Five dangerous criminals escape from Cato Manor cells

2008-12-01 00:00

FIVE dangerous criminals are on the run after they escaped from police cells in Cato Manor yesterday morning. The awaiting trial prisoners, two of them arrested in connection with the murder of policemen during a cash heist last month, cut through prison bars using a hacksaw and escaped through the roof.

Dennis Mbutu (29) and Simphiwe Ntuli (30) were arrested after the cash-in-transit robbery in KwaMaphumulo in which two police officers were killed. Mbongeni Lucky Khwela (21) was arrested for robbery, Velaphi Ntombela (45) was arrested for rape and Shaun Naidoo (22) was in custody for murder. All are considered dangerous and police have asked the public not to confront them.

Police said the escapees were helped to escape. “We view this escape in a very serious light and the circumstances surrounding the escape are being thoroughly investigated with a view to instituting criminal charges against those who helped in the escape. The hacksaw was smuggled into the cells,” said SAPS spokesman Senior Superintendent Jay Naicker.

“At 3 am during a routine cell visit, police officials discovered that prisoners from one of the holding cells had escaped.” Naicker said they had cut the prison bars in the prison’s exercise area and escaped through the roof. A task team has been set up to investigate and ensure the speedy arrest of the escapees.

Fifteen robbers were involved in the KwaMaphumulo cash heist. Mbathu and Ntuli are among the five arrested in connection with the heist. Naicker said the other three are still in custody. Four others suspected to have been involved in the heist were killed by police. The other six have not been arrested.

Police are appealing to anyone who may have information on the whereabouts of the escapees to contact Captain Anton Lochem of the Durban Organised Crime Unit at 082 556 2188 or call Crime Stop at 08600 10111.

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