Uganda bans phones for 'distracted' jailers during World Cup

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Nov 22 2022 07:31 AM

Lionel Messi (C) of Argentina scoring the fourth goal of his team during the international friendly soccer match between the United Arab Emirates and Argentina in Abu Dhabi, UAE, 16 November 2022. Ali Harder, EPA-EFE
Lionel Messi (C) of Argentina scoring the fourth goal of his team during the international friendly soccer match between the United Arab Emirates and Argentina in Abu Dhabi, UAE, 16 November 2022. Ali Harder, EPA-EFE

KAMPALA, Uganda - Ugandan authorities on Monday banned prison staff from using mobile phones during the World Cup, warning inmates might exploit the "excitement" surrounding the football tournament to escape.

"Commencement of the World Cup football tournament on 20th November, 2022 and its excitement may result into prisoners' escape," Frank Mayanja Baine, spokesman for the Commissioner General of Prisons, said in a statement released on Monday. 

"Staff must not report for duty with phones, for they distract attention and interfere with the level of alertness," Baine said, ordering officials to raise security in areas "where prisoners may be watching football". 

Large-scale jail breaks are common in Uganda's often overcrowded prisons.

In September 2007, more than 200 prisoners escaped from a maximum security jail in northeast Karamoja region.

In 2006, 500 escaped from a prison facility in the West Nile region of Arua.

Uganda has over 6,000 inmates in its prison facilities, according to official records. 

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© Agence France-Presse

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