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38 killed in Mexican prison riot

(Xinhua)

09:20, February 20, 2012

MEXICO CITY, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- At least 38 inmates were killed and several others wounded in a riot that occurred on Sunday morning inside Apodaca prison in the northern state of Nuevo Leon, an official source said.

In an interview with media, security spokesman of state government Jorge Domene said the riot occurred between 2 a.m. ( 0800 GMT) and 3 a.m. (0900 GMT) on Sunday "for reasons not yet determined."

According to preliminary investigations, the riot erupted between prisoners under federal jurisdiction held in module C and D, which house inmates of low and moderate danger.

During the riot, inmates set fire to several mattresses, while security personnel found several weapons used in the mutiny.

The riot was brought under control around 9:30 a.m. (1530 GMT) after an immediate operation with the intervention of the federal and state police.

Domene said he was unaware of the identities of people reportedly killed during this confrontation and the number of injuries, the second largest riot recorded in recent months of Nuevo Leon. On Oct. 13, seven inmates were killed and three others wounded after a fight between rival gangs in the prison of Cadereyta.

The state official said this was apparently a confrontation between opposing groups that vie for control of drug sales inside the prison, located north of the city of Monterrey, capital of Nuevo Leon, about 800 km north of capital of Mexico City.

The state government spokesman called on the relatives of the inmates to keep calm. They had insisted on entering into the prison to know the status of their families.

The overcrowded prison currently accommodates more than 3,000 inmates serving common and federal sentences and several of them have been transferred to Topo Chico prison in the northern state of Nuevo Leon recently.

On Jan. 4, another riot happened in a prison in the northern Mexican state of Tamaulipas and left 31 dead and 13 wounded.

More than 47,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon launched a "war against organized crimes" in 2006.

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