(Revises death toll, adds details)


The death toll from the prison riot and escape attempt at the penitentiary in Gomez Palacio, a city in the northern Mexican state of Durango, has risen to 23, officials said Wednesday.

Durango Public Safety Secretary Jesus Antonio Rosso said that 14 inmates and nine guards at the facility had died.

He also said that five prisoners and two guards are suffering from "serious wounds," adding that the death toll could rise further.

Rosso went on to say that autopsies had revealed that just two of the guards died from gunshot wounds, while the rest were beaten to death.

He also said that to date so many guards had never died in a prison riot in Mexico, adding that they are prohibited from entering the prison carrying firearms.

Guards and inmates engaged in a shootout during the escape attempt on Tuesday afternoon, the secretariat said.

Soldiers on patrol outside the prison foiled the escape attempt and authorities later regained control of the facility, officials said.

Officials transferred 137 federal inmates out of the prison last Sunday after receiving a recommendation from the National Human Rights Commission, or CNDH.

Federal Police officers inspected cells, hallways and common areas in the Gomez Palacio prison after the transfer and found household appliances, cell phones and homemade weapons, the Public Safety Secretariat said.

President Enrique Peña Nieto ordered Government Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong earlier this week to "take measures to ensure control of the penitentiary system so that its policies will allow for the return to society of inmates."

Mexico's 419 penitentiaries have the capacity to hold 188,167 inmates, but they are currently housing 237,580 prisoners. EFE