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Taiwan’s Military Chief Among 8 Dead After a Helicopter Carrying Leaders Crashed

Posted: 02 Jan 2020 01:02 AM PST

Taiwan’s military chief and seven others have died after a helicopter carrying high-level defense officials crash-landed Thursday morning in a mountainous region south of capital Taipei.

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) reported the casualties during an afternoon news conference. Taiwan’s chief of general staff, Shen Yi-ming, is among the dead. Five people survived the accident.

Taiwan’s official broadcaster Central News Agency also confirmed the death of Shen.

The 62-year-old took office as the top chief last year. He had earlier served as the 22nd Air Force commander of the Air Force and Deputy Minister of Defense, and has undergone military training in France and the U.S.

“I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the families of the victims,” Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen wrote on Facebook. She added that Shen is an “outstanding general” and that his death is saddening.

The tragedy comes at a tense time for the self-ruled island, which is claimed by China. On Tuesday, the Taiwanese parliament passed an anti-infiltration law to combat perceived threats to the island’s democratic independence from mainland China as the island gears up for a presidential vote on Jan. 11.

The incumbent, Tsai, is running on the promise of upholding the territory’s sovereignty and maintaining a distance from the mainland. Beijing has said that it would not rule out using force against the island.

The Taiwanese UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter took off just before 8 a.m. and last made contact at 8:07 a.m., according to a defense ministry news conference. Taiwan air force commander-in-chief Hsiung Hou-chi said the helicopter went down in the hilly district of Wulai, and that the crash was caused by mechanical or environmental factors, which were yet to be clarified. Two rescue helicopters and 91 personnel were dispatched to the scene.

“Some of the people (on board) are still inside trapped, some have gotten out,” Hsiung said. “But as for the details, we still need the further report from the search and rescue team on the scene.”

The exact cause of the crash and conditions of the five who survived is not known.

According to the defense ministry, the helicopter was on a routine mission to visit soldiers stationed in Yilan, a county in the territory’s northeast, ahead of the Chinese New Year.

Japanese Authorities Raid Former Auto Exec Carlos Ghosn’s Home After He Fled to Lebanon

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 11:50 PM PST

(TOKYO) — Japanese prosecutors raided the Tokyo home of former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn after he skipped bail before a trial on financial misconduct charges and left for Lebanon.

Tokyo prosecutors and police did not immediately comment Thursday. Japanese media reported and showed photos of the raid.

Government offices are closed this week for the New Year’s holidays.

It is unclear how Ghosn avoided the tight surveillance he was under in Japan and showed up in Lebanon.

Ghosn said Tuesday in a statement that he left for Lebanon because he thought the Japanese judicial system was unjust, and he wanted to avoid “political persecution.”

He said he would talk to reporters next week.

Japan does not have an extradition treaty with Lebanon.

Lebanon has said Ghosn entered the country legally, and there was no reason to take action against him.

His lawyers in Japan said they had no knowledge of the escape and they had all his passports. Ghosn has French, Lebanese and Brazilian citizenship.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK TV, without identifying sources, reported Thursday that Ghosn had two French passports.

Earlier Japanese reports said there were no official records in Japan of Ghosn’s departure, but a private jet had left from a regional airport to Turkey.

Ghosn, who was charged with under-reporting his future compensation and breach of trust, has repeatedly asserted his innocence, saying authorities trumped up charges to prevent a possible fuller merger between Nissan Motor Co. and alliance partner Renault SA.

His 1.5 billion yen ($14 million) bail that Ghosn posted on two separate instances to get out of detention is being revoked.

Thousands of Tourists Flee Australian Bushfires as Military Begins Evacuations

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 09:10 PM PST

(PERTH, Australia) — Thousands of tourists fled Australia’s wildfire-ravaged eastern coast Thursday ahead of worsening conditions as the military started to evacuate people trapped on the shore further south.

Cooler weather since Tuesday has aided firefighting and allowed people to replenish supplies. Vehicles formed long lines at gas stations and supermarkets, and traffic was gridlocked as highways reopened. But fire conditions were expected to deteriorate Saturday as high temperatures and strong winds return.

“There is every potential that the conditions on Saturday will be as bad or worse than we saw (on Tuesday),” New South Wales Rural Fire Service Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said.

Authorities said 381 homes had been destroyed on the New South Wales southern coast this week and at least eight people have died this week in the state and neighboring Victoria, Australia’s two most-populous states, where more than 200 fires are currently burning.

New South Wales authorities in the morning ordered tourists to leave a 250-kilometer (155-mile) zone along the picturesque south coast. State Transport Minister Andrew Constance said it is the “largest mass relocation of people out of the region that we’ve ever seen.”

In Victoria, where 68 homes have burned this week, the military was helping thousands of people who fled to the shore as a wildfire threatened their homes Tuesday in the coastal town of Mallacoota. Food, water, fuel and medical expertise were being delivered and about 500 people were going to be evacuated from the town by a naval ship.

“We think around 3,000 tourists and 1,000 locals are there. Not all of those will want to leave, not all can get on the vessel at one time,” Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The early and devastating start to Australia’s summer wildfires has led authorities to rate this season the worst on record. About 5 million hectares (12.35 million acres) of land have burned, with at least 17 people dead and more than 1,300 homes destroyed.

Prime Minster Scott Morrison said the crisis was likely to last for months. “It (fires) will continue to go on until we can get some decent rain that can deal with some of the fires that have been burning for many, many months,” Morrison told reporters on Thursday.

Smoke from the wildfires caused the air quality in the national capital, Canberra, to be the world’s worst and was blowing into New Zealand.

Jakarta Airport Reopens After Worst Flooding in 7 Years Leaves 16 Dead

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 08:27 PM PST

Indonesian authorities re-opened the Halim Perdanakusuma airport in Jakarta for limited operations, as the death toll rises from the city’s worst flooding in almost seven years.

At least 16 people have died from the New Year’s Day flooding, with half of the victims in Jakarta, according to the disaster mitigation agency. Heavy monsoon rains had lashed the Indonesian capital and nearby cities since New Year’s Eve, and the weather agency expects the adverse weather to last until next week.

State-run airport operator PT Angkasa Pura II allowed the use of 30 meters of the 45-meter-width runway starting Wednesday afternoon at Halim Perdanakusuma, the city’s second-biggest airport. For now, the facility only caters to Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 planes, according to Polana B. Pramesti, the Transport Ministry’s director-general of civil aviation.

Located in East Jakarta, Halim Perdanakusuma supports the main Soekarno-Hatta international airport and hosts flights for PT Garuda Indonesia’s low cost carrier Citilink and private airline PT Lion Mentari Airlines.

Power Outages

As many as 45 flights from the Lion Air group were diverted and rerouted, while 29 flights were canceled on Jan. 1, the airline said in a statement.

The rains submerged homes and cars and cut access as many roads in Jakarta were not passable. More than 700 areas in greater Jakarta region suffered from power outages, state-run electricity company PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara said on Jan. 1. Commuter trains suspended some operations, PT Kereta Commuter Indonesia said on Wednesday.

The country’s weather agency forecasts possible thunder and strong wind in the coming days, the Cabinet Secretariat wrote in a Jan. 2 statement.

President Joko Widodo ordered government agencies to prioritize security and rescue measures. Infrastructure matters will be discussed after the evacuation process is completed, the president told reporters in Jakarta on Thursday.

The Jakarta provincial government on Wednesday instructed schools and some offices to be prepared to provide shelter.

In January 2013, more than 30 million residents of the city were affected by flooding that killed dozens of people and inundated areas including the central business district.

–With assistance from Tassia Sipahutar, Yoga Rusmana, Harry Suhartono and Eko Listiyorini.

Iran-Backed Militiamen Withdraw From U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, But Tensions Remain High

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 06:34 PM PST

(BAGHDAD) — Iran-backed militiamen withdrew from the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad on Wednesday after two days of clashes with American security forces, but U.S.-Iran tensions remain high and could spill over into further violence.

The withdrawal followed calls from the government and senior militia leaders. It ended a two-day crisis marked by the breach of the largest and one of the most heavily fortified U.S. diplomatic missions in the world.

The attack and its volatile aftermath prompted the Pentagon to send hundreds of additional troops to the Middle East and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to delay a European and Central Asian trip.

In an orchestrated assault, hundreds of militiamen and their supporters broke into the embassy compound, destroying a reception area, smashing windows and spraying graffiti on walls to protest U.S. airstrikes against an Iran-backed militia over the weekend that killed 25 fighters.

The U.S. blamed the militia for a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base in the northern city of Kirkuk last week that killed a U.S. contractor.

The protesters set up a tent camp overnight and on Wednesday set fire to the reception area and hurled stones at U.S. Marines guarding the compound, who responded with tear gas. There were no injuries on either side and no American staff were evacuated from the compound.

The Popular Mobilization Forces, an umbrella group of state-allied militias — many backed by Iran — called on its supporters to withdraw in response to an appeal by the Iraqi government, saying “your message has been received.”

By late afternoon the tents had been taken down and the protesters relocated to the opposite side of the Tigris River, outside the so-called Green Zone housing government offices and foreign embassies. U.S. Apache helicopters circled overhead.

“After achieving the intended aim, we pulled out from this place triumphantly,” said Fadhil al-Gezzi, a militia supporter. “We rubbed America’s nose in the dirt.” Trump has vowed to exact a “big price” for an attack he blamed squarely on Iran.

Kataeb Hezbollah, the Iran-backed militia targeted by the U.S. airstrikes, initially refused to leave but later bowed to demands to disperse. The militia is separate from the Hezbollah militant group in Lebanon, though both are backed by Iran.

“We don’t care about these planes that are flying over the heads of the picketers. Neither do we care about the news that America will bring Marines,” said Mohammed Mohy, a spokesman for Kataeb Hezbollah. “On the contrary, this shows a psychological defeat and a big mental breakdown that the American administration is suffering from,” he said, before withdrawing from the area.

The violence came as Iran and its allies across the region have faced unprecedented mass protests in recent months and heavy U.S. sanctions have cratered Iran’s economy.

Iraq has been gripped by anti-government protests since October fueled by anger at widespread corruption and economic mismanagement, as well as Iran’s heavy influence over the country’s affairs. Those protesters were not involved in the embassy attack.

The Pentagon sent an infantry battalion of about 750 soldiers to the Middle East. A U.S. official familiar with the decision said they would go to Kuwait. Pompeo postponed a trip that was scheduled to start in Ukraine late Thursday so that he can monitor developments in Iraq and “ensure the safety and security of Americans in the Middle East,” said State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus.

Iran denied involvement in the attack on the embassy. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quoted by media as saying that “if the Islamic Republic makes a decision to confront any country, it will do it directly.”

Iran later summoned the Swiss charge d’affaires, who represents American interests in Tehran, to protest what it said was war-mongering by U.S. officials.

Public consular operations at the embassy were suspended and future appointments cancelled, it said in a statement.

Tensions have steadily risen since Trump withdrew the U.S. from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and embarked on a campaign of maximum pressure through economic sanctions. Iran has responded by abandoning some of its commitments under the deal.

U.S. officials have blamed Iran for the sabotage of oil tankers in the Persian Gulf and a drone attack on Saudi oil facilities in September that caused a spike in world oil prices. But the Trump administration has not responded with direct military action, apparently fearing a wider conflict.

The U.S. has sent more than 14,000 additional troops to the Gulf region since May in response to concerns about Iranian aggression. At the time of the attack, the U.S. had about 5,200 troops in Iraq, mainly to train Iraqi forces and help them combat Islamic State extremists.

The U.S. and Iran have vied for influence over Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein. Iran has close ties to Iraq’s Shiite majority and major political factions, and its influence has steadily grown since then.

Iran helped to mobilize tens of thousands of mostly Shiite militiamen to battle the Islamic State group when it stormed across northern and western Iraq in 2014 as the armed forces collapsed. The U.S. and Iran both provided vital aid to Iraqi forces, who eventually declared victory over the extremists in December 2017.

The political influence of the Popular Mobilization Forces has risen in recent years, and their allies dominate the parliament and the government. That has made them the target of the anti-government protesters, who have attacked Iranian diplomatic missions and the local headquarters of parties affiliated with the militias across southern Iraq.

They have also set up a sprawling protest camp in central Baghdad, and for weeks have been trying to enter the Green Zone. Iraqi security forces have beaten them back with tear gas and live ammunition, killing hundreds.

The militiamen and their supporters, however, were able to quickly enter the Green Zone and mass in front of the embassy, with little if any resistance from authorities.

Iraq’s government vehemently condemned the airstrikes on the militia, saying it violated national sovereignty. But Iran and its allies might have also seen the attack as a way of diverting attention from the anti-government protests.

“Iran has been trying to provoke the U.S. into helping it solve its Iraq problem,” said the Crisis Group, an international think tank. “The Trump administration, by responding to the attacks in Kirkuk and elsewhere with airstrikes, has obliged.”

How Did Fugitive Former Auto Executive Carlos Ghosn Escape Japan? Here Are a Few of the Theories

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 05:58 PM PST

How did Carlos Ghosn do it?

The former head of Nissan Motor Co. and Renault SA, who was awaiting the first of two trials in Tokyo, somehow evaded almost round-the-clock manned and video surveillance and heavy restrictions on his freedom of movement to flee to Lebanon.

From there, Ghosn released an email Tuesday decrying the “injustice and political persecution” of the Japanese judicial system. The 65-year-old faced charges of financial misconduct and raiding corporate resources for personal gain, allegations he denies.

Soon after he resurfaced, the internet lit up with unconfirmed reports and theories of how Ghosn, now an international fugitive, pulled off an escape befitting a Hollywood thriller — one that will be very hard for Japanese authorities to live down. There are still more questions than answers.

In one speculative account, which cited no sources, Lebanese television station MTV reported that Ghosn smuggled himself out of Japan in a large musical instrument box after a Christmas band visited his residence in Tokyo. He was then shipped out of the country and later entered Lebanon from Turkey on a private plane.

Ghosn’s getaway followed weeks of planning, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. A team of accomplices assembled last weekend to carry out his exfiltration, and his wife, Carole, played a major role in the operation, the newspaper said.

Ghosn was taken from his court-monitored residence in Tokyo onto a private jet, bound for Turkey, from where he continued on to Lebanon, landing there early Monday morning, it said.

A detailed report in the French daily Le Monde, citing unidentified sources, similarly reported that Carole Ghosn organized the escape with the help of her brothers and their contacts in Turkey, and that her husband entered Lebanon with an ID card. He may have decided to flee because of new information Japanese authorities could have obtained from a Swiss bank and from offshore centers including Dubai, the newspaper reported.

The Lebanese newspaper Annahar, by contrast, reported that Ghosn entered the country with a French passport. The former industry heavyweight has Lebanese, French and Brazilian citizenship, though all his passports had been taken from him. Meanwhile, a report that Ghosn met with Lebanese President Michel Aoun was denied by an official at the presidency.

French newspaper Les Echos said Ghosn may have left Japan under a false identity with a forged passport, after boarding a private plane from a smaller airport where he was less likely to be recognized.

The U.K.’s Guardian said Lebanon officials were instructed by political leaders to ignore arrival formalities for Ghosn at the Beirut airport, citing a senior figure in the country’s ruling class that the newspaper didn’t identify.

The French foreign ministry, for its part, said it doesn’t know how Ghosn pulled off the caper. Lebanon’s foreign ministry said in a statement that Ghosn entered the country legally and it was unaware how he fled Japan and arrived in Beirut.

The Asahi newspaper in Japan suggested Ghosn may have flown out of Kansai Airport near Osaka, citing records from the Ministry of Transport that indicated a private jet left Japan for Istanbul in the evening of Dec. 29. On social media, would-be sleuths also posted private-jet flight information on aircraft that left for Istanbul the same day that Ghosn may have left the country.

A long-range Bombardier Inc. business jet left Kansai airport on Sunday night, arriving Monday morning in Istanbul, the Journal report said, citing flight-tracking data. A smaller jet left the airport for Beirut just over half an hour later, it said.

Ghosn’s vanishing act has trended on Twitter and inspired a fair amount of word play, as in “Ghosn with the Wind” and “Ghosn, Ghosn Gone.” Tesla Inc.’s Elon Musk also chimed in, tweeting “Carlos Gone.”

It wasn’t just casual tweeters alone. Masahisa Sato, a ruling party lawmaker in Japan, questioned in a tweet whether Ghosn was helped by another country in leaving Japan, and called Ghosn’s actions illegal.

Japan’s foreign ministry said by email Wednesday they are looking into the matter and can’t offer a comment.

In Japan, Ghosn’s escape dominated the front pages of domestic newspapers on New Year’s Day. Articles reported on speculation of how Ghosn was able to escape, the difficulty of extradition from Lebanon, and that his trial — set to begin in April — was unlikely to occur.

The Sankei newspaper, citing unnamed top officials in the prosecutor’s office, reported on anger and frustration there. Those in the office told the paper that Ghosn had made a mockery of Japan’s justice system, blamed the courts and Ghosn’s lawyers for him being out on bail, saying it was obvious he would escape.

Ghosn is expected to give a press conference from Lebanon in his new home after the holidays. In the meantime, red-faced Japanese law enforcement and customs officials have some explaining to do.

–With assistance from Abbas Al Lawati, Geraldine Amiel, Alan Katz, Lisa Du and Isabel Reynolds.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Share New Year’s Message and New Photo of Baby Archie

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 01:29 PM PST

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex posted a heartfelt message on Instagram that featured a new photo of their son.

In the Instagram post, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wished everyone a Happy New Year and said that they “loved meeting so many of you from around the world and can’t wait to meet many more of you next year.”

The video post showed a variety of pictures of the couple and their appearances throughout the year.

2019 was a big year for the couple as they welcomed their newborn son, Archie, who was featured in a new photo at the end of the video. Archie was born on May in May, about a year after the couple wed at Windsor Castle.

The New Year’s message comes about a week after the threesome opted to skip the Royal Family 2019 Christmas celebration, announcing that they would spend “extended family time” with Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland.

Australia Deploys Military Aid to Towns Ravaged by Apocalyptic Wildfires That Left at Least 17 People Dead

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 10:20 AM PST

(PERTH, Australia) — Australia deployed military ships and aircraft Wednesday to help communities ravaged by apocalyptic wildfires that have left at least 17 people dead nationwide and sent thousands of residents and holidaymakers fleeing to the shoreline.

Navy ships and military aircraft were bringing water, food and fuel to towns where supplies were depleted and roads were cut off by the fires. Authorities confirmed three bodies were found Wednesday at Lake Conjola on the south coast of New South Wales, bringing the death toll in the state to 15.

More than 175 homes have been destroyed in the region.

Some 4,000 people in the coastal town of Mallacoota fled to the shore as winds pushed a fire toward their homes under a sky darkened by smoke and turned blood-red by flames. Stranded residents and vacationers slept in their cars, and gas stations and surf clubs transformed into evacuation areas. Dozens of homes burned before winds changed direction late Tuesday, sparing the rest of the town.

Victoria Emergency Commissioner Andrew Crisp told reporters the Australian Defence Force was moving naval assets to Mallacoota on a supply mission that would last two weeks and helicopters would also fly in more firefighters since roads were inaccessible.

“I think that was our biggest threat in terms of what are we doing with the children if we need to go in the water to protect ourselves given the fact that they are only 1, 3 and 5,” tourist Kai Kirschbaum told ABC Australia. “If you’re a good swimmer it doesn’t really matter if you have to be in the water for a longer time, but doing that with three kids that would have been, I think, a nightmare.”

Conditions cooled Wednesday, but the fire danger remained very high across the state, where four people are missing.

“We have three months of hot weather to come. We do have a dynamic and a dangerous fire situation across the state,” Crisp said.

In the New South Wales town of Conjola Park, 89 properties were confirmed destroyed and cars were melted by Tuesday’s fires. More than 100 fires were still burning in the state Wednesday, though none were at an emergency level. Seven people have died this week, including a volunteer firefighter, a man found in a burnt-out car and a father and son who died in their house.

Firefighting crews took advantage of easing conditions on Wednesday to restore power to critical infrastructure and conduct some back burning, before conditions were expected to deteriorate Saturday as high temperatures and strong winds return.

“There is every potential that the conditions on Saturday will be as bad or worse than we saw yesterday,” New South Wales Rural Fire Service Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said.

The early and devastating start to Australia’s summer wildfires has led authorities to rate this season the worst on record and reignited debate about whether Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s conservative government has taken enough action on climate change. Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coal and liquefied natural gas, but Morrison rejected calls last month to downsize Australia’s lucrative coal industry.

Morrison won a surprise third term in May. Among his government’s pledges was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26% to 28% by 2030 — a modest figure compared to the center-left opposition Labor party’s pledge of 45%.

The leader of the minor Australian Greens party, Richard Di Natale, demanded a royal commission, the nation’s highest form of inquiry, on the wildfire crisis.

“If he (Morrison) refuses to do so, we will be moving for a parliamentary commission of inquiry with royal commission-like powers as soon as parliament returns,” Di Natale said in a statement.

About 5 million hectares (12.35 million acres) of land have burned nationwide over the past few months, with at least 17 people dead and more than 1,000 homes destroyed.

Some communities canceled New Year’s fireworks celebrations, but Sydney’s popular display over its iconic harbor controversially went ahead in front of more than a million revelers. The city was granted an exemption to a total fireworks ban in place there and elsewhere to prevent new wildfires.

Smoke from the wildfires meant Canberra, the nation’s capital, on Wednesday had air quality more than 21 times the hazardous rating to be reportedly the worst in the world.

The smoke has also wafted across the Tasman Sea and into New Zealand.

Pope Francis Regrets ‘Bad Example’ He Set After Angrily Slapping Away Hand of Female Worshiper

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 10:11 AM PST

Pope Francis has apologized for angrily slapping the hand of a woman who was holding on to him and pulling him toward her as he walked through the Vatican City‘s Nativity scene on New Year’s Eve.

The following day, the pontiff apologized for the interaction while giving his annual New Year’s well wishes to the public in St. Peter’s Square. “I say ‘excuse me’ for the bad example,” he said in unscripted remarks, adding that “so many times we lose patience. Me, too.”

Video of the incident went viral on social media, and shows the Pope walking through a crowd of Catholic pilgrims on New Year’s Eve. As he tried to walk away from one group, a woman can be seen grabbing his hand and yanking him closer to her. As he tried to pull away from her, she would not let go. The Pope, who appeared frustrated, then slapped her on the hand and frowned as he walked away.

The following day, Pope Francis spoke out against violence toward women during his New Year’s Day homily in St. Peter’s Basilica, equating it to profaning God, according to the Associated Press.

He noted that “many times women’s bodies are sacrificed on the profane altar of advertisements, of profit, of pornography,” and lamented that women are ”continually offended, beaten, raped, forced into prostitution” and forced to have abortions — a procedure the Catholic Church is against.

The Pope also said he hoped that in the new year women worldwide would take on more leadership roles.“If we want a better world, that is a house of peace and not a courtyard of war, may the dignity of every woman be at the heart of it. Women are givers and mediators of peace, and should be fully associated with decision-making processes.”

Women are not able to become priests in the Catholic Church. The pontiff did not say how roles for women might be specifically expanded in the church in the coming year.

At Least 16 Inmates Killed in Mexico Prison Riot on New Year’s Eve

Posted: 01 Jan 2020 08:16 AM PST

(MEXICO CITY) — At least 16 inmates in a central Mexico prison were killed and five more were wounded in a riot that closed out a violent 2019 for the country, authorities said.

Zacatecas state security secretary Ismael Camberos Hernández told local press that authorities confiscated four guns that they believe were introduced to the Cieneguillas state prison during prison visits Tuesday. He said the prison had been searched for weapons on Saturday and Sunday and no guns were found.

The melee broke out around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday and the prison was brought under control by 5 p.m., according to a statement from the state security agency.

Fifteen of the victims died at the prison and one died later at a hospital.

One prisoner was detained with a gun still in his possession and the other three were found inside the prison, the statement said. Camberos said not all of the victims died from gunshot wounds. Some were stabbed and others beaten with objects.

No guards or police were wounded, Camberos said.