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Last Updated: Monday, 4 December 2006, 12:58 GMT
S Africa's 'most-wanted' caught
Ananias Mathe
Ananias Mathe had military training during Mozambique's war
South Africa's most-wanted criminal has been captured two weeks after escaping from a top security jail near Pretoria.

Ananias Mathe, 29, from Mozambique, was detained last December on more than 50 charges, including murder and rape.

He stabbed a security guard in the eye with a screwdriver after being cornered in a house. He was then shot three times in the leg and captured.

Police describe him as "the ultimate criminal" and launched a huge manhunt for him when he escaped.

At one point during the hunt, the police shot and wounded a clergyman by mistake after a member of the public identified him as the escaped prisoner.


National police spokeswoman Sally de Beer said Ananias Mathe stole a car fitted with a tracking device, and the security company that had installed it followed with the help of a helicopter.

He abandoned the vehicle near a squatter camp north of Johannesburg in the East Rand.

He was found in a house and captured by security guards after a struggle.

Ananias Mathe is the first prisoner to escape from the C-max prison since it opened 36 years ago.

He reportedly escaped by covering his body in Vaseline and squeezing through his tiny cell window which measured just 20cm by 60cm (8in by 2ft).

Mr Mathe, who is said to have had extensive military training dating in Mozambique, first escaped from custody in April 2005.

Shortly after being returned to the prison, a minister said he would leave again for an urgent operation.

Correctional Services Minister Ngconde Balfour said he would be taken to a hospital for an operation to fix the shattered bone in his leg which was wounded during his arrest.

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