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Manhunt for inmate who escaped from French jail

Fresnes prison near Paris, is one of the most overcrowded jails in France.
Fresnes prison near Paris, is one of the most overcrowded jails in France. PATRICK KOVARIK / AFP

A man has escaped from a jail south of Paris, evading prison guards who fired several shots. The 29 year-old was under special surveillance at Fresnes prison after being convicted for theft, blackmail and gang violence.

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The man, named as Nicolas B., managed to climb the prison walls on Sunday using a rope ladder and sheets according to the establishment, one of France's biggest jails, situated in the Val de Marne area, 11 kilometres south of Paris.

Two guards shot at the prisoner from the towers, as he climbed over one of the walls.

He was reportedly not wounded by the gunshots but injured his hand on the barbed wire at the top of the fence.

Police are now searching for him.

Erwan Saoudi, a FO prison union spokesman, interviewed by France Info confirmed the escape method and said the man must have been "extremely agile [like] an athlete".

According to France Info, Nicolas B. was known for a previous daring escape from a courtroom in December 2016.

Witnesses said he climbed out of the witness box like a contortionist and managed to outrun the policeman guarding him and jump on a nearby metro.

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