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Montevideo, June 4th 2023 - 13:34 UTC



Commando group storms Mexican prison; 14 dead, 24 escape

Monday, January 2nd 2023 - 09:40 UTC
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. The attack took place as relatives of the inmates were waiting outside for their New Year's visit. Photo: Jose Luis Gonzalez / Reuters . The attack took place as relatives of the inmates were waiting outside for their New Year's visit. Photo: Jose Luis Gonzalez / Reuters

At least 10 prison guards have been killed on New Year's Eve during a shootout as over twenty inmates escaped the Social Rehabilitation Center (Cereso) 3 in Ciudad Juarez, in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua. Four detainees were also reported to have died in the riot.

According to preliminary data supplied by military personnel, there was a shooting during a New Year's Eve visit when a commando group stormed the penitentiary to extract several inmates.

In a press release, the Chihuahua State Attorney General's Office (FGE) announced that the situation was “under control” in the prison, although it did not mention the number of people who escaped. According to later reports from AFP citing Chihuahua state prosecutors' office, 24 inmates had escaped.

Inside, some rioting inmates set fire to various objects and clashed with prison guards, local media reported.

“Personnel from the Mexican Army, the National Guard, the State Public Security Secretariat, and the State Investigation Agency are collaborating with the FGE to restore tranquility in the Cereso,” the authorities said in a statement.

Ciudad Juarez Mayor Cruz Perez was the one who mentioned that “there is talk of 10 guards and four inmates [dead].” Forensic experts were reported to be working inside the penitentiary on New Year's Day.

Before the attack, armed men fired on municipal police along a nearby boulevard, setting off a car chase that ended with the seizure of a vehicle and four men, the statement added.

Ciudad Juarez was the scene of years of violent clashes between security forces and the rival Sinaloa and Juarez drug cartels, which have left thousands dead over the past decade. The prison itself has seen multiple breakouts of fighting and riots, including a bloody March 2009 episode that left 20 dead.

Five months ago, 11 people were killed in a similar event in the same city, where several businesses were set on fire by organized crime. In August 2022, a clash between rival gangs left three prisoners dead. According to a February 2022 report by the State Human Rights Commission, more than 3,700 people are detained in the prison, above its maximum capacity of 3,135.

Mexico recorded a total of 31,127 murders in 2022, 33,308 in 2021, 34,554 in 2020, and 34,690 in 2019.

Categories: Latin America.

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