Two remand prisoners accused of committing murders and violent robberies made a dramatic escape from the Kerugoya GK Prison in Kirinyaga County on Monday.
The prisoners broke out of their cell at around 4am and made off unnoticed, but a third was rearrested and locked up at the local police station.
Prison warders on routine checks noticed the three suspects, known to be hardcore criminals, were missing at dawn and alerted their colleagues.
Officers then started pursuing the escapees, who had jumped over the perimeter fence. They seized one of them.
A combined force of warders and police officers from the region were combing the area in search of the remaining prisoners, who are accused of murdering third-year Kirinyaga University student Collins Kipchumba and other capital offences in the region.
The officers searched through the prison farm and surrounding areas as County Commissioner Moses Ivuto urged residents to cooperate and volunteer information that could help police apprehend the suspects.
“This is an appeal to residents to notify the police should they come across the prisoners. Officers embarked on a manhunt immediately after the prisoners fled,” he said.
Following the incident, Kibaso Warioba, the Commissioner-General of the Kenya Prisons Service, visited the prison. He held a closed-door meeting with local senior prison officers before returning to Nairobi.
Insiders said Mr Warioba was unhappy about the incident and ordered that the escapees be tracked down and brought back to prison.
Residents said they were living in fear. “They are dangerous criminals and we fear for our lives," one of them said.