At least 56 killed in Brazil prison riot

Thursday, January 5, 2017

At least 56 inmates, mostly of rival drug gangs, were killed during a Sunday riot in Anisio Jobim Penitentiary Centre, a state prison located in Manaus, Brazil, according to official report. Some of those killed were decapitated.

Anisio Jobim Penitentiary Centre, Manaus, Brazil.

According to Amazonas state Public Security Secretary Sergio Fontes, members of two criminal organisations, the Família do Norte (FDN) and the Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC), were involved.

The conflict started on Sunday. It lasted at least seventeen hours until the authorities quelled the riot on Monday at 7 a.m. local time, according to Fontes.

According to Fontes, 74 inmates and twelve officers were held hostage, of whom some were released and others killed. Six decapitated bodies were thrown over the walls.

The Anisio Jobim Penitentiary Centre houses, by reports, several times its supposed capacity of inmates; 2230 on a capacity of 590 according to Reuters, 1224 on 454 according to BBC.

According to officials, during the riot 112 inmates escaped.

Fontes said competition for drug trade was the main reason for the riot. Former National Public Security Force secretary Jose Vicente da Silva said Brazil's prison system mismanagement and economic recession contributed to the riot.

This latest riot is considered the deadliest since the 1992 prison massacre in Carandiru Penitentiary, São Paulo, where 111 inmates were killed, most by the police who stormed the penitentiary.

Within a day of the latest riot at the Anisio Jobim Penitentiary Centre, individual riots at two other Manaus prisons reportedly occurred. At least 72 inmates escaped from one of these prisons.

Brazil has more than 600,000 inmates nationwide.