Over 40 dead in gang violence, fire at Honduras women’s prison



At least 41 people were killed Tuesday at a women’s prison in Honduras, where violent clashes between rival gangs sparked a fire that tore through part of the facility, police said.


The deadly violence occurred at a prison about 25 kilometers (15 miles) north of the capital Tegucigalpa, according to police spokesman Edgardo Barahona, who put the “preliminary” death toll at 41 women. It was unclear if they were all inmates.

Five other women were injured and taken to hospital, Barahona added.

Hundreds of relatives of incarcerated women gathered outside the detention facility awaiting information about their loved ones.

“We don’t know who the victims are,” said one visibly distraught man.

Heavily armed soldiers and police were seen entering and guarding the prison, while teams of firefighters were also present.


According to Delma Ordonez, who represents inmates’ relatives, members of a gang had entered the cell of a rival group and set it on fire.

That part of the prison was “completely destroyed” in the blaze, she told media.

The CEFAS correctional facility in Tamara held about 900 inmates, said Ordonez.

Most of the victims died in the fire, while some bodies were riddled with bullets, a spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office, Yuri Mora, told AFP. An investigation was underway to determine which gang launched the initial attack, he added.

Honduran President Xiomara Castro said on Twitter she was “shocked” by the “monstrous murder of women in CEFAS by gangs in full view and tolerance of security authorities,” and expressed solidarity with grieving family members.

A state of emergency was announced, and Castro said she would “take drastic measures” to hold security leaders to account.


On Tuesday night, she dismissed security minister Ramon Sabillon, replacing him with Gustavo Sanchez, who was serving as the director of the national police.

Sabillon was reassigned to the Honduran foreign ministry.


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