At least three prisoners were killed when a gang of prisoners allegedly tried to take control of St Albans Prison outside Port Elizabeth on Monday morning. The prison was under lockdown during the fight in which 19 others‚ including prisoners and warders‚ were injured.
Officials on the scene‚ who cannot be named‚ said the prisoners had used teargas – in what they described as “a well-orchestrated attack” – against the correctional services Emergency Response Team (EMT) responding to the fracas.
It is believed that a group of prisoners forced their way into the administration building and locked themselves inside while another group attacked warders in the food hall.
No shots were fired‚ but at least five warders were injured and taken to hospital.
Officials said one prisoner died on the scene and another two at hospital shortly after.
Eastern Cape correction services commissioner Nkosinathi Breakfast declined to comment immediately‚ saying a statement would be issued later once officials had more clarity.
Police spokeswoman Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg said detectives were investigating.
Meanwhile‚ DA spokesman on correctional services James Selfe said the party would request a full and thorough investigation into the incident.
“It is not the first time that violent events have occurred at this prison and we cannot allow such incidents to go unaccounted for‚” Selfe said.
“The DA will further be writing to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services to request the Minister to appear before the Committee as soon as possible at the start of 2017 to account to Parliament for the events.”[TMG Digital/The Herald]