Last three escaped Malmesbury prisoners arrested

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The last three prisoners who escaped from the Malmesbury prison on Friday have been rearrested.

“The Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services confirms that all escapees in the Malmesbury correctional facility have been rearrested,” Department of Justice spokesperson Chrispin Phiri said.

He said Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola thanked all role players and community members “for their willingness to assist law enforcement agencies”.

He also thanked correctional services staff “for restoring stability”.

Sixty-eight awaiting trial prisoners escaped from the prison after overpowering officials during the exercise period at approximately 12:15pm on Friday.

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.

“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,” Lamola said earlier.

“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.

The Citizen