Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Concern over frequent prison escapes

Both the police and the prison department say they are worried about the increasing number of escaping prisoners.

This follows after three more dangerous prisoners escaped.

Last Wednesday, about 28 prisoners were assigned to clean at the old Lobatse Mental Hospital while being escorted and monitored by only two wardens.

It is alleged that around midday, a Botswana Defense Force (BDF) vehicle apparently stopped near the hospital and one of the prisoners told the prison warder that he wanted to go and see whether the BDF personnel might have had a break down and assist them.

It is alleged that while the prison warders were still observing on the other side, three prisoners secretly sneaked out from the hospital and fled and their absence was only realized when they were counted in preparation of their return to prison.

“Three dangerous prisoners who were serving long sentences escaped while they were on site at the Old Lobatse Hospital,” said Superintendent Joseph Lauw, the station commander of Woodhall Police Station, adding that their offences range from robbery to rape.

Lauw said the escapees were Tebogo Mahomad, 28, of Peleng in Lobatse, who was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison for armed robbery; Kagiso Basima, aged 21 and of Pitsane, was convicted and sentenced to10 years for both armed robbery and rape; while Gorata Thekiso, 28, of Peleng, was also found guilty and sentenced 10 years for rape.

“In a short space of time this is the second case in which dangerous prisoners who are serving long prison sentences escaped from lawful custody,” he said, adding that this has now become a great concern to the police.

The Public Relations Officer in the Department of Prisons and Rehabilitation, Senior Superintendent Wamorens Ramolefhe, said, “We are very much worried about the increasing number of prisoners who escape from lawful custody.”

He added: “I am not in a good position to comment about the ongoing investigations of last week’s escapees.”

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