Escaped prisoners shoot man dead

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

The three suspects who were rearrested three days after a daring escape from a Mpumalanga police station have now been charged with murder.

The murder was allegedly committed during their three days of temporary freedom.

This was confirmed by Graskop police station commissioner Captain Tintswalo Shimusa yesterday.

Shimusa told Sowetan that the suspects allegedly shot a man dead at Nkanini settlement in Sabie last Friday, a day after their escape.

"They allegedly shot the man and left him on the street to die. Passersby took him to hospital but he died on the way, and we have charged them with murder as a result," said Shimusa.

She said members of the community provided the police with information that led to the suspects' rearrest on Sunday. Shimusa said her station had to involve the province's crime prevention unit to investigate the murder case against the suspects.

Vusi Sibiya, 32, Angel Thokane, 23, and John Ngobeni, 29, appeared briefly in the Graskop magistrate's court on Monday on charges of escaping from lawful custody.

They were not asked to plead and were remanded in custody until their next court appearance on December 12.

The three allegedly escaped from the Graskop police station by sawing through iron bars from the grill door to their cell and used the bars to dig a hole in the wall before sneaking out on Thursday morning.

Members of the community who read of their escape in Sowetan called the police and tipped them off as to the suspects' hideouts. Graskop police spokesman, Inspector Simon Mashiloane told Sowetan that the suspects may have escaped in a bid to enjoy Christmas at home.

Police cornered them in different shacks in the Nkanini informal settlement in Sabie on Sunday morning.

The suspects had faced charges of theft and burglary and now have additional charges of escaping from lawful custody added to their docket.

According to the police, the suspects have confessed to the murder and handed over a firearm with six bullets, claiming it was the one used in the murder.

Police have not released the murdered man's identity.