Inmates beheaded in gruesome prison riot

At least seven prisoners were murdered during a brutal fight between gang members in Guatemala's Pavoncito prison. Most of the murdered inmates were beheaded and mutilated.


FRAIJANES - Seven inmates were murdered, most of them beheaded, in a brutal prison fight between gang members in Guatemala on Saturday, authorities said.

Prisoners at the Pavoncito prison, in the town of Fraijanes, 43 miles (70 km) south of the capital, mutilated and decapitated five rivals, putting a head on a stick in a gruesome sight that could be seen from outside the prison. Two other inmates were killed in the fight.

The rioting began when prisoners were transferred to Pavoncito on Friday from another prison.

"This is a dispute between prisoners belonging to different gangs, who bring their conflicts with them when they are locked up," Rudy Esquivel, the prison spokesman told Reuters.

Police and prison authorities regained control of the jail on Saturday afternoon. Pavoncito houses more than 900 prisoners convicted mostly of drug trafficking, murder and robbery.

Uprisings in overcrowded Central American prisons are frequent.

In May, inmates at the Chimaltenango prison in Guatemala decapitated a senior prison official during a riot that began after two women were caught smuggling drugs into the jail.

Guatemala is one of the most violent countries in Latin America and thousands of people are killed annually. Its penitentiary system is corrupt, with gangs and drug traffickers often running their criminal empires from behind bars.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning