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356 killed in Honduras prison fire, clashes erupt

(Xinhua)

08:10, February 16, 2012

TEGUCIGALPA, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- Police in Honduras clashed on Wednesday with relatives of the 356 prisoners who died in a fire at a prison in central Honduras, Public Security Minister Pompeyo Bonilla said.

"Please remain calm, remain calm. We will soon distribute the list of those dead, we understand this is a very difficult moment, " Bonilla told to the estimated 2,000 relatives who tried to force their way into the prison to recover the bodies of their loved ones.

The fire on Tuesday night broke out in the prison, which is in the town of Comayagua, about 75 kilometers north of the capital Tegucigalpa.

Bonilla was filmed by local television that has gathered outside the Comayagua prison to follow the events in the normally small and peaceful provincial town. Hector Mejia, spokesman for the Honduran National Police, said the cause that led to the deadly fire late Tuesday evening remained unknown. But a number of prison sources told local media that it was a riot started by competing gang members that provoked the fire as part of plans by some of the inmates to kill to members of a competing gang.

"We know that the relatives are in a lot of pain but they must not be provoked because this will only bring disorder," said Mejia.

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