According to state officials, ten guards and four inmates were killed early on Sunday morning when gunmen in armored vehicles assaulted a state prison in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, across the border from El Paso, Texas.
The office of the state prosecutor in Chihuahua issued a statement stating that at approximately 7:00 a.m., multiple armored vehicles arrived to the prison and gunmen began fire on guards. In addition to the fatalities, thirteen individuals were injured and at least 24 prisoners escaped.
Sunday evening, Mexican army and state police retook control of the facility. The state prosecutor’s office stated that its investigators were conducting a probe.
After a prison attack at the CERESO state jail in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on January 1, 2023, security personnel take action. Photograph by Christian Torres/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
As family of some detainees awaited New Year’s visits outside the compound, scenes of turmoil ensued.
Local media stated that inside, furious convicts set fire to numerous objects and battled with jail officers.
Prosecutors stated that four individuals were seized, but did not specify whether they were prisoners or armed attackers.
It is unknown how the 24 fugitive prisoners were able to make their escape.
According to a statement from the state prosecutor’s office, shortly before the attack on the prison on Sunday, municipal police were attacked and were able to apprehend four suspects after a pursuit. Later, cops gunned down two alleged gunmen in an SUV.
In the past decade, Ciudad Juarez has been the site of brutal conflicts between security forces and the competing Sinaloa and Juarez drug gangs, which have claimed the lives of thousands.
Multiple fights and riots have broken out within the jail, including a March 2009 incident that resulted in 20 deaths.
In August 2022, three prisoners were killed in a conflict between opposing gangs.
According to a report by the State Human Rights Commission from February 2022, the prison houses more than 3,700 inmates, above its permitted capacity of 3,135.
In recent years, competition between criminal gangs has exacerbated chronic overcrowding and violence in Mexican detention centers, particularly those controlled by the government.
AFP contributed to the creation of this report.