Jan. 25 - Dozens are reported dead after a massive prison riot in south-western Venezuela, reportedly after a move to confiscate illegal weapons. Jessica Gray reports.
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Dozens are dead following a massive prison riot in south-western Venezuela.
Officials say the clashes happened on Friday when prisoners got wind there would be a weapons inspection.
Local media report that between 26 and 54 people died in the fierce fighting, while many more are wounded.
Worried relatives like this woman waited outside the facility for news of their family members.
On Saturday, Vice President Nicolas Maduro said the country is launching an investigation into the incident and gave his condolences to victims' families.
(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) NICOLAS MADURO, VENEZUELAN VICE-PRESIDENT, SAYING:
"We designed a plan (for the national guard to search the prison for contraband) as we've done in other prisons and we acted. The toll is unfortunate. There was a situation of tragic confusion that we lament."
South America is plagued with overcrowded prisons, according to critics.
The issue particularly serious in Venezuelan prisons, which are often controlled by armed gangs that have rioted repeatedly in recent years over disputes with jail authorities or prison leaders.