Suspected al Qaeda 'tourist killer' escapes from court

An al Qaeda suspect accused of the Christmas Eve killing of four French tourists in Mauritania evaded his police court as he escaped from a court in Mauritania on Wednesday, lawyers and officials said.(Report: G.Cragg)


One of the men charged with killing four French adventure tourists in Mauritania last December escaped from a court toilet in Nouakchott Wednesday, officials told AFP.

Sidi Ould Sidna used a trip to the washrooms to rid himself of his handcuffs and evade his police escort before slipping out of the building unnoticed, the source added.

Police were still looking for the fugitive in the city's streets at 4pm local time (also 1600 GMT) who had been summoned to court for questioning by the investigating judge.

Ould Sidna was arrested in Guinea Bissau in January alongside another suspect, Mohamed Ould Chabarnoux, following a massive manhunt across western Africa. He was subsequently extradited to Mauritania.

The two are suspected of having links to a group linked to the Al-Qaeda network.

An Interpol arrest warrant was issued against a third man, Maarouve Mohamed Habib, who is still on the run.

The trio were charged with belonging to a criminal association with the aim of killing and using Mauritania's national territory for acts of terrorism against citizens of a foreign country.

The four French tourists were shot dead near Aleg in southern Mauritania and another was badly wounded on December 24.

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