Cops yet to contact dead prisoners’ families

Police have not yet released the names of the three prisoners killed during a bomb attack.

A correctional services official arrives for work at the Johannesburg Central Prison on Monday, 22 October 2012. Three prisoners were killed and 14 injured when the truck they were being transported in exploded not far from the prison situated south of the city. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

JOHANNESBURG - Police say they will be releasing the names of the three men killed in an explosive escape attempt near the Johannesburg Central Prison, after their families have been informed of their deaths.

The prison bus was travelling on the Golden Highway on Monday, when one of the prisoners detonated an explosive device inside, as the vehicle was slowing down to turn just a few streets away from the prison.

The escape attempt killed three inmates and critically injured another four. Two inmates tried to flee but they were apprehended nearby. All other prisoners were detained.

The prisoners on board were awaiting trial inmates returning from the Randburg Magistrate's Court.

Two of the three deceased were facing charges of theft, while the third was facing a charge of assault.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Neville Malile said: "We know who the victims are, but we're not releasing any of their identities."

He said the investigation team had not yet made contact with all the next-of-kins.

At the same time, police are investigating how a prisoner managed to get hold of an explosive, but the Department of Correctional Services says it has not yet ruled out the possibility that the bomber received inside help.