52 dead in riot at Mexico’s Topo Chico prison

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An image from video shows riot police outside a prison in Monterrey, Mexico, on Thursday.

An image from video shows riot police outside a prison in Monterrey, Mexico, on Thursday.

MONTERRY, Mexico — Fifty-two people were killed in the prison riot in northern Mexico, Nuevo Leon state Gov. Jaime Rodriguez said Thursday.

The riot began as a fight between two warring groups inside the Topo Chico prison, Rodriguez said.

Twelve others were injured, including five in critical condition, he said. Inmates set fires during the riot, which affected two of the prison’s units, the governor said.

[Previous story, published at 8:58 a.m. CT]

An incident at a prison in northern Mexico early Thursday — described by some as a riot or escape plot — has left dozens dead and wounded, according to local media reports.

Local news outlets showed video of flames rising from the Topo Chico prison in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state, overnight. State and federal forces, as well as relatives of inmates, amassed outside the site Thursday.

Reports in leading local news outlets said at least 50 people died and 30 were injured in a riot or escape attempt, citing unnamed security officials.

CNN has not independently confirmed the circumstances of the incident.

The Nuevo Leon state government, via Twitter, denied there was a prison break and cautioned about reporting death tolls before the investigation is complete. Officials announced a news conference for Thursday morning but later postponed it.

Prison violence in Mexico

Mexico has seen deadly riots and other prison violence in the past.

At the same prison in Monterrey, three inmates were stabbed to death in February 2012.

That same month, 44 inmates were killed and 30 escaped in a riot at a prison in Apodaca, which is not far from Monterrey. Security officials blamed that incident on a fierce rivalry between drug cartels inside that prison.

In 2011, the head of security at the Topo Chico prison was found dead and mutilated. Authorities at the time said that a note, presumably from a drug cartel, was left with the body.