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Caracas – Seven inmates died and five others were injured Monday in a clash between rival gangs in the Tocoron prison in central Venezuela, the authorities said. Jail director Eduardo Bracho said the fighting broke out early Monday, but the situation had since been brought under control.
Bracho said militarized police officers will help prison officials carry out a thorough search of the facility, which holds 900 inmates and is located in the state of Aragua.
Preliminary reports said grenades were used in the fight.
On Thursday, four inmates died at the Los Andes prison in the western state of Merida, when a grenade was detonated.
At least 498 inmates died and 1,023 were injured in Venezuelan prisons during 2007, according to a report on jail violence by the NGO Prison Observatory, which detected an increase in violence in relation to the previous year.
The NGO estimated 21,201 people, of whom 1,408 were foreigners from 53 countries, were held in Venezuela’s 30 jails.