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S. Africa Escapee Retaken in Tanzania

FILE - Thabo Bester is seen on a TV camera screen in the Western Cape High Court, in Cape Town, South Africa, May 3, 2012, where he appeared in connection with murder.

JOHANNESBURG - A South African convicted murderer, Thabo Bester, who faked his death to escape from prison has been arrested in Tanzania following a two-week manhunt, police have announced.

Thabo Bester, 35, was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2012 and it was reported in May last year that he died in a fire in his prison cell.

However, reports surfaced of him being seen in Johannesburg and an investigation including DNA samples showed that the body found burned beyond recognition in the cell was not his.

Two weeks ago police said they were chasing Bester and last week they raided a luxurious home he was believed to have been renting in a posh Johannesburg suburb.

Bester was apprehended with his girlfriend Nandipha Magudumana, a well-known celebrity doctor, and a Mozambican national believed to have assisted them to cross borders and evade law enforcement authorities, officials announced.

They were found with several fake passports which were unstamped at the time of their arrest, about 10 kilometers from the Kenyan border.

South African officials are now working to extradite Bester, dubbed the “Facebook Rapist” as he used the social media platform to lure at least two women he was convicted of raping. He was also found guilty of killing one.

The South African news outlet GroundUp reported that for nearly a year after his prison escape Bester had lived a lavish lifestyle with Magudumana in Johannesburg's upmarket Hyde Park suburb.

While in prison, Bester used a laptop he had for studies to run an event and production company, GroundUp reported. At one point he addressed a conference from his prison cell, telling attendees that he was speaking from the U.S., it reported.

Bester’s elaborate escape from prison has raised many questions about the possible involvement of prison officials.

At least three officials have been fired from the Mangaung Correctional Center from where Bester escaped, according to local reports. The prison was managed privately by the British-based G4S security firm.