Credit Daily Monitor
Uganda prisons commissioner general, Mr Johnson Byabashaija has suspended the officer in charge of Moroto government prisons, Mr Norman Aruho.
The suspension follows ongoing investigation into the escape of 224 inmates with 14 guns last month.
Mr Frank Baine, the prisons spokesperson, confirmed the suspension saying it was meant to pave way for investigations.
He said Mr. Latif Mayamba who was the officer in charge of Soroti prisons has been transferred to Moroto prisons.
“I can confirm that Mr Aruho has been removed to pave ways for investigations. Mr Latif Mayamba is now in charge of Moroto prisons,” Mr Baine told this reporter.
On September 16, this year the inmates escaped with 14 guns, 15 magazines and 480 rounds of ammunition after overpowering prisons staff.
One UPDF soldier was killed in a shootout with the inmates as security operatives tried to re-arrest the escapees.
Only 20 of the escapees were serving their sentences while 204 of them were on remand awaiting trial for different criminal offenses.
Government said the prisoners took advantage of the “low morale” by the prison warders following the outbreak of Cholera and Covid-19 in the prison.
At the time of the prison break, there were a total of 687 inmates of whom 236 were convicts whereas 451 were on remand.
Out of the 20 convicts, four were serving sentences for murder, four for rape and three for theft.
Seventy eight of those who were on remand had been committed by the low courts for trial in the High Court for the capital offenses they had allegedly committed.
Out of these, 46 were on murder charges, 16 on aggravated defilement, 13 on rape and three on robbery.
They were being tried by the UPDF 3rd Division Court Martial.
Of these escapes, 93 were on charges of being found in possession of illegal firearms; seven were on murder, three on failure to execute their duties; absence without leave, failure to protect war materials and failure to protect firearms.
Meanwhile, 20 other escapes were facing trial in the Magistrates Courts for different criminal offenses they had allegedly committed.
Byabashaija placed a bounty of Shs1.5 million for anyone who would recover a gun and Shs500,000 will be pegged on every escapee that can be identified by the community.
According to the Independent, sources at Moroto prison who preferred anonymity said the inmates were upset after 30 of their colleagues and three staff tested positive to COVID-19.
“Because they were all considered contacts of the positive cases, they started hatching plans to escape. Unfortunately, administrators didn’t heed to several calls and warnings from the inmates when they complained of their health”, the source said.