Pietermaritzburg councillor wants probe into mass prisoner escape from truck

At least 31 out of 45 awaiting trial prisoners managed to flee from a police vehicle after it was stopped by five heavily armed men. Police have managed to re-arrest 13 prisoners following a manhunt but 18 are still at large.

Police have launched a manhunt after awaiting trial prisoners escaped from a truck transporting them from the Pietermaritzburg (PMB) New Prison to the PMB Magistrates Court on 28 April 2021. Picture: Nkosikhona Duma/Eyewitness News.

DURBAN - A local ward councillor from Pietermaritzburg, where prisoners escaped from a police truck on Wednesday, is calling for an investigation into possible negligence by law enforcement officers.

At least 31 out of 45 awaiting trial prisoners managed to flee from a police vehicle after it was stopped by five heavily armed men.

Police have managed to re-arrest 13 prisoners following a manhunt but 18 are still at large.

READ: Police continue search for 19 prisoners who escaped while en route to court

Councillor Ross Strachan said that the incident was suspicious.

The police said that two officers were confronted by five armed suspects who instructed them to open the rear of a state truck and release the prisoners.

Strachan said that the ease with which the prisoners appeared to have escaped was concerning.

"I'd like to know if there was a convoy that managed to follow and be in front of this vehicle to ensure the safety of community members and residents in that area and through town to the High Court. Until those questions are answered, I want to plea to community residents to keep yourselves safe while these prisoners are on the loose."

Meanwhile, the police said that efforts were continuing to track the prisoners who were still at large.

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