Honduras military takes control of prisons after violent dispute that left 46 inmates dead
Honduras’ military started taking over violent prisons in the country on Monday, following a clash between rival gangs at a women’s detention centre in Tamara that left 46 inmates dead, with some of them brutally shot or stabbed and others burned to death.
Leftist President Xiomara Castro condemned the “monstrous murder”, announcing she would let the military take control of the prison system, a departure from an earlier stance to demilitarise security, as her administration tries to stop organised crime activity inside prisons.
Intense Crackdown On Criminal Activity
The official video showed heavily armed soldiers guarding dozens of male prisoners arranged on the floor of a high-security prison in Tamara with their arms over their heads. The images were similar to ones shared earlier this year by El Salvador’s government.
The right-wing government in the neighbouring country has strengthened prison security and arrested over 62,000 alleged criminals during an intense crackdown on gang activity.
Meanwhile, Honduras’ Defense Minister Jose Manuel Zelaya took to Twitter to highlight their mission to effectively tackle organised crime inside the prisons and also to deal with the “intellectual authors operating from outside”.
According to Armed Forces spokesperson Antonio Coello, the military police on Monday assumed control over the Tamara prison, where some 4,200 prisoners are living in an overcrowded facility with a capacity to accommodate 2,500, and La Tolva.
“Corruption In The Prisons Is Over”
Some 20,000 prisoners in Honduras co-exist in 26 overcrowded facilities, with a UN report suggesting the country’s detention centres are 34.2% over capacity.
The military police seized ammunition, grenades, magazines, machine guns and pistols from the Tamara prison on Monday, Colonel Fernando Munoz said. “The corruption in the prisons is over … There will be no calls coming out of here to order extortions or executions.”