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Police stop local search for escapees from Turnhout prison

The two men are still on the run after they escaped from the Turnhout prison on Thursday. Credit: Turnhout police

Police announced on Sunday that they have stopped searching for two escaped inmates in the area surrounding Turnhout prison, as they have likely moved location by now.

It is indeed very unlikely that the two prisoners – who escaped on Thursday – are still anywhere near the prison, police announced.

Five prisoners escaped from Turnhout on Thursday evening. The method used for the escape remains unclear, prison authorities told De Standaard. The popular theory is that they somehow climbed over the prison wall, which is at least five metres high.

“In theory, there’s one spot where you could climb onto a roof and from there over the wall, but just for that reason, heavy-duty barbed wire has been put in place, which is also electrified. The wall itself is electrified. It’s out of the question that the escaped that way.”

Three of the five escapees were quickly recaptured, but the other two, Oualid Sekkaki (26) and Abderrahim Baghat (38), are still on the run. 

The information about Baghat is limited, but, just like the other four prisoners that managed to escape on Thursday, he has several violent crimes to his name.

Sekkaki was imprisoned for a shooting in which a 28-year-old man was shot in the knee in 2017. He has also been convicted before of attempted home invasion and the import and transport of 25,000 XTC pills, reports Het Laatste Nieuws.

He is also the youngest brother of the notorious ‘escape king’ Ashraf Sekkaki, who first escaped from the Turnhout prison in 2003, and managed to escape from the Bruges prison in a hijacked helicopter ten years ago.

Although the search near the prison has been stopped, Turnhout police said investigators are still trying to locate them and there is an international warrant out for their arrest. 

The Brussels Times