Rebellious inmates burn Guyana prison, battle police

Dozens of rebellious inmates set fire to the maximum security prison in Guyana’s capital Sunday, destroying most of the building while they exchanged gunfire with police and soldiers, authorities said.

Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan said Sunday night that security forces had regained control of the prison, but firefighters were still dealing with the blaze.

He said there had been some injuries, but he did not give a precise number or their condition. State television NCN said eight people, some of them guards, were taken to Georgetown Hospital for treatment of serious gunshot wounds.

Ramjattan said officials were investigating what led to the unrest at Camp Street prison. “We have heard that there might have been breakouts but we don’t want rumors,” he said.

He said plans were being made to move the prisoners elsewhere. “Removing the prisoners is paramount as well as getting the fire under control. This is a very unfortunate incident,” he said.

Last year, 17 inmates died when they were trapped in their cells by a fire that they had started to protest against conditions in the prison and long delays in their trials.

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