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Last Updated: Friday, 6 January 2006, 02:03 GMT
Honduras prison rioting kills 13
Gang members in Honduras prison
Prisons in Honduras are dominated by gang culture
Thirteen inmates have died and another was injured by gunfire in rioting at a high-security prison in Honduras.

Fighting broke out in a wing of the National Penitentiary 20km (12 miles) north of the capital, Tegucigalpa.

The violence erupted after a fight between inmates, who were corralled in the special wing because they were classed as dangerous by officials.

Honduras' prisons chief said order had been restored. The country's prison system is notorious for violence.

Security boost

Honduran Security Minister Armando Calidonio told the Associated Press that at least one man suffered serious gunshot wounds in the violence.

"The confrontation was between two rival groups of prisoners who fired shots at each other in a territorial dispute," he said.

There was no word on how the inmates smuggled guns into the prison unit, but Mr Calidonio said Honduran authorities were launching an investigation.

Special police units have been drafted into boost security in the prison, the EFE news agency reports.

Dangerous

The country's crowded jails are regularly blighted by violence, often sparked by conflicts between members of rival gangs.

Fatal riots and fights are a regular feature of life in Honduras' prisons.

Almost 30 prisoners were executed at the same prison in 2005, while a mass riot involving some 600 prisoners broke out in 2004.

More than 100 people died in another prison in the city of San Pedro Sula in 2004 in a fire blamed on gang rivalries by survivors.



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