Three dash for freedom through roof

McKeed Kotlolo

McKeed Kotlolo

Mpumalanga police have launched a manhunt for prisoners who escaped from custody in Mpumalanga at the weekend.

Three prisoners awaiting trial, Thomas Madonsela from Kinross, Siphiwe Nkosi and Jeremiah Nkambule, both from Embalenhle, escaped from the Evander police station by making a hole in the roof on Saturday evening.

Nkambule, 29, was recaptured shortly after jumping from the station's roof into the car pound of the local magistrate's court.

The escapees were appearing on charges ranging from armed robbery and rape to attempted murder.

Two of them have been awaiting trial since 2005, while the third was arrested last year.

Superintendent Abie Khoabane of Mpumalanga provincial police said a policeman on duty spotted a person on the station's roof shortly after 6pm.

Duty officers rushed to the holding cells to check if all prisoners were still in their cells and found that only four of the total of seven remained in custody.

He said the incident occurred about 10 minutes after the prisoners had been given food.

"In the holding cells the police noticed blankets tied together and hanging from the ceiling," Khoabane said.

He said on further investigation it was found that an unknown object had been used to cut a hole in the roof of the police station, through which the men escaped.

They searched for the missing prisoners in and around the police station and managed to rearrest Nkambule, who was hiding among vehicles in the car pound on the magistrate's court premises.

By yesterday morning Nkosi, 20, and Madonsela, 29, were still at large. Anyone with information about the whereabouts of the escapees should contact the nearest police station or call Crime Stop number 08600-10111 at all hours.