• Costa Rica Coffee Guide
  • Costa Rica Travel Insurance

16 killed in Guatemala prison fight, official says

November 30, 2015

GUATEMALA CITY – Sixteen people have been killed in fighting between rival gangs in a maximum-security prison in Guatemala, a top official said Monday as security forces tried to regain control of the facility.

Army troops and police surrounded the Granja Penal Canadá prison, which holds 3,100 inmates, but have refrained from entering it because of reports prisoners were armed, deputy Interior Minister Elmer Sosa said.

Clashes erupted Sunday between two rival gangs inside the maximum security facility, which is located 75 kilometers (47 miles) south of Guatemala City.

“We are coordinating with prosecutors on an investigation into the death of 16 inmates,” Sosa told reporters.

Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras are plagued by turf battles between violent street gangs fighting to control impoverished communities.

The most powerful of these are the Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio 18, rival gangs whose members are usually held in separate prisons to avoid conflict.

More than 6,000 people are murdered a year in Guatemala, mainly at the hands of gangs engaged in contract killings, extortion and drug trafficking. In a bid to curb the violence, Guatemala has deployed nearly 800 police and soldiers in the capital, which is home to some 3.3 million people. Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras together reported 15,802 murders in 2014, according to official figures.

So far this year through September, 4,281 murders have occurred in Guatemala, and 4,942 in El Salvador. Honduras reported another 2,628 murders in the first half of the year.

More than 50 percent of the victims across the three countries were younger than 25.

Guatemala, Central America’s most populous country with 15.8 million inhabitants, is still recovering from a 36-year civil war that ended in 1996.

You may be interested

Unemployment and underemployment rates remain high in Costa Rica
Costa Rica
2272 views
Costa Rica
2272 views

Unemployment and underemployment rates remain high in Costa Rica

Alejandro Zúñiga - December 3, 2020

Unemployment in Costa Rica was 21.9% in the August-October quarter, slightly lower than the previous period but still significantly higher than the…

Saprissa, Alajuelense qualify for Champions League
News
1073 views
News
1073 views

Saprissa, Alajuelense qualify for Champions League

The Tico Times - December 3, 2020

Costa Rica's two most-popular soccer clubs will represent the country at the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League. Deportivo Saprissa and Liga…

CCSS conducts ‘mega transfer’ of COVID patients from full hospital
Costa Rica
15817 views
Costa Rica
15817 views

CCSS conducts ‘mega transfer’ of COVID patients from full hospital

Alejandro Zúñiga - December 3, 2020

The Costa Rican Social Security System (CCSS) on Wednesday conducted a large-scale transfer of coronavirus patients from a saturated Escalante Pradilla…