Kenya head of prisons arrested after jailbreak

Thursday November 18 2021
Gen Wycliffe Ogallo

Gen Wycliffe Ogallo, outgoing Kenya Prison Service commissioner. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Officers from the Kenya Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) yesterday arrested outgoing prisons boss Wycliffe Ogallo, Kamiti Maximum Prison head Charles Mutembei and his deputy.

The arrests came just hours after President Kenyatta sacked Gen Ogallo and replaced him with Brigadier (rtd) John Warioba, and just two days after the Kamiti jailbreak that saw three terror convicts escape. 

Queries have arisen over how they managed to escape from the country’s most secure prison on Monday.

Gen Ogallo, Mr Mutembei and his deputy were taken to DCI offices after the arrest.

The new prisons boss, Brig Warioba, declined to comment on the arrests, saying it was too early as he has just been appointed. 

Hours after the arrest, the National Police Service tweeted that Gen Ogallo was not arrested, but only escorted home from his office.


However, his dramatic seizure at Magereza House, along with that of Mr Mutembei and his deputy, was witnessed by journalists and captured on film.

When he attempted to sit at the front of the vehicle, the officers blocked him from doing so and sandwiched him in the back seat before speeding off.

NPS did not clarify why Gen Ogallo was escorted by a heavy security team comprising ATPU officers. 

Crisis meeting

Before announcing his sacking, President Kenyatta yesterday held a crisis meeting at State House with top Interior ministry officials and Prisons chiefs over the jailbreak. The President was said to be especially angry about the escape of the terror suspects.

Already security personnel have launched a manhunt for the trio: Musharaf Abdalla Akhulunga, aka Zarkawi, aka Alex, aka Shukri, Mohamed Ali Abikar and Joseph Juma Odhiambo, aka Yusuf.

They escaped the highly guarded facility after removing part of the wall leading to their cell block.

President Kenyatta urged Kenyans to volunteer any information that will lead to their arrest, while also reminding them to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities.

He also lauded Kenya’s security personnel for their “tireless and heroic work in law enforcement and counterterrorism.”
The escape has put Kenya on high alert, especially coming in the backdrop of a terror attack in neighbouring Uganda which has sent panic among East African states.