Inmate escapes as gunmen ambush van in France, kill two

Published May 15, 2024
A FORENSIC expert works at the site of a ramming attack which took place at a road toll in Incarville, northern France, on Tuesday.—AFP
A FORENSIC expert works at the site of a ramming attack which took place at a road toll in Incarville, northern France, on Tuesday.—AFP

ROUEN: Gunmen attacked a prison van at a motorway toll in northern France on Tuesday, killing at least two prison officers and freeing a convict who had been jailed last week.

President Emmanuel Macron vowed that everything would be done to find those behind the attack and hundreds of members of the security forces were deployed for a manhunt to find the attackers and the inmate who were all still at large.

Two prison officers were killed in the attack and two others were receiving urgent medical care, Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau said. The wounded officers’ lives were in danger, Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti said.

The incident took place late on Tuesday morning at a road toll in Incarville in the Eure region of northern France. The inmate was being transported between his prison in the town of Evreux and court in the regional centre of Rouen in Normandy.

A police source said several individuals, who arrived in two vehicles, rammed the police van and then fled. One of them was wounded, the police source said. It was not immediately clear how many attackers there were in total.

“Everything is being done to find the perpetrators of this crime,” Macron wrote on X. “We will be uncompromising,” he added, describing the attack as a “shock”.

French television channels broadcast footage of the attack taken by surveillance cameras at the toll, showing a vehicle colliding head on with the prison van.

In the video, the doors of the car are flung open and several gunmen dressed in black emerge. A firefight ensues and one individual appears to be guided away from the van by the gunmen.

Dupond-Moretti immediately headed to a crisis cell at his justice ministry. “These are people for whom life counts for nothing.

Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2024

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