…By Henry George for TDPel Media.
Tragic Events Unfold at Women’s Prison
A violent riot at a women’s prison in Honduras has resulted in the deaths of at least 41 individuals, many of whom were burned alive, according to officials.
The country’s president attributes the violence to the notorious “mara” street gangs, which hold considerable power within the Central American country’s correctional facilities.
Details of the Riot
Yuri Mora, spokesperson for Honduras’ national police investigation agency, revealed that the riot occurred at the women’s prison located in Tamara, approximately 30 miles northwest of the capital city, Tegucigalpa.
The majority of the victims suffered from burns, while reports also indicate instances of inmates being shot.
Injured Inmates Seek Medical Treatment
At least seven female inmates were taken to a hospital in Tegucigalpa to receive treatment for gunshot and knife wounds, as confirmed by hospital staff.
The Grim Confirmation
Mr. Mora confirmed, “The forensic teams responsible for removing bodies have confirmed a count of 41 victims.”
Eyewitness Accounts and Presidential Response
Local media interviewed an injured inmate outside the hospital, who recounted that members of the feared Barrio 18 gang had stormed a cell block, shooting and setting fire to fellow inmates.
In response to the incident, Honduran President Xiomara Castro placed blame on the maras and accused security authorities of having knowledge and acquiescence in the planning of the riot.
She expressed determination to take drastic measures, as conveyed through her social media accounts.
Crackdown on Illicit Activity and Resolute Stance
Julissa Villanueva, the head of the country’s prison system, suggested that the riot was instigated by recent efforts to combat illegal activities within prisons.
She described Tuesday’s violence as a reaction to the measures being taken against organized crime.
In a televised address following the riot, Ms. Villanueva affirmed their unwavering commitment, stating, “We will not back down.”
Challenges Within Honduras’ Prison System
Prisons in Honduras often fall under the control of powerful gangs, with inmates establishing their own rules and engaging in the illicit trade of prohibited goods.
History of Tragedies
This incident appears to be the most devastating tragedy at a female detention center in the region since 2017 when girls at a troubled youth shelter in Guatemala set fire to mattresses in protest against rampant sexual assault and mistreatment.
The resulting smoke and flames claimed the lives of 41 girls.
Another horrific prison disaster occurred in Honduras in 2012 at the Comayagua prison, where 361 inmates perished in a fire, potentially caused by a match, cigarette, or some other open flame, making it the worst prison disaster in the country in a century.