The tragedy occurred at a prison facility in the city of Tulua during an escape attempt followed by a fire, Colombian authorities say.

Fatal prison riots are not uncommon in Latin America.
Fatal prison riots are not uncommon in Latin America. (AP)

At least 49 inmates has been killed and dozens more injured during an attempted prison escape in southwestern Colombia.

"So far there are 49 dead," said a spokesperson for the National Penitentiary and Prison Institute, adding that the toll from the city of Tulua was preliminary and "may change."

The tragedy occurred early on Tuesday during an escape attempt followed by a fire, Caracol Radio quoted authorities as saying.

According to that report, more than 40 people have been injured.

Outgoing President Ivan Duque sent a tweet offering his solidarity with relatives of the victims.

READ MORE: Dozens of inmates on run after deadly Ecuador prison riot

Prison riots not uncommon

He did not provide a death toll.

"We regret the events that occurred in the prison in Tulua, Valle del Cauca," Duque said.

"I have given instructions to clarify this terrible situation. My solidarity is with the families of the victims."

Fatal prison riots are not uncommon in Latin America. 

In Colombia's neighbour Ecuador, nearly 400 prisoners have been killed in six riots since early 2021.

READ MORE: Jolted by deadly prison riots, Ecuador to pardon 5,000 inmates

Source: AFP