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Guatemala rocked by new riot in juvenile detention center

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Guatemala authorities grappled with new violence in one of its juvenile detention centers on Thursday, a month after a blaze in a children's shelter killed 41 girls and shook the government.

Gang members held in a facility on the capital's southern outskirts rebelled, wounding guards in a protest over the lack of conjugal visits and stoves, police and the social welfare in charge said.

After negotiations, one guard taken hostage was released and taken to hospital with serious knife wounds to his torso, head and hand.

While the Las Gaviotas detention center was designed to hold 500 juveniles, most of the 42 gang members involved were aged over 18 -- typical in such facilities in Guatemala as young detainees reach adulthood behind bars.

The disturbance came after a similar gang uprising in another juvenile detention center in San Jose de Pinula, a town to the east of Guatemala City, on March 20. Four guards were killed.

On March 8, the blaze that killed 41 occurred in a children's shelter, also in San Jose de Pinula. Girls held inside were believed to have started the fire to protest mistreatment by staff, including sexual abuse.

That tragedy led to the social welfare minister and two other lower-level officials being arrested on homicide charges.

Guatemala authorities grappled with new violence in one of its juvenile detention centers on Thursday, a month after a blaze in a children’s shelter killed 41 girls and shook the government.

Gang members held in a facility on the capital’s southern outskirts rebelled, wounding guards in a protest over the lack of conjugal visits and stoves, police and the social welfare in charge said.

After negotiations, one guard taken hostage was released and taken to hospital with serious knife wounds to his torso, head and hand.

While the Las Gaviotas detention center was designed to hold 500 juveniles, most of the 42 gang members involved were aged over 18 — typical in such facilities in Guatemala as young detainees reach adulthood behind bars.

The disturbance came after a similar gang uprising in another juvenile detention center in San Jose de Pinula, a town to the east of Guatemala City, on March 20. Four guards were killed.

On March 8, the blaze that killed 41 occurred in a children’s shelter, also in San Jose de Pinula. Girls held inside were believed to have started the fire to protest mistreatment by staff, including sexual abuse.

That tragedy led to the social welfare minister and two other lower-level officials being arrested on homicide charges.

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