Mexico empties prison of inmates after deadly riot

Graphic showing Gomez Palacio in Mexico where at least 15 inmates and nine guards were killed on Tuesday in armed clashes at a prison.

Officials have removed all of the prisoners -- about 500 inmates -- from a prison in northern Mexico, one day after the facility erupted in violence, leaving 15 inmates and nine guards dead.

The prison "has been totally emptied as a preventive measure," Durango public safety spokesman Fernando Rios told AFP, who said the inmates had been distributed to penal facilities throughout the region.

Security forces said Tuesday's uprising, which occurred at the prison in the city of Gomez Palacio, erupted when prison guards foiled an attempted jailbreak by inmates.

Mass jailbreaks have become a recurring problem in Mexico. In September, 131 inmates escaped through the front door of a prison in Piedras Negras, a city on the US border.

A jailbreak at a prison in the northern state of Nuevo Leon in February saw 44 prisoners killed during fighting between two warring drug cartels.

In the last two years, 521 inmates have run free in 14 prison escapes while 352 homicides have been committed inside penitentiaries, according to the National Human Rights Commission.

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