28 Dead, 3 Wounded After Brawl at Mexican Prison in Acapulco

Relatives of inmates struggling with police offers outside a prison in Acapulco, in the Mexican state of Guerrero, after a brawl among rival gangs. [Credit: Francisco Robles/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images]

A brawl on Thursday among rival gangs in a prison in the Mexican resort city of Acapulco left at least 28 people dead and three wounded, the authorities said.

The violence began before dawn, and by the time security forces regained control of the prison several hours later, corpses were scattered around two cellblocks, including in a kitchen, a yard and an area reserved for conjugal visits, according to a statement from Roberto Álvarez Heredia, security spokesman for Guerrero, a state on Mexico’s Pacific Coast.

The military, along with the state and federal police, were called in to help re-establish order. The state’s governor ordered an investigation, Mr. Álvarez said, adding that the inquiry would include “all the public officials of the penitentiary system.”

It was just the latest violent episode in Mexico over the past several days to end in large body counts, and the killings added to the country’s soaring homicide tally. At its current rate, Mexico is on pace to have its deadliest year in recent history.

The prison riot came a day after gun battles between two drug gangs in the northern state of Chihuahua left at least 14 people dead, and three days after nine people were killed in Puebla, a state east of Mexico City, in a dispute related to control over the lucrative trade in stolen fuel, officials said.

Last Friday, 19 people were reported killed in the northwestern state of Sinaloa in shootouts between the police and gunmen.

These outbreaks of violence have highlighted the worsening security situation in Mexico, as homicides have surged to record levels. Officials opened 2,186 homicide investigations in May, the highest monthly tally since the government began publishing homicide statistics two decades ago. In all, more than 9,900 homicide investigations were opened in the first five months of the year, up about 30 percent from the same period last year.

Experts say the surge in violence reflects an increasingly volatile criminal landscape that has resulted in part from the Mexican government’s longstanding strategy of pursuing kingpins as a way to disrupt organized crime.

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SOURCE: NY Times, Kirk Semple

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