Zimbabwe prison death toll climbs to five

Picture: Thinkstock

Picture: Thinkstock

Two more prisoners have died from injuries sustained in a prison riot at a Chikurubi maximum security jail in Zimbabwe, bringing the death toll to five, state radio said Monday.

“One inmate died at the prison complex, while another died at Parirenyatwa Hospital (in Harare),” the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation said. “The inmate who died at Chikurubi was found dead in the hall,” Power FM reported. A post-mortem is to be done on the two dead prisoners.

At least 27 prisoners and several prison guards were injured in the three-hour-long riot on Friday, apparently sparked by anger over poor food. Windows were smashed and blankets burned when a group of 900 prisoners staged their protest at lunchtime.

Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party said on Monday the prison riot showed Zimbabwe had become “a failed state”.

“Any government that is unable to feed its prisoners is not fit to govern,” party spokesman Obert Gutu said in a statement.

“Denial of adequate food provisions to our prisoners is tantamount to cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment,” he added.

Poor food is causing diseases such as scurvy and pellagra in the country’s prisons, according to official reports.

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