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France

Explosive prison break in central France

Latest update : 2009-02-17

Two prisoners, convicted of armed robberies, used explosives to blast their way out of Moulins prison in central France on Sunday, briefly taking two prison guards hostage. The men released their hostages near Paris and are on the run.

AFP - Two prisoners used explosives to blast their way out of a prison in central France on Sunday, briefly taking two prison guards hostage, local officials said.
  
The prisoners, described as armed and dangerous, broke out of Moulins prison in the central French region of Allier at around 4:30 pm (1530 GMT), Jean-Pierre Maurice, the deputy regional governor of the region, told AFP.
  
They made their escape in a car but later released their hostages further north near Paris, said a spokesman for France's gendarmerie, the paramilitary police.
  
An earlier report suggested one of the hostages had been released soon after the escape.
  
One source inside the prison said both men had records for armed robbery.
  
"They blew out a door. Then they got the entrance door open by taking the two hostages," the same source added, without naming the prisoners.
  
The two men were in the prison courtyard during visiting time, said Younes Mellakh, an official with one of the French prison workers unions, the UFAP.
  
They used weapons to take the guards hostage and blew out the doors of the courtyard with explosives that they had on them, he said.
  
One police source told AFP the men were armed with at least one handgun.
  
The pair escaped their pursuers after a car chase which involved at least one road accident.
  
France's elite GIPN police unit has been mobilised to recapture them.
  
France's paramilitary gendarme force set up road blocks and deployed two helicopters in an effort to find the prisoners.
  
A large number of the gendarme police officers were stationed outside Moulins prison Sunday evening.
  
The last attempt to escape from Moulins prison dates back to 2003. The last successful bid was in 2002, when a helicopter was used in the escape.

Date created : 2009-02-15

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