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Venezuela Prison Riot Kills Dozens Of Inmates
Up to 50 people have been killed and scores more injured in clashes at a prison in Venezuela, according to hospital officials and local media.
Television footage showed National Guard troops surrounding the Uribana prison as inmates in bloody clothes were taken out of the building.
Relatives of the prisoners, most of them women in tears, waited outside.
Iris Varela, the government minister responsible for Venezuela's jails and prisons, said the riot at the prison, in northwest Lara state, began after inmates objected to authorities planning to confiscate weapons.
She said that inmates fought with troops brought in to calm the situation and with each other as rival gangs battled for control of the prison.
Hospital official Ruy Medina said many of the dozens of casualties had suffered gunshot wounds.
The South American nation's 34 prisons were designed to hold just one-third of the 50,000 inmates now in them, according to local prison advocacy groups.
Many of the inmates are armed and hundreds are killed each year in riots and gang fights.
In 2011, there was a month-long siege at El Rodeo prison, just outside the capital Caracas, in which 22 people died before 5,000 soldiers were able to restore order.