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Colombia prison fire after riot leaves 51 dead

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Parente de detento se desespera em frente à penitenciária de Tuluá, no sudoeste da Colômbia
A relative of a detainee despairs in front of the Tuluá penitentiary, in southwest Colombia| Photo: EFE/Ernesto Guzmán Jr.

At least 30 people died and 24 were injured or intoxicated due to a fire in the early hours of Tuesday (21) in a penitentiary in the city of Tuluá, in southwest Colombia.

Castellanos told Caracol radio that the tragedy, which took place in wing 8 of the penal complex, had a balance of 30 dead, being 29 inside the prison and two in hospitals where they were treated. The Tuluá prison houses 1.267 detainees, according to him.

“My solidarity with the families of the victims of the Tuluá prison, (in the department of) Valle del Cauca, who lost their lives after a riot that sparked a fire in the early hours of this morning. Relevant investigations are already underway to clarify the facts,” Colombian Justice Minister Wilson Ruiz Orejuela said on Twitter.

According to the first statements, the fire started around 1 am (18 on Monday in Brasília) and although firefighters arrived quickly to fight the flames, many of the victims died from inhalation of smoke.

The President of Colombia, Iván Duque, who is on an official visit to Portugal, also regretted the tragedy and expressed solidarity with the victims’ families.

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