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Beheadings in Guatemala jail riot

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Footage showing the aftermath of a prison riot in Guatemala

A fight between rival gangs in a Guatemalan prison has left seven prisoners dead, five of them beheaded, officials said.

Inmates at the Pavoncito prison, south of Guatemala City, displayed the heads of some of the dead prisoners, reporters who witnessed the scene said.

The violence broke out after a group of gang members was transferred to Pavoncito from another prison.

Violence is common in Guatemala's overcrowded prisons.

The riot lasted about five hours before prison guards and police regained control of the prison.

The other two prisoners died in a hospital of gunshot wounds, said Guatemalan prisons system spokesman Rudy Esquivel.

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"This is a dispute between prisoners belonging to different gangs, who bring their conflicts with them when they are locked up," he said.

Inmates in Guatemalan prisons often have easy access to weapons and members from rival gangs are able to carry on their disputes behind bars.

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