Mauritania-TouristsKi 2ndLd-Writethru 04-02 Web

Terrorism suspect escapes

A man accused of killing four French tourists escaped from a courthouse after an interrogation session Wednesday, tricking guards who believed he was inside a restroom, a courthouse official and a witness said.

One guard was later arrested, along with an employee of the courthouse and two of the fugitive’s sisters who were thought to have helped with the escape, the official said.

Sidi Ould Sidna was arrested in January in connection with the killings of the tourists, who were gunned down on the side of a highway in Mauritania.

Blamed on an al-Qaida affiliate, the killing of the tourists and a subsequent attack on a Mauritanian military outpost led organizers of the Dakar Rally to cancel the trans-Saharan course, moving the race to Latin America in a major blow to the economy of the desert region.

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