One prisoner died on the spot and another was seriously injured when three hard-core criminals in transit from Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison to Whawha Prison in Gweru attacked prison warders and jumped off a moving prison truck early yesterday morning.
The third prisoner escaped and a manhunt has since been launched for him.
The three “D-Class” prisoners were being transferred to WhaWha when they attacked and overpowered the two prison wardens escorting them as they approached a tollgate a few kilometres before WhaWha.
Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) national spokesperson Chief Correctional Officer Simon Kawondo confirmed the incident that occurred around 1am along the Mvuma-Gweru highway near Lalapansi.
“We have information to the effect that there were some inmates on their way to WhaWha, who connived and overpowered our officers before jumping off a moving truck resulting in a fatality.
“I don’t have all the facts at the moment since I am not at work but if you can send your questions via email, I will be able to give you full details by tomorrow (Monday).”
Sources close to the incident said the three inmates, considered dangerous criminals, were being relocated to WhaWha when they started beating up the two officers escorting them.
“All this happened without the knowledge of the prison truck driver. The prison officers tried to raise the alarm when they realised that they were being overpowered by the inmates. Unfortunately, the truck’s emergency internal communication sirens were not functional,” said the source.
The source said the driver only got to know of the incident after reducing speed while preparing to stop at the tollgate.
“One of the prison officers, (only identified as) Madzivanzira, who was at the back of the truck managed to disembark at the tollgate and informed the driver that they had been under hell and all the inmates had escaped.
“They then made a U- turn and that is when they discovered that one of the inmates had died on the spot after jumping off the moving truck. His colleague was badly injured and was still lying on the spot,” said the source.
The source said one of the prison officers, an Officer Muroyi, was badly injured during the scuffle with the inmates.
“He is receiving treatment at WhaWha as we speak. These were high-risk inmates and under the law, there were supposed to be two officers per each inmate.
“We don’t know why there were only two officers escorting three very dangerous prisoners,” said the source.