Six killed at El Salvador juvenile prison in gang brawl

SAN SALVADOR Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:07am EDT

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SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) - Six youths were killed in a fight at a prison for juvenile offenders outside the capital of El Salvador on Tuesday in what authorities attributed to battles between rival gangs as a year-old truce falls apart.

The six were strangled during a brawl at the prison in Tonacatepeque, which holds about 700 people, and preliminary evidence suggested they were members of the Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, gang, police officials said.

Dozens of riot police were sent into the prison following the fight.

Two of the dead were minors, while the other four were over the age of 18 but had not been transferred to a facility for adults. Prisons in the poor, Central American nation suffer from severe overcrowding.

Murder rates across El Salvador have surged in recent weeks as a truce forged last year between the country's violent gangs appears to crumble.

(Reporting by Nelson Renteria and Ulises Rodriguez; Editing by Ken Wills)

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