Escaped French prisoners take two more hostages

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A father and his young son were taken hostage on Monday by two prisoners who blasted their way out of a French prison.

LILLE – Two prisoners who blasted their way out of a French prison briefly took a father and his young son hostage on Monday as they pursued their flight across the country, police sources said.

The men, described as armed and dangerous, seized the motorist and his son in the northern town of Amiens, hundreds of kilometres north of the prison they broke out of on Sunday in Moulins in central France.

They drove with them to the town of Arras, about 70 kilometres closer to the Belgian border, where they released them. A police source said the prisoners may have stolen another car there to continue their escape.

The pair used explosives to blast their way out of their prison and took two guards hostage to make good their escape.

Police pursued them but the prisoners managed to throw them off after a car chase which caused at least one road accident, police said.

The men later released their guards further north near Paris.

France's elite GIPN police unit has been deployed to recapture them, while gendarmes set up road blocks and deployed two helicopters to try to find the prisoners.

Police sources identified one of the men as Christophe Khider, 37, who had been serving a life sentence since 1999 for an armed robbery in which a hostage was killed.

In 2007, he received a further 15 years for an attempt to break out of another prison.

The second was El Hadj Top, 28, who would not have come up for parole until 2020.

A police source told AFP the men were armed with at least one handgun.

[AFP / Expatica]

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