Monterrey (Mexico): Authorities investigating one of Mexico`s deadliest prison riots in recent years said on Monday that 30 inmates had escaped during the violence, which left 44 inmates dead.
"In the midst of the riot and disorder inside the prison, a group of 30 inmates succeeded in escaping the penitentiary," the governor of the northern state of Nuevo Leon, Rodrigo Medina, said at a news conference.
Four senior prison officials and 18 guards had been relieved of their duties and were under investigation for possible complicity in the mass escape.
He added that the escaped prisoners belonged to the brutal Zetas drug gang and those who died were their bitter rivals from the Gulf cartel -- two gangs which have spread fear and violence across the region in recent years.
Clashes erupted at Nuevo Leon`s Apodaca prison yesterday, igniting deadly riots in the overcrowded facility 30 kilometres north of Monterrey, the state capital.
At least 44 inmates were killed, as inmates in the prison`s cellblock "Delta" attacked each other with knives and clubs, state security officials said.
Authorities had said yesterday that the riot may have begun as a diversion to cover a prison escape.
Medina released names and pictures of the fugitives, and posted rewards of up to 10 million pesos (USD 775,000) for information leading to their capture.
The Mexican riot came just days after a deadly inferno in a jail in Honduras, again highlighting terrible overcrowding
in Latin American prisons.
Rampant drug trafficking, gang members seeking to settle scores and official corruption have turned prisons into human tinder boxes.
The prison population in Mexico and Central America has
swollen in line with the region`s increasingly important role
in the cocaine trafficking trade, meaning outdated facilities
are straining at the seams.