Prison blaze kills 29 in Argentina

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BUENOS AIRES, Nov 5 (Reuters) A fire set by inmates swept through a prison in a northeastern Argentine city, killing at least 29 people, authorities said today.

Many of the deaths were caused by asphyxiation as inmates were overcome by smoke, Ricardo Daives, Justice Minister for the Santiago del Estero province, told the C5N television network.

Local media reports said fighting between inmates broke out late yesterday after prisoners set fire to mattresses and other furniture in what officials said appeared to be an attempt by some convicts to escape.

Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets on dozens of relatives massed outside the prison in Santiago del Estero, some 1,150 km (715 miles) north of Buenos Aires, the newspaper Clarin reported on its Web site. The relatives were demanding news of their family members, it said.


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