Friday, September 30, 2022

At least 33 inmates killed in new Brazil prison unrest

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Relatives are seen during the funeral of one of the inmates who died during a prison riot, at the Taruma cemetery in Manaus, Brazil, January 4, 2017. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

At least 33 inmates were killed by their rivals at a prison in northern Brazil on Friday, days after a riot by warring gangs left dozens more dead at another prison, officials said.

The government of Roraima state said the situation at PAMC (Agricola de Monte Cristo prison) was now “under control.”

The latest violence did not appear to be an all-out riot but rather a rapid early morning attack by one group of inmates against another, lasting less than an hour, a local government spokeswoman told AFP.

Most of the killings were carried out with knives, she said. No firearms have been found inside the prison so far.

In October, 10 inmates were killed at the same prison during clashes between rival drug gangs.

The prison holds inmates from the Red Command, a powerful drug gang based in Rio de Janeiro.

It is allied with a local gang called the Family of the North.

That is the group authorities say was responsible for the grisly riot in Manaus, the capital of Amazonas state, where jailed gang members beheaded and mutilated 56 of their rivals in a 17-hour bloodbath Sunday and Monday.

Most of those killed in Manaus were members of a rival gang, the Sao Paulo-based First Capital Command.

The latest unrest comes a day after President Michel Temer announced the federal government would spend $250 million to build at least one prison in each of Brazil’s 26 states to deal with chronic overcrowding blamed for a string of deadly riots.

Rights activists have long condemned prison conditions in Brazil, where the justice ministry says 50 percent more capacity is needed to handle an inmate population swollen by efforts to crack down on a violent and lucrative drug trade.

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