Large number of Pietermaritzburg hijacked prison truck escapees back in custody
DURBAN – Police say that more than half of the prisoners who escaped from a police vehicle in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday morning, after the prison truck they were travelling was hijacked, are back in custody.
The brazen hijacking attempt, allegedly by five AK47-wielding gunmen, saw 45 inmates, who were being transported from New Prison to the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court, escape.
However, some prisoners handed themselves in at the court.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker said: “Twenty-five prisoners are now in custody and 20 are still on the run. Operations are ongoing.”
Naicker told IOL that the incident took place at around 8am on Wednesday morning.
He said two police officers were transporting prisoners when they were blocked off by a double cab bakkie.
“The suspects pointed firearms at the police officers and forced open the rear of the truck. 31 awaiting trial prisoners escaped out of the 45 that were in the truck.
“A manhunt is under way for the escapees,” said Naicker.
In a voice note being circulated on WhatsApp, residents were urged to be vigilant and keep their houses locked as the prisoners would be looking for new clothes.