Jailbreak ends in Mexican standoff

An awaiting trial prisoner, who escaped with four others from a Free State prison, allegedly shot dead an accomplice and wounded another as police closed in on the group in Kroonstad on Thursday, officials said.

Correctional services representative Johan Massyn alleged the five escaped around 10am through a perimeter security fence while prisoners were exercising in the facility’s courtyard.

They sped away in a green Opel Astra, registration number JZM458GP, which was waiting for them.

Massyn said the fleeing men exchanged gunfire with correctional services officers in security towers. However, no one was wounded during the exchange.

Police representative Senior Superintendent Sam Sesing said after their “daring escape”, the men drove to the Maokeng township where they locked themselves inside a house in Koe-Koe village.

According to Sesing, when the men realised police were closing in, one man opened fire on his accomplices.
John Shabalala (47) of Viljoenskroon was shot and wounded in the stomach, while Chris Dlalisa (40) from Soweto, was killed after he was also hit in the stomach. It was not immediately clear why the gunman, who was armed with an AK47, opened fire.

Police stormed the house and re-arrested the gunman as well as another escapee, Blessing Moloi (28) of Sebokeng. The fifth man, Sipho Mahlangu (30) of Meadowlands, evaded police and was still at large on Thursday afternoon.

Sesing said Dlalisa, Moloi and Mahlangu were awaiting trial on charges of attempted murder and robbery in Parys. The gunman and Shabalala were awaiting trial on charges of armed robbery in Kroonstad.

Police were searching for the car used in the escape from the prison, which was stolen in Vereeniging earlier this month. Detectives were also looking for the people who helped the five escape.

Both police and the correctional services department would investigate the circumstances surrounding the escape. - Sapa

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