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23 dead in attempted Colombia prison break

Bogota, March 23 (IANS) An attempted prison break in Colombia’s capital Bogota has left 23 inmates dead and 83 others injured, Justice Minister Margarita Cabello said

“Today is a very painful day for the country. Last night there was a massive and criminal attempt to escape from the La Modelo penitentiary,” Xinhua news agency quoted Cabello as saying on Sunday.

Seven prison guards and officials belonging to the National Penitentiary and Prison Institute (INPEC) among the injured, two of them said to be critical condition, said Cabello.

Also on Saturday night, riots occurred in several other prisons in Colombia as part of a large-scale scheme to break out of jail, said the Minister.

“There were no escapes… there was a criminal plan to escape that was thwarted,” she said.

Cabello denied that the hygienic conditions in the prisons raised the risk of contracting the novel coronavirus, and dismissed this as a concern for the inmates and the motive behind the riots.

“There also are no sanitary problems that could have led to the plan or the riots. Today, there is not even a single case of infection, not an inmate, administrator or guard who has the coronavirus or who could be quarantined due to the coronavirus,” she added.

–IANS

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