Mohamed Amra, escaped or kidnapped?

Two days after the attack on the prison van, which left two dead and three wounded, specialists in organized crime are wondering whether the prisoner was freed by accomplices or whether he was exfiltrated “to make him pay”.

“Considerable resources”, according to Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, have been deployed to find Mohamed Amra and his accomplices, the perpetrators of the attack on the Penitentiary van at the Incarville toll plaza, in the Eure region, on Monday May 13, 2024 just before noon. He was on his way back to the Évreux prison, where he was being held after a hearing at the Rouen judicial court.
450 police and gendarmes were mobilized in the Eure department alone. And Interpol issued a red notice for Mohamed Amra, resulting in a worldwide wanted persons notice (196 countries).

The lawyer’s doubts

This sad individual, aged 30, born in Rouen, is certainly a notorious drug dealer. A dangerous man. He is involved in drug trafficking, kidnapping and attempted homicide. He was detained after being indicted by the Marseille JIRS for his alleged involvement in a gang murder case.
A dangerous man at the head of a drug gang, did Mohamed Amra have the stature of the big thugs capable of organizing an attack on an armored car and firing heavy weapons at the security guards?
His lawyer, Hugues Vigier, expressed surprise at the attack. He wonders about the motives of the assailants, who, he explains, acted “not to free him, but to have him at their disposal and perhaps make him pay for what we assume he had committed”.

“Maybe someone came looking for him”.

Journalist Frédéric Ploquin, a specialist in organized crime, takes the same line. In an interview with France3 Normandie, he explains: “I’ve spoken to some of the big crooks who have analyzed the video, and they tell me ‘maybe it’s not an escape. Maybe they came looking for him'”.
Indeed, a close look at the footage reveals that Mohamed Amra does not immediately get out of the van. It’s as if he was surprised by the attack. Frédéric Ploquin adds: “Given that this man is a priori in a war with a certain number of competitors, we can indeed imagine the hypothesis that they came looking for him for other reasons: to make him talk, to ask him for money…”.

Professionals or amateurs?

Clearly, the attack was well prepared. The assailants knew the van’s route, the up-to-the-minute times of the tolls, the number of vehicles and guards in the van… They could only have obtained this information thanks to a mole inside the prison system. Which argues in favor of a team of professionals. But their determination to shoot and kill from the outset suggests that they were amateurs, young killers who had nothing to do with organized crime.
The fact remains that Mohamed Amra and his murderous accomplices, whatever their motivation, are now on the loose. Ready to do anything to elude the forces of law and order. Even if it means killing again.