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‘Professor of hostage-taking’ detains two prison guards

Two French prison guards have been freed after an inmate described as a "professor of hostage-taking" detained them armed with a handmade weapon.

The inmate surrendered overnight to special intervention forces called to the scene at Conde-Sur-Sarthe Penitentiary in Normandy, the French justice ministry said.

The prisoner had taken the man and woman hostage on Tuesday.

Prison union representatives described the 35-year-old inmate as "professor of hostage-taking" as he was previously involved in five similar incidents.

French army helicopters fly over with French police officers of the RAID at the penitentiary center of Alencon, in Conde-sur-Sarthe, northwestern France, as a hostage-taking is underway late on June 11, 2019. (Photo by JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER / AFP) (Photo credit should read JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP/Getty Images)
Image: The inmate had a handmade weapon

The man, convicted of rape and the murder of a prison cellmate, has a history of psychiatric problems, the ministry said.

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He was armed with "a pair of scissors, a fork and a plastic weapon", an official said.

French army helicopters fly over with French police officers of the RAID at the penitentiary center of Alencon, in Conde-sur-Sarthe, northwestern France, as a hostage-taking is underway late on June 11, 2019. (Photo by JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER / AFP) (Photo credit should read JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP/Getty Images)
Image: The inmate surrendered overnight

The female hostage was a trainee in her 20s who had worked in the prison for two months.

It was her first job since leaving school.

Officials say the inmate took the hostages as a way of demanding a transfer to another prison.

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