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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mexican officials: Details of prison massacre in Ciudad Juarez emerge

Officials in Ciudad Juarez are looking for the perpetrators of a prison massacre, as details emerge about the late Monday incident that left 17 inmates dead.

Authorities in the city have opened an investigation into the episode. Forty-four prison guards have been questioned as part of the investigation, according to Jorge Gonzalez Nicolas, the northern district chief for the Chihuahua state attorney's office, adding that 406 inmates have undergone gun-powder residue tests to determine if they were involved in the shootings.

Most of the victims were gang members who were attacked by rivals at the state prison in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, Gonzalez said.

He described the deaths of the inmates as "an execution."

Authorities released a prison surveillance video that shows two men with their faces covered. They appear to force an unarmed prison guard to give them the keys to a holding cell as another unarmed guard stands by. The men use the keys to open at least two metal doors, allowing access to four men carrying guns, who also have their faces covered.

The video shows the armed men shooting into the holding cell with automatic weapons, but the camera angle doesn't reveal what happened inside.

Both the shooters and the victims were inmates, according to Gonzalez.

"This shooting makes it evident that there's corruption and serious lack of security at the prison," Gonzalez said. "Somehow a group of prisoners came all the way from yard No. 3 to this holding area, took the cell keys from the guards and executed 13 people." (more)