By Faith Nyasuguta
The head of the Kenyan prison service has been fired and arrested days after three inmates serving time for terror-related offences allegedly escaped from a maximum security prison.
In a statement by President Uhuru Kenyatta, ex-boss Wycliffe Ogalo would be replaced with immediate effect “to entrench accountability in the ranks of the leadership of all security organs”.
The president further directed security agencies to use “all available resources” to pursue the escapees.
Among the fugitives is Mohamed Ali Abikar, who was found guilty of his role in the 2015 Garissa University attack in which 148 people were killed.
The second escapee was nabbed in 2012 following a foiled attack on the Kenyan parliament while the third was arrested for trying to join the al-Shabab militant group in Somalia.
No explanation has been offered into how Mohamed Ali Abikar, Joseph Juma Odhiambo and Musharaf Abdalla Akhulunga managed to escape the heavily-guarded facility on Monday.
Currently, the authorities have made an appeal to the public, offering 20m Kenya shillings ($178,000) for any information on the three escapees.
Kenya’s Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi has said that preliminary investigations are still underway and that seven wardens at the Maximum Security Prison have been arrested in connection with the jailbreak on the outskirts of Nairobi.
Matiangi added that exit points along the nation’s border had been placed on high alert with fears the trio could try to slip out of Kenya undetected.
“We are going to conduct a massive manhunt for these three. They are dangerous criminals and we have to get them. And we are going to get them,” Matiangi said.