26 injured in Argentine prison riot

Last Updated: Wed, Jan 23, 2013 05:00 hrs

Buenos Aires, Jan 23 (IANS/EFE) At least 26 people were injured and an undetermined number of inmates managed to escape during a riot that erupted Tuesday in a prison in Argentina's Chaco province, officials said.

Among the injured are 19 prisoners, three police officers and four prison guards.

The riot broke out at the Penitentiary Complex 2 in the town of Saenz Pena, some 1,000 km from Buenos Aires, late Monday and degenerated into a violent clash between prisoners and guards that lasted all night and required the intervention of provincial authorities.

Chaco Government Minister Juan Manuel Pedrini confirmed to the state-run Telam news agency that prison personnel had taken control of the facility and that "the situation is absolutely normal" after weapons in the hands of the prisoners were seized and several guards who had been taken hostage were rescued.

He also said that six inmates who had fled were recaptured but an unknown number still remain at large.

Pedrini went on to say that the riot originated in a wing of the prison housing some 60 prisoners, who took over various prison facilities and were able to free the inmates in other wings.

In all, authorities estimate that at least 200 prisoners, half the penitentiary's population, participated in the riot.