An armed group of gunmen, suspected to be members of a drug cartel, opened fire at a prison in northern Mexico, allowing dozens of inmates to escape. Authorities report that the attackers arrived in armoured vehicles outside the Chihuahua state prison shortly after 07:00 a.m. (14:00 GMT) and responded by firing on the guards. A brutal and audacious attack was perpetrated in Ciudad Juarez, killing ten people and injuring four others. Inmates have escaped from 24 prisons, according to police.
Mexican authorities announced on Sunday that at least 14 people were killed in an attack on a prison in the northern border city of Juarez, and two more were killed in a subsequent attack in the same city. Ten security personnel and four inmates were among those who were killed. pic.twitter.com/ugUaZwlvXw
— News Live (@NewsLiveFree) January 2, 2023
Thirteen people were also injured during fighting within the prison, which houses inmates from different criminal bands and drug cartels in separate cellblocks. Al Jazeera reported that four are undergoing medical treatment in a hospital. Families gathered outside, hugging and crying together as they awaited news of their loved ones. Several women stated that they saw the attackers wearing black clothing, carrying weapons that were better than those available to the police, and shooting at passing vehicles.
The national guard and army have been called in to assist local authorities. Since the turn of the century, the city has been plagued by violent clashes between the rival drug cartels Sinaloa and Juarez, which have killed thousands of people. In August last year, 11 people were killed when a riot inside the prison spilt into the streets. Drug cartels still exert much power over the prison system, as illustrated by these two incidents.
Authorities Vowed to Investigate
Investigators from the city, located across the border from El Paso, Texas, have promised to investigate the latest attack. An armed group of men fired at police on a nearby street minutes before the escape. Four men were arrested because of the chase. Two more drivers were killed in another city area following what officials described as an armed attack. The authorities have not yet established a link between the incidents.
History of Violent Clashes in Mexico
Hundreds of individuals have died in violent clashes between Ciudad Juarez’s security forces and rival Juarez and Sinaloa cartels over the past decade because of the conflict. Numerous incidents of fighting and rioting have occurred within the prison, including a bloody occurrence that left 20 people dead in March 2009. Three prisoners died after a clash between rival gangs in August 2022. State Human Rights Commission report from February 2022 indicates that the prison is overcrowded, with over 3,700 people detained, above its maximum capacity.
Overcrowding and violence are persistent problems in Mexican detention centres, especially those run by the government. Recently, the conflict between criminal groups has exacerbated these problems. Pope Francis celebrated a mass in the prison courtyard in February 2016 during his visit to Mexico. Hundreds of prisoners and their families attended the service.
16 Prisoners Killed in Mexico Prison Fight
In one of the deadly outbreaks of violence in Mexico’s troubled penal system since President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took power, 16 inmates were killed, & 5 others were injured in a prison fight in the northern Mexican state of Zacatecas, authorities said Wednesday. According to a statement released Tuesday evening by the state government, the fight began on Tuesday afternoon at the Regional Center for Social Reintegration in the town of Cieneguillas, situated near the capital city of Zacatecas.
In addition to the firearm found in prison, three other guns, knives, and ammunition were also discovered on the premises. Regardless of who is responsible for the fight and how the weapons entered the prison, the government has launched an investigation to determine who is responsible. Following the fight, the government has pledged to enhance security at prisons in the state. Violence has been a persistent problem in Mexican prisons for years. At least 28 prisoners were killed in the Mexican Pacific resort of Acapulco in 2017 during a violent fight.