At Least 23 Killed in Venezuela Prison Mutiny

By Sinikka Tarvainen, dpa


HAVANA TIMES – At least 23 detainees have been killed in a mutiny in police cells in western Venezuela, the NGO Venezuelan Observatory of Prisons (OVP) said on Friday.

The mutiny occurred in Acarigua in Portuguesa state, the prisoners’ rights advocacy group said on Twitter.

Fourteen prison officials were injured in the incident at a police coordination centre on Friday morning, daily El Nacional reported.

There was a shoot-out and grenade explosions, journalist Daniel Colina tweeted.

A video posted on social media shows a masked, gun-wielding inmate with two female visitors to the cells. He says he is “ready to die,” while one of the women calls for “dialogue.”

Injured victims were believed to have been taken to a local hospital, where a heavy presence of security forces was observed, according to broadcaster NTN24.

The OVP accused the authorities of committing a “massacre.”

Unrest is not unusual in the overcrowded prisons of Venezuela, where 39 people were killed in 2017 in a jail in Amazonas state and 69 people in 2018 at a police station near Caracas, according to figures given by OVP.