At least 46 people died and about 60 others injured in a prison riot in the western Venezuelan state of Portuguesa, a rights group and a country’s opposition lawmaker said.
The incident happened on Friday at the Los Llanos penitentiary. Beatriz Giron, the director of the Venezuelan Observatory of Prisons which advocates for inmates’ rights, said 46 bodies had been identified.
The country’s prisons minister, Iris Varela, said the incident resulted from a failed escape attempt. He confirmed that the prison director was shot and wounded in the incident.
Maria Beatriz Martinez, an opposition lawmaker from Portuguesa, said the riot may have resulted from a ban on inmates’ family members bringing them food during visitation.
The ban is part of the country’s effort to stop the spread of coronavirus in the prisons.
The country has confirmed 335 coronavirus cases and 10 deaths associated with COVID-19.