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Notorious French criminal on the run after jailbreak

AFP

Notorious armed robber Redoine Faid used explosives and took four wardens hostage as he made a dramatic escape from a prison in northern France on Saturday. A manhunt is currently under way for Faid, who is described as “particularly dangerous”.

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A manhunt is underway in France after a convicted armed robber used explosives to blast his way out of a prison in the north of the country on Saturday.

Redoine Faid is a well-known criminal notorious for robbing cash-in-transit vehicles and is also wanted in connection for his suspected involvement in a 2010 armed robbery that led to the death of a policewoman.

Faid took four wardens hostage in his daring escape from the prison in the town of Sequedin in northern France. State prosecutor Frederic Fevre told AFP that one of the wardens was released just outside the prison, another a few hundred metres away and the final two were left along a motorway. All are reportedly in shock but unharmed.

Fevre warned that Faid is a "particularly dangerous prisoner" and was still in possession of the explosives he had used to blast through five prison doors during the dramatic escape.

It is believed that Faid’s wife gave him the explosives hidden in tissues that she passed to her husband while visiting him earlier on Saturday morning.

Justice Minister Christiane Taubira said later on Saturday that Interpol had been called in to help track Faid and that a Europe-wide warrant had been issued for his arrest.

"The hunt will initially focus on Belgium, of course, because we share a border, but also extend to the entire Schengen area and beyond," she told reporters in Sequedin.

'Well organised'

Faid made off in a getaway car he later abandoned and set on fire south of the city of Lille before getting into a second vehicle, which the police say they are still trying to trace.

"It happened very quickly, it was clearly very well organised, we are still busy putting the facts together," a local administrative official told AFP.

Faid, who is believed to have links to organised crime, co-authored a 2010 book in which he detailed his delinquent youth and life as a criminal in Paris's impoverished crime-ridden suburbs, citing American films such as "Scarface" and "Heat" as inspiration for his exploits.

"Movies for me were like a user's guide for armed robbery," he told the LCI news channel when the book was released.

Faid was initially sentenced to 18 years in prison in 1999 but was released a decade later. However, he was taken back into custody in July 2011 for failing to comply with the terms of his parole and ordered to serve out the remaining eight years of his sentence.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

 

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