A riot at an overcrowded maximum security prison in Guyana Thursday has left 16 inmates dead, prison authorities said.
"It\’s a crisis situation," Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan told AFP.
Inmates set fires at the Georgetown Prison and battled prison guards and police with sticks from broken-up beds, police said.
Besides the dead, six other people were seriously injured and were being treated for burns, the state-run Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation said.
The riot started after police and guards searched the facility, confiscating cellphones and other banned items.
Clifton Hicken, a divisional police commander, said the situation inside the prison, a concrete and wood-frame structure, was "very bad."
The prison was built to hold 775 inmates but now houses more than 1,000.