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By Devina Haripersad

Senior Business/Finance journalist


Five detainees escape court holding cells in Athlone, search for three continues

The fugitives allegedly overpowered a police officer and disarmed him.


In a bold daylight escape in Cape Town, five detainees awaiting trial managed to break out of the Athlone Magistrate’s Court holding cells on Wednesday.

Police confirmed that two of the escapees had been rearrested, but the search for the remaining three was still ongoing.

Police spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Malcolm Pojie, said the incident occurred around 1:45pm just as the detainees were about to be transferred to a correctional holding facility following their court appearances earlier in the day.

ALSO READ: Manhunt launched after inmate escapes from KZN prison a week after imprisonment

He said that preliminary investigations suggested the fugitives overpowered a police officer and disarmed him.

Shots fired

“Though they fired shots in the direction of the police officers, fortunately, no one was injured. The escapees, aged between 20 and 33, fled the scene on foot,” he confirmed.

These escapees were set to face some serious charges during their court appearance that day, including murder, attempted murder, assault, aggravated robbery, and possession of stolen property.

For this reason, Lieutenant Colonel Pojie has advised the public not to approach them, as they are considered armed and dangerous.

“Authorities are urging the community to report any information about the whereabouts of the escapees or any suspicious individuals to the nearest police station or to Crime Stop at 08600 10111. Captain Jacques Cussel can also be reached directly on 079 894 1637,” he said.

“Cases related to escape from lawful custody, attempted murder, and robbery of a firearm have been registered at Athlone Police Station, and will be investigated by Provincial Detectives,” he added.

Two escape from KZN prison

Meanwhile, in KwaZulu-Natal, two prisoners escaped from the Nkandla and Vryheid Correctional facilities.

According to the SANews.gov.za, the Department of Correctional Facilities said the two men escaped while out with their work teams.

ALSO READ: Police launch manhunt for ‘dangerous’ prison escapees

“The escapees are 34-year-old Siyabonga Sikhakhane. He has been incarcerated at the Nkandla Correctional Centre since 23 March 2022.

“The second escapee is 29-year-old Siphamandla Gift Simelane, serving two years for similar offences of housebreaking and theft. He was admitted at the Vryheid Correctional Centre on 03 October 2023,” the department said.

However, Sikhakhane was rearrested on Wednesday morning in Nkandla.

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