13 killed in prison fire

Inmates in a prison in southeast Turkey set mattresses and blankets alight, starting a fire that killed 13 prisoners, authorities said on Sunday.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the inmates set their bedding on fire following a fight that broke out inside a ward housing 18 prisoners late on Saturday. Five of the inmates in the prison in the mostly-Kurdish and Arabic-speaking city of Sanliurfa were hospitalised but none was in serious condition.

The prisoners also barricaded the ward’s entrance using beds and other furnishings, hampering rescue efforts by guards, Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin told reporters after he and other ministers visited the prison. The five survivors escaped injury after shutting themselves in the bathroom.

Inmates in Turkey have in the past set bedding alight in riots to protest poor prison conditions.

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