Caracas, May 1 (efe-epa).- At least 46 people were killed and several others wounded on Friday during a riot at a prison in Venezuela, a jail official told EFE.
The riots broke out when some inmates attempted an escape from the Los Llanos prison in Guanare around 500 kilometers (300 miles) southeast of the capital. The violence began a little after 1 pm.
The official, who wished to remain anonymous, said the death toll could increase, as the condition of some of the wounded was “extremely serious”.
The prison’s director, Carlos Toro, was among the wounded after he was stabbed in the back and behind his head during the clashes in which the inmates used firearms and sharp weapons apart from tossing a grenade.
The investigation into the incident was still going on eight hours later, a public prosecutor told EFE, without providing further details.
Escarlet Gonzalez, a lieutenant of the Bolivarian National Guard – a paramilitary force – present at the scene, was hit by shrapnel from the grenade lobbed by one of the prisoners involved in the mutiny.
The critically wounded people were admitted to the Dr. Miguel Oraa hospital, while the deceased were taken to an improvised morgue close to the prison in the city of Guanare, situated in the Portuguesa province, where they would be identified before the news of their death was conveyed to their family members.
The incident comes at a time when Venezuela has been put under quarantine and social distancing to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic, due to which all health centers and hospitals of the country have been put on high alert at the orders of President Nicolas Maduro.
The South American country has so far reported more than 300 cases and 10 deaths due to the disease.
Venezuela has been in the grip of a deepening political and economic crisis since January last year when President Nicolas Maduro was sworn in for another six-year term after winning elections that were described as fraudulent by the opposition.
There have been a series of street violence incidents since then, plummeting the once-wealthy oil nation into further crisis. EFE-EPA