23 Nov 2008

Gang fight in Guatemalan prison leaves seven dead

3:56 pm on 23 November 2008

A fight between rival gangs in a Guatemalan prison has left seven prisoners dead, five of them beheaded, officials said.

Inmates at the Pavoncito prison, south of Guatemala City, displayed the heads of some of the dead prisoners, reporters who witnessed the scene said.

The violence was provoked by the transfer of a group of gang members to Pavoncito from another prison on Friday.

Police and prison authorities regained control of the complex on Saturday afternoon.

Pavoncito houses more than 900 prisoners convicted mostly of drug trafficking, murder and robbery.

Uprisings in overcrowded Central American prisons are frequent.

In May, inmates at the Chimaltenango prison in Guatemala decapitated a senior prison official during a riot that began after two women were caught smuggling drugs into the jail.