Honduras prison crisis: 18 inmates killed in gang violence

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Honduran security forcesImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
File photo of Honduran security forces, which have been deployed to prisons this week

At least 18 inmates were killed and 16 injured in an outbreak of gang violence at a prison in Honduras on Friday.

The fight at a prison in the northern port city of Tela was one of the worst recent outbreaks in the country.

It follows a wave of prison violence in the country, where prisons are notoriously overcrowded.

The government had declared a state of emergency in the prison system on Wednesday, transferring control to security forces.

A military official told Reuters that they had not formally taken control of the prison in Tela before the violence erupted.

But security forces have since been deployed to the prison to attempt to restore order, officials added.

Antonio Coello, a spokesman for security agency Fusina, confirmed the death toll in an interview with local broadcasters.

Honduras' prisons house more than 20,000 inmates, despite them only having capacity for about 8,000.

Fights in the jails are common, as rival street gangs vie for control.