Botswana Prison Service Spokesperson Wamorena Ramolefhe says the recent escape of 18 prisoners at the Francistown Center for Illegal Immigrants was due to a security lapse.
Ramolefhe’s statement follows allegations that the prisoners escaped due to the facility’s security which was inadequate for high risk criminals.
“Usually criminals escape due to a security lapse and not because the facility’s security is low,” he said, explaining that had it been the case that the facility’s security was low, they would not be in custody of criminals at the center. “The security is fine. We have been keeping remands and convicts at the center since May 2015 and there has never had an escape except for the recent one,” he stated.
Ramolefhe however could not be drawn into discussing this “security lapse”, saying the matter was still internal and under investigation. “We will state details once the report is released,” he explained.
Meanwhile, speaking in an earlier interview with this publication Francistown Prison Senior Assistant Commissioner Sekano Sekano indicated that necessary action will be taken against whomever would be found to have not acted accordingly.
Ramolefhe said the convicts and suspected criminals who were at the Francistown Prison were relocated to different prisons across the country including the Center for Illegal Immigrants when the prison was going through refurbishment in 2015. The refurbishment, which was expected to have been completed by November 2016 is ongoing.
“Those who were kept at the center were there because they were either remands and were there for easy management of appearing before the courts, transferred on medical grounds to seek medical attention at Nyangabwe Referral hospital or because they were in the country illegally hence being at the Center for Illegal Immigrants,” Ramolefhe stated.
According to the Prison Spokesperson, out of the 18 who escaped 3 were convicts, namely, Givemore Chaloba, Gaomodimo Molosiwa and Rowland Moyo. Chaloba was serving two years and six months after being convicted for possession of suspected stolen goods. Molosiwa was convicted for armed robbery and common theft and was sentenced 14 strokes and 14 years while Moyo was sentenced to three years for robbery and entering the country at an ungazetted point. Fifteen were remands and suspected for different offences ranging from murder to possession of ivory.
By last week Friday, 8 were recaptured, with Mlideli Moyo and Sicelo Sibanda arrested at Masingwaneng, Methuli Sibanda at Tati Siding, while Gaomodimi Molosiwa, Godwin Mapunganyika and Charlote Ndlovu were recaptured at Tutume. Thabani Ncube was recaptured in Zimbabwe for a pending case he had in the country after skipping the border . Moyo was arrested at Galo Mall in Francistown around 2100 hrs on 24th January.
The prisoners escaped from the center on 14th January 2017 between 12 noon and 1300hrs after cutting a fence behind their cells then fleeing from custody. By Friday last week, 10 prisoners were still at large.