An attack with explosive devices at a prison in Venezuela has claimed the lives of seven inmates and wounded at least 47 others.
The attack occurred during a clash among the inmates at the Alayon prison in the central city of Maracay on Wednesday night, the public prosecutor’s office said on Thursday.
Unidentified people riding a motorcycle threw five explosive devices into a courtyard of the prison, according to media. Only two exploded, causing the casualties.
Federal officials said they have launched an investigation into the incident.
Venezuelan prisons are usually overcrowded. The Alayon prison, where the Wednesday attack took place, is built to house about 16,000 detainees but is currently estimated to be holding some 50,000 inmates, according to the Venezuelan Prisons Observatory.
Criminal gangs, which reportedly have access to arms behind bars, are also reportedly active inside some prisons. There are inmate gang bosses known as “pranes.”
Meanwhile, the country has been grappling with an economic crisis that has turned into a political nightmare for President Nicolas Maduro, who is blamed for economic mismanagement.
Maduro has remained defiant against opposition attempts to legally oust him, even as people in the country have difficulty meeting most basic needs, such as food.