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Prison riot, fire kill 20 in Honduras

(Xinhua)

08:54, March 30, 2012

TEGUCIGALPA, March 29 (Xinhua) -- At least 20 prisoners were killed in a riot and later fire on Thursday in San Pedro Sula's prison in northern Honduras, local Public Prosecutor's Office Coordinator Marely Banegas said.

Banegas said that one of the dead was decapitated and his head was tossed over the walls of the jail. At first, she affirmed that most of the prisoners died due to "cold-steel injuries".

Felix Antonio Cruz, one of the injured prisoners, was shot in the neck and taken to Hospital Mario Catarino Rivas in San Pedro Sula. Cruz said that when he felt the shooting, the fire hadn't begun.

Initial reports said it was a riot among inmates followed by a fire but Honduran authorities indicated during the afternoon that it was a fight for the control of the cells and afterwards a fire began.

Official reports said the fire began at 1145 local time (1745 GMT), adding that the firefighters immediately put the fire under control.

Honduran Red Cross moved several people to local hospitals. The majority had suffocation symptoms.

Outside the prison, the inmates' relatives demanded information about the prisoners.

San Pedro Sula's prison is one of the most dangerous jails in Honduras. On Feb. 14, 361 prisoners died due to a fire in Comayagua prison in central Honduras.

Most of the prisons in Honduras are overcrowded and riots, fires and other incidents frequently occur.

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