At least 13 dead after police use force to end Mexico prison riot

(GEARS OF BIZ) — By Victoria Ritter

At least 13 inmates have died in a prison riot in northern Mexico that authorities ended with lethal force, a state security official has said.

Spokesman Aldo Fasci said the riot occurred at the state prison in Cadereyta and the death toll could climb because eight people were in a critical condition.

The battle began overnight in the prison, just outside the city of Monterrey.

All afternoon, desperate families battled authorities outside the prison gates, demanding information about their relatives inside as black smoke poured from several points inside the facility.

Several hours of attempted negotiations failed and police using non-lethal force were unable to quell the riot, Mr Fasci said, so it was decided lethal force would be necessary to protect the lives of guards and prisoners.

Authorities could see through video monitors that at least one prisoner had already been killed and guards had been taken hostage, Mr Fasci said.

The guards were being held and beaten on the roof.

“If they had not taken these decisions right now we would be talking about many more dead,” Mr Fasci said.

The trouble started Monday night (local time) when one of the half-dozen gangs that is normally kept apart inside the prison protested.

The protest died down, but early on Tuesday morning fighting broke out and a prisoner was killed and his body burned, according to Mr Fasci.

When police first went in trying to take control, they were met by about 150 prisoners who attacked them with metal tools and rubble from work that was being carried out inside the prison.

No guards were killed in the violence, but a police officer was gravely wounded with a punctured lung.

It is 4,000 inmates against 300 guards, Mr Fasci said, adding the facility was not designed for that many prisoners or prisoners of the risk level it holds.

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