Venezuela jailbreak attempt sparks blaze 68 dead

A woman kicks at a riot police shield as relatives of prisoners wait to hear news about their family members imprisoned at a police station where a riot broke out, in Valencia, Venezuela, Wednesday, March 28, 2018. (AFP)CARACAS, Venezuela – A fire allegedly set during an attempted jailbreak from Venezuelan police holding cells killed 68 people on Wednesday, the country’s top prosecutor and an inmates’ rights group said.The blaze at the detention facility in Carabobo state is the latest in a series of deadly incidents in Venezuela’s overcrowded jails.“In light of the terrible events that took place in the Carabobo state police headquarters, where 68 people died in a presumed fire, we have appointed four prosecutors… to clarify these dramatic events,” chief prosecutor Tarek William Saab said on Twitter.Carlos Nieto, head of Una Ventana a la Libertad (A Window on Freedom), said that “some burned to death and others asphyxiated” after setting fire to mattresses and stealing a guard’s gun in an attempt to break out.The dead included two women thought to have been visiting the jail at the time of the incident, Nieto said.Rafael Lacava, the governor of Carabobo state, expressed his “consternation” over the events but did not provide a toll.“A serious and profound investigation has been initiated to find the causes and those responsible for these regrettable events,” he said on Twitter, expressing solidarity with  relatives of those who died.Relatives complained they had been given no information (Reuters image)Relatives of those being kept in the detention center tried to force their way into Carabobo state police headquarters. After one officer was injured by a stone, the crowd was dispersed by police firing tear gas.A video posted on Twitter showed dozens of people demanding information in front of police guarding the site.“I am a desperate mother. My son has been here a week. They have not given any information,” Dora Blanco told local media.Venezuela’s prisons suffer from dire overcrowding and a shortage of basic supplies, struggling under the deepening economic crisis that is gripping the once-wealthy oil-producing country. (Excerpts from AFP) Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedVenezuelan beauty queen slain; daughter survives shootingJanuary 8, 2014In “Crime”Venezuela prison ‘massacre’ kills 37August 17, 2017In “World”Pence vows US will not allow ‘collapse of Venezuela’August 24, 2017In “Regional” read more