MASERU — Justice Minister Haae Phoofolo says he suspects that ritual murder suspect Lehlohonolo Scott could have been helped to escape from his “ultra-security jail cell” on Sunday.
“The manner in which this suspect escaped from jail is suspicious,”Phoofolo said during his speech to parliament on Friday.
“We will do what we can to establish who could have aided him and take serious measures against them.”
Scott escaped from Maseru Central Prison in circumstances that have baffled prison and police authorities.
This has triggered suspicion that some prison authorities could have helped him to escape.
But LCS’s senior assistant commissioner Matingoe Phamotse has said he does not believe that Scott received inside help to escape.
Scott was arrested in July in connection with the murder of Moholobela Seetsa in January and Kamohelo Mohata, in June.
Both bodies were found dismembered, raising suspicions that some parts could have been harvested for ritual purposes.
Scott is being charged together with his mother, ’Malehlohonolo Scott.
Phoofolo told parliament that all necessary measures were being taken to re-arrest Scott.
“As the minister responsible for prisons, I appeal to the public to calm down but support and cooperate with us to re-arrest this suspect,” Phoofolo said.
Phoofolo explained that upon his arrival in prison, Scott was locked in a high-security block after being “assessed by prison personnel”.
“He was locked in solitary confinement on one of the prison’s ultra-security sections, known as ‘New Block”. He was kept under tight security because of the nature of the crime he is suspected to have committed,” Phoofolo said.
“This was done to ensure public safety, that of other prisoners and Scott himself.”
When contacted for comment on Friday to explain why his statement differed from Phamotse’s claim that Scott was not aided, Phoofolo told the Sunday Express that he was not “pointing fingers at anyone”.
“I’m not saying we’ve established for sure that Scott was aided out of prison,” he said.
“I’m not saying for sure that he was assisted, but it’s one of the possible scenarios which need to be looked into as they are part and parcel of the whole investigation.”
“However, if anybody at all had a hand in helping Scott escape from jail, we will take drastic measures against them.”
Phamotse told this paper on Friday that he could not comment on the minister’s statement in parliament.
He said since the minister responsible for prisons had issued a response on Scott’s escape “it’s not my place to comment on it anymore”.
“My senior has spoken so there’s nothing more for me to add onto it. It would be an act of insubordinatation on my part to comment on what he has said,” Phamotse said.
Earlier in the week Phamotse said they do not understand how Scott escaped as the security is very tight.
“We suspect that he went through the small window but we don’t understand how he went through that window as security is tight. We have security day and night,” Phamotse said.
Police spokesperson Masupha Masupha said when the police went to Scott’s cell they found a letter and his bed was leaning against the wall.
A substance suspected to be petroleum jelly (Vaseline) was found on the burglar windows, Masupha said.
“The same substance was found on the walls of another cell and near the wall there was a stove and a chair that were against the wall.”
Masupha said there were foot prints on the roof and a trail that showed that a person had crawled on the roof.
He dismissed rumours that Scott could have used muti to escape.
Since his dramatic escape the rumour that Scott used magical powers to vanish from prison has gone viral.
“We are investigating his disappearance and we will arrest him like we did before,” Masupha said.
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