41 Women Die In Grisly Riot In Honduran Prison That President Blames On ‘Mara’ Gangs: VIDEO

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — A grisly riot at a women’s prison in Honduras Tuesday left at least 41 women dead, most burned to death, in violence the country’s president blamed on “mara” street gangs that often wield broad power inside penitentiaries.

Most victims were burned but there also were reports of inmates shot at the prison in Tamara, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) northwest of the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa, said Yuri Mora, the spokesman for Honduras’ national police investigation agency.

At least seven female inmates were being treated at a Tegucigalpa hospital for gunshot and knife wounds, employees there said.

“The forensic teams that are removing bodies confirm they have counted 41,” said Mora. Video clips shown by the government from inside the prison showed several pistols and a heap of machetes and other bladed weapons that were found after the riot.

Honduran President Xiomara Castro said the riot was “planned by maras with the knowledge and acquiescence of security authorities.

“I am going to take drastic measures!” Castro wrote in her social media accounts.

Prisoners belonging to the feared Barrio 18 gang reportedly burst into a cell block and shot other inmates or set them afire.

Relatives awaiting news about inmates gathered outside the morgue in Tegucigalpa. They confirmed that inmates in the prison had told them they lived in fear of the Barrio 18 gang.

Johanna Paola Soriano Euceda was waiting for news about her mother Maribel Euceda, and sister, Karla Soriano. Both were on trial for drug trafficking, but were held in the same area as convicted prisoners.

Soriano Euceda said they had told her on Sunday that “they (Barrio 18 members) were out of control, they were fighting with them all the time. That was the last time we talked.”

Another group of dozens of anxious, angry relatives gathered outside the prison, located in a rural area about 20 miles (30 kilometers) from the capital.

“We are here dying of anguish, of pain … we don’t have any information,” said Salomón García, whose daughter is an inmate at the facility