Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Is Carla Bruni against a political comeback for Sarkozy?

Read more

DEBATE

Clone of Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part Two)

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part One)

Read more

ENCORE!

The French Maestro of Soul

Read more

FOCUS

US tobacco giants want lion's share of e-cigarette business

Read more

ENCORE!

Bold and bonkers: Kate Bush is back on stage

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Simon Serfaty, US foreign policy specialist

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'It's a War, Stupid!'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

French PM calls on ECB to go further to help economy

Read more

  • UN backs inquiry of IS group’s alleged crimes in Iraq

    Read more

  • French education ministry picture sparks racist abuse

    Read more

  • Obama calls for higher wages amid 'revving' US economy

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine’s children return to school as fighting rages on

    Read more

  • Americans detained in North Korea call for US help

    Read more

  • US urges Israel to reverse West Bank land seizure

    Read more

  • Lesotho PM calls for regional peacekeeping force after ‘coup’

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces retreat from Luhansk airport after clashes

    Read more

  • Teddy Riner, France’s unstoppable judo champion

    Read more

  • Death toll rises in Paris apartment building blast

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces free Amerli in biggest victory over IS militants since June

    Read more

  • French police arrest hungry hedgehog hunters

    Read more

  • Tripoli under control of militias, says government

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao set for Man Utd loan on transfer deadline day

    Read more

  • Spain orders custody for parents of ill British boy

    Read more

  • Web doc on French self-immolation protests takes top prize

    Read more

Americas

Dozens killed in Mexico prison violence

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-02-20

At least 44 people were killed on Sunday after a fight broke out between rival gangs in a Monterrey prison in northern Mexico. Authorities suspect the violence may have been started as a diversion to allow certain prisoners to escape.

REUTERS - At least 44 people died in a fight between rival gangs at an overcrowded prison in northern Mexico in a violent outbreak that authorities said could have been a distraction that allowed some inmates to escape.   

Victims were beaten, stabbed and stoned when the fight broke out on Sunday. Inmates at the prison in Monterrey, about 140 miles (225 km) from the border with Texas, include members of Mexico’s Gulf cartel as well as the feared Zetas cartel.
 
“We can’t rule out the possibility that some prisoners escaped, which also could be a motive if the fight started as a distraction,” said Jorge Domene, security spokesman for the Nuevo Leon state government.
 
“When we count the prisoners, and the number of confirmed dead, there are some missing,” he said.
 
Investigators said corrupt prison guards may have been involved in facilitating the disturbance at the prison and authorities were holding all the prison officials for questioning, Domene told a news conference late on Sunday.
 
In recent years there have been a number of prison breaks in Mexico, sometimes with the aid of complicit guards.
 
Sunday’s violence was the second deadly incident at a Latin American prison within a week. Desperate overcrowding in Honduras’ prisons last week led to a massive fire in a run-down jail that killed more than 350 inmates.
 
The prison in Monterrey is, like many in Mexico, overcrowded as a result of the five-year-old drug war President Felipe Calderon has been waging against cartels.
 
It was not clear if the fight was between members of the Gulf and Zetas cartels, Domene said.
 
“We hope that once the bodies are identified, we’ll be able to say who was responsible for the attack,” he said earlier in the day.
 
The prison held about 80 percent more prisoners than it was designed for, Domene said, adding many of the inmates were charged with federal crimes related to drug trafficking.

In Mexico, where prisoners held on federal drug charges are mixed with common criminals, the system is troubled by violence tied to the powerful drug cartels battling for control of smuggling routes along the U.S.-Mexican border. 
 
During another fight between rival gangs in January in a prison in the northern part of the country, 31 inmates died and 13 were wounded.
 
Collusion between guards and prisoners is also a long-standing problem. In the most notorious example, collusion lead to the escape of Mexico’s most wanted man, Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman, from jail in a laundry basket in 2001.
 
In 2010, more than 140 inmates escaped through the front gate of a prison in Tamaulipas state, helped by prison officials.
 
About 50,000 people have been killed in Mexico in the past five years since Calderon launched an army-backed offensive against drug gangs shortly after taking office.
 
Drug violence hit Monterrey, the wealthy capital of Nuevo Leon state, when the Zetas split off from their former employers the Gulf cartel and began fighting for control of drug trafficking routes and other criminal rackets in the city.

 

Date created : 2012-02-20

  • MEXICO

    Police arrest five over Monterrey casino massacre

    Read more

  • MEXICO

    Dozens killed in arson attack on Mexico's Casino Royale

    Read more

  • MEXICO

    Mexican drug cartel hitman 'was behind 1,500 murders'

    Read more

COMMENT(S)