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Prisoners escape with warders’ guns

Five prisoners on Friday overpowered two armed warders in a prison vehicle and escaped. Some of the escapees were death row inmates.

Eyewitnesses said that they fled with rifles but the Prisons Department has denied this.

Chief Inspector of Prisons in Kabarnet, Superintendent Maurice Mburah, said the handcuffed inmates attacked the warders as they were being driven from Eldoret Prison in Uasin Gishu to the Kabarnet law Courts in Baringo, about 100km away.

“Some were being taken to court to face fresh charges while others were witnesses in other cases,” he said.

Mr Mburah said a manhunt had been launched for the escapees but denied reports they fled with the officers’ firearms.

Passengers in a matatu behind the prison vehicle said they witnessed the commotion.

EYE WITNESS

“When our driver slowed down, we saw that the occupants at the back of the prison vehicle were fighting. Some people then jumped out of the moving vehicle carrying guns,” said one passenger.

The witness said the driver of the prison vehicle seemed to be unaware of what was going on as he continued driving.

Other passengers in the matatu insisted the escapees fled into a thicket with guns.

Eldoret Prison Superintendent Stephen Kabiru said that five convicts escaped and two officers are in hospital.

“This seems to have been a well-planned escape,” he said.

The escapees have been identified as Vincent Kipketer Madina, who is serving a life sentence for incest, Lemposin Lemelwai, who was jailed for three-and-a-half years for assault and causing bodily harm, Kenneth Lekesho, serving 20 years for defilement, Daniel Ekuru, who was imprisoned for seven years for burglary and theft and Enola Samuel Ruto, who was thrown behind bars for five years for theft, Mr Kabiru said.