Correctional Services said that “matters are under control” at Johannesburg’s Sun City Prison on Wed.
The African Union's attempts to keep peace on the continent were again sorely put to the test in 2008 as new conflicts flared up and under-resourced African peacekeepers found themselves outmatched by well-armed rebels.
As the year closed, a contingent of about 3000 AU peacekeepers from Uganda looked set to quit Somalia, where they have achieved very little.
Ethiopian forces, who had been propping up the regime since early 2007, are leaving.
In Sudan's restive Darfur province, where an ethnic-based conflict has claimed 300000 lives over five years, troops serving in a hybrid UN-AU force came under fire. The peacekeepers were attacked by both rebels and government-backed Janjaweed militia.
In April, former South African president Thabo Mbeki, whose country leads peacekeeping efforts on the continent, went to the UN to ask for help in building up the AU's peacekeeping capacity.
Mbeki came away with little more than a plan from the UN's Ban ki-Moon for a AU-UN panel of eminent persons to examine funding options.
The discussion focused on Africa's weak democratic credentials, as evidenced by the continent's continued cosseting of authoritarian Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe.
The AU did redeem itself partly on Zimbabwe, after Mugabe smashed his way to a sham victory in a one-man presidential election run-off vote. At a summit in Egypt, AU heads of state called on him to share power with Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC.
But by leaving the mediation on the formation of a unity government in the hands of Mbeki, who had discredited himself by openly supporting Mugabe, the AU undermined itself. Mbeki rammed through a flimsy power-sharing agreement in September that has yet to be implemented.
On Sudan too, the AU's record was spotty. While attacks on civilians by the Janjaweed militia continued, the AU leadership was opposing a move in the International Criminal Court to have Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir indicted for war crimes.
While the AU was involved in sorting out the post-election violence that blighted Kenya in January and February, it took former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to force a deal that ended the fighting. - Sapa-dpa