Posted on 07.30.2019 by Chandana Sirimalwatte in World with 0 Comments
A prison riot has resulted 57 prisoners killed by other inmates at the Altamira prison in northern Brazil on Monday, according to prison officials.
Fighting broke out between rival gangs on Monday morning at a small penitentiary in the northern Brazilian state of Para. Prison officials said at least 16 victims had been decapitated.
Inmates belonging to a local gang known as Comando Classe A set fire to a part of the prison occupied by the rival Rio de Janeiro-based gang Comando Vermelho, or “Red Command.” Many of the victims reportedly died of smoke inhalation, as the fire prevented police from entering the building for several hours, the state prison chief said in a statement. Two guards were also held hostage, but were eventually freed.
Para state prison authorities said 16 of the victims were decapitated while others were asphyxiated. The count of victims could rise when authorities have searched all areas involved, state prisons chief Jarbas Vasconcelos said at a news conference.
The killings echoed those of 55 inmates who died in a series of riots in May in several prisons in the neighboring state of Amazonas. In early 2017, more than 120 inmates died in prisons across several northern states when rival gangs clashed over control of drug-trafficking routes in the region. The violence lasted several weeks, spreading to various states.
In many of Brazil’s prisons, badly outnumbered guards struggle to retain power over an ever-growing population of inmates who are able to run criminal activities from behind bars.