the 2019 escapees who had ran towards Mt.Moroto.
The Daily Express News has also learnt that more than 108 of the escapees were Karamajong warriors and other people arrested or convicted by army Division Court Martial in Moroto over illegal possession of firearms.
According to the deputy army spokesperson, Lt.Col. Deo Akiiki, following the incident, the UPDF under the leadership of the 3rddivision commander, Brig. Joseph Balikuddembe was called upon to support Police and Uganda Prisons Services and consequently, both infantry and air power were deployed to pursue the escapees.
“Employing both infantry and air power, the UPDF pursued the escapees who had climbed towards Mountain Moroto in areas of Tapach and seven of the escapees were captured,”Akiiki said in a statement on Thursday afternoon.
“Fifteen rifles were grabbed from the prison and are not yet recovered. The pursuit to re-arrest the escapees and recovering the guns is still ongoing.”
During the hot pursuit, three inmates were killed whereas one UPDF soldier was shot dead.
Since the start of the second phase of disarmament in November 2004, the UPDF third Division Court Martial has concluded over 500 cases of unlawful possession of firearms by civilians in Karamoja.