Prison head and deputy killed in mutiny in Guatemala

Other News Materials 2 May 2008 22:14 (UTC +04:00)

The head of a provincial jail in Guatemala and his deputy were killed in a mutiny by inmates belonging to street gangs, the police said Friday.

The killings took place late Thursday, shortly before midnight, in Chimaltenango, some 50 kilometres west of Guatemala City, as National Civilian Police Forces were getting ready to enter the prison, the dpa reported.

The head of the jail and his deputy, along with three guards, had been held since 6 pm (2400 GMT) by inmates who were apparently under the influence of drugs.

Shortly before they killed the two men, the mutineers had released the three guards.

Nery Morales, a spokesman for the Guatemalan Prison Department, said the mutiny was probably prompted by the arrest Wednesday of two women who allegedly tried to take drugs into the prison.

He added that the jail holds 68 gang members, 33 of whom have already been condemned for various crimes including kidnapping and murder.

Police said they suspected that calls have been made from that prison to blackmail businessmen with death threats, and the authorities also suspected that inmates have coordinated kidnappings and other crimes.