Two of the men who escaped from Johannesburg Correctional Centre, known as "Sun City", earlier this week have been shot dead in KwaZulu-Natal, the Hawks confirmed on Wednesday.
The men were shot at around 22:30 on Tuesday during an operation by the Hawks, assisted by the Durban K9 unit and the provincial tracing unit, said KwaZulu-Natal Hawks spokesperson Captain Simphiwe Mhlongo.
"The vehicle they were driving was spotted on the R33 near Greytown. Police stopped the vehicle and they fired shots towards the police," he said.
The officers returned fire in self-defence, killing the occupants.
Mhlongo said a 9mm pistol and a toy gun were found on the men.
Their identities cannot be revealed until their families have identified their bodies.
Department working 'around the clock'
A manhunt was launched for 16 prisoners who broke their way out of the Medium A Johannesburg Correctional Centre in the early hours of Monday morning.
They escaped through a pipe shaft and used an object to break the wall, before getting past the fence, correctional services department spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said at the time.
Seven of the prisoners were awaiting trial for murder. Three others were arrested for rape, five for robbery, one for armed robbery and one for housebreaking.
Correctional services spokesperson Logan Maistry told News24 on Wednesday that the department was working "around the clock" with police to ensure the remaining escapees were arrested.
He said the department had information that it was working on but could not reveal anything in case it hampered the investigation.
"We are appealing to the public not to approach them (the escapees) but to report [their sighting] to the nearest police station."
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