A “friendly” New Year’s Eve football match between prisoners from two Mexican drug cartels descended into bloodbath with 16 dead and more than 20 injured.
Violence broke out in the game between members of the Gulf and Zetas cartels, authorities reportedly say, following a bad tackle that led to tempers boiling over.
The match was being played on a pitch inside a prison in the town of Cieneguillas, with families including children watching on for what was intended to be a festive encounter.
Pushing and shoving quickly descended with prisoners taking out weapons, including machine guns.
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Police and prison guards stepped in with both prisoners and officers killed in the pitched battle.
Children looking on were among those injured.
The violence led to extra police crews from the state of Zacatecas and the army heading to the prison to restore order.
It is also reported that a prison breakout was foiled during the trouble.
The violence saw 15 people killed immediately and a further person has also lost their life in hospital from their injuries.
More than 20 ambulances took the injured away to hospital.
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The Zetas cartel was formed about nine years ago when they split away from the Gulf cartel and became a direct rival.
The fighting on Tuesday followed a sweep by prison staff at the prison that saw weapons and drugs seized by the authorities.
Four guns have been seized since the attack along with other weapons including 20 knives.
Mexico has seen record levels of violence in 2019 as a drug turf war rages.
The arrest and imprisonment of El Chapo has seen a battle for dominance that also includes his Sinaloa Cartel fighting to maintain their power base.
- El Chapo
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