Armed assailants on Wednesday freed 45 prisoners awaiting trial in South Africa on their way to their court hearings.

According to the police, nine were rearrested shortly afterwards, while 22 pre-trial detainees were still on the run.

The police said the attack occurred at a location close to the eastern city of Pietermaritzburg.

According to media reports, the five assailants were armed with Ak-47 automatic assault rifles and had attacked a van carrying a total of 45 prisoners.

So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

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