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Police: 2 inmates killed, 14 people wounded in Iraqi prison riot

From Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN
Prisoners set fires in cells that hold hundreds of inmates in a prison in Tikrit, Iraq, on Sunday.
Prisoners set fires in cells that hold hundreds of inmates in a prison in Tikrit, Iraq, on Sunday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The wounded include guards and inmates, police said
  • The riot occurred at the main prison for Salaheddin province
  • Prisoners say they were protesting bad treatment and corruption

Baghdad, Iraq (CNN) -- At least two prisoners were killed and 14 people wounded Sunday when a riot erupted at a Tikrit, Iraq, prison, police officials in Tikrit said.

The wounded included seven prison guards and seven inmates, authorities said. The riot erupted about 3 p.m. Sunday (8 a.m. ET) at the central prison for Salaheddin province, police officials said.

Prisoners set fires in cells that hold hundreds of inmates, police said. They said the instigators were from insurgent groups such as al Qaeda, who were planning to escape after creating chaos in the facility.

However, two prisoners -- speaking on condition of anonymity to avoid retaliation -- told CNN that the inmates set the fires to protest against ill treatment, poor conditions inside the prison and also against corruption. The families of many prisoners are forced to pay prison officers and guards each month so their relatives will receive better treatment, they alleged.

Attempts by CNN to contact police officials in Tikrit to comment on the inmates' allegations were unsuccessful Sunday night.

Corruption is one reason behind widespread protests in recent months in Iraq, part of a larger wave of unrest sweeping the Middle East. Other reasons include unemployment, poor basic services and a lack of freedom. In late February, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki gave government ministers 100 days to deliver results and eliminate corruption or be fired.

Tikrit is about 160 kilometers (99 miles) north of Baghdad.

 
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