On Monday, Honduras’ military commenced the process of assuming control over the country’s turbulent prisons. This action was prompted by a recent gang-related altercation that resulted in the tragic loss of 46 lives at a women’s detention center.
Honduras military takes over nationwide prisons in “Fe y Esperanza” operation, inmates monitored by Military Police of Public Order. (Photo: Reuters)
Honduras’ military took over control of the country’s volatile prisons on Monday in response to a gang dispute that resulted in the death of 46 inmates at a women’s detention center.
President Xiomara Castro, a leftist leader, made the decision to hand over control to the military police as part of her administration’s efforts to combat organized crime within the prison system.
Official footage depicted numerous shirtless male prisoners, sporting tattoos and shaved heads, lying on the floor of the high-security Tamara prison while heavily armed soldiers stood guard.
The recent images bear resemblances to those previously shared by the right-wing government of neighboring El Salvador, which has implemented stricter prison security measures and imprisoned over 62,000 individuals as part of its campaign against gangs.
In a tweet, Defense Minister Jose Manuel Zelaya stated that their objective is to combat organized crime within prisons as well as target the masterminds operating from outside.
The military police took control of two prisons, Tamara and La Tolva, on Monday, according to Armed Forces spokesperson Antonio Coello. Tamara, designed for 2,500 inmates, currently houses around 4,200 prisoners.
Honduras currently houses approximately 20,000 inmates in 26 overcrowded prisons, with a United Nations report indicating that these facilities are operating at 34.2% above capacity.
On Monday, the military police conducted a raid in a section of Tamara prison, occupied by the Barrio 18 gang, where they confiscated pistols, machine guns, ammunition, magazines, and grenades, as reported by Colonel Fernando Munoz.
In a press conference, the officer emphasized that corruption within the prisons would be eradicated and that no further orders for extortion or executions would be allowed to emanate from the facilities.