Chikurubi escapee rearrested sleeping at his house

Crime Reporter 

Panashe Chinyama (24) who last week escaped from Chikurubi Farm Prison where he was serving a one-year sentence after being convicted of malicious damage to property, was arrested while sleeping at his Whitecliff house in Harare at the weekend.

Chinyama escaped last Wednesday from the prison while he was working at a nursery resulting in prison and police officers launching a manhunt for him.

He was arrested at his house at around 1am by members of the Special Tactics Team following a tip off from a concerned citizen.

Chinyama, who was a B Class inmate, had served eight months of his term and was due to be released on March 28 next year.

Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS) spokesperson, Chief Superintendent Meya Khanyezi confirmed that Chinyama was now in custody and was likely to be charged for escaping from lawful custody.

She confirmed that Chinyama was serving his one-year sentence at Chikurubi Farm Prison before he escaped.

“The ‘B’ class inmate who escaped from lawful custody on 7 December was recaptured by the Special Tactics team around 1am. “We got information from a responsible and loyal citizen of Zimbabwe that the escapee had been seen at his home in Whitecliff area and was likely to be sleeping in his room,” she said.

She added: “We want to encourage all citizens of Zimbabwe to remain supportive of ZPCS.”

ZPCS recently said 116 inmates escaped from correctional facilities between January 2021 and October this year.

Most of the fugitives were B class inmates, who are allowed to be outside for work duties while serving their terms. Chief Supt Khanyezi, recently said Harare Central and Chikurubi Farm prisons had high incidences of prison escapes.

“In 2021, 64 inmates escaped from our prisons and 52 inmates in 2022 up to October, making a total of 116. Harare Central and Chikurubi Farm prisons have a high incidence of escapes since these stations have more B class inmates, who go out of prison to work.”

“Police, however, recaptured 40 escapees during the same period. After escaping, the 40 inmates were recaptured — 18 in 2021 and 22 in 2022,” added Chief Supt Khanyezi.

Most fugitives, she said, sneaked away after asking for permission to go to the toilet.

“Some A class inmates also abscond since they will no longer be under escort of a prison officer, given that they would have exhibited good behaviour.”

ZPCS is installing closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems at maximum security prisons, arming its officers and reinforcing the canine section to avert future prison breaks.

In March, a convicted armed robber was recaptured by police after escaping from Harare Central Prison. 

He spent four months on the run. Richard Sasumba (40) was subsequently charged with attempting to escape from lawful custody.

Last year, 59 prisoners broke out of correctional facilities countrywide, largely due to negligence of guards who faced disciplinary action.

Figures obtained from ZPCS showed that 48 inmates also escaped from custody in 2020.

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