Six awaiting trial prisoners escaped from the Athlone Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday afternoon after they overpowered and disarmed a police official.
Police spokesperson Malcolm Pojie confirmed that one of the escapees had been rearrested and said a manhunt had been launched to locate the other five prisoners.
“The Anti-Gang Unit is spearheading a search for six awaiting trial prisoners who escaped from the Athlone Magistrates’ court holding cells on Wednesday afternoon at about 1.45pm as they were about to be transported to a correctional holding facility following their respective court appearances earlier today.
“Preliminary investigation suggests that the detainees overpowered one of the police officials and disarmed him. Several shots were fired in the direction of the police officials, but no one was hit or wounded. Thereafter the escapees, between the ages 20 and 33, fled on foot,” said Pojie.
The police appealed to the public to refrain from approaching the escapees.
“An appeal is made to the community to please refrain from approaching or confronting these escapees as they are deemed to be armed and dangerous. They stand accused of serious offences such as murder, attempted murder, assault and robbery, as well as the possession of stolen property.
“Escape from lawful custody, attempted murder and robbery of a firearm cases have been registered at Athlone police station that will be probed by our provincial detectives.
“Meanwhile the rapid response from the members involved led to the rearrests of one of the six escapees, with the search for the outstanding wanteds continuing,” said Pojie.
The public is advised to report any suspicious persons and/or the whereabouts of these escapees to the nearest police station or Crime Stop at 08600 10111, or Captain Jacques Cussel can be contacted directly at 079 894 1637.