Fire in Panama prison for minors injures 15

10:57, June 21, 2011      

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At least 15 juvenile inmates in a prison for minors in Panama were injured on Monday after a fire broke out in the installations.

Panama's Interior Minister Roxana Mendez said the fire began about 3:30 a.m. local time (0830 GMT) when a group of prisoners entered the pavilion of a rival group which provoked a violent clash.

The fire in "Arco Iris of Tocumen" juvenile prison in the eastern part of the capital Panama City occurred during the fight between the two rival groups, Mendez said.

"What happened was a violent episode of riots when a group left their cells to attack another group. We are regarding the magnitude and gravity of the situation and we are waiting for the medical evaluations," she said, adding that the incident will be investigated.

Nestor Vega, director of emergencies at the city's Santo Tomas Hospital, said that 10 of the 15 youngsters have sustained burns and are in a serious medical state.

Most of the minors were held in the prison on sentences for committing serious crimes and are members of different criminal bands with a long history of rivalry.

Source: Xinhua
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