The clashes on Tuesday came only days after a Caracas prison uprising ended without bloodshed after negotiations. 

Seven inmates died and at least 16 others have been injured during separate fights in two prisons in the western part of the country, Venezuelan authorities said.

The Globovision news channel showed dramatic footage from one of the prisons, in San Felipe, during a standoff on Tuesday with inmates on the roof of the prison and armed troops below, as anxious relatives watched from behind the prison fence.

Media reports said that the prison, about 500km west of the capital Caracas, had been tense since Sunday, when one group of inmates vying for control of the prison killed a leader of a rival group.

Oscar Barquero, a public defender, said authorities had reached an initial agreement with inmates to stop the violence but this later broke down, and shots were subsequently exchanged.

It was unclear what had caused negotiations to collapse.

At a second prison, in the western town of Cabimas, authorities said one prisoner was killed and 16 others were being treated for burns after violence broke out there.

The violence comes only days after a 27-day prison uprising in El Rodeo jail, on the outskirts of Caracas, which ended without bloodshed following negotiations between inmates and authorities.

Source: Agencies