Police have launched a manhunt for two awaiting-trial prisoners, who allegedly killed an 18-year-old inmate before escaping from the Dalton police station cells outside Pietermaritzburg.
The escapees were identified as Sipho Ngcobo, 22, and Sanele Khuzwayo, 23. They are accused of killing Mfana Gwamanda.
Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram said the incident took place when two officers were opening the cell to allow the prisoners into the courtyard on Saturday. He said Ngcobo held down a female constable while Khuzwayo punched the other officer in the face.
"They then took the cell keys and proceeded to cell two which they opened and told all the prisoners to escape.
"However, a police constable confronted the fleeing prisoners at gunpoint and fired warning shots in the air, while ordering them to lie down," said Budhram.
He said it was during that time that Khuzwayo and Ngcobo managed to escape.
"They got into the kitchen where they climbed out through the window and fled into nearby bush. Moments later, police found Gwamanda dead with bruises on his neck," he said.
He said initial investigations revealed that Khuzwayo and Ngcobo had been involved in an argument with the deceased early in the day.
"They overpowered and assaulted him. It is believed that they planned their escape after realising that they had killed him," said Budhram.
Budhram said both the escapees were awaiting trial and were facing charges of arson, malicious damage to property, theft, housebreaking and theft of a motor vehicle. He urged members of the public who might have information to contact Crime Stop on 08600-10111.