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8 dead after Venezuela prison riot


Relatives listen the names of inmates injured during a riot between rival gangs outside of La Planta jail in Caracas, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010. (AP photo)

Corrections1 Staff

CARACAS, Venezuela — A prison riot in Venezuela has left eight inmates dead and 16 injured, CNN reported on Wednesday.

Authorities are investigating the motive behind the deadly riot, which happened during visitation hours at La Planta prison near Caracas, the capital.

Shots were fired in the incident, said penitentiary director Consuelo Cerrada.

“There was a regrettable internal situation between Wings Two and Three in which eight inmates died and 16 were wounded,” she told reporters.

She said the injured were transported to a hospital and confirmed that there were no guards or prisoners’ relatives among the dead, reports the Latin American Herald Tribune.

“All the dead are inmates, the majority of them (killed) by firearms,” she said.

Click the map to zoom in on the location of the prison where the riot took place

The gunfight began about 9 a.m. due to quarrels among prisoners, said Cerrada, who denied that the cause of the shootout was an alleged transfer of inmates to another prison.

Cerrada also downplayed versions from some relatives waiting outside the prison who said that the National Guard intervened in the shootout to control the situation.

The prison services chief said that the confrontation was exclusively among prisoners.

The incident coincides with the release of the 2009 report by the non-governmental organization Venezuelan Prisons Observatory, in which the authors state that last year 366 inmates died in the country’s prisons and 635 were wounded in violent incidents.

The number of prisoners who died last year was lower than in 2008, when 422 inmates were killed, and the number of wounded also declined from 854.

Some corrupt officers helped inmates gain access to firearms and other weapons and contraband, reports the Associated Press.