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23 dead in Colombian prison riot prompted by coronavirus fears, Ministry of Justice says

(CNN) — A prison riots in Colombia prompted by coronavirus fears has left at least 23 inmates dead and 83 injured, the country’s Ministry of Justice said on Sunday.

There was a “massive and criminal escape attempt” at the Bogota’s La Modelo prison, one of the country’s largest and most overpopulated prisons, Justice Minister Margarita Cabello said in a video address. That incident resulted in the deaths and injuries. Cabello said there also were “revolts at different penitentiary centers in the country.”

“Today is a very sad and painful day for the country,” Cabello said in a video address. “There were no escapes. Nor was there was a sanitary problem that could have prompted this plan and these revolts.”

Earlier Sunday, Colombian President Ivan Duque said security forces and prison authorities were responding to “disorders in different parts of the country.”

Cabello said as of Sunday, no inmates or prison personnel have tested positive for coronavirus nor has anyone been isolated because of it.

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