Bolivia prison riot leaves at least 30 dead

At least 30 people are dead and more than 50 are injured after a prison riot broke out in eastern Bolivia on Friday.

Fighting broke out among inmates in the maximum security area of Palmasola jail in the city of Santa Cruz when prisoners in one of the blocks exploded a metal propane tank in another of the blocks around dawn, leading to many of the bodies being burnt and several severe burn injuries.

Shots were heard being fired after the explosion.

Head of police Alberto Jorge said it took four hours to get the situation under control. About 256 prisoners were evacuated because of the fire.

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Government official Celso Parada said one of the burnt bodies was of a small boy, who has now been confirmed to be an 18 month old. While Palmasola is a prison for adults, many children live there with their parents as they serve their sentences. Under Bolivian legislation, children under the age of six can stay in a parent's cell, but they often stay longer because they have nowhere else to go.

The inside of Palmasola is largely controlled by its 3,500 inmates, most who are awaiting trial.