Cops still hunt for three fugitives who escaped from Malmesbury prison

A manhunt is still ongoing for three inmates who escaped from the Malmesbury Correctional Centre on Friday.

Sixty-eight awaiting trial prisoners escaped from the prison after overpowering officials during the exercise period at approximately 12:15pm. It is alleged that some escapees had vehicles waiting for them outside the prison.

As of Saturday, 65 of the 68 escapees had been rearrested.

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola said officials are working around the clock to recapture the three prisoners still at large.

"Of the 68 escapees, 65 have been rearrested and I would like to congratulate prison officials, the police and the local armed response for their swift response in ensuring that the majority of the escapees were arrested.

"As of now, three remand detainees are still at large. The department's Emergency Support Team and the police are working around the clock to arrest them," said Lamola.

ALSO READ: 65 Malmesbury escapees recaptured as Lamola applauds community members

"The incident happened at about 12h15 when officials were providing exercise to inmates. At the time, the centre had 451 offenders and 20 officials on duty.

"The escapees overpowered officials, took the keys and locked three of them in a cell; and opened other cells before escaping through the main entrance and over the roof. During the incident, nine officials sustained minor injuries and bruises.

"The department would want to condemn this reckless action by these offenders and would make sure that they are punished for their actions," added Lamola.

The minister said the situation at the facility has been stabilised and the Emergency Support Team has been activated to monitor the situation.

"Furthermore, some of the problematic inmates have been transferred out of the facility to the maximum facilities in the region. The centre is currently under lockdown in order to ensure stability.

"We want to assure communities that we will do everything in our power to apprehend the remaining escapees and will not do anything to put communities at risk.

"The regional commissioner has appointed a team to investigate the incident and I am appealing to everyone to allow us time to establish the facts, finalise the investigation and not listen to unfounded rumours," Lamola said.

For more news your way, download The Citizen's app for iOS and Android.