Escape bid: Inside job not ruled out

2012-10-22 22:21
Johannesburg Prison

Johannesburg Prison

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Cape Town - Officials are on Monday not ruling out the possibility that a daring escape attempt by prisoners in Johannesburg was an inside job.

An explosive device was triggered on a vehicle transporting 36 awaiting trial prisoners from the Randburg Magistrate's Court to Johannesburg Central Prison, killing three people, and leaving four people in a critical condition while 10 sustained minor injuries.

All of the prisoners on board were awaiting trial for theft or housebreaking, while one was facing murder charges.

According to Sapa, correctional services commissioner Tom Moyane said he was satisfied that all security measures were in place when the prisoners were transported to the court.

He said once the prisoners were in the van, they were the responsibility of the police. The police also claimed to have had all their security measures in place.

However, Moyane said officials were not ruling out the possibility of an inside job, and investigations will show how prisoners were able to hide the explosive device.

The explosion happened in transit at a trafic light near the prison police spokesperson Brigadier Neville Malila told AFP.

"When they arrived at the corner of Naturena and the Old Soweto Highway, the driver heard a big bang. He noted there was a whole in the door and saw two prisoners escape," he said.

One escapee was shot in the buttocks and apprehended, AFP reported. The other was also caught. The driver of the van was able to pull into the prison complex.

It is not known what type of explosive was used. "Our explosives experts are establishing that at the moment," Malila said.

"Our forensic experts are currently combing the scene to determine the type of device used in the explosion."

Major General Oswald Reddy said that the suspected escape plot "was very carefully planned".

Cases of murder, possession of explosives, and escape from lawful custody were being investigated.

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