MONTEVIDEO, April 26 (Bernama) — Authorities were forced to move more than 1,000 inmates from the Comcar prison near Uruguayan capital Montevideo after a riot broke out there and left eight people injured on Wednesday, Uruguay’s Interior Ministry said in a statement.
The riot, which took place at dawn in units 4 and 5 of the prison, was triggered by a suspension of the inmates visitation rights and so far some 1,160 inmates have been moved out of the facility, the ministry said.
The inmates of Comcar, which has the country’s largest prison population, set fires to the building before anti-riot personnel arrived and brought the situation under control with rubber bullets and tear gas, China’s Xinhua news agency reported.
Plumes of smoke could still be seen coming out of the prison located some 14 km west of Montevideo on early Wednesday.
Firefighters were unable to enter the facility until mid-morning when the riot was quelled, and the two prison units affected had to be evacuated, the ministry said.
The evacuated inmates “will be admitted to available cells at other facilities within the prison system,” it added.
Five inmates suffered considerable injuries and three others light ones, and all of them have been hospitalised in the national capital, according to the statement.
“The situation is under control and there have been no deaths, only material damage,” said Uruguayan Parliamentary Prison Commissioner Alvaro Garce after a visit to the site.
Overcrowding has been a major problem for Uruguayan prisons. According to an official survey, in mid 2010 the country’s prisons housed a total of 8,492 inmates, almost double their designed capacity.