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Belgian Authorities Suspend Local Search for Prison Escapees

Belgian Authorities Suspend Local Search for Prison Escapees

Tuesday, 24 December, 2019 - 07:15
Employees walk in the yard of Muskegon Correctional Facility in Muskegon, Mich., on Oct. 4, 2012. (AP)

Belgian authorities have announced the suspension of search operations for remaining inmates who fled the Turnhout prison near the border with The Netherlands on Thursday.

The announcement came after three of the fugitives were arrested a few hours after their escape.

The general prosecution office said the "unfruitful" search operations have been suspended locally, however, international tracking is still ongoing until the two escapees are found, VTM TV reported.

Local authorities have sought to determine the reasons behind the successful escape executed by five notorious inmates despite the tight security measures, including the prison's high walls, electrified barbed wire fence and surveillance cameras.

The police chief said it is not clear yet whether they escaped by themselves or a car was waiting for them outside the facility.

Among the fugitives is a 26-year-old man whose older brother, "Sharaf" or "the escape king", managed to flee the Bruges prison in a helicopter that landed on the roof to take him. Sharaf was arrested in Morocco and has been kept in a Moroccan prison to serve a prison sentence.

According to local media, last week’s escape took place at 7:30 pm, right after the yard time given to prisoners ended. When five inmates didn't return to their cells, an alarm was heard in the building. The police acted quickly and managed to arrest three prisoners, who had hidden under a train in the Turnhout station, before midnight.

However, two other inmates, Walid S. and Abdul Rahim B., are still at large.

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