© Reuters. Security forces operate outside the Centro Femenino de Adaptacion Social (CEFAS) women prison following a deadly riot in Tamara, on the outskirts of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, June 20, 2023. REUTERS/Fredy Rodriguez


By Gustavo Palencia and Fredy Rodriguez

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (Reuters) -The death toll from a riot at a women’s prison in Honduras rose to 46, a government spokesperson said on Wednesday, as anxious relatives demanded information about the fate of incarcerated family members.

President Xiomara Castro’s office said Honduras’ military police would take control of most of the country’s penal system after the riot, the latest in a spate of deadly prison incidents in the country.

Honduras’ government also expanded a state of exception implemented in December and said it would turn islands hundreds of kilometers off the coast into a penal colony for “highly dangerous” gang leaders.

Relatives of inmates gathered at the Centro Femenino de Adaptacion Social, the 900-person women’s penitentiary around 20km (12 miles) from the capital city Tegucigalpa, where gang violence erupted a day earlier

According to a spokesperson for Honduras’ prosecutors’ office on Tuesday, most of those killed were burned to death, while others were shot and a further seven were being treated in a state hospital.

At Tegucigalpa’s main public morgue, workers were running out of space for victims’ remains as relatives arrived, with some asking that officials release a list of the victims from Tuesday’s violence.

Identifying victims is a challenge, as many of which were “charred or reduced” to ash, according to Yuri Mora, spokesperson for the public prosecutor’s office.

Castro said on Tuesday the riot had been planned by gang members with guards’ knowledge and promised “drastic measures” to address the deaths.

In a statement on Wednesday, the regional director of the United Nations’ children’s agency, Garry Conille, said some of the women had been living with their children in detention.

“These children are now left behind and highly vulnerable,” he said. “I am deeply concerned about their well-being and safety.”

Angel Garcia, 34, arrived at the morgue Wednesday and discovered his wife and two sisters were among the victims, questioning how authorities let this happen.

“Everybody passes the ball … everything goes unpunished,” Garcia said. “It is unfair that we are suffering because of corruption.”

The clash took place when armed members of the Barrio 18 gang held back guards and attacked members of the rival Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), police spokesperson Miguel Martinez said on local television.

The gangs, which both have roots in Los Angeles, have long battled for control of the drug trafficking and extortion industries, with the bloody conflict making Central America one of the world’s most dangerous regions.

The riot was likely in reaction to a government crackdown in recent months on corruption within prisons, said Julissa Villanueva, then-head of the penal system who was removed from her post Wednesday.

The government’s emergency powers follow a model pursued by neighbor El Salvador, which suspends some constitutional rights and allows security forces to detain people they consider are associated with crime.


Source link

(This article is generated through the syndicated feed sources, Financetin doesn’t own any part of this article)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *