Four of the nine escaped awaiting trial prisoners. Photo: SAPS.

Springs- Gauteng police have launched a manhunt after nine awaiting trial prisoners escaped from custody at the Springs Magistrates Court on Wednesday afternoon.

According to police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters, four of the escapees had made an appearance in court for alleged murder committed in Kwa-Thema in March 2019 and possession of firearm, while the remaining suspects were appearing for housebreaking and theft, possession of drugs, trespassing and for being in the country illegally.

The escaped suspects are: Phumlani Tshabalala; Mzandile Master Mbatha; Mduduzi Richard Sithole; Mongiseni Cyprian Langa (who all face murder and possession of firearm charges); Sibande Sibekezele Xulu (who faces housebreaking and theft charges); Clayton Donovan Booysen and William Reddinghuiz (who faces charges for possession of drugs); Augustine Mahlalela (charged with trespassing) and Anock Nyirenda (an illegal immigrant).

Police appealed for the public's assistance in locating these escapees, warning citizens not to confront the suspects, particularly the murder suspects as they are considered to be dangerous and possibly armed.

Citizens are rather urged to contact the nearest police station should they spot the wanted suspects. 

The latest incident comes months after the South Gauteng High Court went into lockdown mode after two awaiting trial prisoners - who were to appear in court for two separate murder charges - escaped after attacking police officers.

It remains unclear if the highly dangerous suspects were ever apprehended.

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