The death toll has risen to 16 inmates following a riot that began last night in the Cadereyta penitentiary in Nuevo León that left another 31 people wounded.
Thirteen were initially reported killed in a riot fueled by fights between rival gangs, said state security spokesman Aldo Fasci Zuazua, but three more died of their wounds today. A guard remained in serious condition with a punctured lung.
Rioting inmates apprehended three guards yesterday morning but several hours of negotiations failed to obtain their release, at which point police were sent in.
Fasci said the use of lethal force proved necessary to keep rioters from killing guards and other inmates. He said they would have to wait for autopsy results to determine how many inmates were killed by other inmates and how many by authorities.
If the use of lethal use had not been authorized, he continued, “we would now be talking about many more dead.”
Fasci said close to 250 inmates participated in the attack against police, throwing rocks and attacking with knives.
He said the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel are fighting for control of the facility, in which 300 guards watch over 4,000 inmates. The prison was not designed for that many prisoners or for the high-risk prisoners held there, Fasci said.
Outside the prison, relatives of inmates started their own riot as they demanded information from officials. About a dozen women vandalized official vehicles, stopped and checked ambulances leaving the penal facility and stole riot gear that was later set on fire.
“It’s not fair. We’ve been here since [Monday night]. We were on alert because gunshots were heard. They say there’s one dead but nobody tells us anything. We want to know how our people are doing,” one of the women told the newspaper La Jornada.
At one point during the riot inmates unfurled a poster from the roof of the facility, displaying a message that accused the prison warden of being an ally of the Zetas cartel.
The incident brings the total number of people killed this year in prison riots in the state to 18. There were 57 killed last year.