File photo: Armed robber

More than 30 prisoners have escaped after a police van that was transporting them to a law court was attacked by gunmen in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

Some prisoners remained in the van that was forced open by heavily armed attackers.

KwaZulu Natal police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker said police were looking for those who escaped. | WATCH | Prisoners escape after gunmen armed with AK47s attack  prison vehicle in Pietermaritzburg, KZN - Black Media Daily
The van was forced open by the armed attackers

A voice note has been circulated online urging residents to beware as the escapees might be looking for civilian clothes, the Independent Online website reports.