Venezuela prison riot kills dozens, report says

January 26, 2013 06:08

CARACAS - A jail riot in southwestern Venezuela killed dozens of people on Friday, local media reported, the latest incident in the ongoing crisis in the South American nation's crowded prisons.

Violence broke out after news of an inspection to confiscate weapons at the Centro Occidental jail, Prisons Minister Iris Varela said in a statement, without providing a death toll.

Local media reports say between 26 and 54 people were killed and dozens wounded.

A prisons ministry source told Reuters that "many" had been killed, including one national guard officer, but declined to offer more details. The source said the ministry would hold a news conference on Saturday with details.

The violence involved both a struggle between rival gangs for control of the jail and a confrontation between inmates and troops called in to calm the situation, Varela said.

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