Four inmates charged for South African prison van blast that killed 3

A police van leaves Johannesburg's central prison on October 22 after an explosion nearby. By Alexander Joe (AFP/File)

A police van leaves Johannesburg’s central prison on October 22 after an explosion nearby. By Alexander Joe (AFP/File)

Four men will appear in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Friday in connection with a prison truck explosion in which three people died and 15 were injured.

“Police have identified four awaiting-trial prisoners, who were on the truck, as the suspects who detonated an explosive device onboard a court truck,” Brigadier Neville Malila said in a statement.

“The suspects will appear on October 26, on charges of murder, attempted murder, escape, possession of explosives, and malicious damage to property.”

Malila said the men were all in their 20s and in custody on charges of robbery.

“The type of explosive device and how the detainees got hold of it is still a subject of investigation,” Malila said.

The prison truck was transporting 36 awaiting-trial prisoners from the Randburg Magistrate’s Court to Johannesburg Central Prison on Monday.

When they arrived at the corner of Naturena and the Old Soweto Highway, the driver heard a bang. He saw a hole in the door and two prisoners escape, Malila said at the time.

Three prisoners were killed in the blast. The two prisoners who tried to escape were recaptured. Police shot and wounded one of them in the buttocks.

On Tuesday, nine prisoners were taken back to prison after being treated for the injuries they suffered in the blast.

Malila said the next-of-kin of two of the dead prisoners had been informed. They were Xolani Koto, 21, and Bheki Khumalo, 25. The third man had not been positively identified.

Five of the injured detainees were still under police guard in hospital.

Timeslive

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