MONTERREY, Mexico, Feb. 11 (UPI) — At least 52 people died in a battle between two rival gangs at Topo Chico jail early Thursday, just days before Pope Francis is scheduled to visit the country.
More than a dozen other inmates and jail personnel were injured in the brawl and subsequent fire at the facility in the northeastern Mexico state of Nuevo Leon. The Nuevo Leon state government said on Twitter it was too soon to give details, but that the disturbance was not the result of an attempted prison escape, as reported by some local media outlets.
The Mexican Army and local police force took more than an hour to control the riot, which began shortly after midnight. Family members gathered outside the prison, blocking roads in a demand for information, and smoke was billowing from the prison complex.
The same prison was the scene of the 2012 fatal stabbing of three inmates.
The Pope will be visiting Mexico from Feb. 12 to 18. He will be visiting a nearby prison.