CARACAS, Venezuela – A prisoner rights group in Venezuela says 23 inmates died when guards opened fire to subdue an uprising.

Humberto Prado of the Venezuelan Prison Observatory said 18 guards were also injured in Friday's clash. The jail is in the central state of Portuguesa, some 220 miles (350 kilometers) from the capital of Caracas.

Venezuelan authorities have not commented on the incident.

Last year, a jail riot in the city of Valencia left 68 inmates dead, many of whom were burned alive.

Venezuela is in the throes of a historic crisis marked by shortages of food and medicine that's driving millions to flee the country.

Critics say about 30 prisons spread across Venezuela are severely overcrowded and run by gangs that traffic drugs and weapons.

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