Londoner on 9,000-mile trans-Africa run freed after being jailed in South Sudan

Deo Kato is running from South Africa to London (deoruns/Instagram)
Deo Kato is running from South Africa to London (deoruns/Instagram)

A man has been freed from prison in South Sudan after he was jailed while running more than 9,000 miles from South Africa to London.

Ugandan-born Londoner Deo Kato set out from Cape Town on July 24 last year, on a journey that was expected to take 381 days.

But in an update on the trail runner’s fundraising page on Wednesday, Mr Kato’s partner Alice Light revealed how she was forced to report both him and his driver, Mulondo, as missing several weeks ago after she lost contact with them.

She said the Met Police and Interpol launched a case, with involvement from the British Embassy and Foreign Office.

“On 17th June I received a message from someone who had met Deo and Mulondo confirming that they had been arrested in Juba, South Sudan, and had been detained since 2nd June,” she wrote.

“They were arrested for not having a letter from the Department of Sport in South Sudan. The person who contacted me was an inmate at the same prison and reached out upon his release.”


She said the news left Mr Kato’s loved ones in “shock” and described the last few weeks as “a roller coaster”.

“However, I am so grateful to be able to inform you that they were both released together on 23rd June at lunchtime,” she continued.

She said both Mr Kato and his driver were “okay but have been hugely affected by this ordeal”.

“They were detained with no access to legal aid or even a method of contact to their families,” she added.

“There is a lot to process, Deo needs to recover from this traumatic time and rebuild himself before he can continue his journey. They will both exit South Sudan as soon as possible and I will update you when I can.”

She added that Mr Kato still plans to complete his run.

He now plans to bypass neighbouring Sudan, which is in the throes of one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, and intends to instead fly to bordering Egypt before completing the remained of his journey to London, the Guardian reported.

Mr Kato, a professional running coach, set off from Cape Town last July, and planned to cover 14,570km (9,053 miles), across 15 countries.

He said on his Gofundme page that he planned to make a documentary about his journey. He has also documented his experience to his 65,000 followers on Instagram.

“The many reasons for documenting this journey are to show a different side of Africa that we don't see in the mainstream media,” he wrote.

“African and Black history is the most extended history in the world, so it's essential to show history beyond slavery and colonisation.

“I want to inspire the next generation of young people showing them that nothing is impossible when you persist and apply consistency to your goals.”

He has raised more than £20,000 via Gofundme. He said the support will help facilitate his journey, paying for visas, vaccinations, equipment, accommodation, and any guides that are needed to help him pass through “tricky areas”.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office has been approached by the Standard.