Who is ‘The Fly’? The French prisoner who escaped in van ambush

Who is ‘The Fly’? The French prisoner who escaped in van ambush

A prisoner is on the run in France after escaping during an ambush that left two prison guards dead. 

The inmate was being transported between prison and a Rouen court when heavily armed men ambushed the van.

Here is what we know so far about the inmate and how he escaped.

Who is the prison escapee?

The escaped prisoner is Mohamed Amra, who is nicknamed “La Mouche”, or “The Fly”, according to French media.

The 30-year-old is a drug dealer from northern France, police sources said.

One of the sources said Amra had ties to Marseille’s powerful “Blacks” gang, while public prosecutor Laure Beccuau said he was under investigation for a kidnapping and homicide case in the city.

He was under high surveillance and had recently been sentenced to 18 months for burglary.

However, he was not considered a “radicalised” prisoner, according to police sources speaking to French newspaper Le Figaro.

Mohamed Amra

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Hooded gunmen attack prison convoy

Previous escape attempt

A prison source told Le Parisien that Amra had tried to saw the bars off his cell two days before the ambush.

He had reportedly been placed in solitary confinement and his surveillance level raised after the escape attempt – making more guards necessary during transportation.

What happened in the ambush?

Amra was being taken to Evreux jail in Normandy after a court hearing in Rouen, about 35 miles away, when it was attacked by men in two vehicles.

CCTV footage showed a black SUV colliding with a white van.

Two male prison officers were shot dead and three others seriously injured during the attack, which happened at a motorway tollbooth.

Footage also showed at least two men in balaclavas carrying rifles circling near the SUV in flames.

Footage shows a gunman at the scene. Pic: Snapchat/Yan78780
Footage shows a gunman at the scene. Pic: Snapchat/Yan78780

What has the police response been?

Several hundred police officers have been mobilised in a major manhunt after Tuesday morning’s escape.

“All means are being used to find these criminals. On my instructions, several hundred police officers and gendarmes were mobilised,” interior minister Gerald Darmanin wrote on X.

Public prosecutor Laure Beccuau announced an investigation into the attack, which is now considered a case of organised crime and murder.

The investigation will also address organised escape attempts, possession of military-grade weapons and conspiracy to commit crime.

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