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French interior minister admits lapses in gangster's jailbreak

Reuters/Pascal Rossignol

A lapse in security was responsible for the escape of gangster Redoine Faïd from a jail in northern France at the weekend, French Interior Minister Manuel Valls declared on Tuesday, contradicting Justice Minister Christiane Taubira who has refused to blame prison staff.

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“You can call it a lapse, without doubt,” Valls told RTL radio. “Because if you can get explosives and a weapon into a prison, there’s a problem and Christiane Taubira is examining the response that we must make to this problem.”

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After Faïd blasted his way out of jail taking four guards hostage on Saturday, Taubira refused to recognise there had been any lapse, because “if you say there’s been a lapse, you say whose fault is it?”.

About 100 French police are on Faïd’s trail and Europe-wide and Interpol arrest warrants have been issued.

Police in the northern city of Lille were questioning an associate of Redoine on Tuesday after releasing his brother who had been held on Sunday.

The man was taken in for questioning on Sunday afternoon.

Redoine must “adore being public enemy number one”, Pierre Fourniaud, the publisher of his book Braqueur, des cités au grand banditisme, which recounts his rise from small-time crook to big-time gangster, said Tuesday.

The fugitive “has employed his intelligence and charisma in the service of his megalomania”, Fourniaud said.

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