Most of the victims burned to death, while others died from gunshot wounds, according to the Prosecutor’s Office in a brawl between members of the Barrio 18 gang and the Mara Salvatrucha registered this Tuesday at the National Women’s Penitentiary for Social Adaptation.
The Prosecutor’s Office is investigating who is behind the attack. According to Delma Ordoñez, representative of the relatives of the inmates, the victims belonged to the Mara Salvatrucha gang, which seems to indicate that the attack was perpetrated by inmates from the rival gang Barrio 18.
According to his statements to the local press, “members of the gang entered their rivals’ cell and set fire to it.” The clashes took place in a part of this prison located in the Tamara Valley, 25 kilometers from the capital, where there are 900 women prisoners. “The place was completely burned.” AR-15 rifles were also used in the brawl.
The identity of all the victims has not yet been disclosed, but the local press affirms that among the dead women is Martha Mariela Contreras, better known as “Tacoma” and the alleged leader of the 18 Gang in the Planeta sector. She had been arrested for extorting carriers and micro-businesses in the San Pedro Sula region.
Also among the deceased is Irma Josefa Quintanilla Henríquez, alias “La Guata”, an active member of the Mara Salvatrucha, also in prison for extortion and drug sales.
Honduran President Xiomara Castro said she was “appalled by the monstrous murder… planned by the maras”, the criminal gangs that terrorize the country, and demanded “responsibilities” from the Interior Minister in particular, promising “drastic measures”, at the same time that he dismissed the Minister of Security in the middle of the night.
Ms. Castro “has decided to name General Gustavo Sánchez, until now Director of the National Police, Minister of Security,” according to a press release. Sánchez replaces Ramón Sabillón.
Honduras is ravaged by the corruption and terror of the “maras,” which, like neighboring Guatemala and El Salvador, engage in blackmail, drug trafficking and contract killings.
According to the authorities, despite the measures adopted to control the country’s 26 prisons, where some 20,000 people are held, the imprisoned gang leaders continue to order crimes and offenses from their cells.
Organized crime is responsible for a particularly high homicide rate, which last year stood at 40 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, four times the world average outside of conflict zones. (with AFP