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French authorities hunt for radicalized Moroccan on the run in the Caribbean

EFE Paris

Rachid Rafaa

Rachid Rafaa

French authorities called on Tuesday for public cooperation in the search for a man with alleged ties to al-Qaeda who last week escaped house arrest on the Caribbean island of Martinique.

The man, a 40-year-old Moroccan citizen named Rachid Rafaa who had been under house arrest on the island since May 2014 following a deportation order, disappeared on the eve of Wednesday, July 26, the French government said on its Twitter account.

The government added that Rafaa, who was living at an inn located in the small Martinican town of Le Morne-Rouge in the north of the island, was required to check in with local police four times a day, but failed to do so Wednesday.

According to French daily “Le Parisien,” Rafaa was under surveillance due to his alleged ties to the jihadist group known as al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

He had been arrested in December 2009 in France following an international arrest warrant issued by Morocco.

Rafaa was then deported to the French overseas department of Martinique, located in the Lesser Antilles north of South America, where he was placed under house arrest and compelled to spend every night at the Red Cliff Inn.

Authorities warned that Rafaa could be traveling by aircraft or boat with false identity documents, and said people living in the eastern Caribbean should be on the lookout for the wanted fugitive and stay vigilant, as he is considered to be highly dangerous.

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EFE Paris

Rachid Rafaa

Rachid Rafaa

French authorities called on Tuesday for public cooperation in the search for a man with alleged ties to al-Qaeda who last week escaped house arrest on the Caribbean island of Martinique.

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The man, a 40-year-old Moroccan citizen named Rachid Rafaa who had been under house arrest on the island since May 2014 following a deportation order, disappeared on the eve of Wednesday, July 26, the French government said on its Twitter account.

The government added that Rafaa, who was living at an inn located in the small Martinican town of Le Morne-Rouge in the north of the island, was required to check in with local police four times a day, but failed to do so Wednesday.

According to French daily “Le Parisien,” Rafaa was under surveillance due to his alleged ties to the jihadist group known as al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

He had been arrested in December 2009 in France following an international arrest warrant issued by Morocco.

Rafaa was then deported to the French overseas department of Martinique, located in the Lesser Antilles north of South America, where he was placed under house arrest and compelled to spend every night at the Red Cliff Inn.

Authorities warned that Rafaa could be traveling by aircraft or boat with false identity documents, and said people living in the eastern Caribbean should be on the lookout for the wanted fugitive and stay vigilant, as he is considered to be highly dangerous.