- KwaZulu-Natal police have released the names and pictures of 16 escaped prisoners who are still on the run.
- The awaiting-trial offenders escaped after five heavily armed men forced a prisoner transport vehicle to a halt.
- Several prisoners escaped, but the police managed to nab the majority of them.
KwaZulu-Natal police have released the names and pictures of the remaining 16 escaped awaiting-trial prisoners who brazenly broke free from custody on Wednesday.
The 16 are part of 45 awaiting-trial prisoners who were being transported from prison to the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate's Court when armed gunmen forced the prisoner transport vehicle off the road.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker said two police officers, who were seated in the front of the truck, were injured slightly when the vehicle hit the pavement after being forced off the road.
"Five heavily armed men travelling in a double-cab bakkie pointed firearms at the police officers whilst one of the men use a bolt cutter to cut the locks on the back of the vehicle.
"Some of the prisoners remained in the vehicle, whilst others handed themselves over to police at various locations in Pietermaritzburg and some were found by police in the city. By late yesterday afternoon, 27 of the 45 prisoners were back in police custody whilst 18 were confirmed to be on the run. This morning, two more were rearrested, bringing the total on the run to 16."
Naicker added specialised multidisciplinary teams were assembled to hunt down those who were still on the run.
"These teams will work incessantly until they arrest those that they were tasked to hunt down. No effort is being spared as the teams have been bolstered with the necessary resources and expertise to fulfil their mission."
KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi visited the scene where the escape took place and gave senior officers specific directives.
"Whilst our efforts are focused on hunting down these escapees, the escape is being investigated from a criminal perspective and from an internal standpoint," he said.
Those who are on the run are:
Murder suspects Siphelele Chamane, 28, Mbukiseni Ndlovu, 38, Mpho Phalo, 31, Mphali Khanyiso Kou, 30, and Thubelihle Dlomo, 19.
Rape and robbery suspect Sphelele Ntsuntsu Mkhize, 35, as well as Kabelo Mtisilwane, 27, Wiseman Shezi, 26, who are facing robbery charges.
Talent Mncube, 19, was in custody for assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, Mlungisi Caster Ndlovu, 25, was arrested for theft and Skhumbuzo Ngcobo, 36, was arrested for the theft of motor vehicle.
Fonane Paulo Pone, 31, Frank Lutchman, 23, and George Paul, 29 were arrested in terms of the Immigration Act, Sbonelo Bhengu, 31, was arrested on malicious damage to property charges and Mlungisi Mncwabe, 43 is facing attempted murder charges.
Did you know you can comment on this article? Subscribe to News24 and add your voice to the conversation.