At least 18 prisoners dead in clash at Honduras jail

Honduras prison

The deaths took place in Honduras' El Porvenir penitentiary, about 43 miles (70 km) east of the capital Tegucigalpa, and follow an incident in which 18 inmates were killed during a fight between gangs at a prison in the northern port city of Tela.

Fights in Honduras' overcrowded prisons are frequent as street gangs vie for control inside the institutions.

So far, there have been 18 dead and 16 wounded in the bloody war in prison, Antonio Coello, spokesman for the FUSINA security agency, told local television.

On Saturday, senior military officer Tito Livio Moreno said the army would be deployed in 18 prisons identified as "high risk".

That came just a day after Pedro Idelfonso Armas, the warden of Honduras's main high security prison in Santa Barbara, El Pozo, was shot dead in the south of the country.

Almost 22,000 people are incarcerated in Honduras' 27 prisons.

At least two other inmates were injured, officials added.

President Hernandez condemned the conviction of his younger brother, saying it was based on 'the testimony of confessed assassins'.

Four juvenile prisoners were also killed in a brawl on December 4 at a rehabilitation center plagued by gang violence and escapes.

Prisoners at the detention centre were reportedly having a meal when several inmates armed with knives attacked fellow detainees.

At least 36 people were killed this weekend in clashes in Honduran prisons, over which the military and police are trying to regain control after a spate of murders linked to "maras", the criminal gangs that plague the country.

To fight this scourge, President Hernandez created a military police force financed by a new tax, and built special prisons for gang members.

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