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Fugitive ex-soldier arrested after massive manhunt in France

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French gendarmes in Le Lardin-Saint-Lazare, near Sarlat, southwestern France, on May 30, 2021.
French gendarmes in Le Lardin-Saint-Lazare, near Sarlat, southwestern France, on May 30, 2021.   -   Copyright  DIARMID COURREGES / AFP
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An armed former soldier was arrested in southwestern France on Monday following a massive manhunt, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said.

The search started on Sunday in the French département of Dordogne after the ex-soldier shot at gendarmes responding to a call about a domestic incident, then fled into a wooded area.

"#Dordogne: the individual has been neutralised," tweeted Darmanin, who also thanked gendarmes, special forces "and all state services that were mobilised".

Some 300 gendarmes were deployed in the operation as well as elite tactical units and dog units. Seven helicopters were flying over the area.

The suspect, who has been identified as Terry Dupin, 29, was seriously wounded by retaliatory fire after he shot at security forces, police officials told reporters on Monday.

Dupin is currently being treated by rescue services, authorities said. He was in a "suicidal logic" when he was intercepted, according to Général Pétillot, commander of the region's gendarmerie.

Domestic violence incident

The initial incident took place in the village of Lardin-Saint-Lazare, about 30km from Sarlat, overnight between Saturday and Sunday.

The gendarmerie was called in around midnight after the suspect visited his ex-girlfriend's house where, the force said, "he abused her new friend".

The man then reportedly opened fire on gendarmes' vehicles and escaped into a nearby wooded area.

According to a source close to the investigation, the suspect is a former soldier who was in the army from 2011 to 2016.

Meanwhile, Francine Bourra, the mayor of Lardin-Saint-Lazare, has said the suspect "had been imprisoned for domestic violence" and is wearing an electronic ankle tag.

Dordogne prefect Frédéric Périssat added on Sunday that the man had been located in a "difficult to access" wooded area. He added: "Contact has been established on several occasions in a sporadic manner but this has been followed by shots being fired by the individual."

The gendarmerie also said that the man's ex-girlfriend and her children are unharmed and under its protection.