TWO Zimbabwean prisoners have escaped from Kutama Sinthumule Maximum Prison near Makhado in South Africa’s Limpopo province.
The two escaped together with three South Africans and a Mozambican.
The inmates capitalised on the chaos which broke out at the facility last week on Thursday night to escape from their cells when prisoners went on a rampage, torched and damaged part of the prison building.
South African provincial police spokesperson for Limpopo Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo identified the two Zimbabwean escapees as Raphael Nyota (30) and Chris Faku (37) both from Harare.
Faku, who was convicted of robbery, was however, rearrested on Saturday morning together with three South African inmates, Jabulani Isaac Mahlangu (31), Thomas Munyai (29) and Ntshengedzeni Manukha (25). Faku was arrested following a tip-off while he was flagging down lifts along the Bandelierkop-Munic road.
Nyota, who was incarcerated for housebreaking and theft, is still at large.
Brig Mojapelo said they have since engaged their Zimbabwean counterparts to assist in hunting down Nyota, who is suspected to have crossed back to the country through an illegal crossing point.
“We have assembled a team of dedicated police officers to track the outstanding escapees. We have also engaged Zimbabwean police regarding Nyota as we suspect that he could have fled back home through an illegal crossing point,” said the police spokesperson.
Brig Mojapelo said the arrested prisoners are being charged for malicious damage to property, escaping from lawful custody and arson.
The prisoners had escaped shortly after 11PM following a riot inside the prison. Some of the prisoners went on a rampage during which part of the prison caught fire. Amid the confusion six prisoners managed to escape.
This is not the first time that Zimbabweans have escaped from cells in the neighbouring country.
Last year, five notorious criminals from Zimbabwe awaiting trial escaped from police holding cells at Musina Police Station in South Africa.
The quintet was linked to a series of murder, armed robbery and housebreaking charges committed in the neighbouring country.
In 2010, six Zimbabweans linked to a series of murder, armed robbery and housebreaking cases escaped from the Musina police cells.
The six Zimbabweans, four awaiting-trial and two convicted prisoners, escaped from the cells after they sawed through the iron cell bars. —@mashnets
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