Uganda: Overcrowding a Likely Factor in Moroto Prison Break, Says Former Inmate Kizza Besigye

17 September 2020

As the ground and aerial manhunt for more than 200 inmates who overpowered their guards and escaped from Singila Prison with weapons after a shootout in Moroto district continues, political activist Dr Kizza Besigye has given his view on what could have caused the breakout.

The four time presidential contender who was once an inmate at the facility said Thursday that at the time he was detained at the facility after the 2016 contested elections, he found it overcrowded.

"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," Dr Besigye tweeted.

Mr Frank Baine, the prisons spokesperson said Thursday that a total of 219 inmates managed to escape from the facility which houses 620 prisoners.

At least three inmates have been killed and seven others recaptured, he said.

The prisoners seized guns from the armoury at a government prison in Moroto, about 460 kilometres (286 miles) from Kampala, before dashing for the cover in the nearby mountains, authorities said.

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Some of the inmates had shed their bright yellow jumpsuits to avoid aerial detection and were on foot half-naked, Mr Baine added.

He said the jailbreak was "one of the rarest cases of its kind in the history of Uganda's Prison Service".

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