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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 January 2007, 22:44 GMT
Venezuela prison clashes kill 16
Sixteen inmates have been killed and 13 others injured in a violent gang battle inside a Venezuelan jail.

Rival factions began fighting before dawn inside the Uribana jail south-west of the capital, Caracas, reports said.

A Venezuelan prisons official said the violence began with a fight between inmates from two cell blocks who were battling for control of the jail.

Fighting is common in Venezuela's jails, with fatal riots reported last November and last April.

National Guard troops were called in to restore order at the Uribana facility, near the city of Barquisimeto, said Fanny Marquez, of the prisons authority.

There was no confirmation of how the inmates died, or what types of weapons were used in the fighting.

Disturbances are relatively common in Venezuelan jails, which suffer from overcrowding and violence between rival prison gangs.

Almost 400 inmates died and more than 800 were injured during 2006, reports say.

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