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Police Investigate Death of 3 Inmates at Atopi Prison

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A source at the prison facility, says the seven inmates complained about their health in the morning before they were taken to the garden but they were ignored. He was to appear before Apac Grade One Magistrates Court on February 25th on charges of theft.
Inmates digging. (Courtesy photo)

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The North Kyoga Region Police headquarters is investigating the death of three inmates at Atopi government prison in Apac district.

The deceased inmates are Richard Ebong, a resident of Acok Village and Christopher Oyita and Calvin Oluta. Ebong was arrested together with three others for alleged theft and remanded to Atopi prison on August 12th 2019.

He was expected to appear before Apac Grade One Magistrate’s Court on February 25th, 2020. However, reports indicate that seven inmates collapsed in the prisons on Monday evening after returning from the garden.

They were rushed to Apac Main Hospital where three were confirmed dead. The remaining four inmates are fighting for their lives at the facility. 

A source at the prison facility, says the seven inmates complained about their health in the morning before they were taken to the garden but they were ignored. 

Dr. Sabiiti Fanuel, the Medical Superintendent Apac Main Hospital, who doubles as the hospital director, confirmed the deaths, saying the bodies are lying at the mortuary.

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The Mid North Regional Prison Commander, Simpson Ebil Simeon, says postmortems are yet to be done to establish the cause of the deaths.

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Peter Nkulega, the North Kyoga Regional Police Commander, says they have launched investigations into the incident.

Lilly Omara, a resident of Bardek in Atik Division Apac Municipality alleges that the inmates at Atopi government prison suffer serious starvation and poor hygiene compared to those in Olili government prison in the same district.   

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Paul Okullo, a resident Alworoceng parish in Ibuje Sub County who was once an inmate at the prison called for timely treatment of inmates with health problems.       

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The Uganda Prisons Spokesperson, Frank Baine hasn’t yet commented as he could neither pick nor return calls from our reporter.  

Nicholas Ogwang, the Manager Gulu Human Rights Regional Office, who had visited the prison, blames the incident on poor feeding and ill health.

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In 2010, a family in Apac District dragged Atopi prison authorities to court over the death of their son. The late David Olet was remanded to the prison on charges of assault from where he was allegedly tortured to death. 

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