Archive for Sunday, January 7, 2007

20 inmates dead after two riots at prison

January 7, 2007

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— Riots erupted in a maximum-security prison in western El Salvador, leaving at least 20 inmates dead, officials said Saturday.

The first wave of rioting was sparked late Friday at the prison in Apanteos, 40 miles west of San Salvador, when a jailed gang member began arguing with a guard as inmates were heading into their cells to go to sleep, authorities said.

The prisoner grabbed the guard and rival gang members around them began fighting each other and tearing down six of the prison's flimsy interior walls to get at other cell blocks. The guards then fled as hundreds of prisoners battled, mostly with makeshift weapons, shovels and pieces of broken wall.

Deputy police director Luis Tobar Prieto said Saturday that officials regained control of the prison and found 17 inmates dead and several injured. But a second outbreak of fighting later Saturday claimed three more lives, officials said.

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