Prisoners in a Ugandan jail overpowered their guards and 219 of them escaped with at least 15 guns, but two were killed after security forces launched an operation to recapture them, a military spokeswoman said on Thursday, APA reports citing Reuters.
The inmates escaped late on Wednesday from a jail in Karamoja, a remote, semi-arid northeastern region, said the spokeswoman, Brigadier Flavia Byekwaso.
Before fleeing, they broke into the prison armoury and stole 15 AK-47 rifles, 20 magazines and other ammunition.
“It’s a mass escape ... these were hard-core criminals,” she said, adding they included murderers, robbers and rapists.
A big security operation was underway to recapture them and two of the inmates had been killed in the pursuit while two were re-arrested, she said.
The fact they had some weapons and a head-start of hours of darkness made the search more difficult, Byekwaso said.
“They’ve had a whole night to disperse and hide, it complicates our efforts but we shall get them.”
It was Uganda’s third prisoner escape since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in March as fears of contracting the virus in cramped jails spurred inmates’ efforts to break out.
At least three cases of the coronavirus have been reported in Ugandan jails.