Prison rebellion kills 60 in northern Brazil
A bloody prison riot in Brazil’s northern province of Amazonas has claimed the lives of at least 60 people, Brazilian authorities say.
According to the province’s public security office, the violent rebellion occurred at the Anisio Jobim penitentiary complex in the provincial capital Manaus on Sunday afternoon and but was quelled on Monday morning.
The violence was triggered by a fight between inmates belonging to rival drug gangs, Sergio Fontes, the head of the security office, told a press conference on Monday, adding that the death toll might rise as authorities get a clearer idea of the incident.
He further said that prison officials were counting the inmates to determine how many had managed to escape.
The massacre was the latest deadly clash to break out between prisoners loyal to the Sao Paulo-based First Capital Command (PCC) drug gang, the country’s most powerful drug cartel, and those aligned with a local Manaus criminal group known as the North Family.
Fontes went on to say that a number of prisoners had exchanged gunfire with police forces and held a dozen of prison guards hostage late on Sunday, adding that 74 inmates had also been taken hostage during the riot, with some murdered and some others released.
A video posted on the website of the Manaus-based newspaper Em Tempo showed the aftermath of the massacre and depicted dozens of bloodied and mutilated bodies piled atop each other on the prison floor as other prisoners milled around.
Brazil is under fire by international watchdog groups for the overcrowding of its prisons, which is the norm in the biggest South American country, and deadly riots routinely erupt there. Brazil has the largest prison population after the United States, China and Russia. Horrific conditions and inter-gang hostilities are widely seen in many facilities of the country.
Back in 1992, a deadly riot at the Carandiru Penitentiary in Sao Paulo in Sao Paulo, killed 111 prisoners, nearly all of them by police as they regained the control of the jail.