Uganda Prisons Warder, inmate mysteriously die in septic tank

Uganda Prisons warder, inmate die in septic tank
Police detectives wrap one of the retrieved bodies. COURTESY PHOTO

Masindi, Uganda | URN | Uganda Police in the Albertine region have launched investigations into the sudden death of a Prison Warder and an inmate in a septic tank in Masindi district.

Julius Hakiza, the Albertine region police spokesperson has identified the deceased warder as Corporal Abel Owori, 28 while the deceased inmate has been identified as Samuel Rubalire, 62.

The incident happened on Monday 24th, May 2021 afternoon a few meters from the Masindi Government Prison.

Hakiza told this publication in an interview on Tuesday 25th that the inmate under the guard of Owori had been instructed to enter the septic tank to clean a sewerage channel that went through the tank and had been blocked but unfortunately he suffocated.

He says Owori who was guarding the inmate after noticing that Rubalire was unconscious while in the septic tank, he too entered the septic tank to rescue the inmate but he also suffocated.

Hakiza says police fire brigade from Masindi station rushed and retrieved the bodies that were later taken to Masindi hospital mortuary for postmortem.

Hakiza says the circumstances of the accident will be determined after a preliminary investigation.

James Murungi, an eyewitness says the prison warder who perished in the septic tank accident was guarding the inmate who was reopening the sewerage channel which had got blocked.

Abdallah Kayira, another resident said he heard the inmate and the prison warder crying for help but it was too late for the prison warders to save their lives.

Jackson Wamani, also an eyewitness explained that another prison warder attempted to enter the tank in a bid to rescue the two but he failed after he nearly suffocated and became unconscious.

He was immediately pulled out by colleagues who rushed him to Masindi hospital for treatment.

This publication could not get a comment from the prison spokesperson Frank Baine on the matter as his known telephone number was off.

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This is not the first sudden fatality at Masindi government prison in recent times. In December 2020, a female inmate was reportedly killed by a fellow prisoner at Masindi government prison.

The deceased identified as Betty Nyesigire was killed by Joan Bainomugisa, an inmate who was serving a 19-year jail sentence for murder.

Nyesigire was also on remand for murder charges. Nyesigire had been taking care of Bainomugisa who was isolated from the other inmates after developing a mental problem.

She was hit with a blunt object when she entered Bainomugisa’s room.