A South African murderer who escaped after faking his own death in prison has been extradited from Tanzania where he was arrested last week, the government announced Thursday, embarrassed for weeks by the grisly affair.
“We can confirm that the fugitives have been brought back to South Africa from Tanzania,” said Justice Minister Ronald Lamola, referring to Thabo Bester and a woman with whom he was allegedly having a romantic relationship. They were arrested together last Friday. Nicknamed “the Facebook rapist” for luring his victims via the social network, Thabo Bester was sentenced in 2012 to life imprisonment for murder and rape.
In May 2022, a charred body was found in his cell in a private prison in Bloemfontein. Prison authorities believed that Mr. Bester had set himself on fire behind bars. But he had in fact escaped: at the end of March, the police revealed that DNA tests had shown that the body found in his cell was not his.
After his arrest in Tanzania, the criminal was “re-incarcerated” on Thursday night in a maximum security prison near Johannesburg, said Ronald Lamola at a press briefing in Cape Town, adding that his girlfriend would be presented to a judge.
The woman’s father is among four people arrested in recent days in connection with the case. He was charged earlier this week with murder in connection with the man found dead in Bester’s cell.
This unusual and gruesome case has been making the rounds in the South African press for the past week. On Wednesday, presidential spokesman said the head of state was “troubled” by the escape, which suggests an impressive series of failures and compromises.