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By Elias Biryabarema

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Prisoners in a Ugandan jail overpowered their guards and 219 of them escaped with at least 15 guns, but two were killed after security forces launched an operation to recapture them, a military spokeswoman said on Thursday.

The inmates escaped late on Wednesday from a jail in Karamoja, a remote, semi-arid northeastern region, said the spokeswoman, Brigadier Flavia Byekwaso.

Before fleeing, they broke into the prison armoury and stole 15 AK-47 rifles, 20 magazines and other ammunition.

"It's a mass escape ... these were hard-core criminals," she said, adding they included murderers, robbers and rapists.

A big security operation was underway to recapture them and two of the inmates had been killed in the pursuit while two were re-arrested, she said.

The fact they had some weapons and a head-start of hours of darkness made the search more difficult, Byekwaso said.

"They've had a whole night to disperse and hide, it complicates our efforts but we shall get them."

It was Uganda's third prisoner escape since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in March as fears of contracting the virus in cramped jails spurred inmates' efforts to break out.

At least three cases of the coronavirus have been reported in Ugandan jails.

The total number of inmates in Uganda rose 10% to 65,000 in the five months to August, according to the prisons service, a surge attributed to a large number of people apprehended for violations of various anticoronavirus measures like curfews and travel restrictions.

Karamoja, a mountainous area on Uganda's border with Kenya, is also a mineral-rich region where both wildcat and large-scale miners dig for a range of minerals and metals including gold.

(Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Jordon Ibe completes Derby free transfer as he joins on two-year deal following flop Bournemouth spell

DERBY COUNTY have confirmed the signing of Jordon Ibe on a two-year deal.

SunSport told you the 24-year-old was set to join the Rams on a free transfer this week.

2Jordon Ibe is confident he will improve at Derby CountyCredit: Rex Features

Ibe has returned to Pride Park after being released by Bournemouth at the end of last season.

He made 24 appearances for Derby while on loan with them during the 2014-15 campaign.

And after putting pen to paper, he admitted he has "unfinished business" at the club.

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Speaking to RamsTV, the winger said: "It feels terrific to return, I have unfinished business here.

"I remember the fans here; they were like a twelfth man on the pitch for home games and the atmosphere was amazing.

"I also remember some of the goals I got too.

"I feel like this, coming to Derby, was the best choice for me.

"I had a great six months here before and I thought it was the best place to come."

???????????? got something to tell you… ✍️

Welcome back to Derby County, @IbeJordon! ????#IbeIsBack

— Derby County (@dcfcofficial) September 22, 2020 Most read in SportSANCH BUT NO SANCHMan Utd transfer blow as Dortmund remain adamant Sancho ‘will stay’Live BlogUNITED LATESTMan Utd transfer news LIVE: Follow all the latest news from Old TraffordPicturedIT'S PAUL OVERInside Scholes' £3.9m luxury home including football pitch after wife splitEasy on the AyMbappe's Wag Alicia Aylies won Miss France and is pals with Tom CruiseLive BlogGUNNERS NEWSArsenal transfer news LIVE - Latest updates from the EmiratesSILVA LININGHow Chelsea could start against Barnsley with new boys Silva and Chilwell

Before he added: "I am hungry to get on the pitch and get involved in my first training session, as it has been a while.

"I feel I am a more improved player than when I was here previously and with the coaches, the staff and the manager I will be able to get even better."

After signing Ibe, manager Philip Cocu said: "Jordon is a player with a lot of potential and undoubted ability.

"He has performed for several years in the Premier League and at 24 years of age he still has many years ahead of him in his career."

2The winger has penned a two-year deal with the RamsCredit: Rex Features

Ibe struggled to impress at Bournemouth after he joined for £15million from Liverpool.

He scored just five goals in 92 appearances across four seasons for the Cherries.

And his time at the club was plagued by a series off-field issues.

He was banned from driving after crashing his supercar into a London cafe last summer and was caught behind the wheel without a licence earlier this year.

Ibe checked into rehab for help with his mental health but found himself in hot water in the spring when he flouted lockdown rules by going for a haircut.

During a Twitter Q&A in May, when asked about his difficulties of late, he replied: "No regrets, just need to apply myself."

4️⃣4️⃣ → 1️⃣1️⃣

???????????????? ???????? ???????????? ????????????????, @IbeJordon! ????#IbeIsBack

— Derby County (@dcfcofficial) September 22, 2020 Chelsea star Ethan Ampadu signs for Sheffield United on season-long loan transfer to join £15m Bogle and Lowe from Derby

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