Estelle Sinkiins
2 minute read
1 May 2021
06:11

Update | 15 escaped prisoners still on the run

Estelle Sinkiins

One of the 15 prisoners still on the run, following Wednesday’s daring escape from a police truck, was previously charged with a murder in which witnesses who were supposed to testify in the matter were killed.

One of the 15 prisoners still on the run, following Wednesday’s daring escape from a police truck, was previously charged with a murder in which witnesses who were supposed to testify in the matter were killed.

The case, like several others which involved this man, had to be withdrawn by the prosecution. The prisoner concerned was never charged with killing any witnesses, however.

Very reliable sources have told Weekend Witness that the man — who was due to appear at the Pietermaritzburg Regional Court for trial on charges of rape and robbery on the day of his escape — was previously arrested and charged with murder in 2017.

It was one of several cases that sources said the prisoner concerned had been linked to. There is speculation that he was the main target of Wednesday’s escape.

Other charges that he had faced previously included attempted murder, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, and possession of firearms and stolen property. All these cases ended up being withdrawn after witnesses “mysteriously” disappeared or turned up dead.

KZN police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker said a multi-disciplinary team had been assembled by the SAPS to track down the escapees.

READ | Update | Police on the hunt for remaining 16 prisoners still on the run

On Friday he confirmed that another one of the escapees, 19-year-old Thubelihle “Talent” Dlomo, who was charged with murder, was rearrested at KwaDukuza. Fifteen other awaiting-trial prisoners are, however, still at large.

Anyone with information on their whereabouts is asked to contact Brigadier Hlongwane at 079 684 9114 or Crime Stop at 086 001 0111.

Meanwhile, Weekend Witness has learned from reliable sources that the white double-cab bakkie allegedly used in the police truck break was found at Nymazane. It was reportedly torched and the number plates cloned to match those of a police car.

The SAPS had not confirmed these claims at the time of going to press.

Thirty-one of 45 awaiting-trial prisoners made a run for it when five men, armed with AK47s, forced a police van off the road at 8 am on Wednesday, before using a bolt cutter to open the rear doors.

The attack took place in Devonshire Road, between the railway bridge and the Garrison Church. Some prisoners waited alongside the van, while others quickly gave themselves up.