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article imageSixteen killed in Guyana prison riot: officials

By AFP     Mar 3, 2016 in World

Police and guards stormed an overcrowded maximum security prison in Guyana's capital Thursday to put down a riot that left 16 inmates dead, authorities said.

The riot began Wednesday when inmates angered by a search that led to the confiscation of cellphones set fires in one part of the prison.

Police and prison guards moved in on Thursday, setting off battles with inmates armed with sticks broken off wooden bed frames, officials said.

"It's a crisis situation," Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan told AFP.

Clifton Hicken, a divisional police commander, said 16 people were killed and that bodies were being transferred to a mortuary.

It was unclear how all of them died. Hicken said several died of smoke inhalation and hospital officials said at least one person died of burns.

Besides the fatalities, six other people were seriously injured and being treated for burns, the state-run Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation said.

The situation inside the prison, a concrete and wood-frame structure, was "very bad," Hicken said.

But calm had returned by Thursday afternoon. Soldiers were posted outside the facility, which was built to hold 775 inmates but housed more than 1,000 at the time of the riot.

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