Prisoners cut iron bars, exit

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

Prisoners are making a run for freedom before Christmas.

This was further highlighted by three awaiting trial prisoners who escaped from a police cell in Mpumalanga in a way reminiscent of a story from a fiction novel.

The prisoners dashed for their freedom in the early hours of yesterday morning.

"We believe they escaped so that they can enjoy Christmas since they had appeared before the local magistrate court on Tuesday where they were remanded in custody until January next year," said Graskop police spokesman Inspector Simon Mashilwane yesterday.

He said the suspects' "unbelievable" escape might just be one of many attempts before Xmas as prisoners have a habit of bolting to be with families during this time of the year only to be re-arrested.

The suspects ,who are facing charges of, among others, burglary and theft of motor vehicles, allegedly used an unidentified instrument to cut through the steel door before cutting bars on the grill leading to their cell at the Graskop police station.

Mashilwane told Sowetan that the suspects then used the iron bars they had cut from the grill to dig a hole through the wall and escaped through it.

The suspects are Vusi Sibiya, 32, Angel Thokane, 23, and John Ngobeni, 29.

Sibiya and Thokane were facing motor vehicle theft charges while Ngobeni was faced burglary.

Graskop police station commissioner, Captain Tintswalo Shimusa, said the police management have already started internal investigation with an intention of getting to the bottom of the matter.

"We can't rule out the possibility of the involvement of other elements in the matter," said Shimusa yesterday.

She said anyone who might have information that could assist the police in the rearrest of the suspects should contact Graskop police at 013-767-1122.