According to reports on Thursday morning, KZN police confirmed that they were still looking for 18 awaiting-trial prisoners who escaped from police custody in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday.
The prisoners were being transported to the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court at around 8 am when the road was reportedly blocked by 5 heavily armed men in a double cab bakkie. The men instructed police officers to open the rear door of the truck.
According to Brigadier Jay Naicker, 31 of the 45 prisoners managed to escape, many have been re-arrested, however, 18 of the escapees are still at large.
Naicker said the suspects were facing charges relating to various crimes including murder and armed robbery.
Local Ward councillor for Pietermaritzburg, Ross Strachan, told reporters that he is suspicious of the incident and how easily the prisoners could escape.
Speaking to EWN, Strachan said: “I’d like to know if there was a convoy that managed to follow and be in front of this vehicle to ensure the safety of community members and residents in that area and through town to the High Court. Until those questions are answered, I want to plea to community residents to keep themselves safe while these prisoners are on the loose.”
Strachan asked for an investigation into possible negligence by the SAPS.