June 21, 2023

More than 40 women dead in prison riot in Honduras

More than 40 women dead in prison riot in Honduras

By Biodun Busari

About 41 women have died after violence broke out in their prison which is about 30 miles northwest of the capital of Tegucigalpa Honduras on Tuesday.

Not fewer than 26 were burned to death in the grisly riot at the women’s prison, while the remainder were shot or stabbed till they gave up the ghost.

According to New York Post, the country’s president, Xiomara Castro blamed the deadly chaos on “mara” street gangs that often wield broad power inside penitentiaries.

Yuri Mora, the spokesman for Honduras’ national police investigation agency also disclosed that at least seven inmates were being treated at a Tegucigalpa hospital.

“The forensic teams that are removing bodies confirm they have counted 41,” said Mora.

Video clips by the government from inside the prison showed several pistols and a heap of machetes and other bladed weapons that were found after the riot.

Castro said the riot was “planned by maras with the knowledge and acquiescence of security authorities.”

Azucena Martinez, whose daughter was also being held at the prison, said “There are a lot of dead, 41 already. We don’t know if our relatives are also in there, dead.”

Julissa Villanueva, head of the country’s prison system, suggested the riot started because of recent attempts by authorities to crack down on illicit activity inside prisons and called Tuesday’s violence a reaction to moves “we are taking against organized crime.”

“We will not back down,” Villanueva said in a televised address after the riot.

Gangs wield broad control inside the country’s prisons, where inmates often set their own rules and sell prohibited goods.

They were also apparently able to smuggle in guns and other weapons, a recurring problem in Honduran prisons.

“The issue is to prevent people from smuggling in drugs, grenades and firearms,” said Honduran human rights expert Joaquin Mejia.