Caracas, Mar 29 (EFE).- Venezuela’s prosecutor confirmed on Wednesday that at least 68 people died in a fire in the detention facility of Carabobo state police in Valencia in the center of the country, where a riot reportedly broke out early morning.
“The Public Prosecutor’s Office informs the public that in the face of the terrible events that took place at the General Command of Carabobo, where 68 people died in the wake of a fire, we have appointed four prosecutors to clarify these dramatic events,” Tarek Saab said in a message on Twitter.
In another Twitter post, he said that preliminary investigations revealed there were 66 men among the dead, and two were women, who were overnight visitors to the prison.
The statement also said that the bodies have been handed over to relatives .
“The @MinpublicoVE GUARANTEES that we will conduct detailed investigations to clarify these painful events that have plunged dozens of Venezuelan families into mourning, as well as to establish the responsibilities that may arise from the event,” the prosecutor said.
The relatives of the inmates told EFE that the deceased died of asphyxia and burn injuries.
“They have not told us anything, I ask that (the law enforcement) not treat them like dogs, that they do not throw gas at them. They shot them as if they were dogs,” said Lissette Mendoza, a mother of a 19-year-old inmate, Yorman Salazar.
“He is being held for robbery, but that is not why they could take his life as if he were a dog,” the 35-year-old domestic worker added about the incident, which began around 4am (0800 GMT), according to locals.
Several dozen relatives of inmates gathered on Wednesday afternoon in front of the police headquarters as they were waiting for information regarding the riot that led about 20 personnel of the Carabobo Police to launch tear gas into the compound.
Later, in his press release, the Governor of Carabobo expressed his solidarity with victims’ families and said that he would support them “with the funeral services and subsequent burial of the deceased inmates”.