At least 25 prisoners die as riots erupt in Brazil jail

Published by Al Jazeera
On 17 October 2016 saa 02:55
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Battles between rival factions in Boa Vista prison end in bloodshed with at least 25 people killed.

At least 25 inmates died on Sunday in clashes between two rival factions in a prison in far northern Brazil, local media reported citing police.

Seven of the dead were beheaded and six burned to death in fighting at a prison in Boa Vista, the capital of Roraima state, the news site G1 reported, citing local police.

The bloodshed began when inmates of one wing of the Agricola de Monte Cristo prison broke into another wing.

Inmates were armed with knives and wooden clubs, an inmate’s wife who was in the prison when the riot broke out told G1.

Roraima state Secretary of Justice Uziel Castro said that the fight erupted during visiting hours, and some 100 relatives of inmates were briefly held hostage.

The rioters demanded that a judge come to hear their demands.

Instead, Special Operations Police stormed the prison, released the hostages and regained control of the site by sundown.

"All the hostages were released," Castro said, adding that most of them were women.

The prison, some 3,400 kilometers northwest of Rio de Janeiro, is in a state that borders Venezuela.

Fights and riots are common throughout Brazil’s overcrowded prison system. It has the fourth largest prison population behind the US, China and Russia.

Police and state officials did not immediately respond to phone calls for comment.

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Many Brazilian prisons and jails are severely overcrowded