Prisoners at Venezuelan Prison End 27-Day Standoff

Posted July 13th, 2011 at 1:50 pm (UTC-5)
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Venezuelan prisoners at a detention facility east of Caracas have surrendered to authorities after a 27-day standoff.

Information Minister Andres Izarra said on his Twitter feed Wednesday that the inmates — around 1,000 in all — are being taken out of the prison and appear to be in good health.

The detainees took control of the building last month after rioting at an adjacent prison facility resulted in a gunfight between inmates and National Guard troops. Twenty-four people died in the shooting, including one visitor and two guardsmen.

Authorities said last month that an unsuccessful attempt to re-take the prison resulted in the seizure of large quantities of weapons – rifles, shotguns, pistols and grenades – plus drugs and more than 100 cellphones.

Violence has broken out in Venezuela's overcrowded prisons many times in recent years. Human rights groups say that during the first three months of this year alone, more than 120 prisoners were killed in such incidents.