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  HOME | Central America

Five Guards Hurt in Riot at Guatemala Youth Prison

GUATEMALA CITY – Guatemalan authorities late Thursday regained control of a juvenile detention center where five guards were taken hostage and hurt during an inmate riot.

Two of the wounded guards have already been treated and released, while two others remain under observation at a Guatemala City hospital.

Authorities did not offer any information about the condition of the fifth guard, though initial accounts indicated that none of the hostages was badly hurt.

The disturbance at the Las Gaviotas facility in the capital began around 7 am Thursday, when 42 inmates – 33 of them adults – grabbed the five guards.

They released four of the hostages quickly, but only freed the fifth guard hours later, after the national ombudsman’s office succeeded in establishing a dialogue with the rebellious prisoners.

The inmates were said to have submitted a list of demands that include conjugal visits, better food, and more free time.

Las Gaviotas, with a maximum capacity for 250 inmates, was holding 460 people last October, the date of the last inspection by the ombudsman’s office, which also noted that the detention center had only eight toilets.

Thursday’s riot is the third incident at a youth facility in two months.

In early March, 41 girls and young women died in a fire at a government-run shelter in the capital, while four guards were killed March 19 during an uprising at the Etapa II juvenile detention center in Guatemala City.

 

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