Two prisoners have been shot and killed during a scuffle with a prison warder and police officer at Thohoyandou High Court in Limpopo.

It is alleged that the two prisoners who were on trial confronted officials who were escorting them from court in an attempt to escape from custody when the shooting happened.

Police spokesperson Motlafela Mojapelo says an investigation into the circumstances of the shooting is underway. The case has been taken over by Independent Police Investigative Directorate.

The prisoners were on trial for serious cases ranging from murder, armed robbery, business robberies and cash-in-transit heists.