Prison Brawl Between Rival Brazilian Gangs Leaves 57 People Dead & 16 Decapitated
All-out chaos struck a Brazilian prison on Monday resulting in the death of 57 people.
According to HuffPost, a brawl took off in the Altamira prison between inmates during a clash between organized crime groups. Sixteen of the 57 people who died were decapitated, according to prison officials.
Para state prison authorities said that the fight broke out around 7 a.m. between the Rio de Janeiro-based Comando Vermelho and the local crime group Comando Classe A.
“Leaders of the (Comando Classe A) set fire to a cell belonging to one of the prison’s pavilions, where members of the (Comando Vermelho) were located,” a statement described.
State prisons chief Jarbas Vasconcelos said the fire quickly spread with inmates held in old container units that had been adapted for the prison.
Police forces weren’t able to enter the building for several hours because of the fire, and two prison staff members were held hostage, but were eventually let go.
“It was a targeted attack. 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,” Vasconcelos explained.
No firearms were discovered by authorities, only makeshift knives. Forty-six inmates are now expected to be transferred to other prisons, ten of which will travel to stricter federal facilities.
Brazil has developed sort of a bad reputation for its overcrowded prisons. According to a July 2019 report from the National Justice Council, one prison had 343 detainees for a maximum capacity of 163.
This isn’t the first time rival gangs have clashed in Brazil either. In 2017, more than 120 inmates died in prisons across a number of northern states when rival gangs fought over control of drug-trafficking routes in the region.
At the Altamira prison, state authorities are drafting a security plan to avoid any further violence or retaliation in the region.