By Anna Shilongo
The five prisoners, who escaped from Windhoek Central Prison last week Monday and were re-arrested the following day, appeared in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court on Friday on charges of escaping from lawful custody.
Accused number one was rape and murder suspect, Deon Engelbrecht, 23, accused number two and three were bank robbery suspects, Mthulisi Sibanda, 27, and Nesias Matole, 33, (both Zimbabwe nationals) and accused number four was murder suspect, Morris Mazila Sibitwani, 29. Accused number five was farm massacre suspect, Gavin Beukes, 26.
The five were not asked to plead when they appeared before Magistrate Suzette Walters.
The cases were postponed to February 6, next year for further investigations and to allow them to secure legal representation.
They remain in custody.
The five were re-arrested near Kongola on Tuesday except for Plan Ndebele, who drowned in the Chobe River.
Beukes and Engelbrecht were the first to be captured at Ngoma Border Post at Katima Mulilo.
Later the other three – Matole, Sibanda and Sibitwani – were also re-arrested with the help of the public.
The police had launched a manhunt following a tip-off that the escapees were on their way to Katima Mulilo intending to flee the country into Zambia.
At Bagani, the escapees allegedly used a canoe to cross the river but the canoe capsized and Ndebele allegedly drowned in the river.
Ndebele’s body was subsequently found between Bagani Bridge and Kamuchonga village in the Kavango Region. Reports say the body had no left arm, eyes and lips.
Police spokesperson, Warrant Officer Kauna Shikwambi, said arrangements are being made for the deceased’s family to come and identify the body.
Shikwambi also said police investigation will continue until they find the person(s) who helped the suspects to escape, as well as those who provided transport and logistics for their travel to Kavango and Katima Mulilo.
Officers who were on duty at the time of the escape have also been identified.
Meanwhile, police are still looking for Itai Mashamba who escaped from the TB hospital in Windhoek on July 13 this year. Mashamba, who is also a Zimbabwean national, was part of the Standard Bank robbery gang – Sibanda, Matole and the late Ndebele.