The Botswana Police Service were this week accused of ‘serious’ security breach after dangerous armed robbers attacked officers before escaping from lawful custody. Sunday Standard has learnt that it is the standard operating procedure that suspects considered dangerous should be under armed escort to courts or health facilities.But on Friday Police were caught off guard and they are now sifting through dozens of tips after three alleged dangerous armed suspects overpowered police officers and escaped from vehicle transporting them from Francistown prison to Masunga Magistrate Court.
It is understood that on Friday, the Botswana Police Service was searching for clues on how three suspects facing charges ranging from murder to armed robbery were able to overpower two officers who were transporting them to Masunga Magistrate Court from Francistown Prison.Law enforcement officers said the incident calls an urgent review into the “frightening” security breach as the matter shows that this was a planned escape. Sources within law enforcement agencies on Friday warned that while it is not yet clear if the suspects are armed, members of the public should consider them armed and dangerous.It is understood that the suspects broke one of the windows behind the driver in a closed police vehicle before attacking the two police officers who were seated in the front seats. One of the police officers seated in the passenger seat allegedly jumped while the vehicle was in motion resulting in serious injuries.
The other officers who was driving the vehicle was allegedly assaulted by the suspects and by the time he managed to pull up the vehicle by the roadside he was severely injured.The three suspects allegedly continued to assault him before they fled the scene. One of the suspects who did not take part in the violent fracas did not sustain any injuries and he did not flee.“What makes the suspects more dangerous is that they are familiar with the area since they committed the offences there. Using a helicopter on Friday, the police had difficulties in combing through the area because it is a mountainous one,” said a source.
Botswana Police Service which has launched a nation-wide man did not say whether the suspects were restrained during their transport or how they overtook the officers save to confirm the incident.Police Assistant Public Relations Officer Senior Superintendent Near Bagali confirmed that the suspects somehow overpowered two guards in a police transport vehicle on the way from Francistown to Masunga Magistrate Court.He said police have launched a manhunt after three remands of robbery, murder, house breaking and theft after they escaped from lawful custody on 26 June.“The trio are Zimbabwean males, Xolane Sibanda aged 35-year, Boy Nxube aged 40 and a Motswana male Thandanaani Basumi aged 41 who stays at Somerset East in Francistown but originates from Themashanga village,” said Bagali. He added that “they were being transported from Francistown Prison to Masunga Magistrate Court in the North East District where they were to appear for mention for the stipulated offences.”
While sources claimed that there only three officers at the time, Bagali said on their way, the suspects “broke loose, attacked three police officers and in the process injured two of them. The Police officers were taken to Masunga primary hospital for medical attention.”According to Bagali, “The police would like to warn members of the public that the suspects are very dangerous.” He appealed to members of the public told assist the police with information that could lead to their capture.