The names of 16 prisoners who are still on the loose after the daring ambush of a police truck by heavily armed men in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday have been released, among them a number charged with murder.
The 16 were part of a group of 45 inmates being transported from a local prison to the magistrate’s court.
Two police officers transporting the prisoners were confronted by five heavily armed men at gunpoint and instructed them to open the rear of the truck.
Thirty-one of 45 awaiting trial prisoners initially managed to escape. Police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker said on Thursday that 29 of the prisoners had since been recaptured as the search for the other 16 continues.
“By late yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon, 27 of the 45 prisoners were back in police custody while 18 were confirmed to be on the run. This morning, two more were rearrested, bringing the total on the run to 16,” Naicker said.
Those on the run and their charges are:
- Siphelele Chamane, 28 – Murder
- Mbukiseni Ndlovu, 38 – Murder
- Mpho Phalo, 31 – Murder
- Mphali Khanyiso Kou, 30 – Murder
- Thubelihle Dlomo, 19 – Murder
- Sphelele Ntsuntsu Mkhize, 35 – Robbery/Rape
- Kabelo Mtisilwane, 27 – Robbery
- Wiseman Shezi, 26 – Robbery
- Talent Mncube, 19 – Assault GBH
- Mlungisi Caster Ndlovu, 25 – Theft
- Skhumbuzo Ngcobo, 36 – Theft of motor vehicle
- Sbonelo Bhengu, 31 – Malicious damage to property
- Fonane Paulo Pone, 31 – Immigration Act
- Frank Lutchman, 23 – Immigration Act
- Geaorge Paul, 29 – Imigration Act
- Police currently do not have a picture for Mlungisi Mncwabe, 43 who is wanted for attempted murder
Naicker said a specialised multidisciplinary team had been assembled to hunt the escaped prisoners down.
“These teams will work until they arrest those that they were tasked to hunt down. No effort is being spared as the teams have been bolstered with the necessary resources and expertise to fulfill their mission,” Naicker said.
KZN police commissioner Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi said the task of recapturing the escapees had been given to senior officers from the Umgungundlovu district and provincial office
“While our efforts are focused on hunting down the escapees, the escape itself is being investigated from a criminal perspective and from an internal standpoint,” Mkhwanazi said.