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51 killed in Colombian prison riot fire

According to Castellanos, no convicts fled during the disturbance that was started by an altercation between some of the detainees.

SNS | New Delhi |

At least 51 people died and 24 others were injured in a blaze at a prison in the southwestern Colombian city of Tulua, after inmates rioted and set fire to mattresses, local authorities have said.

Tito Castellanos, head of the National Penitentiary and Institution Institute, asserts that the prison lacks a fire suppression system. “We were able to utilize portable extinguishers at first.”

He was reported by Xinhua news agency as stating that after the fire broke out early on Tuesday morning at the jail housing 180 convicts, a procedure went into action to save those insides, and several guards were hurt trying to save the inmates.

Tulua firemen put out the fire and sent the injured, including two guards, to nearby hospitals. Health officials said that nine of the injured were being treated in intensive care units for serious burns and smoke inhalation.

Up to 49 prisoners passed away within the prison, and two more perished after being taken to a hospital.

According to Castellanos, no convicts fled during the disturbance that was started by an altercation between some of the detainees.

Colombian President Ivan Duque tweeted: “We lament the events that occurred at the Tulua prison … I have ordered an investigation to clarify this terrible situation. My solidarity with the families of the victims.”

President-elect Gustavo Petro also lamented the incident and expressed his condolences to the bereaved families.
(with inputs from IANS)