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Guatemala Youth Jail Riot Leaves Two Guards Dead


Inmates climbed the roof of the detention centre as others set mattresses alight

 


 March 21st, 2017  |  08:42 AM  |   1255 views

GUATEMALA

 

Two guards have been killed in a riot at a youth detention centre in Guatemala, police say.

Five more have been injured and are being held hostage at the Etapa II centre in the capital, Guatemala City.

The inmates are demanding that they be allowed to receive food parcels and be given permission to cook their own meals.

Riot police surrounded the jail and fired tear gas but have so far failed to regain control of the prison.

The inmates set mattresses alight and climbed the roof of the detention centre. Some tried to escape.

Inmates are seen during a riot in a juvenile detention centre in San Jose Pinula, east of Guatemala City, on March 19, 2017.Image copyrightAFP

Image caption

Flames could be seen engulfing one of the prison blocks

Inmates walk on the roof during a riot in a juvenile detention centre in San Jose Pinula, east of Guatemala City, on March 19, 2017.Image copyrightAFP

Image caption

Some inmates tried to take advantage of the riot to escape

Riot police stand guard outside a juvenile detention centre in San Jose Pinula, east of Guatemala City, on March 19, 2017.Image copyrightAFP

Image caption

Riot police formed a cordon around the jail

Officials said the riot was started by members of the 18th Street Gang, one of Central America's most notorious gangs.

Among their demands was that fellow gang members held at other jails be transferred to Etapa II.

Witnesses said inmates from the 18th Street Gang also threatened to kill members of rival gang Paisas if they refused to take part in the riot.

Inmates climb to the roof as police take control during a riot at the reformatory for youth and men, Centro Correccional Etapa II, in San Jose Pinula, Guatemala, Sunday, March 19, 2017Image copyrightAP

Image caption

By nightfall the situation was still not under control

Members of violent street gangs make up the bulk of Guatemala's prison population and deadly conflict inside prison walls is not uncommon.

Hours after the riot started on Sunday, smoke could still be seen coming from parts of the detention centre.

The incident comes less than two weeks after 40 girls died in a fire at a state-run children's shelter, also near Guatemala City.

That fire, too, is believed to have started when a mattress was set alight.

The two cases have highlighted the poor state of children's and youth services in Guatemala, activists say.

 

 


 

Source:
courtesy of BBC NEWS

by BBC News

 

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