Calm returns in Mangaung Prison

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pretoria - Calm has returned to Bloemfontein's Mangaung Prison after a hostage drama ended in the early hours of this morning.

This after more than 40 inmates set about 10 cells alight and barricaded themselves in a section and held three wardens hostage.

The inmates were demanding to be transferred to prisons close to their hometowns.

However, the Department of Correctional Services spokesperson Sonwabo Mbananga told BuaNews that the wardens were rescued by the special task force unharmed.

"The employees were brought to a hospital for observations but we expect them to be released by later today."

Mbananga said the prison operator would discuss the incident with the national Department of Correctional Services today.

"Their behaviour does not justify a transfer to a medium security prison.

"We will obviously work in the spirit of a human rights culture of trying to understand their challenges, their difficulties, what it is they want to communicate to us, but of course we will not be held to ransom by criminals," Mbananga said.

In a similar incident earlier this year, the angry inmates embarked on a hunger strike.