Teen killed before jailbreak

2008-10-12 00:00

A manhunt is under way for two awaiting-trial prisoners — Sanele Khuzwayo (26) and Sipho Ngcobo (22) — who assaulted and overpowered a policewoman and possibly killed a teenage inmate as they escaped from the Dalton police cells on Saturday morning.

The two men are suspected of having murdered Mfana Kwamanda (18), whose body was found soon after the escape.

SAPS spokeswoman Inspector Joey Jeevan said Kwamanda had bruises on his neck and is believed to have been suffocated.

Jeevan said initial investigations established that Khuzwayo and Ngcobo had an argument with Kwamanda in the early hours of the morning and that they overpowered and assaulted him, deciding to escape when he died.

The events leading to the escape unfolded from about 6.30 am, when Constable Sbo Mchunu and Reserve Constable B.J. Shangase were on routine cell duties.

Jeevan said Mchunu entered cell number three to let the prisoners into the courtyard, and was approached by Khuzwayo. He got close to her on the pretext of reporting a problem to her.

At the same time, Ngcobo emerged from behind Khuzwayo and punched the policewoman in the face while other prisoners helped to hold her down.

Khuzwayo then managed to get hold of the cell keys.

Jeevan said Khuzwayo and Ngcobo went to cell number two and opened it, telling all the prisoners to escape. As the prisoners ran into the passageway, Shangase, who was standing guard behind the closed door, heard the commotion. He immediately fired warning shots in the air and ordered the prisoners to lie down.

Amid the ensuing mayhem, Khuzwayo and Ngcobo managed to get to the kitchen, where they climbed out of a window and fled into nearby fields.

Constable Mchunu was set free and resumed her duties, helping her colleague to keep watch over the other prisoners.

“The members in the Community Service Centre, meanwhile, heard the shots being fired and alerted the standby members as well as members from nearby stations,” said Jeevan.

She said that shortly afterwards the rest of the prisoners were returned to their cells.

Khuzwayo and Ngcobo were awaiting trial in connection with several counts of arson, theft, malicious injury to property, theft out of motor vehicles and housebreaking.

Khuzwayo is from the Trustfeed area in New Hanover and Ngcobo is from Efaya, Harburg.

Anyone with information about their whereabouts is asked to contact Inspector Mandla Khumalo at 033 5011 612 or 082 791 8128 or Crime Stop (08600 10111).

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