At least twenty prisoners have been killed in Madagascar as the authorities attempted to stop a riot in a prison.
The country’s Justice Ministry said the riots occurred in a prison in the south of the island.
In a statement on Facebook the ministry said the trouble began at the prison in Farafagana at around 12:00 local time (09:00 GMT) with inmates splitting into two groups and attacking guards with stones.
They also seized guns from the prison guards.
Eight prisoners have been seriously injured as the authorities tried to regain control of the prison.
Twenty-nine others were also recaptured with 31 inmates still at large.
In 2018 Amnesty International said prison conditions in Madagascar were in terrible state with many inmates dying as a result.
The group in a report detailed how Madagascar’s criminal justice system has failed leading to overcrowding of prisons.
Amnesty International’s visit to prisons in Madagascar showed that many people are abandoned at detention centres without their cases heard.
“People accused of petty crimes, even children, are forced to stay in overcrowded and unhygienic prisons. In most prisons, there are more people awaiting trial than have been sentenced, and the broken justice system can delay trials for years, ” the group said.
It further said that “Madagascar’s prisons hold more people who have not been convicted than those found guilty. As of October 2017, 55% or more than half of the total prison population were pretrial detainees.