44 people were killed in a riot Sunday inside a prison in Mexico that may have been staged to cover up a breakout, according to the Miami Herald.
Public security authorities in Nuevo Leon state, outside of the northern industrial city Monterrey, said inmates rioted in one cell block around 2 a.m. and the violence spread to a second block.
Initial reports blamed the violence on efforts to transfer some inmates to another facility elsewhere in the country. There were conflicting reports about whether guards were taken hostage and if fires broke out in some of the cells, according to the L.A. Times.
Jorge Domene Zambrano, the state's public security spokesman, said authorities had regained control of the institution. He said most of the prisoners were incarcerated on drug-trafficking charges and related crimes.
He also said the fight between two cell blocks, each with about 750 prisoners, may have been staged as a cover for a prison break.
All the dead were killed by knives, other sharp instruments, clubs or stones, Domene said.