Brazil jail riot in Para state leaves 57 dead as gangs fight

Brasilia, 30th July: At least 57 people have been brutally murdered in Brazil in a prison riot, which saw a few rival gangs battle it out for five hours, officials said in a statement. Gang members from one prison block invaded another part of Altamira jail in Pará state.
16 of the dead were brutally decapitated and the remainder suffocated after part of the prison was set on fire, officials said at a news conference. Two of the prison officers who had been taken hostage have been set free.
The violence began at around 7 AM local time on Monday, and ended at around 1 PM, officials said.
Members of the Comando Classe A (CCA) gang set fire to a cell where rival gang members from Comando Vermelho (Red Command) were kept, the Pará state government said in a statement.
The structure building of the cell allowed the fire to spread rapidly, resulting in the death of several inmates.
The goal of the attack from both sides was to strike at the rival gang – rather than the prison guards.
There had been no prior warning or signs from the prisoners, the statement said.
Video reported to be from the prison carried by Brazilian media showed smoke billowing from at least one prison building, while another clip appeared to show inmates walking around on the rooftops.
The prison in Altamira where Monday’s violence broke out has a capacity of 200, but was occupied by 309 prisoners. Officials denied it was overcrowded.
The Ministry of Justice said that ringleaders of the violence will be transferred to more secure units in federal jails.
Violence in Brazilian prisons is not uncommon. Brazil, has the world’s 3rd-largest population that is imprisoned, which numbers around 700,000 people, and overcrowding is a relatively widespread problem. Clashes between rival gangs are very frequent, and so are riots.