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Families demand answers after 29 inmates die in Venezuela jail riot

ACARIGUA:      Wracked with pain and anger, dozens of families gathered in front of a morgue in the Venezuelan town of Acarigua on Saturday after 29 inmates died in rioting at a police station jail.
“It seemed there was a massacre of these children in the police station,” 50-year-old Zuleyma Ponte told AFP.
“My son was killed. Whose fault is it? It´s the lack of supervision, the lack of serious government,” he said.
The deaths came after police special forces intervened Friday to stop a “massive prison break,” according to Oscar Valero, public security secretary for Portuguesa state.
The prisoners received the officers with “a hail of gunfire” while detonating three grenades that wounded 19 police, Valero told reporters.
As the clash raged, family members near the station said they heard detainees shouting, “Don´t let us die.”
“What we are asking for is, please, just give us our boys. They´re not coming back, so give their bodies to their families and investigate those responsible,” said Aliris Perez, a 34-year-old teacher whose 24-year-old brother died in the violence.
Perez, who was close to the station when the riot occurred, said he heard several explosions as “many authorities” arrived at the site.
Carlos Nieto, the head of a prisoner rights NGO, said the clashes broke out when special forces attempted to rescue visitors who had been taken hostage Thursday by the leader of the inmates.
An official of the National Service of Medicine and Forensic Sciences told VPI online television on Saturday that work in the morgue was delayed as they waited for supplies from the capital Caracas, about 200 miles (350 kilometers) to the east.
“They´re sending us supplies, gloves, gowns, autopsy boots and scalpels, all of which we didn´t have,” said the official, whose name wasn´t given.
Eight autopsies have already been carried out, the official said.

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