|Relatives wait for the transfer of wounded prisoners in front of the prison of Uribana, in the city of Barquisimeto in Lara state, Venezuela, on Jan. 26, 2013. The death toll of a prison riot in northwest Venezuela has risen to 61, medics said on Saturday. Ruy Medina, director of the Medical Center in Barquisimeto, capital city of Lara state, said 30 people were still treated for injuries, most of whom suffered gunshot wounds. (Xinhua/Juan Carlos Hernandez)
CARACAS, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- The death toll of a prison riot in northwest Venezuela has risen to 61, medics said on Saturday.
Ruy Medina, director of the Medical Center in Barquisimeto, capital city of Lara state, said 30 people were still being treated for injuries, most of them had suffered gunshot wounds.
Early on Saturday, Vice President Nicolas Maduro called the riot "regrettable" and "tragic," saying the government had launched an investigation.
Crossfire broke out in Uribana prison outside Barquisimeto after prisoners resisted a spot check on weapons.
Penitentiary Services Minister Iris Varela said most of the victims sustained "bullet injuries" and others were stabbed or burned by explosives.
Varela said the Attorney General's Office as well as the Judicial Power were working on the autopsies of the deceased. A total of 28 corpses had been handed to their families.
"Prisoners who were injured or died had cuts and stabs with knives or homemade weapons at the jail, and some had signs of physical violence," she said.
Uribana prison, which currently jails 2,600 inmates with the planned accommodation of 850, is one of the "three most violent jails" in Venezuela.
More than 21,000 murders were registered in Venezuela in 2012, up 15 percent from the previous year, according to international organizations.