TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — At least three people were killed Thursday when gunfire erupted inside a maximum security prison in eastern Honduras, according to an official in the federal prosecutor's office who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.
The incident occurred around 8 a.m. in the prison in Moroceli, El Paraiso, known as "La Tolva," or “The Hopper.” It holds members of the MS-13 and Barrio 18 gangs. It was not immediately clear if all of the dead were prisoners. The same source had earlier said there were at least five dead, but later lowered it to three and released their names.
The three victims were all members of the MS-13 gang, the source said. Two were killed by the explosion of a grenade and one by a bullet wound.
The federal prison system has not commented.
Local media outlets posted videos of the sound of gunfire inside the prison. There were also reports that a grenade had detonated.
The capital's Hospital Escuela admitted 15 wounded prisoners and one guard, who had been shot in the leg, said hospital spokeswoman Juliett Chavarría. Other prisoners were routed to another hospital nearer the prison.
Security analyst Raúl Pineda Alvarado said Honduras struggles to stop prison violence because the prison police are corrupt and the country lacks a real prisons policy.
“They just built prisons and increased the prison population without a real rehabilitation system and the other factor is the corruption of the people running the prisons," Pineda said.
“The prisons aren't rehabilitation centers, nor for work, they are centers where the inmates come to be even more corrupted and become more violent, which is an expression of what happens outside in the rest of society,” he said.
Thursday's incident occurred about a year and half after two others at two other prisons that left dozens dead in December 2019.