The National, Monday 07th November 2011
By SAMUEL RAITANO
ELEVEN inmates, including several hardened criminals, are on the run in Northern after breaking out of the Popondetta police cells last week.
The inmates removed a square metal grill affixed to the cell block’s brick foundation and escaped at around 11pm on Wednesday, provincial police commander Micah Anaiwe said.
He said the escape was a major setback for the police who had in the last few days stepped up their operations to clamp down on rising crime in the province.
Police reported that some Musa villagers who came to sell fish at Popondetta market were attacked inside a home.
Anaiwe said police could not immediately link the crime to the escapees but they took the victims to the hospital for treatment.
Those who escaped from custody include :
l Dennis Saukari, charged with a firearms offence;
l Jonah Binga, charged with several rapes;
l Robert Onari, charged with escape and murder;
l Giru Montigll, and Benstead Guba, charged with robbery;
l Bau Okono, suspect detained for robbery and shooting;
l Ali Isakari and David Damba, suspects detained for robbery;
l Walis Sam, charged with robbery and awaiting court;
l Bonty Mendode, charged with break-in and stealing, and,
l Joe Kari Junior, suspect on detention for series of crimes.
Anaiwe said many of those who escaped were on detention for violent crimes, and their presence in the community would pose serious risks to the lives and property of citizens.
He said some of the inmates had been detained for several weeks because of a lack of magisterial services in the province.
A few years ago, Northern had three resident magistrates but two of them have retired.
The province now has only one magistrate.
Anaiwe said this was contributing to the backlog of court cases and police were at most times forced to keep detainees inside the cell blocks for lengthy periods, raising the risk of diseases and break-outs.
“The lack of magisterial services, police manpower shortage and lack of logistics and equipment to combat crime in Northern have given rise to crime and lawless activities but we will do everything we can to minimise crime,” Anaiwe said.
He appealed to all Oro residents to be vigilant and report any sighting of the escapees by contacting the Popondetta police station on 629 7363.