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Dozens killed in prison riot


Dozens killed in prison riot

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MONTERREY – Dozens of people were killed in a riot and blaze at an overcrowded prison in the northeastern Mexican city of Monterrey early on Thursday, local media reported, days ahead of a planned visit by Pope Francis to another prison in Mexico’s far north.

Milenio TV said up to 60 people were killed and dozens injured in the predawn riot at the Topo Chico prison. It said relatives of prisoners had heard gunshots in the early hours.

Prison director, Gregoria Salazar, told relatives that there was fighting in two areas of the prison and that inmates had burnt mattresses and a food-storage area. She said the death toll was still being investigated.

The incident is the latest in a series of deadly riots in recent years to rock the country’s overpopulated prisons, which often house inmates from different drug gangs.

The Nuevo Leon state government said on Twitter the situation had been brought under control and ruled out a prison break but gave no details on what had happened.

“I want to know that my daughter is okay. She is in the infirmary. There are children in there,” said one woman outside the prison as other relatives shouted and cursed.

Salazar said the areas holding women and elderly inmates were calm.

Pope Francis is set to begin his first visit to Mexico as pontiff on Friday. Next week, he will visit a prison in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, which was once one of the most violent cities in the world.

Television images showed police vehicles patrolling the streets near Topo Chico. Relatives of inmates shook the prison gates and tossed rocks at guards and police on the other side.

Milenio reported that inmates’ relatives who had been within the prison’s premises for conjugal visits had seen inmates with burns.  (Reuters)