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Inmates riot after escape tunnel is discovered

Three inmates are dead and one has been injured after a prison riot in Mexico.

The riot came after 29 prisoners escaped from the jail in the northern city of Ciudad Victoria overnight on Wednesday.

Luis Alberto Rodriguez, security spokesman for the state of Tamaulipas, said the prisoners had been in control of a patio at the prison, where they had built illegal huts.

Many were used as shops and workshops.

One of them, however, hid a 40-metre-long tunnel that was five metres deep, through which 29 prisoners made their escape.

A journalist exits a 40-meter tunnel, through which 29 inmates escaped from a prison, according to local media, in Ciudad Victoria, in Tamaulipas state, Mexico March 24, 2017
Image Caption:
Prison officials have asked neighbouring states to help apprehend the escapees

On Friday, prison officials destroyed the huts and found the tunnel, prompting a violent reaction from inmates, who rioted, fired guns and burned sheets.

One of the escaped inmates shot dead a passing driver as he stole his vehicle to use for a getaway.

On Saturday, Mr Rodriguez said 13 of the escapees had been recaptured and the riot had been brought under control.

The escape comes just two years after the prison break of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who escaped twice from maximum-security jails – the second time through a mile-long tunnel.

Guzman was extradited to the US in January.

The prison system in Mexico is burdened by overcrowding, underfunding and corruption and 30 guards at the Ciudad Victoria prison are being investigated on suspicion of involvement in the escapes and riot.

The prison in Ciudad Victoria is known as one of Mexico’s worst and inmates are said to control large parts of it.

Tamaulipas state is also the scene of a long-running turf war between the Zetas and Gulf drug cartels.

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