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Families bereft after Venezuelan prison riot kills dozens

Relatives of inmates held at the General Command of the Carabobo Police react as they wait outside the prison, where a fire occurred in the cells area, according to local media, in Valencia, Venezuela, March 28, 2018. (Photo: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Families bereft after Venezuelan prison riot kills dozens

Distraught families are clamoring for information about detained relatives following a fire that Venezuela’s chief prosecutor says killed 68 people when it swept through the cells of the state police station.

Angry relatives fought with police outside the facility Wednesday after being unable to get any information on casualties from Wednesday’s fire, which townspeople said erupted after a disturbance involving detainees. Officers used tear gas to disperse the crowd, and local officials would confirm only that there were fatalities.

Prosecutor Tarek William Saab said four prosecutors had been named to determine what happened and who is responsible for the tragedy in Valencia, a town in Carabobo state 100 miles (160 kilometers) west of Caracas, the capital.

It was one of the worst jail disasters in Venezuela, where human rights groups complain about poor conditions in prisons and jails. A fire at a prison in the western state of Zulia killed more than 100 inmates in 1994. (AP)

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