Inmates set fire to holding cells at Kokstad police station

2014-01-16 00:00

MORE than 30 inmates in the holding cells at Kokstad police station set fire to the cells on Tuesday using matches that were given to them by their visitors.

Police got information that some inmates had dangerous weapons in the cells and they conducted a search, recovering cellphones, drugs and weapons, including knives and other dangerous objects.

The inmates then started toyi-toyiing because of the search.

They threw hot water at the police, refusing to obey instructions while singing struggle songs and burning blankets and other property.

Ambulances and firefighters were dispatched to put out the fire in the holding cells. There were fears that the fire could spread to the police station.

Hope Street was blocked for hours as firefighters and the police tried to bring the situation under control.

However, after several hours of attempting to restore order, police requested back-up from the Port Shepstone Public Order Policing Unit, who used teargas to calm the inmates down, after which they were taken to Kokstad C-Max Prison.

Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said the incident was under investigation and that they were trying to find out how weapons got into the holding cells.

He reported that the cells were slightly damaged, and there were no injuries.

The incident reportedly occurred after a heated police meeting when some members complained about not being protected from the so-called “dangerous inmates” at the Kokstad holding cells.

However, it is understood that the complaints had fallen on deaf ears as police management promised to look into the matter, but no immediate action was taken.

Naicker said that a case of arson and malicious damage to property has been opened for investigation and that no arrests have been made yesterday.

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