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Prison CP - February 2006

Corpun file 18001

The New Vision, Kampala, 27 February 2006

400 Arua inmates flee

By Frank Mugabi

Captured prisoner being caned
Corporal law: A UPDF soldier canes an inmate after he was captured yesterday

OVER 408 prisoners, including five PRA suspects, on Saturday escaped from Arua regional government prison.

The prisons chief, Swaib Ondoga, said the incident occurred at 5:30pm as the town erupted into mass celebrations over President Yoweri Museveni's triumph in Thursday's presidential elections.

Sporadic gunfire was heard from the suburbs as UDPF soldiers from the 409 brigade hunted down the suspects.

Ondoga said the inmates pulled down a weak part of the barbed wire fence.

“When they were told to return to the cells after supper, they adamantly remained in the prison courtyard near the fence, which is also next to their kitchen,” Ondoga said.

He said 12 armed warders were on duty as in normal deployment but were overwhelmed by the huge number of escapees.

There were 716 inmates at the time of the incident, indicating that over half of the prisoners were involved in the plan.

Ondoga said the People's Redemption Army (PRA) suspects were on treason charges while the rest were convicts and suspects on capital and minor offences.

By press time, 10 inmates had been re-arrested, while some were reported to be held at Giligili army prison, about 4km from the escape scene.

Ondoga blamed the incident on negligence of the warders on duty and promised to take disciplinary action against them.

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