Lifers on the run in North West

2013-04-16 18:38

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Johannesburg - Two prisoners serving life sentences in Losperfontein Prison in Bethanie, North West, have escaped, correctional services said on Tuesday.

"Two of the five prisoners that escaped before dark yesterday [Monday] are still on the run. One surrendered and two were captured," regional commissioner Alfred Tsetsane said.

"The situation is calm and quiet at the moment and investigations continue."

Police were on the scene and we are looking for the men, he added.

Just before 18:00 on Monday five prisoners complained to officials that they were not happy about their diet. The men were taken to the kitchen, said Tsetsane.

The kitchen was locked up and they demanded to see the official in charge. One of the men produced a pistol and ordered officials to lie on the ground.

They took one of the senior warders hostage, took the keys to unlock the doors and ran.

Made off on quad bike

"One of the officials pressed the alarm and called for police back up."

Outside the building the prisoners came across a warder on a quad bike. They forced him off it at gunpoint and four of them got on it.

"One of the prisoners surrendered when he realised that we were closing in."

The others tried to run into the prison's farming area.

Warders shot the prisoner carrying the pistol in both legs. Another prisoner was caught and injured when he ran into razor wire. Two Mozambican nationals escaped.

Four of the men were serving life sentences. The man with the gun was serving a 30-year term for a range of crimes including rape, murder and attempted murder.

"It is still a mystery how the gun got into the facility. It is an old pistol that they can't even shoot properly," Tsetsane said.

The injured prisoners were back in prison after being treated.

National correctional services commissioner Tom Moyane visited the prison on Tuesday and met officials and police to discuss the investigation.

Read more on:    mahikeng  |  prisons

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