Home News Hundreds of police officers launch manhunt after deadly ambush in France

Hundreds of police officers launch manhunt after deadly ambush in France

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Hundreds of police in France were searching for an escaped prisoner and the armed assailants who freed him on Wednesday. Prison convoy violently ambushed The attack came a day after two prison guards were killed, shocking the country and triggering protests by prison guards across the country.

“We are investing a lot of resources,” said French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin. tell RTL radio The morning after the ambush, a small group of attackers ambushed a toll booth on a major highway about 85 miles northwest of Paris.

He said more than 450 police officers combed areas of the country and that the attackers used two cars to intercept a prison convoy, then emerged with automatic weapons and fired repeatedly, killing two guards and wounding three before being released with Prisoners escape.

Darmanin said it was unclear how many attackers were involved in the ambush, but security camera footage and bystander video circulated on social media after the attack suggested there were at least five attackers. He did not say whether investigators had identified them.

Mohamed Amra, a prisoner released during the ambush.Credit…AFP — Getty Images

Darmanin said the high risk nature of the attack and the preparations that appeared to have gone into planning given that the released prisoner, Mohamed Amra, 30, was not well known despite a long criminal record Surprisingly.

Mr Darmanin said the “violence, massacre and disproportionate means used to free this man” were inconsistent with the authorities’ knowledge of Mr Amra, who the interior minister said was “not the biggest criminal in our country”. prison. “

Amra is not being held in a high-security prison, and prison authorities did not ask for a police escort during his approximately hour-long transfer between the Rouen courthouse and Evreux prison on Tuesday.

He has been convicted 13 times for crimes including extortion, assault and several thefts, according to Paris’ top prosecutor. His most recent conviction was for burglary and he has not yet been convicted of any drug-related charges.

But Darmanin said Amra was also under investigation in Marseille, southern France, for drug-related kidnappings and homicides, noting that drug traffickers sometimes outsource crackdowns to people not directly involved in the drug trade.

As the ambush and subsequent manhunt drew international attention, France’s prison guards’ union expressed dismay and anger at the attack, which they said reflected dangerous working conditions exacerbated by unsustainable levels of violence in overcrowded prisons.

As of last month, France had nearly 77,500 prisoners but less than 62,000 people. According to official statistics.and French official prison watchdog Recent years have described a worsening situation ‘Atmosphere of violence’ in the country’s prisons.

Erwan Saoudi, representative of the Justice League, Tell France 2 TV On Wednesday, inmate occupancy at the prison where he works in Paris reached 170% of capacity, while staffing was only 80% of normal levels.

“The balance of power has been tipped,” Mr. Sauudi added. “We have been sounding the alarm for years about rising levels of violence.”

In France, transporting prisoners outside prisons used to be primarily the responsibility of the police, but has been gradually transferred to prison guards over the past decade and is still a relatively new task for them, Sauudi said. Prison guards said their equipment – handguns and vans – did little to deter attackers who used powerful cars and heavy weapons.

Hundreds of guards symbolically cordoned off prisons across France on Wednesday morning and observed a moment of silence. They called for increased security during prisoner transfers and a reduction in out-of-town transportation of prisoners, for example by allowing legal officials into prisons to perform certain procedures or using video conferencing where possible.

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