Manhunt for escapees continue in earnest

DURBAN – Police operations to hunt down 16 awaiting trail prisoners who escaped in Pietermaritzburg yesterday are continuing. The group were part of 45 awaiting trial prisoners who were being transported from prison to the Pietermaritzburg Magistrates Court when armed gunmen forced the prisoner transport vehicle off the road.

The 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 others 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.

Those who are on the run are:

Siphelele Chamane (28) – Murder

Mbukiseni Ndlovu (38) – Murder

Mpho Phalo (31) – Murder

Mphali Khanyiso Kou (30) – Murder

Thubelihle Dlomo (19) – Murder

Sphelele Ntsuntsu Mkhize (35) – Robbery/Rape

Kabelo Mtisilwane (27) – Robbery

Wiseman Shezi (26) – Robbery

Talent Mncube (19) – Assault GBH

Mlungisi Caster Ndlovu (25) – Theft

Skhumbuzo Ngcobo (36) – Theft of Motor Vehicle

Sbonelo Bhengu (31) – Malicious Damage to Property

Fonane Paulo Pone (31) – Immigration Act

Frank Lutchman (23) – Immigration Act

George Paul (29) – Immigration Act

Mlungisi Mncwabe (43) – Attempted Murder

Specialised multidisciplinary teams have been assembled to hunt down those that are 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 full fill their mission.

The KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi has personally visited the scene of the escaping and has given specific tasking’s to senior officers from the Umgungundlovu District and Provincial Office. “Whilst our efforts are focussed on hunting down these escapees, the escaping is being investigated from a criminal perspective and from an internal standpoint,” said Lieutenant General Mkhwanazi.

Source: South African Police Service

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