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Colombia prison riot leaves at least 52 inmates dead

Tragedy occurs during escape attempt

Laura Gamba   | 28.06.2022
Colombia prison riot leaves at least 52 inmates dead

BOGOTA, Colombia

At least 52 inmates were killed and 34 wounded in a prison riot in Colombia early Tuesday, General Tito Castellanos, the head of the INPEC prison agency told a radio station.

The riot occurred in a prison in the southwestern Colombian city of Tulua, Valle del Cauca during an escape attempt.

Prisoners started a fight and when INPEC personnel tried to control the confrontation, according to Castellanos. Inmates set fire to their mattresses and the flames quickly spread throughout ward number 8.

“It is a tragic and disastrous event,” according to Castellanos, who said the prison had 1,267 inmates.

President Ivan Duque condemned the tragedy and asked Castellanos to investigate.

"We regret the events that occurred in the prison of Tulua, Valle del Cauca. I am in contact with the director of INPEC, General Tito Castellanos, and I have given instructions to advance investigations to clarify this terrible situation,” Duque wrote on Twitter. “My solidarity with the families of the victims."

President-elect Gustavo Petro also sent a message of condolences to the families of the victims.

"The Colombian state has seen the prison as a space for revenge and not for rehabilitation,” said Petro. What happened in Tulua, he said, “requires a complete rethinking of the prison policy in order to humanize the prison and dignify the prisoner."

The tragedy comes two years after a prison massacre left 23 dead and 80 injured in a riot in Bogota.

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