Police task force subdued hostage-takers

2013-10-03 13:04
Riah Phiyega. (File, Sapa)

Riah Phiyega. (File, Sapa)

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Bloemfontein - The four Mangaung prison inmates who held a woman hostage were successfully overpowered by a special police task force, national police commissioner Riah Phiyega announced on Thursday.

The woman, an official of G4S which manages the Mangaung prison, was rescued just after 22:00 on Wednesday when the task force entered the cell occupied by the hostage-takers and their victim.

"Ultimately, at 22:16 last night, a tactical assault on the area where the hostage-takers had barricaded themselves was conducted by members of the elite Special Task Force," said Phiyega.

Hostage unharmed

Police said no shots were fired during the operation and the hostage, who was held for 13 hours, did not sustain any injuries during the rescue operation.

"We can confirm that the hostage [situation] at Mangaung Correctional Centre has been concluded," G4S Africa head Andy Baker said in a separate statement.

Local police said the woman was unharmed but was nevertheless referred to Rosepark Hospital for a medical check up and treatment.

"We are extremely pleased to report that our employee was not physically harmed... and is receiving care and counselling support," Baker said.

Free State police spokesperson Brigadier Billy Jones said the four inmates were arrested and would be charged with kidnapping and the attempted murder of two G4S workers, who were injured earlier on Wednesday.

Jones said that after the woman was accosted and overpowered by the four inmates, they dragged her into one of the cells and locked themselves in.

Prison officials stabbed

In the process two male employees, who tried to rescue their colleague, were stabbed in the arms and legs by the hostage-takers.

They were apparently armed with sharp objects, believed to be scissor parts.

Jones said the two prison officials were treated at the scene and were reported not to be in a serious condition.

The hostage-takers were serving time for rape, murder and robbery.

Phiyega said in the eventual rescue the task force members acted in accordance with their training and used minimum force to rescue the woman.

She thanked all police officers involved in the peaceful resolution of the hostage situation.

Read more on:    police  |  riah phiyega  |  bloemfontein  |  prisons

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