La Paz: Inmates at a Bolivian prison set sheets and clothes on fire to prevent authorities from searching for weapons, three days after a shootout between Bolivian and foreign-born inmates left four people dead and 10 injured, authorities said.
Anibal Camacho, a spokesman for the inmates of El Abra prison, said Wednesday that the men opposed the inspection because in the course of searches since the confrontation last Sunday money and valuable objects have been lost, and personal belongings have been destroyed, state news agency ABI reported.
Cochabamba provincial prisons director Dennis Mejia denied that Wednesday`s protest amounted to a riot and said the situation was under control.
Last Sunday, four inmates died and 10 people - including a pregnant woman - were wounded when Bolivian inmates battled foreign prisoners for control of El Abra.
The clash happened when a blackout interrupted the celebration of a festival inside the prison to honour the Virgin of Urkupina, patroness of Cochabamba.
The pregnant woman, who ended up losing her baby, was among the outsiders visiting the prison for the celebration.
Bolivia`s national ombudsman Rolando Villena expressed concern over the violence and questioned the wisdom of having a celebration inside a prison.
Overcrowding and battles between rival gangs are widespread within Bolivia`s prison system, a problem worsened by a slow judicial process that keeps men and women behind bars for years awaiting a verdict.