Prison riot leaves 33 inmates dead in northern Brazil

January 6, 2017 5:50 pm

The still shows the relatives of inmates gathering outside the Agricola de Monte Cristo prison in Boa Vista, Roraima state, where a fight between rival drug gangs ended with 10 people dead, October 16, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

At least 33 inmates have lost their lives at a jail disturbance in ’s northernmost state of Roraima, the second such incident in the South American country over the past few days.
The riot broke out on Friday morning at the Agricola de Monte Cristo prison in Boa Vista, Roraima’s provincial capital.
A local government spokeswoman said the prison violence did not seem to be an all-out riot, but rather a rapid attack by a group of inmates against another.
Most of the killings in the less than an hour disturbance were carried out with knives, she added.
Meanwhile, Uziel de Castro, the top Roraima security official, blamed the incident on the Sao Paulo-based First Capital Command (PCC) drug gang.
The chaos was quelled after the intervention of the military police and Special Operations Battalion forces.
According to media reports, there were 1,500 prisoners and 15 prison officers on duty at the time of the incident, which left some of the victims decapitated.
Last October, the fight between rival drug gangs in the same prison ended with 10 dead.
Friday’s unrest came five days after 56 inmates were killed in the nearby state of Amazonas, in Brazil’s worst prison massacre for over two decades. Most of the victims were from the PCC, who were killed by the North Family drug faction.
Rights activists have long criticized prison conditions in Brazil that is grappling with overcrowded jails.
The Brazilian Justice Ministry says 50 percent more capacity is required to handle an inmate population swollen by efforts to suppress drug trade.
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