LA PAZ – The Bolivian police managed on Monday to prevent several inmates from breaking out of a prison after a riot there that resulted in one prisoner being injured, authorities said.
Government Minister Carlos Romero told Radio Panamericana that a “riot” had erupted at the Palmasola prison in the eastern city of Santa Cruz but he denied that any prisoners had actually escaped, saying that several had only made an escape “attempt.”
“Initial reports are that seven people tried to get out, with two attaining their goal although they were captured by police, and five who hid with the intention of fleeing, but they did not manage to do so,” he said.
“Although one inmate was injured, at present we have no other information that might be of concern,” he added.
The minister said that prison authorities would “now proceed to making a tally of the prisoners” to confirm that “nobody has escaped and the situation has been brought under control.”
Romero added that the riot occurred “due to the resistance presented by the inmates to the administrative prohibition on entry of minors age 6 (and younger) into the prison” to visit relatives incarcerated there.
The authorities took that decision after a young girl was repeatedly raped by one of the inmates at the facility, with the prisoner recording the attacks on his cellphone.
Meanwhile, Santa Cruz provincial police commander Alfonso Siles said that the situation at the prison was “under control” and emphasized that “no massive escape ... (or) shootout” had occurred.
“There are no fatalities, but there is one (inmate) who was injured by a shotgun pellet,” Siles told reporters in Santa Cruz, although he said authorities had yet to determine how the prisoner was wounded.
He said that prison authorities were speaking with Santa Cruz Gov. Ruben Costas and others to keep them apprised of the situation, prevent further problems and reassure the public in the city of Santa Cruz, with its 1.5 million people.