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End of prison hostage standoff in France, 2 guards freed

PARIS (AP) — The French justice ministry says two guards have been freed after a hostage-taking by an inmate armed with a hand-made weapon at a top security French prison in Normandy. The inmate surrendered overnight to special intervention forces called to the scene at Conde-Sur-Sarthe Penitentiary, the ministry said Wednesday.

The prisoner had taken the two guards hostage at dinner time Tuesday. Prison union representatives described the 35-year-old inmate as "professor of hostage-taking" as he was previously involved in five similar incidents.

The man, convicted for rape and the murder of a prison cellmate, has a history of psychiatric problems, the ministry said. Conde-Sur-Sarthe was also the site of a hostage-taking in March.

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