When Brazil's prison went into disarray during a bloody riot on Monday, killing at least 57 people, including 16 decapitated, several inmates were reported to be celebrating by severing the severed heads of victims.
Reuters reported that videos had started circulating online to show inmates in Altamira Prison in northern Brazil, hurling their severed heads over a floor. Reuters said they could not independently verify the online footage.
BRAZIL PRISON BEGINNERS LEAVE AT LEAST 57 DEATH – INCLUDING 16 DISCOUNTS
There are reports of several inmates standing in a haze of smoke on a roof in the state of Para, where the Altamira Prison is located. A man seems to kick a round object on the ground.
Para state prison authorities said the nearly five-hour clash began when leaders of a local criminal group called Comando Classe A set fire to a cell where members of a rival gang lived. Comando Vermelho was located at 7 am local time ,
The fire spread quickly and prevented police forces from entering the building for several hours, Jarbas Vasconcelos, head of the State Prison, told a press conference on Monday with UNIQUE LEADERS WHO ATTACKED THE VILLAGE AFTER MOUNTING OF MINING FARMERS [1
"It was a deliberate attack, with the aim of showing that it was a settlement between the two groups, not a protest or rebellion against the prison system," said Vasconcelos BRAZIL PRISONS ON TWO DAYS OF VIOLENCE
Many Brazilian prisons are confronted with overcrowding and violence. A local judge in charge of the Altamira facility described the overall condition of the prison as "terrible."
The Associated Press received a July 2019 report from the National Justice Council stating that the prison had 343 inmates with a maximum capacity of 163 people.
Vasconcelos admitted this, however, did not meet the official requirements to be considered crowded. "It is not an overcrowded unit, we assume overcrowding if it exceeds 210%," Vasconcelos said during the press conference.
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The uprising follows the deaths of nearly 60 people in May in four different prisons in the state of Amazonas.
In early 2017, more than 120 inmates died in various northern states as rival gangs clashed over drug trafficking control in the region. The violence lasted several weeks and spread to different states.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.