Captured escapees will spend festive season in jail

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

A Mpumalanga police station commissioner yesterday breathed a sigh of relief following the rearrest of three escapees who are said to have bolted out to enjoy Christmas at home.

Graskop police station commissioner, Captain Tintswalo Shimusa, said police cornered all three escapees in different hideouts between 6am and 8am yesterday.

"We thank your newspaper for publishing a story about the suspects a day after they had made a hole in the wall of their cell and sneaked out undetected.

"Almost all the people who called us with tips about the suspects' hideouts said they had read the daring escape story in the Sowetan," said Shimusa yesterday.

Vusi Sibiya, 32, Angel Thokane, 23, and John Ngobeni, 29, were rearrested at the Nkanini informal settlement in Sabie.

At the time of going to press the escapees were leading the police to the point where they had allegedly hidden their illegal firearms.

The three awaiting-trial prisoners who were facing, among others, charges of vehicle theft and burglary had made the "fictional" escape early on Wednesday.

They had allegedly used an unidentified instrument to cut through the steel door before cutting bars on the grill leading to their cell. They then used the iron bars to make a hole through the cell wall and escaped.

Graskop police spokesman, Inspector Simon Mashiloane, thanked the residents for furnishing the police with positive information about the suspects' different hiding places.

"We are very thankful to the community. We rearrested the suspects from the shacks where they were hiding in different locations around the Nkanini informal settlement," said Mashiloane.

He said the suspects' plan to spend Christmas outside were shattered because they would now spend it behind bars.

Charges of escaping from lawful police custody will be added to the suspects' main charges. They will appear in the Graskop magistrate's court next month.