Eastern Cape prisons officials suspended after jailbreak

2011-04-07 14:25

Six Mthatha prisons officials have been suspended for allegedly helping in the escape of seven dangerous awaiting trial prisoners, the Eastern Cape correctional services department said today.

“Six Mthatha Remand Correctional Centre officials have been issued with letters of suspension from work pending the finalisation of an internal disciplinary inquiry with regard to the escape of seven dangerous awaiting trial detainees at the centre on 20 March 2011,” said spokesman Zama Feni.

“Two more letters will be issued out to two other officials who work at the centre where the escape took place.”

He said authorities were investigating how the escapees got their hands on a firearm and the keys to two cars belonging to correctional services officials which were used as getaway vehicles.

After the escape, the gang allegedly held up police officers at Libode police station, outside Mthatha, where R4 and R5 rifles and shotguns were stolen, said Feni.

Asked how the gang managed to hold up police officers at a police station, he said: “This is a very dangerous gang.”

Shortly after the police station was robbed, three of the seven escapees were found shot dead next to a river outside Mthatha.

“We suspect it might be these guys who killed their colleagues,” said Feni.

The remaining four escapees were still at large, he said. Police believed they had been involved in violent crimes in the area.

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