Venezuelan prison evacuated

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POLICE in Venezuela have removed all inmates from a prison where 61 were reported killed this weekend in one of the deadliest prison riots in the nation’s history.

Prisons minister Iris Varela said the evacuation of Uribana jail in the city of Barquisimeto was completed yesterday morning. Inmates were taken to other prisons by bus.

Ms Varela posted photos of inmates filing out, and said what would come next for the prison was “now the reconstruction”.

Government officials have yet to provide an official death toll from the fierce gunbattles, which pitted armed inmates against National Guard troops.

Dr Ruy Medina, director of Central Hospital in the city, said on Saturday that the death toll was 61, while about 120 were wounded.

Dr Medina said that nearly all the injuries were from gunshots.

The riot was the latest in a series of violent clashes in Venezuela’s overcrowded prisons, where inmates often obtain weapons and drugs with the help of corrupt guards.

The riot was the deadliest since January 1994, when more than 100 inmates died after a riot and fire set by inmates tore through a prison in Maracaibo.