GEORGETOWN – Sixteen inmates were reported dead Thursday after what authorities in Guyana described as the worst prison riot in the country’s recent history.
One of the prisoners died at Georgetown Public Hospital and the bodies of 15 others were found inside the prison after order was restored.
Five other inmates were rushed to the hospital for treatment of life- threatening burns.
Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan told reporters that calm had been restored at the facility.
The unrest began late Wednesday night and continued into the following morning, as inmates set mattresses on fire.
Officials said that after torching the mattresses, prisoners broke up the beds and fashioned weapons from the frames that they used to “harpoon” guards who attempted to quell the unrest.
“When, with the smoke and the fire in there, they were trying to get them out, the prisoners started harpooning them. They broke up the bed in pieces and started ‘jooking’ up the prison officers and so they had to back off,” a prison official told reporters.
The first fire was set in the cellblock holding capital offenders, including convicted murderers.