The National Penitentiary Institute in Honduras witnessed a bloodbath when no fewer than 18 inmates were killed and 16 others injured in overnight fighting between prisoners in the northern port town of Tela.
Prison officials said gang violence was the cause of the incident that witnessed the killing of 17 prisoners who died at the facility in Tela, about 200 kilometres (120 miles) from the capital Tegucigalpa, and one more died in hospital.
A prison spokesperson, Digna Aguilar, in a statement on Sunday said authorities had to enter the area carefully “for fear of being among the victims” because several inmates had firearms, which slowed the investigation.
Reports say it took the efforts of a combined national security force known as Fusina to disarm the inmates with authorities revealing that five nine-millimetre guns, as well as ammunition, had been seized from the prisoners.
The incident comes days after Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez who was grappling with a recent wave of prison killings ordered the army and the police to take full control of the country’s 27 prisons, which are badly overcrowded with some 21,000 inmates.
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