56 inmates killed in Brazil prison riot (Third Lead)

Brasilia, Jan 3 (IANS) A 17-hour uprising at a prison in Brazil claimed the lives of at least 56 prisoners over the weekend, authorities said.

Authorities initially reported 60 fatalities, but Amazonas state authorities reported that 56 inmates died in the Anisio Jobim Prison in the city of Manaus and four others were killed in the Prison Unit Puraquequara, Efe news reported.

The brawl started on Sunday afternoon when members of the Familia do Norte (FDN), the gang that controls the Anisio Jobim prison, picked a fight with members of the First Capital Command (PCC), a criminal organisation based in Sao Paulo.

Dozens of inmates were beheaded, mutilated and set on fire during the fight, which the FDN started to send a “message” to the PCC about its power in the state, Amazonas Public Safety Secretary Sergio Fontes said in a press conference.

“There were only deaths on one side. The FDN massacred the suspected members of the PCC and a few other inmates,” Fontes said.

The secretary confirmed that it was “the worst prison massacre in our state’s history”.

Tension has intensified in some Brazilian prisons following last year’s riot between the PCC and Comando Vermelho (Red Command), a criminal gang that controls arms and drug trafficking in Rio de Janeiro.

The dispute between the two gangs left dozens of victims in 2016.

–IANS

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