A total of 14 detainees have escaped from police custody in two districts of Gulu and Kabwohe, police has reported.
11 suspects are reported to have escaped from Gulu Police Station while 3 suspects broke out from Sheema police station in Kabwohe district last week.
The Police spokesperson AIGP Asan Kasingye revealed this on Monday morning at the weekly police press briefing.
“On Friday during a heavy down pour, 11 suspects escaped from Gulu police station and we are making efforts to re-arrest them. Once caught, they will be charged with escaping from custody,” he said.
Those who escaped from Gulu have been identified as; Ronald Guma, Isaac Onen, Innocent Ocaya, Eric Opiyo, Denis Kibonda, Daniel Akene, Simon Okena, Emmanuel Otim and Richard Ocaya.
Their individual charges included; burglary, theft, simple robbery, cattle theft and simple defilement.
“The 3 who escaped from Sheema police station in Kabwohe were all on murder charges,” AIGP Kasingye told journalists. He however said they have not yet been identified.
Kasingye used Monday’s press briefing to express worry over the persistent industrial action by court prosecutors across the country which he said has frustrated the process of law and justice.
As a result, he said detainees are helping their colleagues to escape so that they can exploit the loophole.
He said the strike which has now entered its third week has had far reaching implications on the constitutional 48 hour detention provision for criminal suspects.
Judicial officers across the country declared a strike on August 23 demanding that government increases their salary, give them vehicles to enhance land justice, be given medical insurance, housing allowance as well as security guards.
“The judicial strike has had implications on the justice, law and order sector as a whole. On our part, we are having challenges with the constitutional requirement which demands that a suspect is produced before court within 48 hours or they are released on police bond,” AIGP Kasingye told journalists during the weekly police press briefing on Monday.
He said that with the courts now closed, police finds itself in a difficult position especially in cases involving serious crimes such as murder, robbery and terrorism where granting bond to suspects can be dangerous.
“Stakeholders should reach a compromise position so that the dispensation of justice is not put into jeopardy,” the police spokesperson said.
Police has previously come under criticism by rights groups, notably the Uganda Human Rights Commission for violating rights of suspects in regard to unlawful detention.