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SA: Zimbabweans among prison break trio; police launch manhunt

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By The Citizen


SOUTH Africa: Limpopo police have launched a manhunt for three prisoners who escaped from police holding cells this week.

The detainees escaped from police in Tshamutumbu outside Thohoyandou in the early hours of Wednesday at around 2am.

Police spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Mamphaswa Seabi, said the prisoners – aged between 19 and 45 – allegedly escaped through a hole inside the cells.

The two awaiting trial prisoners, Rulph Chemai (19) from Zimbabwe and Nemalale Tshilidzi (34) from Vhembe District face charges of house robbery.

Rulph Chemai
Nemalale Tshilidzi

The third prisoner, Caiphus Kwinda (45) was sentenced to life imprisonment on Tuesday, after he was convicted of rape.

“Additional charges of escaping from lawful custody have been opened and the circumstances around their escape are still being investigated,” Seabi said in a statement.

Police appealed for the public’s assistance to find the escapees, but warned that the men were considered to be dangerous.

“Members of the community are warned not to confront the prisoners as they are considered to be dangerous, but to rather contact the nearest police station or urgently contact the investigating officer Detective Warrant Officer Colbert Ntshavheni on 082 414 1621 or Crime Stop on  08600 10111 or using MySAPS app.”

Last month, seven prisoners escaped from Grahamstown Correctional Facility in Makhanda, Eastern Cape.

The detainees, who are all Zimbabwean nationals charged with rhino poaching, are believed to have escaped through a prison window.

Three of the prisoners have since been re-arrested while four remain at large.