France prisoner escape: Fears wanted fugitive gangster ‘The Fly’ will ‘try to cross borders’

French investigators fear escaped prisoner Mohamed Amra "will try to cross borders" as the hunt for the suspected drug boss and his armed gang enters its third day. Around 450 police officers are involved in a nationwide search for the 30-year-old fugitive gangster - known as "The Fly" - who was being taken from court to jail in a prison van when it was attacked by gunmen in balaclavas.

Mohamed AmraImage: Mohamed Amra

Two prison officers[1] were killed in the attack and three others seriously injured during the ambush[2] at a motorway tollbooth near Rouen in Normandy on Tuesday morning. Jacques Morel, general of the gendarmerie - a civilian military force also involved in the search - told French broadcaster Francetvinfo: "Given the preparation that went into this attack and the people he has around him, I think that the hypothesis of the run was also worked on.

"He had a point of withdrawal, perhaps not very far from where it happened, for him, of course, he will try to cross borders either towards the Maghreb or towards Spain." However, he added the manhunt remains complex. "You know the problem of borders, it's not really easy to control them.

So the first hypothesis is this: try to challenge him before a flight abroad," he added.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

CCTV shows French prison van attack

It comes after Interpol issued a red notice search warrant for Amra at the request of the French authorities on Wednesday. Interior minister Gerald Darmanin said France had deployed unprecedented resources to capture Amra and his accomplices, including assistance from foreign countries. Advertisement

"We are investing considerable resources, we are making a lot of progress," he told RTL radio.

Follow Sky News on WhatsAppFollow Sky News on WhatsApp

Keep up with all the latest news from the UK and around the world by following Sky News

Tap here[3]

The Paris prosecutor's office said Amra had been convicted of burglary by a court in Evreux on 10 May and was being held at the Val de Reuil prison. Nicknamed La Mouche, or "The Fly" in English, Amra - born in the port city of Rouen in northern France - has a long and violent criminal history. He has been described as "versatile and opportunistic" by police, engaging in a range of criminal activities to bolster his income.

This includes, according to Le Monde, orchestrating kidnappings and extortions from his cell using encrypted messaging apps like Signal. Police sources said he was involved in international drug dealing, a suspect in a kidnap and murder case in Marseille, and had ties to the city's powerful "Blacks" gang. He had recently been sentenced to 18 months for burglary in the suburbs of Evreux, northwest France, reported BFM TV.

A prison source told Le Parisien that Amra tried to saw the bars off his cell a few days ago - with the criminal reportedly put in solitary confinement afterwards.

The publication said he is suspected of having ordered an assassination attempt - linked to drugs - targeting a Frenchman in Spain in the summer of 2023.

It added Amra was also re-evaluated as 'Escort 3' risk category, making more guards necessary during transportation.


  1. ^ Two prison officers (
  2. ^ ambush (
  3. ^ Tap here (
  4. ^ Who is 'The Fly'? (