The deputy director of a high security jail in Vendin-le-Vieil in northern France was taken hostage by a "dangerous" inmate on Wednesday.
The hostage situation continued even as the prison authorities were trying to convince the inmate to release the official.
French dailies noted that the convict who took the deputy director hostage in central Vendin-le-Vieil is "particularly dangerous" and "armed". There was no clarity how the officer was taken hostage.
French news source 20minutes reported that the deputy director was taken hostage around 11 am (local time). "The individual is armed and holds the deputy director in the audience hall located in the segregation unit," prefecture of Pas-de-Calais told AFP.
The hostage taker has been identified as Fabrice Boromee, who is on a 28-year jail term.
He is from Guadeloupe, an overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department, located in the Leeward Islands, part of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean. He had reportedly asked the prison authorities repeatedly to send him back to Guadeloupe, La1ere reported.
The report noted that earlier in 2013, Fabrice had taken the supervisor of another prison in Orne in the northwest of France as hostage. He was later awarded a further eight-year jail term for the action.
The reports noted that Fabrice was initially kept restrained as he was considered to be dangerous, but due to his improved behaviour recently the jail authorities got lenient to some extent.
The Vendin-le-Vieil prison is located 30 km south of the city of Lille, and it became fully functional in September 2014. It has the capacity to house 250 inmates.
France24 reported that a tactical unit was at the prison trying to negotiate with the prisoner and if possible to intervene.
The report citing France's justice ministry stated the high security prison houses "inmates who have been given long sentences" and has "highly sophisticated safety features".