A Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services officer is facing disciplinary action after two inmates escaped from Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison while he was glued on social networking platform WhatsApp.
Three other inmates also attempted to escape, but were recaptured before they could flee.
Prison Officer Guni will appear before a disciplinary panel in line with the ZPCS code of conduct.
Prison Officer Guni was last week assigned to guard the five inmates while they worked at the prison farm.
He allegedly became engrossed in WhatsApp chats and forgot to keep an eye on them.
The inmates took advantage to pounce on the unarmed officer and stripped him of his uniform before tying him to a tree.
They also took his cellular phone and US$10 from his wallet, threatening to kill him if he dared scream for help.
One of them then reportedly wore the uniform to disguise himself as an officer guarding four inmates.
Three subsequently left on a reconnaissance mission with the other two remaining behind to monitor PO Guni.
The trio, however, ran into trouble when a group of patrolling officers spotted them.
Two fled while the other three were apprehended.
ZPCS national spokesperson Chief Superintendent Elizabeth Banda said investigators were working on the case.
“A manhunt has been launched and those two fugitives will be recaptured. Our internal police and the national police force have new leads on their whereabouts.
“An investigation is also underway to ascertain what really happened on the day in question. The ZPCS has a code of conduct and the officer on duty will be brought before a disciplinary hearing.”
Since the beginning of 2014, 21 prisoners, including one female, have escaped from correctional facilities countrywide due to negligence of guards.
The female inmate evaded the prison guard in a bush where she and her counterparts were collecting firewood.
Last year, the ZPCS reported that 16 inmates escaped, again, due to negligence.
Seventeen fugitives were captured after the number of escapees surged to 34.
The ZPCS has since activated additional surveillance and security systems.
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