[QODLink]
Americas
Many killed in Mexico prison fight
Clash between rival gangs leaves 31 inmates dead in latest violence to erupt inside the country's overcrowded jails.
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2012 06:27
Clashes, which took place between prisoners wielding knives and homemade weapons, lasted several hours [Reuters]

A fight between rival gangs inside a prison in northern Mexico has left 31 inmates dead in the latest violence to erupt inside the country's overcrowded jails, local officials say.

Clashes between prisoners wielding knives and homemade weapons started around mid-day and were controlled several hours later in Altamira, Tamaulipas, on Mexico's Gulf coast, Guillermo Martinez, a state government spokesman, said on Wednesday.

Another 13 prisoners were wounded in the brawl, Tamaulipas state's Public Safety Department said in a statement.

The fight started when a group of inmates burst into a section of the prison they were banned from and attacked the prisoners housed there, the department said.

Local media said the fight was between members of the rival Gulf and Zetas drug cartels but authorities wouldn't confirm the reports.

Powerful drug cartels are fighting for control of smuggling routes along the US-Mexico border and rivalries often spread into the prison system, where prisoners held on federal drug charges are mixed with common criminals.

Last October, 20 people died in a prison fight at another jail in Tamaulipas and in July, 17 inmates were killed in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico's most violent city, across from El Paso, Texas.

More than 46,000 people have died in Mexico in the past five years since President Felipe Calderon launched an assault on drug gangs. Packed and inefficient prisons often suffer from corruption and mass escapes.

Violence exploded in Tamaulipas state after the Zetas gang broke away from the Gulf cartel and began battling their former employers for turf.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
A tight race seems likely as 814 million voters elect leaders in world's largest democracy next week.
Featured
A vocal minority in Ukraine's east wants to join Russia, and Kiev has so far been unable to put down the separatists.
Iran's government has shifted its take on 'brain drain' but is the change enough to reverse the flow?
Deadly attacks on anti-mining activists in the Philippines part of a global trend, according to new report.
Activists say 'Honor Diaries' documentary exploits gender-based violence to further an anti-Islamic agenda.
As Syria's civil war escalates along the Turkish border, many in Turkey are questioning the country's involvement.
join our mailing list