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Escaped prisoner recaptured after nine months on the run

Turnhout prison. © Belga

Police in Limburg have reported the arrest of Oualid Sekkaki, aged 26, who escaped from the prison in Turnhout in December last year.

Sekkaki was one of four prisoners who escaped, apparently by climbing from the top of a five-metre wall topped with electrified barbed wire.

Three of the prisoners were recaptured quickly, leaving only Sekkaki and one Abderrahim Baghat (38) at large. Baghat was tracked down in January, after the search for the two men had been suspended.

Sekkaki was serving time for the wounding of another man by gunshot. He was previously convicted of an attempted home invasion at the home of singer and TV presenter Walter Grootaers, and trafficking in 25,000 ecstasy tablets.

He was arrested finally by traffic police in Lummen in Limburg, having been trailed over the last few days by the FAST team of fugitive hunters, on the orders of the Antwerp prosecutor’s office. He is now locked up in Hasselt prison.

Oualid Sekkaki is from a notorious family of prison escape artists. His older brother Ashraf made multiple escapes from a youth detention facility in Mol while still a teenager, and once made a daring escape from the courtyard of the prison in Bruges with the help of a helicopter hijacked by a confederate.

While Oualid remained at large, Turnhout police received a postcard apparently mailed in Thailand and purporting to send the best wishes from Sekkaki. The feeling then was that it was a ruse to suggest he had escaped the country. However the question of where and how he managed to remain on the run for so long remains unanswered.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

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