2 shot dead in dramatic court escape attempt

2014-09-10 12:32
(Nielen de Klerk, News24)

(Nielen de Klerk, News24)

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Mthatha - Two prisoners were shot dead while trying to escape at the Eastern Cape High Court in Mthatha on Wednesday morning, the justice ministry said.

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A correctional services official was wounded in the leg.

The prisoners were due to appear in court and were transported there by correctional services officers, spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said.

Firearm hidden

"They attempted to escape on entering the court premises. They apparently retrieved a firearm from a dustbin.

"There was an exchange of fire with law enforcement," he said.

"All other court officials are safe. The SAPS [SA Police Service] and our security are in control and the situation had calmed down," Mhaga said.

He could not immediately disclose the identity of the prisoners.

Court business had resumed by 11:45.

Beefing up security

"The minister of justice will convene a meeting with the head of court services and security nationally to seek an intervention with the view to beefing up security measures in our courts, in view of the recent incidents in Pretoria and Cape Town."

Last month, a policeman and an orderly were wounded when two accused opened fire during their escape at the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court, and a man was killed and two people were wounded in a shooting outside the Bishop Lavis Magistrate's Court in Cape Town.

"We assure the members of the public that we will endeavour to make our courts safer and we will not be intimidated in ensuring that justice is dispensed," Mhaga said.

Read more on:    east london  |  crime  |  prisons

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