Scores dead after riot, fire at Mexican prison
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A prison riot in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey has killed fifty-two people and wounded twelve on the eve of Pope Francis’ trip to the region, according to the state governor.
The riot erupted at the Topo Chico prison around midnight, according to Nuevo Leon state public security spokesman Antonio Arguello, who did not shed light on the cause.
State governor Jaime Rodriguez confirmed the death toll in a Thursday news conference.
Milenio had earlier TV reported at least 50 people, both inmates and guards, were killed in the violent incident that included a blaze. The Televisa network reported that around 30 people had died.
"The authorities formed a security cordon and nobody escaped. Everything was under control at 1:30 am," Arguello was quoted as saying by AFP.
"We can't say how many people died until forensic services give us a report and the authorities finish counting inmates," he added.
Despite the claim that no prisoners had managed to flee, Milenio reported that authorities were scouring the neighbourhoods around the building for escapees.
Live television images showed ambulance crews and riot police on hand outside the prison, as well as family inmates who flocked to the prison following reports of gunshots and fatalities.
Frustrated by the lack of information, some relatives formed a line to block a road near the prison, while others tossed rocks at policemen and guards.
The incident was the latest in a series of deadly riots in recent years in Mexico, which has struggled with overcrowded prisons full of members from rival drug gangs.
Pope Francis is set to begin his first visit to Mexico as pontiff on Friday. During his stay he is scheduled to stop at a prison in the border city of Juárez, once known as the "murder capital of the world", which has seen a recent decrease in violent crime.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)