Venezuelan troops battle inmates at prison

Gunfire rang out at a Venezuelan prison for a second day as thousands of troops sought to regain control in battles that have left at least 3 dead and 18 wounded.

Updated: Jun 19, 2011, 11:06 AM IST

Caracas: Gunfire rang out at a Venezuelan
prison for a second day as thousands of troops sought to
regain control in battles that have left at least 3 dead and
18 wounded.

National Guard Gen Luis Motta Dominguez said one inmate
had died in addition to two National Guard troops whose deaths
were confirmed earlier. At least 18 troops were reported
wounded in Friday`s clashes at the prison in Guatire, east of
Caracas.

The violence erupted in the El Rodeo I prison as troops
were searching it for weapons. A riot in the prison on June 12
left 22 dead.

About 50 inmates continued to resist the troops, Justice
Minister Tareck El Aissami told state television. He said they
"refuse to change their hostile attitude, refuse dialogue."

"Everything that we`re doing is to protect the inmates`
lives," El Aissami said.

Inmates relatives` protested outside the prison, some of
them weeping as troops stood guard in anti-riot gear. Soldiers
used tear gas at one point Saturday to drive back the
distraught relatives.

A 5,000-strong security force, including 3,500 National
Guard troops, was joined yesterday by 400 soldiers from an
elite army paratrooper unit, officials said. They were occupying
both El Rodeo I and the adjacent El Rodeo II prison.

PTI