Deadly brawl

28 in­mates are killed in prison vi­o­lence in Mex­ico

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE -

ACA­PULCO, Mex­ico — Fight­ing erupted be­tween ri­val gangs in­side a state prison be­fore dawn on Thurs­day, with 28 in­mates killed and three wounded, of­fi­cials in the Pa­cific re­sort said.

Au­thor­i­ties had ini­tially re­ported five deaths, but later raised the toll after more bod­ies were found scat­tered through­out the prison.

Robert Al­varez Here­dia, the Guer­rero state se­cu­rity spokesman, said in a state­ment that the fight­ing broke out around 4 am. He said se­cu­rity forces later re­gained con­trol and slowly be­gan dis­cov­er­ing bod­ies in a kitchen, a cell­block and other ar­eas.

“The in­ci­dent be­gan be­cause of the con­stant dis­pute be­tween ri­val groups in­side the prison,” Al­varez said.

De­spite re­ports of gun­fire in the prison, all the ca­su­al­ties were due to wounds from sharp in­stru­ments, such as the im­pro­vised weapons that are fash­ioned by in­mates, he said.

State po­lice said the prison pop­u­la­tion is more than 2,000.

A brawl be­tween ri­val drug gangs at an over­crowded pen­i­ten­tiary in north­ern Mex­ico in Fe­bru­ary resulted in 49 in­mates be­ing killed, Mex­ico’s dead­li­est prison melee in years. That clash was be­tween in­mates aligned with the Ze­tas and Gulf drug car­tels.

In June, Mex­ico’s gov­ern­men­tal-rights agency is­sued a re­port that said many of the coun­try’s prisons are un­safe, over­crowded and un­der­staffed. The re­port warned of in­suf­fi­cient staff, un­safe pro­ce­dures and poor med­i­cal care at many fa­cil­i­ties.

The Na­tional Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion said it sur­veyed con­di­tions at over 190 state, lo­cal and fed­eral jails. It found that in­mates of­ten con­trolled some ar­eas of prisons or had con­tra­band in­side.

Guer­rero has been one of Mex­ico’s most vi­o­lent states and the once-glam­orous re­sort of Aca­pulco has strug­gled with a high num­ber of killings.

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