MEP: Fatal fighting among inmates turned into a riot at a prison in the northern state of Amazonas, leaving at least 56 dead, including several who were beheaded or dismembered in the bloodiest violence in more than two decades in Brazil’s overcrowded penitentiary system.
State-run media agency Agencia Brasil reported Monday that bodies were thrown over the wall of the complex, and at least six people were decapitated.
The riot erupted on Sunday afternoon and lasted for 17 hours in the Anisio Jobim Penitentiary Complex (Compaj) in Manaus.
“What happened in Compaj is another chapter of the war that drug trafficking imposes in this country and shows that this problem cannot be faced only by [Brazilian] states,” said Sergio Fontes, head of public security for Amazonas.
“They weren’t fighting because one is called one thing and the other one is called another. They are fighting for money,” he said.
Amazonas authorities initially reported that 60 people were killed at Anisio Jobim in Manaus, but the state public security secretary’s office later lowered the figure to 56. Officials also said 112 inmates escaped during the riot.
There were 1,224 inmates in the prison, which was built to hold 592, Fontes said. The prison is run by a private company that is paid according to the number of inmates.
“This is the biggest prison massacre in our state’s history,” Fontes added at a news conference.
The violence was the latest clash between inmates aligned with PCC, Brazil’s most powerful drug gang, and a Manaus criminal group known as the North Family.