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France: Large manhunt underway to track man suspected of double murder

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Snipers from the French National Gendarmerie Intervention Group (GIGN) near the village of Plantiers, in the Cevennes region, southern France on May 12, 2021.
Snipers from the French National Gendarmerie Intervention Group (GIGN) near the village of Plantiers, in the Cevennes region, southern France on May 12, 2021.   -   Copyright  CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU / AFP
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A manhunt in the French mountainous region of Cevennes to detain a heavily armed man suspected of having killed two people entered its second day on Thursday.

The fugitive is believed to have fatally shot his boss and another employee in the sawmill where he was employed on Tuesday in the small village of Les Plantiers on the slopes of Mount Aigoual in the heart of southern France's Cevennes park.

Hundreds of gendarmes, half a dozen helicopters, and specialist dog teams have been deployed since then to comb the 15 square kilometres of forest in which he has sought refuge.

The gendarmerie, which is now considering extending its search perimeter, issued of picture of the 29-year-old suspect on Thursday morning in an appeal for witnesses,

They said he is of European extraction, of average height (1.70 m) and build and that he is wearing green fatigues and a camouflage jacket.

They had previously warned that he is carrying a least two weapons with him, a handgun and a long gun with a potential range of 300 metres.

They also flagged that he is a fan of hunting and shooting sports and that he had aspired to become a marksman in the army.

Colonel Laurent Hass of the gendarmerie said he is "determined" and "perfectly knows" the area, conceding that it gave him "an advantage on us."

Residents in the village of Les Plantiers, have been advised to go out as little as possible, in case the fugitive, married to a local woman with whom he has a child, comes back.

Law enforcement seized about a dozen weapons and 3,300 rounds of ammunition of all calibres during searches at his house.