The Hawks in the North West have launched a manhunt for five men who are believed to be armed and dangerous, after they escaped from the Klerksdorp Regional Court on September 17.
According to the Hawks in the province, the five men escaped after appearing in court on charges of armed robbery, the illegal possession of unlicensed firearms, hijacking, possession of stolen vehicles and attempted murder.
“Following their court appearance, the [men] were allegedly taken down to the court cells when one of the accused drew a firearm and pointed it at a police officer,” Hawks spokesperson Captain Tlangelani Rikhotso said.
“The police officer managed to escape. The accused forced open the court’s jail cell’s steel door and managed to escape.”
The five men – Sibuso Sibeko, 40; Tebogo Molefi Ntenchane, 35; Bongani Eudwin Mkhwanazi, 51; Sithembiso Mthembu, 43; and Tshepo Seboko, 37 – were arrested in November 2015 for an armed robbery in Wolmaransstad.
“It is alleged that the accused rammed into a vehicle that was driven by a security manager of a mine, pointed a firearm at the driver and stole diamond gravel that was loaded in the vehicle,” Rikhotso said.
“They then allegedly hijacked an Isuzu bakkie from a member of the community and drove off towards Schweizer-Reneke.”
Members of the community spotted them after information about the incident was shared and gave chase, leading to a shootout.
“The Isuzu bakkie lost control during the chase and the suspects ran on foot into a maize field where the community members allegedly surrounded them and subsequently detained them.”
The accused have been in custody after their bail applications were unsuccessful.
Rikhotso added that there was a reward for information about the men’s whereabouts, but warned people against approaching them because they were considered armed and dangerous.