CARACAS – Four inmates who fled El Rodeo II prison before authorities regained control of the institution after a weeks-long mutiny died in a clash with police, Venezuela’s interior minister said.
The four men killed by police were part of a larger group that escaped from the facility, Tareck el Aissami told state-run media late Wednesday.
When spotted by police in the mountains near El Rodeo II, several of the escapees shot at the officers, who returned fire, killing four of the inmates, the minister said.
The men made their escape before dawn Wednesday, just hours before a weeks-long rebellion at the prison was brought to a peaceful conclusion.
The escapees who remain at large include Valentin Yorbis Lopez, identified as the leader of one of the gangs that dominated El Rodeo II and sparked the uprising, El Aissami said, expressing confidence the fugitives would be apprehended.
It was June 17 when the Venezuelan government deployed 5,000 militarized police to quell uprisings at the neighboring El Rodeo I and El Rodeo II prisons, about 30 kilometers (19 miles) from the capital.
El Rodeo I was quickly subdued, though as the cost of three dead – two of them police – and a score of other officers wounded.
Authorities then laid siege to El Rodeo II, opting for negotiations instead of a frontal assault.
Disturbances at the prisons began after a June 12 armed clash inside El Rodeo I that left 22 people dead. EFE