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At least 60 die in prison riot in Brazil

Allen Cone

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More than 60 inmates died -- including the decapitation of at least six people -- during a 17-hour prison riot in northern Brazil, state-run media reported Monday.
The uprising began Sunday afternoon as a clash between two drug-trafficking gangs at the overcrowded Anisio Jobim Prison Complex in Manaus, according to Public Safety Secretary Sergio Fontes as reported by Agencia Brasil.
"The scene inside the prison is terrible, it's shocking to see how brutal a person can be," Pedro Florencio, the state's secretary for prisons administration, told The Wall Street Journal.
Because of the number of body parts, the final death count can only be confirmed after DNA testing, Florencio said.
A local gang called Northern Family attacked prisoners with Brazil's largest narcotrafficking gang, the Sao Paulo-based First Capital Command, Fontes said.
The gangs smuggled guns into the prison and took 74 inmates and 12 police officers hostage, said Sergio Fontes, the head of security in Amazonas state. The prisoners were later released.
"This was one more chapter in the silent and imperious narcotrafficking war," Fontes said at a news conference.
A total of 1,229 inmates are housed in the prison, which has an intended capacity of just 500.
As of 2014, the number of people in Brazil's prisons exceeded 600,000 people -- 60 percent more than the the facilities were built to hold, according to the Ministry of Justice's Integrated System of Penitentiary Information.
In mid-October, at least 18 people died in riots in two Brazilian prisons.

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