Five dangerous Zimbabwean criminals awaiting trial in South Africa escaped from police custody at Musina Police Station, amid fears that they could have crossed back into the country through illegal crossing points.
The quintet is linked to a series of murder, armed robbery and housebreaking charges committed in the neighbouring country.
South African police spokesperson for Limpopo Province Lieutenant Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said the five escapees broke out of the cells through a brick wall on Friday night.
He said the five dangerous criminals may have escaped back to Zimbabwe.
He identified the suspects as Bruce Hungwane (26), who was arrested for rape, John Job Ndlovu (23) who is facing a murder charge, Samuel Lucky Tawanda Masotsha (21), an armed robbery suspect and two teenagers who could not be named for legal reasons.
The two minors who are both aged 18 are facing charges of theft from a motor vehicle and unlawful entry.
Lt Col Ngoepe said under South African law anyone who is under 21 years is considered a minor, hence he could not name the two teenagers.
The quintet was supposed to appear in court this week to answer to the charges they are facing.
Lt Col Ngoepe yesterday told The Chronicle that they have since launched a manhunt for the suspects.
“We started tracking the five suspects and we are in the process of engaging our Zimbabwean counterparts through Interpol as they might be a possibility that they could have fled back to the neighbouring country through illegal crossing points.
“We urge anyone with information on the whereabouts of these escapees to contact Brigadier James Espach on +27 82 576 0743 or utilise our 24-hour crime stop number 0860010111.
“They can also visit any nearest police station,” said the police spokesperson.
This is not the first time that Zimbabwean prisoners have escaped from cells in the neighbouring country.
In 2010, six Zimbabweans linked to a series of murder, armed robbery and housebreaking cases escaped from the Musina police cells.
The six Zimbabweans, four awaiting-trial and two convicted prisoners escaped from the cells after they sawed through iron cell bars.
Source : News Day