By Anna Shilongo
Close to 30 prisoners escaped from custody during the festive season, the Namibian Police has reported.
According to police public relations officer, Warrant Officer Kauna Shikwambi, 26 of the prisoners escaped from five prisons in different parts of the country.
Thirteen escaped from Grootfontein police holding cells, while 10 escaped from the Keetmashoop Prison, while Gobabis, Gibeon, and Witvlei each reported one case.
Grootfontein re-arrested six, while Keetmanshoop re-arrested eight of the escapees.
Seven inmates from Grootfontein Prison are still at large, while at Keetmanshoop two are still on the run, as well as the three from Gobabis, Gibeon and Witvlei.
According to Shikwambi all inmates escaped during the night of December 24 and 25, except Hendrik Elton Witbooi who escaped from the charge office at Gibeon on December 27.
At Grootfontein, the 13 trial-awaiting prisoners are reported to have escaped after they cut through the burglar bars on the roof of the cell.
The 13 were held for various cases ranging from attempted murder, rape, stock theft, robbery and motor vehicle theft and use of motor vehicle without the owner’s consent.
At Gobabis police holding cell, a trial-awaiting prisoner identified as Albert Narib, 23, escaped after stabbing a police officer in the head with a sharp object. Narib who is still on the run was held for rape.
At Witvlei police holding cell, a 19-year-old man, who is still on the run escaped after he pushed the police officer and ran away. The suspect was held for house breaking with intent to steal and theft.
At Keetmashoop, the inmates escaped between 22h30 and 23h00, on December 25 after they allegedly cut the roof of the cell with unknown objects. Their cases include housebreaking and theft, stock theft. They were identified as Joseph Jaartse (30), Conradie Blaauw (32), Martin Thomas (31), Theodor Alberts (27), Theo van Staden (24), Adriaan Rooi (29), Lazarus Swartbooi (40), Luben Waljin, (age unknown), Ryan Bason, and Gerald Rooi.
Although the police managed to re-arrest eight of the escapees, Conradie Blaaw and Andrean Rooi are still at large.
Most of the escapees were arrested with the help of the public.
Shikwambi called on the public to keep on cooperating with the police in order to curb crime.
She said the officers will not rest until they re-arrest all the escapees.
The spokesperson also sent a warning to the escapees to surrender.
” I am calling on the escapees to report themselves at the nearest police station, the police will not rest before we bing all of you to book,” said Shikwambi. It is not the first time that prisoners have escaped from cells during the festive season. “This has been a common practice among them,” she said.