Mexico City (AFP) - The death toll from a major prison riot in northeast Mexico has risen to 16, authorities said Wednesday.
Unrest at the prison in Cadereyta in Nuevo Leon state broke out on Tuesday morning and was put down, but flared again later as inmates started fires that sent up huge columns of black smoke.
One prisoner died in the blaze. Prisoners then took three guards hostage, and when talks with them went nowhere, security forces were sent in.
"Sixteen people were killed, most of them convicted of serious crimes," said Bernardo Gonzales, the state prosecutor on Wednesday.
"The bodies have various injuries, it is not possible to determine whether their deaths were due to bullets" before autopsies are performed, added Aldo Fasci, a government spokesman.
He added that authorities used lethal force to prevent the violence from escalating and that the clash was a result of gang rivalries.
Twenty-six people were also injured in the unrest, including two police and three security guards.
Cadereyta is on the outskirts of Monterrey, the third-largest city in Mexico.
Mexican jails are often rocked by riots, killings and escapes, especially those controlled by drug gangs. Most are overcrowded.
In 2016, a vicious fight between rival gangs left 49 dead in the Topo Chico jail, also in Nuevo Leon.