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Report: Venezuelan prison riot leaves 19 people dead

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • It's not clear what set off the riot
  • Violence in Venezuelan prisons is not uncommon
  • Watchdog group reports more than 100 prison deaths in the first 3 months of 2011

(CNN) -- Nineteen people were killed as the result of a weekend prison riot near Caracas, the Venezuelan Interior and Justice Minister said on Tuesday, according to the state-run AVN news agency.

Tareck El Aissami said the riot started after family members visited with inmates, but it was unclear what touched off the violence, the agency reported. He did not say whether anyone was injured, it said.

The riot broke out at the El Rodeo I prison, which is located in Guatire, east of Caracas, according to AVN.

Violence in Venezuelan prisons is not uncommon.

According to the Venezuelan Prisons Observatory, a watchdog group, 124 people died in Venezuelan prisons during the first three months of this year. That figure does not include the latest riot report and represents a 22% increase over the 102 people who died during the same period a year ago, the group said.