Prison Riot in Brazil Kills 57 People, Gang Members Decapitate 16 Inmates

Altamira prison in Brazil. Photo Credit: Bruno Santos/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Rabat –  Clashes between gang members at the prison of Altamira in Para state, Brazil resulted in the death of 57 detainees.

Sixteen of the victims were decapitated in the riot, which took place on Monday, July 29.

Other victims suffocated due to a fire in the prison buildings. The fire broke due to clashes between organized crime groups.

Al Jazeera reported that clashes started at 7 a.m. on Monday between the “Janeiro-based Comando Vermelho and a local criminal group known as Comando Classe A.”

The Para state government said in a statement that members of the Commando Class set a fire in a cell, targeting members of the Comando Vermelho.

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Chief of the prison Jarbas Vasconcelos described the attack as targeted.

“The aim was to show that it was a settling of accounts between the two groups, not a protest or rebellion against the prison system.”

Prison authorities also said that knives have been used during the attacks.

Videos showing smoke rising from the prison have gone viral.

This is not the first time Brazil has experienced such a riot in prison. According to CBC News, 55 prisoners died in similar riots in May across the prisons of Amazonas in northwestern Brazil.

“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, added CBC News.