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Gang behind slaughter of 41 women at Honduran prison, officials say

TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS (AP) – Inmates had complained for weeks they were being threatened by gang members at a women’s prison in Honduras. The gang fulfilled those threats, slaughtering 41 women, many of them burned, shot or stabbed to death.

Police officers guard the entrance to the women’s prison in Tamara, on the outskirts of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Tuesday, June 20, 2023. PHOTO: AP

Honduran President Xiomara Castro said Tuesday’s riot at the prison in the town of Tamara, about 50 kilometres northwest of Honduras’ capital, was “planned by maras (street gangs) with the knowledge and acquiescence of security authorities.”

Castro pledged to take “drastic measures”, but did not explain how inmates identified as members of the Barrio 18 gang were able to get guns and machetes into the prison, or move freely into an adjoining cell block and slaughter all the prisoners there.

Sandra Rodríguez Vargas, the assistant commissioner for Honduras’ prison system, said the attackers “removed” guards at the facility – none have been injured and then opened the gates to an adjoining cell block and began massacring women there. They started a fire that left cell walls blacked and bunks reduced to twisted heaps of metal.