Death toll in Zimbabwe prison protest rises to three
16 March 2015, 12:43
Harare - Two Zimbabwean prisoners have died in hospital, bringing the total of inmate deaths to three after a protest over food shortages turned violent on Friday, a correctional services spokeswoman said on Sunday.
Elizabeth Banda-Karinda said the two prisoners, who had been admitted to a Harare hospital, died on Saturday.
She did not give a cause for their deaths but said the three prisoners were serving between 27 and 45 years crimes that included rape and armed robbery.
"We are waiting for the results of their postmortem to determine the cause of death," she told Reuters, denying media reports that they could have died from gunshot wounds.
The weekly Sunday Mail newspaper, a government mouthpiece that reflects official thinking, quoted unnamed sources saying the three prisoners had been shot at after climbing a prison roof and accessing a security tower.
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Guards at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison fired warning shots to control the situation and later called in anti-riot police who fired tear gas to quell the protest.
Last year, a senior official in the Ministry of Justice told parliament that prisoners in the southern African country faced food shortages because of lack of adequate funding from the government.