NAIROBI, Kenya – Seven wardens at the Kamiti Maximum Prison have been arrested over the escape of 3 terror convicts.
The three who were serving jail terms for terror-related offenses escaped on Monday, sending panic across the country.
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has already announced an Sh20 million reward for each.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiangi said preliminary investigations suggested the escape from arguably the most secured maximum prison facility in the country was abetted by laxity and incompetence and vowed more arrests and prosecutions will follow.
The CS who led a senior security team to Kamiti prison on Monday evening further announced a massive manhunt involving specialized teams across the country for Musharraf Abdalla Akhulunga a.k.a Zarkarawi, Mohammed Ali Abikar, and Joseph Juma Odhiambo a.k.a Yusuf.
“We will not only go the direction investigations will point us but we will act resolutely to ensure this kind of recklessness does not happen again because it exposes our people.,” he said, “Definitely, there is a certain level of irresponsibility we have to deal with in this particular case.”
The CS however urged Kenyans not to panic over the escape of dangerous prisoners saying security teams were on high alert and had managed to pre-empt many planned terror attacks.
“We are all mobilized and we have sent messages across the country and all exit and possible movement points out of the country. We are going to conduct a massive manhunt for those three. They are dangerous criminals and we have to get them. And we are going to get them.”
No explanation was offered about how the convicts managed to escape from Kamiti Maximum Security Prison that houses the country’s worst criminals on the outskirts of Nairobi.
The Commissioner-General of Prisons, Wycliffe Ogallo, said in a statement Monday that he visited the scene “to establish the circumstances that led to the unfortunate incident”.
“The matter has been brought to the attention of all security agencies in the country with a view of tracking and apprehending the escapees,” he said.
“I wish to notify the members of the public that these are dangerous criminals and nobody should provide refuge to them.”
Abikar was found guilty in 2019 of being a member of Al-Shabaab and abetting the Somali jihadist group in the slaughter of 148 people at Garissa University in April 2015.
The victims, mostly students, were rounded up at dawn by gunmen who stormed their campus and separated the hostages according to religion.
Muslims were allowed to go but the rest were shot point-blank, most of them Christians.
It was the second bloodiest terror attack in Kenya’s history, surpassed only by Al-Qaeda’s bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi in 1998 that killed 213 people.
One of the other escapees, Odhiambo, was arrested in 2019 for trying to enlist in Al-Shabaab, police said.
Akhulunga was arrested in 2012 over a foiled attack on Kenya’s parliament and charged with possessing explosives, ammunition, and firearms, police said.
Al-Shabaab has carried out a string of attacks in Kenya, which contributes troops to an African Union Mission in Somalia that chased the militants out of Mogadishu in 2011.
In September 2013, the Al-Qaeda-linked group claimed responsibility for a raid on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi that killed 67 people over a four-day siege.