Thursday, September 16, 2021

52 inmates on run after Brazil jailbreak

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A day after a battle between rival factions, inmates remain armed and out of control in the Alcacuz Penitentiary Center near Natal in Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil on January 20, 2017. Stick-wielding inmates hurled stones and lit fires Thursday in the jail where dozens were previously massacred, as authorities struggled to contain a spreading wave of gang violence. The governor of the surrounding Rio Grande do Norte state, Robinson Faria, called for the armed forces to be deployed in the streets of Natal after rioting spread beyond the prison. / AFP PHOTO / ANDRESSA ANHOLETE

Brazilian police were hunting for 52 inmates who broke out of a jail on Tuesday in the latest unrest to hit the country’s overcrowded prisons.

Inmates set fire to one of the cellblocks before escaping from the Penitentiary Progression Center, a semi-open prison in the town of Bauru, northwest of Sao Paulo, the national prisons authority said.

The revolt broke out in protest after a prison guard confiscated a mobile phone from an inmate, it said.

“The prisoners started a commotion and some took advantage of it to flee,” a source in the prisons authority told AFP.

Inmates set fire to the roof of the cellblock, but firefighters soon put out the blaze, the source said.

The prisons authority said separately in a statement that 152 inmates fled and 100 were captured by military police.

More than 130 prisoners have been reported killed in Brazil this year, many of them beheaded, in a series of bloody prison riots blamed on drug gangs.

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